On Feb. 15, Coast Guard lieutenant Christopher Paul Hasson was arrested and charged with both gun and drug offenses, but much is currently left uncovered. Hasson has been labeled “crazy,” a “lunatic,” and a “nihilist” by media sources such as Washington Examiner, but in actuality, he is much more. As prosecutors dub Hasson with the term “domestic terrorist,” many wonder what exactly constitutes an act to fit this classification.
Domestic terrorism in itself relates directly to acts dangerous to the well-being of citizens that are a violation of the criminal laws of a state or the United States, according to the Patriot Act. Hasson, to put it lightly, had dreams of killing the human race. No, you didn’t read that wrong. Hasson himself stated in a 2017 email that he was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth”, and continued on to discuss the manner in which he could go about acquiring toxins to possibly create a form of influenza, but with a much higher fatality rate. Accompanying these statements, Hasson included a rough draft of a plan for food supply poisoning, as well as orchestrated bombing.
Hasson was also regularly taking the opioid Tramadol and had purchased synthetic urine to cover the traces of the drug in his testing.
Additionally, Hasson had been incriminated in court as his prosecutors uncovered searches from 2018, asking “do senators have ss (secret service) protection” and “most liberal senators.” Due to these searches and more, they came to the conclusion that Hasson had
specifically been targeting major journalists and Democratic politicians such as Nancy Pelosi.
Written in files on Hasson’s computer were also proclamations of himself as a neo-Nazi, and white nationalist. He had written letters to his friends discussing his preference of focused violence on marches and rallies while contemplating how exactly he could cause the maximum disruption to society as a whole. Hasson wrote about his fear that the white race was being threatened and had called for a white homeland.
While a vast amount of evidence implicating Hasson has been disclosed, there is an air of hesitancy in the days leading up to his trial regarding further detainment. Those in favor of Hasson make the argument that he is a caring husband, as well as father, who has earned the right to own weapons by serving in the U.S. military for 28 years and should not be charged with basis on “circumstantial” evidence.
In this situation, it is clearly demonstrated that domestic terrorists will forever be treated differently than alleged foreign terrorists, and remain respected in society. They are portrayed lovingly in regards to their family, friends, and career, whereas if the terrorist were to be
from a foreign nation, they would be dehumanized not only in their trial but in the press.
“We are not yet a country that detains people for their internet searches or deleted documents,” Hasson’s lawyer Ms. Stelzig said.
However, when someone presents themselves as a potential danger to the well-being of others, America must look back upon the qualifications for said person to be detained and make the decision that ensures safety and well-being of the nation.
It seems that in this day and age, under the current administration, domestic terrorism is overlooked as the nation focuses on foreign violence that, at times, is less existent than the media proclaims. The attention is turned on countries mentioned in Trump’s travel ban and away from internal dangers that pose a threat to their own country.
America as we know it is diverse, and as each day passes, this progressive society learns from the mistakes of the past. Gen Z continuously works to better the country and push for reforms in all facets of our communities and attempts to bring light to matters of injustice, such as this one. Domestic terrorism happens more often than one may think, because it is simply not labeled as such. Instances such as the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre and the Borderline bar shooting in Thousand Oaks are reported as tragedies, and acts of pure violence, but almost never terrorism.
A loose interpretation of terrorism is consistently followed in this country- if the perpetrator does not meet the physical “qualifications” then they’re not a terrorist, but more simply, a murderer, or criminal.
Hasson himself may actually never receive a sentence at all, for that would be a punishment of thought, and after all, he is what Americans tend to value most- a family man. However, that should not detract from his punishment, for the crimes he had planned involved mass destruction and fatality.