NEW DATA: 74% of Violent Extremist Attacks Perpetrated by Far-Right. The Rest Were ISIS
When a Dodge Challenger, allegedly driven by James A Fields Jr. (a 20 year old avowed White Nationalist said to have harbored Nazi sympathies since his teenage years) plowed into a crowd of pedestrians counter-protesting against an “Alt-Right” Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia on August 12th, 36 casualties were reported, 35 were injured, of those 19 were seriously injured, and 1, 35 year old paralegal Heather Heyer, was killed.
And so Heather Heyer became the 225th person killed in an attack by a violent extremist, in America, since the 9/11 attacks of 2001. And because Attorney General Jeff Sessions told ABC that as far as his office is concerned, the attack meets the legal definition of terrorism, specifically right wing terror, Heyer is also the 106th victim of far right terrorism in American in the same period.
However, despite his Attorney General acknowledging the attack as an act of terrorism, President Donald Trump – who is broadly supported by the coalition of far right extremists collectively known as the “alt-right” – declined to declare it as such. And this in spite of his tendency to label other attacks as Islamic terror even before law enforcement did. Which raises the issue – which is a bigger threat to average Americans? Attacks by home grown “alt-right” terrorists, be they calling themselves the KKK, or neo-nazis, or some other obscure right-wing extremist terror group? Or attacks by an Islamic terror group, such as ISIS? And which presents a greater danger to America’s democracy?
The answer, unequivocally, is that the “Alt-Right” is far more dangerous than ISIS, or other Islamic terror groups. Particularly now.
Consider this: even after the ouster of Steve Bannon, one of the publishers of Breitbart (the far right publication that bills itself as the digest of the alt-right) from his White House job – there still remain known white supremacists, and known Nazi sympathizers serving in the White House today. Right now. And it is our current President, Donald Trump, who has refused call a legally defined terror attack carried out by an actual home grown nazi, a terror attack at all.
Even worse, Trump focused on trying to lay blame as much at the feet of those defending Charlottesville, which did include some armed people, and a few members of Antifa (a ready to rumble anti-fascist anarchist group, which likes to piggyback on other protests, and escalate them) as on those who descended on the peaceful city heavily armed, waving the flags of fascism, threatening to soak the soil with the blood of the people – which they did.
So don’t focus on the fear-mongering about Islamic Extremists maybe, somehow, someday taking over – which is unlikely given our military superiority, and overwhelmingly non-muslim population. The purpose of that was always to distract you from the growing oligarchy and fascism here at home. So now that we actually have fascists in the White House, running the executive branch of our Government – our democracy and freedom are far more threatened by them.
But it’s more than just the fact that fascists are already in top tiers of our government that makes the domestic far right more dangerous than the far right extremes of Islam, it’s also the fact that they carry out a lot more attacks.
Of the 255 people killed by violent extremists since 9/11, 41% were killed in a single act of Islamic terror – the Pulse Nightclub shooting. It’s worth noting that the Pulse shooting was an attack on the LGBTQ community, which is targeted by far right extremists whether they are Islamist or not. Were it not for that attack being deemed an Islamic right wing attack, rather than a right wing attack in general, then the Alt-Right would lead in people killed too.
But as it is, it’s nearly a tie, with 119 victims of Islamic extremist violence (including the victims at the Pulse Nightclub), and 106 victims of home-grown white supremacist and other right wing violent extremists. A difference of just 13 people. And yet, from the attitudes of most Americans and the fear-mongering of our leaders, you would think that Islamic terrorism posed a much greater threat to our personal lives. But that’s simply not true.
In fact, three fourths of all the fatal terrorist attacks in America were perpetrated by non-Islamic right wing extremists. Of the 85 terrorist attacks resulting in a fatality in America since 9/11, only 26% were carried out by Islamic terrorists. And indeed, most of those Islamic terror attacks were home grown attacks, as well.
The think tank New America, which tracks extremist attacks, has somewhat different data. According to their research, 95 people were killed in America since 9/11 by Islamic jihadists, 68 by right wing extremists, and 8 by black separatists. Importantly,
“The terrorist threat in the United States is almost entirely homegrown,” Albert Ford of the International Security and Fellows program at New America told Politifact, “as no foreign terrorist organization has successfully directed and orchestrated an attack in the United States since 9/11.” And Ford points out as well that prior to the Pulse shooting, “the number of deaths caused by far-right-wing attacks outnumbered those caused by jihadism-related attacks.”
So there you have it, America. The problem is right wing extremists. Not just Islamic right wing extremists, but ALL right wing extremists. And actually, right now the rising tide of fascism that has taken over the White House, and carried out 3 out of every 4 fatal terror attacks in this country since 9/11, is a much greater threat to our nation’s immediate future, and to the safety and security of your families, than Islamic terror ever was.
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Edward Lynn is a photographer, a graphic and web designer, a writer, an activist, a son, a brother, and a parent, just trying to do some good in the world we all have to live in. More posts by Edward Lynn.