Growing US violent extremism by the numbers: UMD database
[Author's note...on a hopeful note.... a number of researchers have concluded that violence overall has decreased within the human race over the past millenia. Am currently reading Steven Pinker's book The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence has Declined.]
From the UMD news release at Eureka Alerts
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Over the past decade, attacks and plots by homegrown terrorists in the United States have increased, the work of extremists from across the political spectrum – roughly 40 percent of it by so-called ‘lone wolf,’ non-aligned actors – says an analysis by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) based at the University of Maryland.
The statistics underscore the threat addressed in a White House plan released Thursday: Strategic Implementation Plan for Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States – a blueprint for “building community resilience against violent extremism.”
“There have been more than 200 terrorist attacks in the United States since 9/11, but what has really increased is the total number of foiled terrorist plots,” says UMD researcher and START director Gary LaFree, who has developed the largest and most comprehensive unclassified terrorism database in the world with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
“Our researchers have tracked over 100 foiled plots in the past decade,” LaFree adds. “Most of these would be classified as homegrown terrorism.”
The new White House plan follows up on a strategy first laid out last August, and discussed at UMD by Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano in October.
“The facts make it clear – homegrown, violent extremism is not just a problem for other countries,” LaFree explains. “The administration plan confronts this reality by providing a strategy that draws heavily on local communities as the key to prevention.”
The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism—better known as START – is a university-based research center committed to the scientific study of the causes and human consequences of terrorism in the United States and around the world.
Based at the University of Maryland, START supports research efforts of leading social scientists at more than 50 academic and research institutions, each of whom is conducting original investigations into fundamental questions about terrorism, including:
- Under what conditions does an individual or a group turn to terrorism to pursue its goals? What is the nature of the radicalization process?
- What attack patterns have different terrorists demonstrated during the past forty years? How has terrorist behavior evolved? And, what does this indicate about likely future terrorist activity?
- What impact does terrorism and the threat of terrorism have on communities, and how can societies enhance their resilience to minimize the potential impacts of future attacks?
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