If you are sitting quietly in your home somewhere in America’s heartland maybe the terrorism which rocked the city of Paris by Muslim extremists did not touch you. But in reality it not only touched you and your family, but with the loss of life at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, along with two police officers, that day was a loss of freedom of speech and even how terrorism will present itself going forward.
Before the fanatical attack on the magazine, media and the very essence of free speech, whether it was spoken from a magazine page or even via cartoons or editorials, there was a sense of safety from harm that is now lost. What it also signals to westerners and especially the United States is that maybe, just maybe, speech from your social media pages or even from your Twitter account is not as safe or secure as you once thought.
Are all of the discussions of Islamic topics that are spoken in college classrooms or even in an office amongst co-workers in lunchrooms or at water coolers as safe as they once were? Some might call it paranoia to consider that ISIS or Al Qaeda would even be concerned about utterances as minor as that. But consider the deadly attack of September 2014, when Islamic extremist Alton Nolen who had started trying to convert several employees to the Muslim religion, beheaded fellow 54-year-old co-worker Colleen Hufford.
Did her reluctance to not accept or even consider Islam as something she should seriously follow warrant such a vicious death as she received? Of course not, but it still occurred and right in a suburban food processing plant.
The real question that should be considered as Americans are sitting in their living rooms or at their office desks is whether or not America is the next step in the ISIS or Al Qaeda free speech assault hit list? Will ISIS bring its brand of terrorism to the nation’s neighborhoods as the perfect location for soft targets to be selected at random?
For some, the very notion may sound far-fetched, because the terrorist attack occurred in France and not on American soil. But the reality of this type of terrorism on American soil is possible and it has already been called for by leaders in ISIS. Previously ISIS and Al Qaeda had targeted America for its presence in the Middle East and its direct military campaigns In Iraq, Afghanistan and now Syria.
Well here is a little insight to help you understand the security that Americans like you may be feeling may be a bit on the delusional side. Back in September, as you and many other families were returning from their summer holidays and your kids were getting back into school, ISIS spokesperson Abu Mohammed al Adnani issued a fatwa for lone-wolves and small groups to carry out attacks on Western countries including France, Australia, the United States and Canada, reported KTLA.
As a matter of fact, the U.S. military has already alerted military personnel to be wary and alert since ISIS has targeted soldiers in America as well as in the United Kingdom. Still feel safer?
Political scientist and terrorism expert Al Maurer and Lisa Ruth, Communities Editor in Chief and former CIA analyst discussed terrorism in the homeland and why Americans should be prepared for the new version of terrorism on Wednesday’s “Standing at Freedom’s Gate” Communities News Hour program. National security and intelligence experts Maurer and Ruth provided crucial context and details on the new reality America must deal with.
That new reality is much starker and certainly demands much more attention from Americans. The terrorism elites have stepped up their game with the Paris attack. Now free speech is added to the list of the forbidden acts and is part of a revised 2.0 version of terrorist extremism. Anyone and any location can now be the target of choice for the newly indoctrinated homegrown terrorists. They can literally initiate their own attacks without supervision or guidance from ISIS or Al Qaeda.
One only has to turn to the most recent example where the alleged self-radicalized Chechen brothers Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev unleashed bombings that resulted in several deaths and massive injuries during the Boston Marathon. They allegedly received no direct orders but choose the marathon as a soft target for their bombing. This type of under-radar, self-radicalized person or small group would have been nearly impossible to detect in a planned terrorist attack in any neighborhood or city in America.
The Paris attack is a reminder that Americans must take seriously now and begin to be proactive. Increased terrorism in the homeland is only a matter of time, and time is running out according to the head of Britain’s MI5 Security Service Director General Andrew Parker. He recently warned, “Al Qaeda militants are planning an attack on the West, aimed at inflicting mass casualties on transport systems or at ‘iconic targets’, ” according to Fox News.
Americans must use the Paris terrorist attack as a wake-up call that everyone who is interested in protecting their family and the nation’s freedoms have to take seriously that ISIS and Al Qaeda type Parisian terrorism in your or another American neighborhood soft target is not a “might happen” or “may happen” but is a real probability. So bottom line: Be alert in your neighborhood and stay alert.