Lock Him Up!

As we approach the 17th anniversary of 9/11, it’s good to see law enforcement catch another alleged terrorist plotter before he could launch a new attack on the homeland:

A California man was charged Thursday with threatening to shoot and kill Boston Globe journalists, calling them “the enemy of the people,” in response to the newspaper’s nationwide editorial campaign denouncing President Trump’s political attacks against the press.

Robert Darrell Chain, 68, was arrested at dawn in his home in Encino, Calif., by an FBI SWAT team armed with military-style weapons and what neighbors believe were flash-bang grenades. Authorities said they found 20 firearms in the home, including a semiautomatic rifle purchased in May.

Chain made a brief appearance Thursday afternoon in a federal court in Los Angeles. He was released on $50,000 bond, and is slated to appear in a federal court in Boston on Sept. 24 to face a single charge of making a threatening communication in interstate commerce. He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. It was not immediately clear if he would face additional charges related to the weapons.

This is the textbook definition of terrorism: a self-radicalized religious extremist willing to kill in the name of his faith, fixated on shedding innocent blood to honor his deity. Where are the moderate Trumpists willing to call out the extremists in their midst? Isn’t Trumpism supposed to be a religion of peace?

Chain’s alleged threats began Aug. 10, after the newspaper’s editorial page first called on news outlets nationwide to use their opinion pages to support the free press. Authorities determined that all of the threats, some of which were recorded, were made by the same caller.

In one of the calls, on Aug. 13, the caller threatened, “We are going to shoot you [expletives] in the head . . . shoot every [expletive] one of you,” court papers said.

On Aug. 16, the day the Globe and hundreds of newspapers published editorials in support of the free press, the caller again threatened, “You’re the enemy of the people, and we’re going to kill every [expletive] one of you.”

The caller made a reference to Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is leading an independent investigation into the Trump political campaign team’s connections to Russian authorities, and threatened that he was “going to shoot you in the [expletive] head later today, at 4 o’clock.”

Militants like this alleged terrorist plotter—who should be facing life in prison, not a measly five years—cannot be rehabilitated; their rabid hatred for civilized society cannot be cured. These extremists hate our country for its freedoms—including freedom of the press. They wish to destroy our values in the name of their wayward ideology.

Radical Trumpism must be stopped in this country. If we don’t take a firm stance against this extremism, we will lose the very freedoms that generations before us fought to protect. This is a fight between civilization and barbarism—and barbarism cannot be allowed to win.

In the wake of this foiled terrorist plot on a citadel of our democracy—a free press—we must become vigilant against the forces of radical Trumpism. We must speak out more forcefully against the radical clerics preaching this ideology of hate. We must demand harsher punishment of those who attack, or threaten to attack, individuals and institutions that are the perceived enemies of radical Trumpism. We must demand that elected officials take stronger action to ensure that these extremists do not gain access to weapons of warfare. Above all, we must declare that in the fight against these dark and extreme forces, we will never, ever surrender.

Radical Trumpism is attempting to hijack our democracy and slaughter our safety—but radical Trumpism can be conquered.

Let’s roll.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.