SAN JOSE (KRON) — What happened in Charlottesville was domestic terrorism, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions said.
On Monday, A Bay Area expert on terrorism weighed in on that term and what it means.
“He should have come out right away and slammed him, no doubt about it,” San Jose State University Professor Jess Guy said.
Guy says the president’s condemnation of what happened in Charlottesville was better late than never but agrees the violence and bloodshed meet the legal definition of domestic terrorism.
“There were political acts that generated violence, and you can apply a definition of terrorism to political and social acts that threaten violence or use violence to impact society,” Guy said.
Professor Guy teaches a class on terrorism. Before that, he was a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent.
He was at Ruby Ridge, Idaho in the early 90s as blood was shed in a standoff between law enforcement and anti-government groups, which critics say have been emboldened since President Donald Trump took office.
“They’re not as organized as the older groups were, but they are getting closer,” Guy said. You can see that with the Nazi flags and the Confederate flags.”
Professor Guy says if you read between the lines of the hate speech from the white nationalists and other fringe groups, you will find anti-government sentiment not unlike what led to the 1995 bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.
“Absolutely, there is no doubt about it,” Guy said. “Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols had espoused an anti-government ideology for months before the bombing.”
Professor Guy adds, somewhat cynically, says that the loss of life in Charlottesville is what makes it rise to the definition of domestic terrorism.
However, he says law enforcement is partly to blame for not keeping the peace.
“Rather than look at this from the domestic terrorism point of view, we might want to look at it as domestic anarchy, and anarchy is the result of a lack of government control,” Guy said.
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