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Calling All Social Scientists!


 Quote from a recent Associated Press story on the dangers of domestic terrorism:

FBI special agent Brett Hovington said the government needs to do more scientific research around the country on why Americans are becoming radicalized and turning toward violent extremism. Hovington runs the FBI’s community relations unit, which focuses on this type of outreach across the country. Speaking to lawmakers Wednesday about countering violent extremism, Hovington said sociologists, political scientists, and psychologists can help in this area.”


Apparently, anthropologists are of no help whatsoever. Could it be that some of us consider the answer to Mr. Hovington’s question already in the answered column? Some of us don’t think it will require a multi-million-dollar research project.

When people increasingly suffer from joblessness, homelessness, lack of basic medical care, rising college fees, closed libraries, increased bridge tolls, closed state parks, vast sums of public money spent on bombs and bankers–all this and much more presented to the American people without any meaningful, accurate body of public information, and without any apparent means to engage constructively in voicing concerns—it yields a wide variety of angry responses.

If rising anger and frustration is a broad social phenomenon, then the driving force will be found within government social policies.

Blaming the victims is as old as civilization. Blaming the victims for inappropriate and ineffective reactions to the current US socio-economic policies denies the function of the corporate media, which is to keep the population confused and distracted. With the people not having access to pertinent information, they are on their own to address serious issues of work, home, and community.

Mr. Hovington, the answer to your question is that you’re part of the problem. By fear-mongering and blaming the victims of current government social and foreign policies, you contribute to general confusion and feelings of helplessness. Angry people with legitimate grievances, within a social context devoid of meaningful public discourse and lacking effective means to constructively change government policies, creates fertile ground for tragedy.

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