What is Domestic Terrorism?

what is domestic terrorism

What is Domestic Terrorism?



Domestic terrorism is quite different from domestic violence. Domestic violence happens within the family. Domestic terrorism happens within the country.

Terrorism is known as violent crimes committed by either individuals or by organized groups. Entire nations can commit terrorist acts, but when the crime occurs here at home, in the U.S., we call it domestic terrorism

What is domestic terrorism?

Some violent and criminal acts that fall under that umbrella are: 

  • putting human lives in danger
  • attempting to influence government policy through coercion 
  • trying to affect government conduct by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping

Domestic Terrorism Examples 

Historic Example

We all think of our own Civil War when talking about domestic terrorism. The week following the end of the war was the death of Abraham Lincoln, when John Wilkes Booth famously assassinated him in an ultimate act of terror. 

But what if the crime isn’t so obvious? What else counts? 

There are groups of people that are considered to be domestic threats. These groups could be anti-policy, conspiracy theory, or any form of extremists. What makes them a threat is their potential to (or past history of) putting people in danger.  

Is hate speech terrorism?

We want to point out here that hate crimes and hate speech are often thought of when the topic of terrorism comes up. While these crimes can pose a threat, and even overlap with domestic terrorism, they’re often not considered to be terrorist acts. Hate crimes or hate speech can include nonviolent crimes that don’t endanger lives, like tagging (graffiti).  

Domestic Terrorism in the U.S.

Congress released a report on January 13th, 2021, titled: Domestic Terrorism and the Attack on the Capitol, in which they stated, “it is important to note that domestic terrorism is not a chargeable offense on its own. There is no federal criminal statute that establishes criminal penalties solely for “domestic terrorism,” although it may be an element of other federal crimes or provide an enhanced sentence.” 

While you can’t be charged with domestic terrorism, your sentence will be harsher if you’ve engaged in criminal activities that are legally deemed domestic terrorism. 

Criminal Defense Attorney in Chandler, AZ

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photo: terrorism by Nick Youngson | from picpedia.org on 4/26/2021 | used under the Creative Commons license