When we speak about ISIS, fact is starting to become stranger than fiction. Now a list of names of over 1,000 ordinary Americans is circulating among terrorist circles both here and abroad.
This list is being called a "kill list" and contains names and other information. These names appear to have been retrieved from municipal listings, phone books, and other sources.
Two years ago, ISIS began circulating the names of US military members. Then it was US intelligence officials. Now, it's our neighbors across America.
Is this a serious threat?
The US government is in fact taking these threats very seriously. But at this point, with that amount of names, plans are still being put together to notify those who appear on the lists. The logistics of tracking down that many individuals is nothing short of a daunting task while ensuring that notifications are properly made in a manner that will not create panic.
To what end is ISIS publishing these lists? It's psychological warfare, and it's been a fact of life in wartime for generations.
The simple fact that an individual's name appears on an ISIS list is surely something that will unnerve many Americans. It would be expected to unnerve anyone. That's the whole idea the bad guys have in mind.
The other concern that surrounds these lists is that they are being distributed within the circles of those who believe in the ISIS cause, and we're seeing more and more of these individuals committing violent crimes each month in western countries. Unfortunately, these lists have a tendency to provide some type of misguided direction to sympathizers, regardless of how randomly chosen those names may be.
This type of warfare is nothing new. It has been conducted for centuries in the hopes of unnerving one's enemies. The best thing we can do is begin to work together at a community, local, state and federal level and begin to truly understand that we are all engaged in one global fight. Crime prevention begins in neighborhoods and if you look at it, all crime is local.
Paranoia is not the answer here. The more we do to fully understand the threats against us, the better prepared we are to deal with them. This is a new era, with many things to still learn about the emerging concerns to public safety. We must begin to prepare for these new threats to our homeland. A safer community is an informed community.