The KKK Organisation Through the Eyes of a Rat
Terrorism has recently come into focus as a major issue affecting individuals today. There is a significant amount of individuals who are not educated on the topic and or have a broad meaning of it. Under the Federal Bureau of Investigation, terrorism has two definitions (1) international terrorism which states violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups who are inspired by or associated with, designated foreign terrorist organizations or nations (state-sponsored), (2) domestic terrorism that is the violent, criminal acts committed by individuals and/or groups to further ideological goals stemming from domestic influences, such as those of a political, religious, social, racial, or environmental nature. Throughout the decade’s countries and citizens of these countries have endured the suffering pain of terrorism, yet, as a society, one only acknowledges the recent attacks of terrorism such as the attacks on the Twin Towers by terrorist organization Al-Qaeda.
A specific terrorist organization that is not referred to as a terrorist organization is the Ku Klux Klan. For many decades the KKK was terrorizing people of color and individuals who did not share the same ideology as them. The KKK was triumphant in their abilities to harm others because they took advantage of the situation that was presented after the Civil War. The outcome of the Civil War put people of color and civil rights activists in harm’s way and become a target for those like the KKK. Research indicates that the KKK was successful because there was motivation to commit a crime, suitable targets and an absence of capable guardians.
The routine activities theory was established by theorist Lawrence E. Cohen and Marcus Felson. The theorist established the theory to explain the rising crime rates in the United States Occasionally, criminological theories are usually used to help gain an understanding of crime, however, in comparison, routine activities focus on crime as an event and emphasizing the space and time of the crime rather than the psychological, biological or social factors (Miro 1). Through Cohen and Felson’s research, they developed an initial hypothesis that states offenders are bound to commit a crime against others who are suitable targets and when there is an absence of capable guardians (Miro 1). These concepts later became what is known as the three components of the routine activities theory such as (1) a motivated offender, (2) suitable target and (3) the absence of a capable guardian or person willing to intervene. Cohen and Felson were convinced without these key components crime could not occur. To analyze further, a motivated offender can be an individual or group of persons who have the intention to offend with a motive and or the ability to commit a crime. These individuals are not involved in criminality on the daily, still, they do drift in criminality. Secondly, a suitable target is based on individuals whose availability as a victim and as well as its availability to an offender. A suitable target can simply be an individual person and or a group of people that become easy targets to an offender. Lastly, an absence of capable guardians are individuals within a community that can reduce the chance of the offense from occurring or possibly intervene. Capable guardians are not limited to only law enforcement, it also includes cameras, neighborhood watch, and security. To summarize routine activities theory looks at the event as a motivated offender meeting with a suitable target and lacking the essence of a capable guardian. In contrast, most common criminological theories focus on the offender, routine activities theory emphasizes why crime is more likely to affect particular people and arise in certain areas.
Cohen and Felson (1979) argued that crime rates increased after World War II because the routine activities of society had begun to shift away from the home, thus increasing the likelihood that motivated offenders would converge in time and space with suitable targets in the absence of capable guardianship. One of the greatest contributions of routine activities theory is the idea that criminal opportunities are not spread evenly throughout society; neither are they infinite. Instead, there is some limit on the number of available targets viewed as attractive/suitable by the offender.
The routine activity theory describes how likely offenders come to commit a crime partly based on their normal everyday activities. According to Cohen and Felson, a motivated offender is an individual(s) with criminal intentions and the ability to act on, therefore, in the case of terrorism, a motivated offender could be anyone who has ideological motivation. Suitable targets are individuals who draw offenders toward the crime. For example, a person living in a poor neighborhood that exhibits high crime rates fills the component of a suitable target because of the area they live in. With terrorism, a suitable target can be anyone who triggers the motivated offender and or a person who truly was in the wrong place at the wrong time. In a traditional crime scene, this could be people at a bank robbery, in contrast, in terrorism, civilians fulfill the component of suitable targets. Also, depending on what the terrorist organization represents the suitable target varies from persons. Lastly, a capable guardian serves as a figure or object that intimidates the motivated offender from committing the criminal act. In the event that a capable guardian is present, it may or may not serve as sufficient enough to prevent the offender from committing the crime. In addition, the lack of capable guardians increases the likelihood of a motivated offender to attack a suitable target.
William S. Parkin and Joshua D. Freilich conducted a study that examined whether routine activities theory and related lifestyle theory can explain victims of fatal ideologically motivated attacks and victims of non-ideological motivated homicide incidents committed by far-right extremists in the United States. Within their research, they utilized the routine activities theory to distinguish the differences between the types of victims. They conclude four hypotheses to the study, however, they were successful in finding data that supported three of their hypotheses. Yet, hypothesis four only supports routine activities theory. The hypothesis predicts that ideological victims were more likely to be murdered outside of their routine activities, instead of the victims of non-ideologically motivated homicides would offend inside a home. They gathered data on whether victims had a criminal history, ideological extremist, married, age that varied from 15- 24 years of age, whether the victim was male/ female, location of the crime and if they are part of the minority group. Operating variables that related to the decrease of capable guardians and increase of suitable target. The location of the victim was prominent in their findings to understand the level of victimization and time spent at-risk locations. For example, bar and hotels which increase the likelihood of becoming a suitable target. Other factors that are related to routine activities theory include whether others are present at the scene of the homicide. Furthermore, they concluded that the odds of an ideologically motivated victim being killed at work were 65.5% less than non- ideological motivated victims. In addition, 1.6 times more likely to be murdered outside than non-ideological victims. Finally, 2.8 times more likely to be killed on the weekends rather than the weekday victims with ideological motivation. To summarize, the number of offenders, victims, and witnesses at the scene would better measure variation across victimization type for RAT’s constructs of motivated offenders, suitable targets, and capable guardians. In this circumstance, we expect that the presence of more offenders and targets, and fewer guardians increase the likelihood of non-ideologically motivated homicide victimization ().
Another study that supports RAT but also coincides with rational choice is an approach to minimize terrorist violence in Israel. Rational choice states that reducing unwanted behavior requires the costs of behavior through punishment commonly known as deterrence. Meaning if there is a punishment involved in a criminal act the offender will deter from that specific thought process. Authors Laura Dugan and Erica Chenoweth oversee terrorism in Israel and examine the effects of repression and conciliatory actions on terrorist behavior using the Israelis dataset, which pinpoints events by Israelis state throughout Palestinian targets associated with counterterrorism tactics and policies. They predict three hypotheses which are, “hypothesis 1, any Israeli action leads to fewer terrorist attacks by Palestinians, hypothesis 2 conciliatory actions lead to fewer terrorist attacks by Palestinians, and hypothesis 3 repressive actions lead to fewer terrorist attacks by Palestinians.” In the study, Dugan, and Chenoweth argue that traditional strategies of deterrence can be implementing behaviors that raise the expected utility of avoiding terrorist behavior. Furthermore, after tested their hypotheses Dugan and Chenoweth concluded that
Considering that the utility of terrorist violence is much greater than the self-interest that typically motivates common criminals, this makes sense. Without additional conciliation, the only value offered to terrorists and their constituencies for disengaging from terrorism is an absence of punishment—which is really just the status quo. Had the status quo been sufficient to avert terrorism, no terrorism would occur in the first place. Furthermore, terrorist organizations are invested in ensuring that the status quo remains unsatisfying to their constituencies (Malka 2007; Yaalon 2007). Thus, one important contribution is demonstrating the value of offering concessions to Palestinian people that reward alternatives to violence. Constituent populations need evidence that opposes terrorist propaganda rather than evidence that reinforces it. Simply stating that without deterrence being in effect terrorist would most likely be able to perform terrorist attacks.
It is difficult to explain the Ku Klux Klan because it is a controversial subject. There are those who are not educated about the subject or overall have a broad understanding of it. Some would argue that the group was a “social organization” and others would agree that the KKK was built upon hate, moreover, the goal of the group was to terrorize people of color and those who opposed their ideas. Analyzing the Ku Klux Klan while using the routine activities theory to explain the hate group. Specifically, routine activities target criminal activity. As stated previously, routine activities theory explains crime occurs when the following components merge together at any given moment or space. First, motivated offenders which the organization fulfills because the KKK’s initial objective was to regain control after their defeat in the Civil War. Secondly, African Americans and individuals who oppose the KKK are suitable targets. Civil rights activists were those who opposed their ideologies. Lastly, the absence of capable guardians which are those who could have prevented attacks from happening, For instance, police patrol. During the Reconstructive Era the Jim Crow laws were in effect, meaning, Furthermore, research indicates that the KKK was successful in their acts of violence because they took advantage of the opportunity presented. The Ku Klux Klan, otherwise known as the KKK originated in Pulaski, Tennessee by former Confederates (Parson 27). The name is derived from the Greek word kuklos which translates to “a band or circle”. These men came together and decided to create what they referred to as a “club of society”, however, later became one of the most notorious hate groups in American history. The first official members of the KKK were John C. Lester, John B. Kennedy, James R. Crowe, Frank O. McCord, Richard R. Reed, J. Calvin Jones all of which were elite and intellectual representatives (Parson 28). Nevertheless, these men fulfill the potential offender component of the theory. Shortly after the group developed ideologies that expressed white supremacy and began to terrorize people of color and those who were against their beliefs. The KKK was involved in lynchings, cross burnings, whipping. Essentially, the purpose of their attacks was to become dominant over the victim. Each attack by the Klan involved men applying physical force to break down the victim, in effect apply deadly force.
In conclusion, the KKK became relevant and influential in the sense that white believed they were losing control or become less superior because of the outcome of the Civil War. During this time period, people of color became vulnerable targets because they were successful in the Civil War. Whites felt that they needed to set up and become the superior race once again. This comes to show when the opportunity is presented people will go above and beyond and in some cases results in violence.
Moreover, many do not believe that the KKK were a terrorists group but evidence shows that the KKK wanted to dehumanize people of color and make them feel less than. This journal provides background information on the Ku Klux Klan. Also, the people who opposed the Klan and their reasoning behind it. Specifically, highlight the shooting in Chattanooga which was when three members of the Klan kill five elderly women. This case went to trial two of the offenders were acquired and the other was sentenced to nine months in jail. In addition, the author provides empirical research on racism. One point he concludes through his research is that racism is believed to be an outcome of the working middle and lower class. To add, the author includes who supported the Klan and why they supported them. The journal uses empirical research and data to support their claims.
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