I have long taken exception to the tactics used by Sen. Joseph McCarthy during the Cold War and postwar Red Scare to unearth Communists and Communist sympathizers hidden in American society.
I, however, feel differently about the need to unmask the radicalized youth terrorizing this country today.
McCarthy unfairly accused and investigated thousands of Americans for espionage and providing information to the communists.
The lives of government workers, teachers, union activists and many in Hollywood were ruined because of his accusations and methods, including putting pressure on family and friends to testify or provide "evidence" against others.
Today, it is not merely leaked information but shootings, bombings and massacres carried out by unbalanced young people influenced by Muslim extremists, such as ISIS, that is creating the need for Americans – mothers, fathers and friends – to speak out.
On July 4, the FBI arrested Alexander Ciccolo, 23, of Adams, Mass., after he allegedly purchased weapons from an informant.
Ciccolo's father, Robert, a captain with the Boston police department, alerted authorities a year ago about his son's radicalization.
Capt. Ciccolo was one of the first responders following the Boston Marathon bombing by brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on April 15, 2013.
The younger Ciccolo, according to his father, "was going off the deep end" and "spouting extremist jihadist sympathies."
On July 16, Mohammad Youssef Abdulazeez, described by his mixed martial arts coach as "an All-American kid," opened fire on two military facilities in Chattanooga, Tenn. Four Marines were killed immediately; a Navy sailor died two days later. Another Marine and a police sergeant were wounded.
Abdulazeez, who was not listed in any suspected terrorist database, was killed by police.
His high school yearbook and graduation photos show a smiling, clean-shaven young man. Later photos show him sporting a full beard.
According to published reports, relatives and friends of Abdulazeez said they saw changes in his behavior following his trip to Jordan last year.
While the FBI, Homeland Security and various other anti-terrorist agencies may have informants and "moles" within Muslim extremist cells, they cannot and must not be inside every American home.
The job of notifying authorities when the behavior of a young person drastically changes, when a previously "All-American kid" begins "spouting extremist jihadist sympathies" falls upon the shoulders of those closest to the individual.
To prevent more tragic loss of life and maimings, it is the responsibility of every American to report serious and possibly dangerous behavioral changes in a friend or loved one.