Terrorist! A word that strikes fear into every single red-blooded patriotic American.
But who is a terrorist?
What makes a person a terrorist?
What puts them on the “Watch List?”
Odds are that when you hear the word terrorist, you conjure up a certain and very specific image in your mind.
But what would you think if I told you that what you think a terrorist looks like and what the government describes as a terrorist are completely different?
What if I told you that YOU could be on that very same watch list for doing 10 incredibly common and everyday activities? (They’re not what you might think.)
The FBI and Department of Justice distributed flyers to local businesses, advising them how to spot “suspicious activity” and encouraging them to report such behavior as potential terrorist activity.
These are just plain ridiculous.
Some of the ordinary activities that are considered by the FBI to be suspicious include:
- Buying coffee with cash regularly (Because using cash is un-American.)
- Paying cash to get a tattoo or rent a car.
- Taking “inappropriate photographs or videos”
- Being somewhere means “you don't belong.” (Or, as some may call it… profiling?)
- Having a missing hand or fingers.
- Traveling an “illogical distance” to use an Internet cafe. (I own a coffee pot, so I think driving any distance to get an overpriced cup of coffee is illogical… but I still do it.)
- Demonstrating an unusual interest in remote-controlled aircraft.
- Wear a backpack when the weather is warm. (Students beware…)
- Making suspicious comments regarding radical theology or anti-U.S. sentiments that appear to be out-of-place and provocative.
- Conducting financial transactions in bursts of activities within a short period, especially in previously dormant accounts. (Does this make my wife a terrorist during one of her shopping sprees?)
But it doesn't stop there…
The FBI released at least 25 different flyers to businesses for them to be more informed and “help” the FBI out by reporting possible terrorist actions You can see the guidelines for different types of businesses in the slideshow below. (Click the slides to make them bigger, then use your left and right arrow keys to scroll through them.)
I can count at least eight of these that apply to me (I still have all of my fingers and toes)
Funny, I don't feel like a terrorist.
How many of these apply to you?
I understand that times are tense and we are constantly on high alert. But some of these “suspicious” activities are a joke. Taking an interest in remote-controlled aircraft? Personal drones are one of the top American hobbies right now. The personal drone market is already a 5.6 billion dollar industry, and over one million drones are currently in the hands of American citizens. The “Watch List” just got a whole lot bigger…
Another “suspicious” trigger is fidgeting or being impatient while standing in line. I can’t count how many times I’ve been aggravated and visibly tense while standing in line at a Wal-Mart for 15 minutes while they refuse to open another register. But does that make me a terrorist? No, it makes me a normal person who has somewhere else I’d rather be!
What do you think? Do you agree with the FBI’s release of these flyers that ask for American business owners to self police their customers? The very same people they rely on to stay in business?
Let me know in the comments below.
Check out these related articles from our site:
- Surviving a Hostage Situation or Terrorist Attack
- Surviving an Active Shooter or Terrorist Attack
- Surviving a Terrorist Attack in a City
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Editor's Note: This article was originally published on May 20, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.