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Violence in America

What is domestic terrorism and why do certain social groups commit hate crimes? What is the historical basis of racist or bias violence? Who is responsible for the mass shootings so often featured on the news?

In this chapter experts discuss violence in the United States, including the threat of domestic terrorism. Expanding upon the pathology of fear discussed in the previous chapter, you will read about domestic terrorism or right-wing, anti-government extremism which is viewed as a higher threat to American safety by most law enforcement agencies. Key to this extremism is a focus on hatred or bias against other social groups, giving you a chance to learn about the background of hate group members, as well as explore an interactive map of hate groups. One important facet of the history of hatred in the US is an understanding of racism, from lynching in the South, to contemporary hate crimes against minority social groups. A good portion of this racist or bias violence takes shape with gun violence. You will learn the astoundingly high cost of gun violence, as well as explore the fallacy of mental illness playing a driving role in mass shootings.

Explore the different sections within this chapter by navigating through grey buttons. Once you are finished exploring a section, click Next to proceed to the next section, or Home to return to Violence in America home page.

Apartheid: Name given in South Africa to the segregation of the inhabitants of European descent from the non-European; applied also to any similar movement elsewhere; also, to other forms of racial separation (social, educational, etc.). Oxford English Dictionary   

Domestic Terrorism: violence against the civilian population or infrastructure of a nation—often but not always by citizens of that nation and often with the intent to intimidate, coerce, or influence national policy. RAND     

Hate Crimes: the violence of intolerance and bigotry, intended to hurt and intimidate someone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, religious, sexual orientation, or disability.  The purveyors of hate use explosives, arson, weapons, vandalism, physical violence, and verbal threats of violence to instill fear in their victims, leaving them vulnerable to more attacks and feeling alienated, helpless, suspicious and fearful. US Department of Justice

Ideology: a set of beliefs, opinions, and values that exhibit a recurring pattern, are held by significant groups, compete over providing and controlling plans for public policy, and do so with the aim of justifying, contesting or changing the social and political arrangements and processes of a political community. Ideology: A Very Short Introduction

Jim Crow Laws: legalized racial segregation in the South dating from just after Reconstruction to 1965. Also known by the phrase 'Separate but Equal.' Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Lynching: violent and public acts of torture and murder that traumatized African Americans throughout the country which were largely tolerated by state and public officials. Equal Justice Initiative 

Reconstruction: The period from the end of the Civil War to 1877, a time of fundamental social, economic, and political change as former slaves worked to breathe full meaning into their newly acquired freedom and to claim their rights as citizens. America's Reconstruction

Right-wing, Anti-government Extremism: can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration. Dept. of Homeland Security Left-wing, anti-government extremism exists, yet is not considered as much a threat to national security because of the infrequency of violence. 

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