How to spot a domestic terrorist on social media

(Although it can be hard to tell nowadays, this post is satire.)

To help our colleagues at Homeland Security identify potential threats from domestic terrorists, we here at the White House Task Force on Lawless Online Lowlifes (WTFLOL) are asking for your help.

After all, our records show that the average American spends approximately 22.5 hours a day on various social media sites.  Although the government's surveillance program is quite thorough and sophisticated, and our partners in Big Tech have been extremely cooperative, it is still theoretically possible for you to notice something online that we miss.

For that reason, we offer this brief tutorial on how to spot potential domestic terrorists among your social media friends and followers.  This list, while not exhaustive, is nevertheless an accurate means of identifying individuals who might not be in complete conformity with the priorities of the current United States government.

Demographics.  The first indicator is demographics. According to our colleagues at the FBI, domestic terrorists are likely to be white, male, and middle-aged.  That is not to say all your middle-aged, white male friends and followers on social media are domestic terrorists.  It is simply a way of narrowing down the pool of potential miscreants.  You can basically eliminate from consideration anyone who is not white, male, and middle-aged while directing more scrutiny toward those who fall into that demographic.

Other distinguishing features.  Potential or nascent domestic terrorists — that is, those in the process of being radicalized — also tend to have other distinguishing physical features, including facial hair (especially goatees), shaved heads, and military insignia tattoos.  They may also wear hats or tee-shirts with such insignia, and they tend to have a penchant for cargo shorts.

Science denial.  As we come together to fight COVID-19 by temporarily suspending basic human rights for the good of the entire country, one specific behavior that has emerged among potential domestic terrorists is denial of The Science™.  This typically manifests in posts that question or disparage CDC guidance regarding masking, social distancing, and other restrictions in public places, especially schools.

These posts may seem confusing because they cite actual scientific data.  What is important to remember, however, is that when people question the CDC, they are not only denying The Science™, but are also promoting distrust in our government.  That sets a dangerous precedent — especially where the COVID-19 vaccines are concerned.

Today's domestic terrorists sow discord by questioning the process by which the vaccines were approved and the government's desire for universal vaccination. They assert that those in low-risk groups, such as children and those with prior infections, might not need to be vaccinated.  Although these claims might appear to have scientific support, they run counter to the CDC's recommendations.

Remember that the vaccines were developed and brought to market in record time, which was nothing less than a modern miracle.  Under the circumstances, determining efficacy is an ongoing process, and adverse events are to be expected.

Political discourse.  Domestic terrorists self-identify almost exclusively as conservatives or libertarians (although recently a small number of self-identified liberals have become radicalized as well).  Their political leanings are readily apparent in their online activity.

For example, potential domestic terrorists frequently quote the so-called "Founding Fathers," including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin.  Since all have been discredited as racists and misogynists, their words may foment discord or even rebellion.  Other names to look for include Friedrich von Hayek, Adam Smith, C.S. Lewis, John Locke, and Abraham Lincoln, all well-known colonizers and white supremacists.

Subversive symbols.  As you interact online with individuals you suspect might be domestic terrorists, keep an eye out for telltale symbols, such as the American flag.  Many potential domestic terrorists actually use the flag in their profile photos.  Even worse is the so-called Gadsden Flag, which features a coiled rattlesnake and the words "Don't Tread on Me" on yellow background.  If you see this symbol on an individual's social media posts, please contact us immediately.

Insistence on "rights."  The surest sign that you might be engaging with a domestic terrorist is that they habitually use words like "freedom," "liberty," and "rights."  Specifically, they often reference the First Amendment, which they believe confers "freedom of speech" and thus gives them the right to say anything they want, even if it constitutes hate speech (like "men cannot have babies" and "marriage is between a man and a woman").

They also insist that the Second Amendment gives them the right to keep and bear arms.  Thus, they often post photos of themselves with their firearms and use phrases like "molon labe" ("come and take them").

The most important thing to keep in mind is that middle-aged white men represent the most serious danger to our democracy today, except for systemic racism, climate change, the delta variant, and Britney Spears's conservatorship.  That is why we must remain vigilant. It will take all of us to defeat this threat.

The above list of attributes and behaviors, though incomplete, should serve as a good "pocket guide" for identifying potential terrorists.  Since this is a developing situation, please keep an eye out for updates.  As the current administration continues to implement its policies, legislative priorities, and executive orders, online activity among potential domestic terrorists may increase.

Meanwhile, if you observe any of these indicators during your online interactions, please go to WTFLOL's website and click on "Tools," then "Re-education" to file a report.  Your government thanks you.

Image: Gadsden flag.

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