The world’s attention has been focused on terrorism for some time, and no one wants to see more lives lost to acts of hatred. In this country, laws have been passed that make certain activities that are related to terrorism federal crimes. When an individual is accused of such an act, the repercussions can be dire, and the need to mount a strong legal response is urgent. Such is the case for a Pennsylvania teen who stands accused of supporting terrorism.
The young man is 19 years old and is a resident of Harrisburg. Authorities allege that he is also a supporter of the Islamic State group and that he has acted to try and provide material support to ISIS. The young man lives with his parents, and he apparently used the Internet to talk about ISIS and express his support of that organization’s aims and goals.
He has been charged with attempting to provide material support to terrorist groups. Authorities allege that the teen used as many as 57 different Twitter accounts to share his opinions on ISIS and to pledge his support of that group. In addition, a search of his home revealed that he had a backpack in a closet that contained a magazine loaded with ammunition, a modified knife, a full face mask and other items. Those items were used to support the assertion that the teen may have been planning an attack.
No one wants to see more violence or bloodshed from terrorism, and many in Pennsylvania support increased efforts to seek out terrorists on American soil before more attacks take place. That said, federal laws that address the issue come very close to infringing on the right to free speech. In this case, there is a fine line between making statements of support for a terrorist group and providing actual support to that same entity. In presenting this young man’s defense in relation to terror crimes, his legal team will no doubt emphasize that point.
Source: ABC News, “Young Pennsylvania Man Arrested on Terrorism Charges”, Michael Rubinkam, Dec. 17, 2015