The worst kind of domestic terrorism

Joe Biden thinks a normal Midwest family is a group of domestic terrorists if they peacefully guard their family business against rioters, arsonists, and looters.

Merrick Garland says concerned parents are domestic terrorists if they attend public school board meetings to speak about the policies of the district and its academic curricula.

AOC and her infamous "Squad" say that Trump-supporters who attend rallies are domestic terrorists if they show up while wearing MAGA hats.

Most of the time, normal people don't need to be told what constitutes domestic terrorism.  Normal Americans have seen it, again and again, on their streets and on their television screens.  The kind of terrorism that has become all too common in recent years is the riot — the leftist demonstration that purports to begin peacefully but all too often is prepped and funded by powerful, well-financed outside organizations. 

Foreign terrorists were familiar to us, and somewhat to be expected.  In 2001, for example, a group of Saudis, radicalized and funded by al-Qaeda and the Taliban, traveled to the United States to study flying and then hijack airplanes to use them as weapons.  As horrible as it is, such terrorism is at least committed by foreign enemies.

By contrast, domestic terror has a particularly wicked dimension because it's not foreign enemies, but our own neighbors who conduct it.

The San Bernardino Christmas Party shooting in 2015, Orlando's Pulse Nightclub shooting in 2016, the shootings at the Republican congressional baseball practice in 2017 — all of these hurt America so much because these were American-born shooters.  It's so hard to imagine that our fellow Americans could be so malicious, so evil, as to attempt to inflict mass murder on their innocent neighbors this way.

Similarly, the spate of big-city riots in recent years may have begun with Ferguson but multiplied considerably in 2020 with the Antifa/BLM riots that burned down so many American cities.  There is minimal evidence that the ringleaders of these attacks were foreigners.  Rather, they were organized and populated by organizations, some of them even officially incorporated American charities, funded by gullible corporations and foolish millionaires.  Craigslist ads and social media posts told their members where to go; known and unknown donors bought the rioters their bus tickets, paid for their food and shelter, and essentially issued them a license to riot.

This hurts.  Even without comparing the numbers of wounded and killed, even without counting the billions of dollars of property damage as Seattle and Portland, Minneapolis and Kenosha were smashed, torched, and looted, it hurts just to know that such destruction was perpetrated not by a foreign army, but by our own people.  Our cities now look as cities do in war zones, only we're not at war.  These are our fellow Americans doing this.

Our fellow Americans were making Molotov cocktails and positioning pallets of bricks.  Our fellow Americans were rustling up street thugs and plopping them into position so they could commit these crimes.

This must be the worst kind of domestic terrorism, right?  When the murders and attempted murders are perpetrated and organized by our fellow Americans?

No.  Actually, there is one worse still.

On November 21, 2021, at 4:15 P.M., the residents of the quiet Milwaukee suburb Waukesha, Wisconsin were enjoying their annual Christmas parade.  Local politicians, high school and grammar school marching bands and dance groups, were walking down their main thoroughfare in celebration of the beginning of the Christmas season, when, without warning, a criminal drove a red Ford Escape through the crowd, barreling along, blowing his horn, hitting countless innocents from behind.  Dozens of adults and small children alike were rushed to local hospitals; the number dead on the scene has not been released as of this writing. 

Unbelievable.  Unforgivable.  Inexplicable horror.

The alleged perpetrator is known; the motive, however, is in doubt.  Darrell Brooks, a 38-year-old rapper with a long rap sheet, is the alleged driver of the vehicle.

Early reports point to two possibilities: either he did this on purpose, as an intentional terror attack, or he and his cronies were fleeing an earlier crime — reportedly a stabbing — and he made the horrible choice of this particular road — at this particular, rare moment, a parade path — as his escape route.

So he may be a terrorist, or he may not be.  Either way, he has destroyed the lives of countless families; he has inflicted terror.

But he's still not the worst kind of domestic terrorist.

Why was he out on the street today?

Why was he free to drive down that road at all?

We mentioned that he has a long rap sheet.  Darrell Brooks's rap sheet includes — in addition to past convictions — multiple open cases.  His 22-year-long published criminal record includes numerous weapons charges, battery and assault charges, all kinds of drug charges from meth to cocaine, vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, obstructing officers, domestic abuse, recklessly endangering safety, strangulation, and suffocation...the list goes on and on.

Again and again, Darrell Brooks — the alleged driver in the Waukesha parade killings — was caught, processed, and intentionally released.  Despite a history that demonstrates his ongoing threat to the community, charges were repeatedly dropped or pleaded down, sentences were reduced to time served (such as, in one case, just nineteen days), and he was always given work release, probation, and bail, despite a record of continuing to perpetrate violations whenever he was set free.

If bail protocols were rational, he would be in jail awaiting the trials for the cases he already had pending, including felony assault just two days before the parade, after which he was, once again, arrested and released on bail.

He was free today to kill people in Waukesha only because he was set free, knowingly, by Milwaukee and Manitowoc and Wood and who knows how many other counties over the past twenty years.

We have state's attorneys and district attorneys all over America who refuse to prosecute most crimes...who refuse to ask judges for stiff sentences when they do prosecute...who happily plea-bargain cases down, down, down until they get an easy conviction, even if that easy conviction provides such a small penalty that it barely takes the criminal off the street at all.

This is not to say that plea bargains and sentencing flexibility don't have their place in our system; they do.  But such reasonable tools are abused in the hands of leftist bureaucrats who simply don't want to put criminals in jail and who will find any excuse to keep them out.

In addition, in recent years, we have watched in horror as governor after governor has flung open the prison gates for mass releases, for reasons as lunatic as claims of overcrowding, fear of COVID contagion, and even budget pressures.

Some things are still unknown about the Waukesha Christmas Parade horror, just as some things are still unknown about all the Antifa/BLM riots that have plagued us in recent years.

But there is a common thread.

The violent criminals who started dumpster fires in Kenosha; who launched shopping district break-ins in Naperville; and who perpetrated literal neighborhood takeovers in Portland, Seattle, and so many more cities in 2020 were rarely first offenders.

We are told that it is hard to obtain a conviction, even when criminals are plainly guilty.  Sometimes that is true.  But even so, there are tens of thousands of violent criminals whom our system has managed to catch, has managed to prosecute, and has managed to convict.  There is no reason why they should be out on the street while they're still young enough to re-offend.

It is on the state's attorneys and district attorneys, the judges, and too often the governors as well.

There is only one reason why crime is so high in America today, only one reason why so many known criminals are on the streets, free to rob, rape, brutalize, and murder.

It is that leftist politicians — elected by their constituents to keep the streets safe; that's their primary responsibility — have sided with the criminal element, time and again, against the law-abiding citizenry.

And that is a worse crime than any other: that the people we have entrusted with the solemn duty of protecting their communities have instead unleashed these criminals to terrorize those communities instead.

If you're looking for the worst kind of domestic terrorism, I sure can't think of a worse one than flinging open the prison gates — whether by lack of effort or by executive order — and consciously setting such criminals loose.

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based writer and trade compliance trainer, a onetime county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party.  He writes a regular column in Illinois Review, and his political satires about current events — including his latest, Evening Soup with Basement Joe — are available in eBook or paperback on Amazon.

Photo credit: Twitter video screen grab (cropped).

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