The Number Of Hate Crimes White Supremacists Committed In The Past 5 Years Will Shock You
The way the media has covered terrorist attacks in recent years has made Islamic terrorism seem extremely prevalent. Every attack, even those in Europe, sees days of coverage in the media. President Trump tweets up a storm after each incident. But in the United States, there's a different type of terrorism that has received less attention, far-right terrorism. The number of white supremacist and far right attacks in the past five years surpasses those that are more typically reported as terrorism.
That may come as a shock to you, but it's actually information that President Trump and his administration should have been aware of, at least since May when the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned in a joint intelligence bulletin. Foreign Policy magazine reported Monday that the federal agencies were told that white supremacist and other far-right groups "likely will continue to pose a threat of lethal violence over the next year." That warning came on May 10.
They based their warning on an estimate of "49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement." Where exactly the FBI and DHS got their numbers is unclear. In trying to limit that to the last five years, it's helpful to check out a report from the Government Accountability Office published in April. Entitled "Countering Violent Extremism," it shows there have been at least 32 deaths in eight attacks since Aug. 2012.
At least one more attack and death has to be added from 2017, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center's count. In March, a 28-year-old turned himself in to NYPD for stabbing to death a black man with a sword. He told the media, "the white race is being eroded," and he was in New York City actively trying to hunt and kill black men. He was indicted on terror charges.
Then in May, a white supremacist stabbed two men to death when they tried to step in and defend two women. The white supremacist had been screaming at them due to their Muslim appearance. These two incidents, together with the attack that killed Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, would bring the count for the last five years up to 36 deaths in at least 11 attacks. If you count anti-government extremists, that number would grow even further.
But those are only the attacks that result in a homicide. There are far more that occur every year, far too many for independent groups to count accurately. A study by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point shows that there are about 300 right-wing attacks a year on average ever since 2001. That would point to some 1,500 over the last five years.
The threat to the United States and the general public should not be underestimated. As the joint intelligence briefing explains, lone actors and small cells within the white supremacist extremist (WSE) movement" are the most likely actors — as was seen in Charlottesville:
We assess most WSE lethal violence over the next year very likely will derive from the capabilities of lone offenders or small cells, rather than the resources of larger groups, due to the decentralized and often disorganized status of the WSE movement. Although plot derived mass-casualty violence remains possible, we judge it more likely that violence will continue to be spontaneous and involve targets of opportunity.
Even if it's "decentralized" and "spontaneous," 36 deaths in just five years should be a wake up call to President Trump, Congress, and, perhaps most immediately important, you.