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Domestic Terrorism

Domestic Terrorism

  1. Read pages 1-4: Four-Wave Theory and Characteristics of Fifth Wave Groups. Comment on the
    establishment of a typical domestic break-away group and give an example of an actual terrorist group in
    the United States.
  2. Does extremism equal terrorism? Are the tactics and behaviors of domestic extremists Constitutionally
    protected or criminal acts?
    Discuss, remembering to cite your sources.

According to the Four Waves Theory postulated by Prof. David Rapport, the establishment of a
typical domestic breakaway group is not clearly accounted for, since the above ideology merely

explains the philosophies connected to international terrorism. Critically, the theory is limited in
scope to espouse the occurrence of such groups, but the author of the article, Kaplan, provides a
guiding thought that these breakaway domestic groups could be a completely new stem of
terrorist amalgams, that adopt new orientations, objectives, and focus (Kaplan, 2008). As
opposed to championing an international agenda, these small groups break away from the main
group or initial focus, and adopt a more centralized objective that targets local entities. Kaplan
describes this as the Fifth Wave of Modern Terrorism (Kaplan, 2008). An actual domestic
terrorist group in the US is the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which was initially affiliated to al
Qaeda, but has since adopted a more localized focus in the US., as well as other countries.
Basing my argument on the tactics of extremist groups, I would strongly posit that extremism
equals terrorism, since the actions advanced by these groups are almost similar. While the
foundations of the extremist and terrorist groups might despair, the means used by the two
groups to achieve their objectives are the same. Basically, a terrorist act is that which is leveled
against the innocent, destroys lives and property en masse, and its consequences are not
commensurate to the ideology being advanced (Levin, 2006). From this definition, it is clear that
even extremism goes to the same height to further a predetermined course. This qualifies it as
outright terrorism, regardless of the nature of the course being championed.


Levin, J. (2006). Domestic terrorism. New York: Chelsea House.

Kaplan, J. (2008). Terrorism fifth wave: A theory, a conundrum, and a dilemma. Perspectives on
Terrorism, 2(2).

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