Terrorism's New Hot Spots: Rural Counties
A while back, I suggested that because I hang my hat in rural Missouri, that I was somehow more immune to terrorist attacks. My argument was that the metropolitan intelligentsia on the Eastern and Western seaboards were likely bigger targets than us milquetoast Midwesterners with "low-sloping foreheads."
In effect, I was correct, as the majority of terrorist attacks have happened in coastal cities. However, researchers from The National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) found that 65 out of the 3,143 counties in the United States were "hot spots" of terrorism.
Researchers defined a "hot spot" as a county experiencing more than six terrorist attacks from 1970 to 2008.
While many urban counties have remained terrorism hot spots, researchers found that in recent years, smaller, more rural counties have emerged as hot spots of domestic terrorism.
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For example, Maricopa County in Arizona has shown a spike in terrorist activity.
"The main attacks driving Maricopa into recent hot spot status are the actions of radical environmental groups, especially the Coalition to Save the Preserves," said Gary LaFree in a news release. LaFree is director of START and lead author of the report.
Considering START is a branch of the, shall we say conservative, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, naturally, the only group identified in the press release is a small-scale left-wing group of mountain-biking "eco-terrorists" responsible for burning down houses in an upscale Phoenix suburb.
Left off the Maricopa County list was self-proclaimed "America's Toughest Sheriff," Joe Arpaio who, besides his affinity for publicly humiliating those incarcerated under his jurisdiction, has been terrorizing the Latino community for years. But since the Department of Homeland Security has rather loose interpretations of human rights violations and terrorism, Arpaio's actions are par for the course.
"Despite the clustering of attacks in certain regions, it is also clear that hot spots are dispersed throughout the country," LaFree added, including "places as geographically diverse as counties in Arizona, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Texas."
The report also found that, not surprisingly, most terrorist attacks were motivated by single ideological factors. For example, Lubbock County, Texas, only experienced right-wing terrorism while only left-wing terrorism was experienced in the Bronx, New York.
Despite us country mice now having to deal with more terrorists in our back yards, I still like to dance and sing in my kitchen to this song.