Good Law | Bad Law #155 - Is the NRA a terrorist organization? A Conversation w/ Erik Schechter

How do we draw the definitional lines on what is, and what is not, domestic terrorism?


Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast, Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Erik Schechter, founder of Red Phantom Public Relations and a defense and security affairs specialist, to discuss the notion of terrorism, as well as his recent NBC op-ed on the topic, “September 11 was terrorism. The NRA and Antifa are not.”


In today’s conversation, Aaron and Erik talk about terrorism, both domestic and international, focusing on the particular ways in which we (as people, as governments, as societies) talk, think, and classify terrorism and terroristic acts. Erik explains the dangers of loose definitions and the theoretical consequences that could result by expanding these thresholds. Erik and Aaron contemplate San Francisco’s recent decision to brand the NRA as a domestic terrorism organization and the potential issues that may arise because of it, such as constitutional conflicts, expanding the power of the state and demonizing political opponents.  


A former military correspondent for The Jerusalem Post, Erik experienced terrorism first hand in 2004 when a suicide bomber exploded on a bus he was riding. Throughout the episode, as well as in his article, Erik talks about how this experience scarred him and how it continues to shape his views and definitions on what should, and should not, be considered terrorism. Aaron and Erik talk about gun control and recent mass shootings, the Patriot Act and subsequent legislation, the context and comparisons of warfare and more. How should we be thinking about domestic acts of violence? What should the distinctions be? Are these definitions warping the way we think about these ideas?


Erik has written for such publications as Aerospace America, C4ISR Journal, Monocle, Training & Simulation Journal and more. He previously worked as a PR professional for Spector & Associates, handling defense and hi-tech industry clients and covering security-related issues for the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. In addition to covering advances in military technology and tactics, Erik has also written on issues involving international humanitarian law, such as the post-disengagement status of the Gaza Strip and controversial interrogation methods used on suspected terrorists.


To find a copy of Erik’s NBC op-ed, please click here.


Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest: Erik Schechter