Opponents of a free-standing domestic terrorism statute point out that between federal hate crime law and state homicide statutes, law enforcement has extensive tools to prosecute domestic terrorists.
Ironically, the same argument was made by opponents of hate crime statutes when they were passed in the 1990s. Why load up the already bloated federal code when assault and homicide statutes were available?
But just as the social evil of hate crimes is particular to those offenses, domestic terrorism is its own evil, and it’s fitting for the legislature to recognize the threat and injury that terrorism occasions, and, in fact, to put it on relative equal footing with international terrorism. Fitting, too, that perpetrators of domestic terrorism be branded with the scarlet letter signifying particularly abhorrent crimes.
That is especially the case given that, according to the latest FBI reports, the threat of white nationalist violence appears to be intensifying, a trend that the president’s dog-whistle politics certainly doesn’t retard. Crusius’s screed nearly replicated Trump’s recent battle cry from the midterm elections that the influx of immigrants is “an invasion.”