Friday, September 01, 2006

Worst Imaginable: Baghdad or Backyard?

What separates street crime and terrorism? Before answering, consider the methods and societal impact of organized crime in America. In its hayday, organized crime assured peaceful, clean neighborhoods in its own neighborhoods.

The F.B.I. defines terrorism as the unlawful use of force against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population or any segment thereof, in the furtherance of political or social objectives.

Underlying purpose, then, is supposedly the identifying distinction between organized street crime and terrorism. But, to intimidate or coerce ... the civilian population or any segment thereof erases that distinction more than a bit.

Capital Crime Wave Threatens Tourism (AP)

"If you keep mugging people on the Mall, you're going to mug our economy at some point," said Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the District of Columbia's nonvoting member of Congress.
Since May, there have been several highly publicized attacks _ including holdups on the mall and the slashing death of a British political activist in Georgetown. Last month, a jewelry store worker was critically wounded in the upscale neighborhood after being shot during a daylight robbery.

The police chief declared a citywide crime emergency in July, giving him more flexibility to shift officers' schedules.

The U.S. has a major problem with the security issue in Iraq: Violence Grows, Killing 52 Iraqis, in Face of Security Plan (New York Times). The security issue in Iraq and crime issue in Washington, D.C. are related issues. Capitol businesses and government officials worry visitors aware of the D.C. crime wave (robberies and slayings at tourism sites) will absent themselves.

If capitol police cannot deter crime in the city of our national government, how is the U.S. to help Iraq deter terrorism? The solution to both problems is the same -no shortcuts. Place convicted felons in an environment like Mexican/Turkish prisons. Word will get back.


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