The 20-year-old Virginia native who threatened the creators of South Park for depicting Mohammed in a bear suit wasn't just some kid with too much time on his hands. The Washington Post reports that Zachary Adam Chesser was arrested yesterday, a week and a half after being prohibited "from leaving New York City for Uganda on a multi-leg journey to join al-Shabab, an Islamist insurgency that wants to topple Somalia's weak central government." It is also the group that has taken responsibility for the deaths of 76 Ugandans in a July 11th bombing.
Perhaps it was his isolation in high school that led to his abandonment of mom and apple pie. Diary entries, personal e-mails and interviews with federal agents show his frightening transformation from a "quiet and awkward suburban teenager" to an adamant "foreign fighter" who obsessively created and collected media related to jihad. Kids grow up so fast these days! One minute they're all about the Facebook and the Foursquare, and next thing you know they're hooked on "Night of Bush Capturing: A Computer Shooting Game from the Global Islamic Media Front."
According to documents on The Smoking Gun, he even considered using his young son to cover-up the purpose of his journey to Uganda. On July 10, he made his second attempt to go to Uganda (he was previously stopped by his mother-in-law) by leaving from a NYC airport. But the child accessory ploy didn't work, and authorities told him he was on the no-fly list.
Chesser is just one of 34 Americans charged since January 2009 for direct involvement with foreign terrorism. "The significance of this case is the proliferation of U.S. citizens who are becoming radicalized—eating and drinking up propaganda and taking steps on behalf of terrorist causes," said a federal law enforcement official about the accusations, which of course are not the same thing as convictions. Other recent alleged "homegrown" terrorist arrests include Faisal Shazad, the Times Square bomb suspect, and Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Almonte, the NJ men who feds say wanted to go to Somalia to kill American troops.