Home-Grown Terror - by Carlos Gamino, Milwaukee criminal defense lawyerBy Carlos Gamino, Criminal Defense Attorney

When you walked out your front door this morning it probably felt like any other day. The birds are singing, the kids are getting shipped off to school, and you’re on your way to work – life is good!

But what’s going on behind every other door on the block? The next street over?

Just how safe is it out there?

Home-Grown Terror: Who’s a Suspect?

We’ve all known for years that anyone can be a “bad guy,” but that doesn’t make the concept of home-grown terror any less frightening.

Look at the 20-year-old man from Ohio accused of plotting to attack the U.S. Capitol in an act of jihad. Police arrested him outside a gun shop near his home after buying two M-15 assault rifles and 600 rounds of ammunition.

There are actually several home-grown terror threats, from Minnesota to dozens of other states. So what happens to these people, and what are we doing to protect ourselves from these potential threats?

The Department of Justice has an Anti-Terrorism Advisory Council, and they have a strategic plan for preventing future terror attacks on our own soil; that plan includes surveillance, strong prosecution of those involved in terrorist acts, and proactive prevention of “insider threats.”

According to the DOJ, “The Department has been especially concerned with two relatively new threats: ‘lone wolf’ terrorists who self-radicalize, and terrorist use of the Internet and other media to incite others to violence.”

The military has similar plans, requiring service members to participate in annual training to prevent insider threats, as well.

The prosecution strategy is to combine federal and state charges, as well as a limited number of foreign charges.

Will harsh prosecution stop the threat of home-grown terror? Maybe—but historically, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.

What’s your take? Do we have reason to be concerned about home-grown terror, or is it something that is so unlikely to happen that we should focus on more important issues? Let me know what you think here or on my Facebook page!

Carlos Gamino