Domestic terrorism is when actors commit terrorism against their own government. Domestic terrorists typically seek some kind of change and are nativistic and xenophobic. Domestic terrorism is most dangerous to governments because it specifically targets the government in order to take over or change the way it is being run. It is also more dangerous because in a foreign domestic attack, the nation tends to rally behind their government in fighting back, but with domestic terrorism, the nation is split in its beliefs and not everyone is on the government’s side, so they have less support from the people (Findley).
One of the reasons domestic terrorism is most dangerous to governments is because they view the current government as corrupt and oppressive; their goal is to change the government, either by taking over or tearing it down and starting again completely. For example, ETA was formed in response to the Spanish governments repression of Basque nationalism. It was responsible for over 600 deaths between 1968 and 1991 and had at least six different factions. The Spanish government granted them considerable political rights (Martin, 2015).
Domestic terrorism is also more dangerous to governments because it is harder to keep track of or prevent. A lot of terrorist groups biggest struggle is getting into the country and getting their weapons into the country they are going to attack. That is why we have such strict airport securities and border patrol. But with domestic terrorism, the terrorists are already in the country. There is a lot less security they have to go through when planning and carrying out an attack. Governments also have to be careful with domestic terrorism because they have to walk on eggshells when it comes to their countries citizens.
Governments have to be careful on which laws they do and don’t pass. If they pass laws that the population or significant part of the population doesn’t agree with, a domestic terrorist group could form. Governments also have to worry that if the population or part of the population doesn’t agree with the way they are running things and for a domestic terrorist group, not only will they be under attack but the economy will suffer because the citizens who would normally be working are now focused on the terrorist group and are not putting their money or time into the nations economy any more (Blomberg).
One solution to preventing domestic terrorism is to implement cultural changes to the population so citizens are not recruited into terrorist organizations that want to harm others. The media is a great way to implement cultural change. The media has a huge influence amongst all classes of citizens. Depending on how they are used and how they present information, they could unite or divide a country. One could use the media to deglorify crime and violence and make the country more peaceful. America in particular glorifies violence and crime.
It has a high number of inmates, who could be potential terrorist recruits. In an idealistic world we would prevent terrorist attacks before they even begin. To do this you would punish the leaders who allow the attacks to happen because they are corrupt. We would have leaders who live and lead ethically (“How to prevent domestic terrorism”). Another way to implement cultural changes is to prevent offenders from wanting to join these terrorist organizations. To do this you must provide them with incentives to stay clean from crime. Programs to help criminals stay out of trouble can be costly though.
The countries population must be willing to pay for and invest in them (through taxes most likely) (“How to prevent domestic terrorism”). Many terrorists are ex-military or can bribe current military to help them in getting across borders or smuggling. Soldiers in the military are typically not paid much and are therefore somewhat easy to bribe. If governments paid enlisted soldiers more money and gave them more benefits, they would be less likely to bribe and have less reason to want to help terrorists (“How to prevent domestic terrorism”).
Domestic terrorism is “terrorism from below” or “terrorism from within”, it is people from that country who are unhappy with the way the government is currently being run and want to change it. While weapons and man power can be used to fight it, that is after an attack has occurred. To prevent an attack the government must do what it can to keep the citizens happy; changing a countries way of thinking or culture to one that doesn’t believe in violence and crime and one that’s willing to help itself get rid of crime by helping inmates get reacclimated into society and keeping its citizens happy is necessary.