Our picksMaking domestic terrorism a federal crime; lie detectors at airports; “new realities” of Calif.’s fire services, and more

Published 5 December 2018

·  It’s time for Congress to make domestic terrorism a federal crime

·  Many of the dead in Camp Fire were disabled. Could they have been saved?

·  Overview of U.S. lie detection systems for airport security checkpoints

·  Greenhouse gas emissions accelerate like a “speeding freight train” in 2018

·  Why Facebook and Twitter aren’t stopping the flood of false and toxic content

·  Global carbon emissions rose in 2018 — a lot

·  Alabama officials say there is a need for more life-saving storm shelters

·  L.A. County supervisors to spend $4.5 million studying “new realities” in fire service

It’s time for Congress to make domestic terrorism a federal crime (Mary B. McCord, Lawfare)
On Oct. 27, Robert Bowers launched an attack on the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Penn., murdering 11 worshipers and injuring many others. The federal indictment against Bowers charges him with multiple counts of obstructing, by force and threat of force, “the free exercise of religious beliefs” resulting in death and bodily injury and involving the use of a dangerous weapon and attempts to kill. These counts are charged under a suite of federal hate crimes statutes first enacted in 1968 and amended periodically ever since. Some of these crimes allow for the maximum sentence under law: the death penalty. But they fail to hold Robert Bowers accountable for what he actually did: commit crimes of domestic terrorism.
Bowers is just as morally deserving of the “terrorist” label as Islamist extremists who engage in acts of violence to intimidate and coerce. That label carries weight—it creates a moral equivalency between domestic terrorists and international terrorists, and it signals to Americans that the threat of extremism is just as significant when it is based on domestic political, economic, religious or social ideologies as it is when based on Islamist extremist ideologies. This has become ever more important as the United States experiences increased incidents of violence, and threats of violence, perpetrated on behalf of extremist right-wing ideologies. There are no good terrorists, domestic or international.  It is time for Congress to enact a federal offense of domestic terrorism.

Many of the dead in Camp Fire were disabled. Could they have been saved? (Tony Bizjak, Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks, Phillip Reese and Molly Sullivan, The Sacramento Bee)
‘Over and over again, it is mostly people with disabilities and aged, they are the ones being left behind,’ said Christina Mills, executive director with the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers.