The man in the picture is Daniel Andreas San Diego. He could be the guy next door or your friend’s college roommate. In fact, he’s on the FBI’s Most Wanted list for his “alleged involvement in bombing two biotech facilities.” The agency classifies him as an American terrorist.
Terrorism in the U.S. has many faces and their causes are just as diverse. According to the Global Terrorism Database, Al-Qa`ida, the Animal Liberation Front, Black Panthers, Ku Klux Klan, Symbionese Liberation Army, Weathermen and too many more groups to name have conducted nearly 2,000 terrorism incidents in the U.S. from 1970 through 2011. They’ve targeted businesses, educational institutions, the police, military, government and everyday citizens. Regardless of the organization to which they belong or their own unique world view, they are the most extreme of the extremists. People who resort to violence, intimidation or coercion to try to accomplish their political, social, religious or economic goals.
Hatred and radical ideologies are not terrorism. Even reprehensible speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment. But when someone moves from speech to violence or, as the FBI puts it, when Americans attack Americans based on U.S.-based extremist ideologies, he or she becomes a terrorist.
The fictional protagonist in my new novel has crossed that line. As I explore what shaped his views and follow his journey to becoming an American terrorist, I’ll share it with you.