Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle recently opined that the “autonomous zone” that protesters have formed in the city is a sign of “patriotism,” not domestic terrorism. Not only is this designation naive and insulting, it also overlooks and misinterprets the meaning of domestic terrorism.
The FBI defines domestic terrorism as “Violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature.” The U.S. Government Code §2331 also defines domestic terrorism as activities that:
(A) involve acts dangerous to human life that are a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or of any State;
(B) appear to be intended—
(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population;
(ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or
(iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping; and
(C) occur primarily within the territorial jurisdiction of the United States
According to Durkan, the autonomous zone and the conduct within it does not constitute domestic terrorism. According to Business Insider, Durkham was quoted as saying:
Lawfully gathering and expressing first amendment rights, demanding we do better as a society and provide true equity for communities of color is not terrorism – it is patriotism.
The Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone #CHAZ is not a lawless wasteland of anarchist insurrection – it is a peaceful expression of our community’s collective grief and their desire to build a better world. Given his track record, it’s not hard to believe that Trump is wrong, yet again.
Durkan is either uninformed or intentionally overlooking what is happening in Seattle. For starters, the city’s Third Precinct has been shut down by protestors, who have violently thrown, hurt, and/or threatened officers trying to protect the building. According to the City Journal, “protesters attacked officers with bricks, bottles, rocks, and improvised explosive devices, sending some officers to the hospital.” Violent crime has also increased. As reported by the National Review, citing police Chief Carmen Best: “Our calls for service have more than tripled. These are responses to emergency calls — rapes, robberies, and all sorts of violent acts that have been occurring in the area that we’re not able to get to.” A graffiti artist was also assaulted by a group of people who were seemingly part of a self-appointed police force. In addition, one or more self-appointed leaders of the “group” stand guard with Ak-47’s, pistols, and other weapons.
The conduct within the “autonomous zone” clearly constitutes domestic terrorism. It is intentional, violent and/or criminal, intimidating, and done for the purpose of influencing policy. As a matter of fact, as reported by the City Journal:
“[A] coalition of black activists associated with the autonomous zone released a more specific list of demands, including the total abolition of the Seattle Police Department, the retrial of all racial minorities serving prison time for violent crimes, and the replacement of the police with autonomous “restorative/transformative accountability programs.””
Durkan’s unwillingness to dismantle this show of anarchy and her decision to label the “autonomous zone” as patriotic is unacceptable, vile, un-American, and unpatriotic. Americans of all political ideologies should condemn such conduct and should demand that Durkan take the necessary steps to immediately stop such anarchy in the streets of Seattle.
Of course, from a political perspective, if the president decides to involve the military to handle the situation in Seattle, Durkan and/or other Democrats will likely claim that President Trump is so divisive that he decided to use the military against innocent Americans who were peacefully seeking justice and equality.
Americans should not be fooled. Such conduct must be stopped and Durkan must stop it. If she fails to do so, the president will.
Mr. Hakim is a political writer and commentator and an attorney. His articles have been published in The Washington Examiner, The Daily Caller, The Federalist, The Algemeiner, The Western Journal, American Thinker and other online publications.