New FBI Counterterrorism Tool

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I usually only include my writing on this site, but this time I’ll make an exception. The New York Times interviewed me about a new FBI counterterrorism tool that I had the opportunity to preview earlier this year. The program, called “Don’t Be a Puppet,” leads teachers and students through a series of games intended to help identify persons at risk of turning to violent extremism. My concerns with the program were many, including that teachers and students should never become an extension of law enforcement, and that gun violence is the greatest threat facing America’s schoolchildren, not Muslim extremism. I’m happy to report that after the article, and additional grassroots advocacy nationwide, the FBI program has been temporarily suspended. Here’s the article.

We Need A New Federal Hate Crimes Law

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In 2009, on the tenth anniversary of the murder of Matthew Shepard, Congress passed a bill bearing his name, intended to revitalize hate crime prevention and prosecution. But since then, the federal government has obtained only 29 hate crime convictions. That’s because a troubling legal interpretation has rewritten the federal hate crimes law and created a near insurmountable burden for federal prosecutors looking to obtain a hate crime conviction. More at CNN.