How to spot a terrorist

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I really had no idea how to spot a terrorist until I studied the manuals published by the Phoenix FBI, the state employees of Virginia, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. Now that I have absorbed these manuals, I not only know how to spot a terrorist, but I have discovered that I probably am a terrorist.

The Phoenix FBI manual was published while Clinton was still president. The Joint Terrorism Task Force was formed to “help preserve the American way of life.” Its flyer requested that citizens contact the task force if they saw any of the following:

Defenders of the U.S. Constitution against federal government and the UN
Groups of individuals engaging in para-military training
Those who make numerous references to the U.S. Constitution
Those who attempt to police the police
Lone individuals
Rebels

The Phoenix Sheriff’s Office did not care for the flyer, and it had a short life.

On to Virginia…This manual tells us to beware of the following people:

Members of anti-government and militia movements
Property rights activists
Members of racist, separatist, and hate groups
Environmental and animal rights activists
Religious extremists
Members of street gangs

According to the authorities in Virginia, terrorists stand out in the crowd because of the stuff they carry:

Sketch pads or notebooks
Maps or charts
Still or video cameras
Hand-held tape recorders
SCUBA equipment
disguises

And finally, there’s Texas, whose manual shares with us some characteristics of terrorists:

Focused and committed
Team-oriented and disciplined
Familiar with their physical environments
Employ a variety of vehicles and communicate by cell phone, email, or text messaging
Try not to draw attention to themselves
Look like students, tourists, or businesspersons
Travel in a mixed group of men, women, and children
Avoid confrontations with law enforcement
Use disguises or undergo cosmetic surgery

Well, there you are. Could someone pick you out of the crowd as a terrorist? As an emailing, camera-toting, focused and committed animal rights activist who sometimes looks like a businesswoman, frequently references the Constitution, and still has some leftover costumes from my years in New Orleans, I’m as good as gone.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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