The 17th anniversary of the federal building bombing in Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995, is today, and a generation of young people probably cannot say what happened that day.
In fact, for many that 17-year-old tragedy serves as an afterthought when the word “terrorism” pops up in a conversation.
The events of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the discussion about terrorism. It placed it in a context of Al Qaeda, the Middle East and Muslims.
But the Oklahoma City bombing was an act of “homegrown” terrorism, and in recent years, other planned attacks on U.S. soil have involved U.S. citizens, here and abroad.
Terrorist activity aims its angst at the U.S. government and for many reasons. When it comes to public safety, the reason doesn’t matter.
Now a homegrown group with growing public ties matters — at least to the FBI: the Sovereign Citizen Movement.
To be honest, until I read a story about Sovereign Citizens a couple weeks back, I did not know much about it.
Yes, I’ve read about groups of people armed to the teeth — primarily in rural areas — who promote an anti-government agenda, usually couched in racism, the right to bear arms and refusing to pay taxes or follow laws.
But the Sovereign Citizens take all that to the next level — the Tea Party movement on steroids, maybe. And depending on where the information comes from, the group comes with 300,000 to 1 million people directly or loosely affiliated with the group. Much of the fodder for the Sovereign Citizen agenda, and the agendas of others like it, comes from “constitutional interpretation” — what the document means and the intent of its creators.
One key element of the Constitution tells us who holds responsibility for that job. It belongs to the federal courts.
But as I have written in the past, when people embrace the Constitution, most approach it like a restaurant buffet — picking the items they like and eating a lot of them.
On April 19 and beyond, I hope people can focus as much thought about American’s behavior when changing the course of our country as they do about foreigners.