Jerry Iannacci: Recent events terrorism, unrest on our own soil

On April 27, Maryland’s governor activated the National Guard to assist with the civil unrest in the great city of Baltimore, Maryland, and within hours the service men and women were on the ground answering the call. These fine Americans left their civilian jobs and families and were reassigned from their other military duties to fortify law enforcement efforts in Baltimore to help quell the tragic unrest.
We have witnessed another tragic event with the alleged terror-driven shooting in Texas. There are a couple of real-time lessons that we as Americans who enjoy our freedom need to be reminded of and consider. These events are a real-time unfolding of terrorism and unrest on our own soil, the time for vigilance, responsibility, accountability and lawful consequences are imperative to deter future occurrences. The potential impact and erosion on the freedoms America has always fought for and enjoyed should never be compromised because of a lack or absence of constructive and lawful debate when challenges present themselves. Let the people be heard, but also let the people be accountable and lawful. It is time for our communities across America, faith-based leaders and elected officials to come together to help facilitate peaceful resolve. It is not the time for another study on why many of our own citizens are losing faith causing need for desperate unlawful acts because of their perceived or otherwise understanding or personal impact on social injustice ranging from a lack of education, opportunity, jobs or simply for not being heard. America needs to come together and parent itself as did the brave Mom in Baltimore who ultimately saved her son’s life by imparting consequences and forever instilled the need for responsibility and good citizenship.
The impact of such events goes beyond the obvious concerns. Through all of this, when there is unrest or threats caused by foreign or domestic participants, we rely upon those who have sworn to protect and serve to come to our rescue and keep us safe. We often fail to consider that most all of our brave military members and public safety professionals believe in the oath they swore to and would never take the law into their own hands. Yet in all fairness, that population has attracted a very few who feel the need to be subversive in the very laws that they have sworn to uphold or protect. And with great consequences and sadness we have seen how the terrorist mindset through recruitment efforts and self-association and even mental illness has further exacerbated the threats. When we watch the news media today, the events of grave concern are just not happening in the Middle East. They are happening in hometown America. The very venue that we as a peaceful nation and people can control and live peacefully in. Not the case in places like Afghanistan. We also need to understand and appreciate despite the all too frequent occurrences, why so many of these events are thwarted before they become part of our history as did Oklahoma City, Columbine and, yes, the attacks of Sept. 11.
So then, how does America rekindle its spirit and come together as they did after the 9/11 terrorist attacks? How does that renewed faith and allegiance by all lead to positive change and the social justice so many desire? First, I would offer that we need to consider our priorities and pick our battles. An example: one of the very interesting elements of the many events that spawned from the Baltimore riots was the misunderstanding and fuel for fire that was reported revolving around the activation of our National Guard and a simple act of kindness that happened.
So to frame it properly, a little history lesson is in order. America needs to be aware that our National Guard is the civilian military component as an arm of the U.S. Department of Defense and the respective states that they are assigned. Their authority is granted under specific sections of the United States Constitution (Article 1) granting authority to “when deployed execute the laws of the United States, suppress insurrection, and to repel invasions.” Further, the National Guard has been the backbone and majority of the deployed forces during the current war on terror around the globe where the U.S. maintains a mission presence. Without the National Guard and its selfless acts of patriotism and service, we as a country would undoubtedly have to reinstitute a draft to have rapid ready forces to respond to the emergent and evolving demand for peace keepers both foreign and domestic. We at Operation American Patriot respectfully ask that all Americans thank our National Guard, all career military members who have and continue to serve and their families for their sacrifices to keep us free and safe both abroad and on the homeland.
The heart of the issue in Baltimore is the rioters and looters burglarizing, burning down and destroying community businesses and acting unlawfully in their exercising of free speech to avenge a perceived wrong; the heart of the issue in Texas is the killing of innocent people allegedly driven by terrorism. The issue at hand is keeping America the land of the free and home of the brave. Our National Guard has done that and beyond with their comrades on so many fronts.
Our National Guard and active-duty military, along with our public-safety professionals and first-responders have sworn an oath to protect and serve. As Americans, it’s time to reunite, better educate our youth on the freedoms we enjoy and why and reaffirm as citizens that very same oath of allegiance to our great Constitution and flag that each and every sailor, soldier, marine, airman and first responder commits to preserving everyday. Our thoughts and prayers are with each of our patriots as well as the fine and upstanding citizens of the city of Baltimore, the city of Garland and our great nation.”
Jerry Iannacci
Operation American Patriot
Editor’s note: Mr. Iannacci is a former senior homeland security advisor and terrorism expert. The Operation American Patriot website is

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