America is far from being the envy of the world that baby boomers were used to hearing while growing up in our Ozzie and Harriet world in the 1950s.

The reality today is that many outside – and some even inside our own borders – want to see this country, along with its democratic freedoms, crash and burn. More evidence of this emerged earlier this week when federal authorities arrested Rezwan Ferdaus, a Muslim American, near Boston for plotting to attack federal buildings with remote-controlled model planes packed with explosives.

The FBI said Ferdaus' plan was to launch the model military planes and, guided by GPS devices and packed with explosives, fly them into targets, including the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol.

Thankfully, authorities were a step ahead of Ferdaus who was expecting to receive a delivery of explosives from al-Qaida members. They were, in fact, federal authorities who had been monitoring his actions.

The federal affidavit claims Ferdaus, who owns a physics degree from Northeastern University, began planning "jihad" against this country early last year after becoming convinced through jihadi websites and videos that America was evil.

A decade ago, after the attacks of 9/11, we were introduced to two new terms in our vocabulary regarding this hatred and "jihad" against America – home-grown terrorism and lone-wolf terrorists.

Ferdaus falls under both of these categories.

As far as finding the tools, vehicles and instructions to carry out a plot, would-be terrorists need look no farther than the convenience of their home computers. Court papers say Ferdaus enjoyed "taking stuff apart" and "learning on my own." He bought his model planes over the Internet but needed the help of fellow al-Qaida followers to supply the explosives.

This is not a time in our history to be exploring or playing games when it comes to dealing with explosive devices. Michael Suich, a resident of Uniontown in western Pennsylvania, found that out this week after a school security officer came to his home to discuss a truancy issue regarding his son.

That meeting led to an argument between Suich and his wife and police responded to the home. After conducting a search, they found explosive powder, a pyrotechnic fuse and other chemical materials.

Suich will be arraigned on criminal charges of prohibited offensive weapons, recklessly endangering another person and manufacture of weapons of mass destruction. According to the criminal report, Suich admitted to having obtained his bomb-making instructions from the Internet.

These days, the Internet can provide the materials and instructions to make just about any wacko into a home-grown terrorist. Both the hard-core devoted al-Qaida followers as well as the self-taught or inquisitive cyber hackers who enjoy "learning" on their own, are a scary reality during this uneasy time in our history.

By Jim Zbick

jzbick@tnonline.com [1]