The line between free speech and terrorism is an act that is a particular type of criminal violence
The above newsletter published by White Supremacist Louis Beam called for armed underground resistance. Because it is not specific, it is protected by the First Amendment. The acts of violence it may have provoked are not protected free speech because they are crimes already found in current legislation. The terrorist murders of nine Black people in Charleston is prompting a much-needed discussion of these issues. Because the alleged perpetrator does not seem to have been a part of an existing organized group–and also appears to have acted alone–it is a form of “Leaderless Resistance” called a “Lone Wolf” attack. In the audio program linked below, WUNC host Frank Stasio talks with UNC sociology professor Charles Kurzman about his recent report, “Law Enforcement Assessment of the Violent Extremism Threat.” Stasio also speaks with Mark Potok, senior fellow at Southern Poverty Law Center, about “Lone Wolf” terrorism; and Kenny Irby, senior faculty at the Poynter Institute, about the etymology of the word terrorism.