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June 24, 2015 0

The Time to Address Gun Violence is Now

By Abra­ham H. Fox­man
National Direc­tor of the Anti-Defamation League

This arti­cle orig­i­nally appeared on The Huff­in­g­ton Post Blog

Last week in Charleston, we were trag­i­cally reminded yet again that domes­tic extrem­ists pose a seri­ous threat to our soci­ety. And the threat they pose is mag­ni­fied many times over when extrem­ists like self-confessed shooter Dylann Roof have firearms.

Sim­ply put, guns in the hands of extrem­ists — guns in the hands of white suprema­cists, guns in the hands of big­ots — are a clear and present dan­ger. To this dan­ger, we must add the threats posed by other shoot­ers with mal­ice in their hearts and guns in their hands: school shoot­ers, work­place shoot­ers, fam­ily and domes­tic vio­lence shoot­ers, as well as all the oth­ers respon­si­ble for so many thou­sands of gun deaths each year in America.

Our nation can no longer afford to ignore this dan­ger. We face seri­ous chal­lenges when it comes to the cur­rents of racism, hatred and prej­u­dice that harm and divide our soci­ety, chal­lenges that won’t be resolved overnight. But we must also con­front and deal urgently with the plague of gun violence.

When it comes to guns, Amer­i­cans can no longer afford to look the other way, or to shrug and say we are pow­er­less to change the sit­u­a­tion. For us at the Anti-Defamation League, we have rec­og­nized the dan­ger of the pro­lif­er­a­tion of guns in our soci­ety as long ago as 1967. And in 1971 and again in 1999 we urged new restric­tions on gun pos­ses­sion, includ­ing the adop­tion of fed­eral and state ini­tia­tives designed to make it more dif­fi­cult for chil­dren and extrem­ists to access guns.

If “now is not the time” was ever a valid argu­ment to avoid dis­cussing the issue of gun vio­lence, its valid­ity has now van­ished. Now is the time; now must be the time. We have to find a way. We have no choice.

There are peo­ple in this coun­try of com­mon sense and good will who have been try­ing, against great obsta­cles, to find ways to deal with the issue of gun violence.

Five years ago, ten major law enforce­ment agen­cies stepped for­ward to cre­ate a Part­ner­ship. These promi­nent insti­tu­tions, includ­ing the Inter­na­tional Asso­ci­a­tion of Chiefs of Police, the Major Cities Chiefs Asso­ci­a­tion, and the National Sher­iffs’ Asso­ci­a­tion, expressed a shared com­mit­ment “to address the per­va­sive nature of gun vio­lence and its hor­rific impact on com­mu­ni­ties across Amer­ica.” They argued, accu­rately, that “the cri­sis of gun vio­lence in our coun­try neces­si­tates a sus­tained, coor­di­nated, and col­lab­o­ra­tive effort involv­ing cit­i­zens, elected offi­cials, law enforce­ment and the entire crim­i­nal jus­tice system.”

Polit­i­cal lead­ers from both par­ties, such as for­mer New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden, Sen­a­tor Orrin Hatch and Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Nancy Pelosi, have also called for changes in our cur­rent system.

In the after­math of the mass shoot­ing in Charleston, Pres­i­dent Obama repeated what he said after 20 chil­dren and six edu­ca­tors were killed at the Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School in New­town, Con­necti­cut, call­ing once again for “common-sense gun reforms.”

Point­ing out, sadly, that this was the 14th time in his pres­i­dency that he has addressed the nation after a mass shoot­ing, he said that even if some of the reforms rec­om­mended after New­town would not have pre­vented the Charleston mas­sacre, “we might still have more Amer­i­cans with us. We might have stopped one shooter. Some fam­i­lies might still be whole.”

In the past, too few of the men and women we count on to lead our nation have answered the call to action issued from these pub­lic offi­cials and law enforce­ment offi­cers. That must change. We no longer have the lux­ury of inac­tion, if we ever did. We must join together in a sus­tained effort.

Address­ing gun vio­lence means impos­ing sen­si­ble stricter con­trols on firearms, such as com­pre­hen­sive back­ground checks of all pur­chases of firearms, dan­ger­ous weapons and ammu­ni­tion — includ­ing pur­chases at gun shows — and man­dat­ing rea­son­able wait­ing periods.

It also means bet­ter data col­lec­tion and research on the causes and pre­ven­tion of gun vio­lence, and — as lead­ing law enforce­ment agen­cies have pre­scribed — “clos­ing gaps in the cur­rent reg­u­la­tory sys­tem, includ­ing those that enable felons, minors, per­sons with men­tal ill­ness and other pro­hib­ited per­sons to access firearms, and those that allow the traf­fick­ing of ille­gal guns.”

These reforms do not need to, and should not, demo­nize law­ful gun own­ers, nor should they inspire more irre­spon­si­ble, inac­cu­rate and odi­ous analo­gies to Nazi Ger­many or stig­ma­tize those who suf­fer from men­tal illness.

The time has come for us to come to grips with this prob­lem. It is not enough to con­demn the Charleston shooter and mourn the vic­tims. We owe it to those vic­tims and to our­selves to find a way mean­ing­fully to advance gun vio­lence pre­ven­tion efforts before there is another tragedy.

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May 28, 2015 1

ADL’s Terrorism Update Examines U.S. Residents Linked To Terror

isis-fightersThe newest edi­tion of Ter­ror­ism Update, ADL’s newslet­ter pro­vid­ing news and analy­sis on inter­na­tional ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions and their fol­low­ers in the U.S., is now available.

The fea­ture arti­cle details the 40 U.S. cit­i­zens and res­i­dents who have been linked to ter­ror­ism moti­vated by Islamic extrem­ism in 2015 includ­ing recent arrests in Cal­i­for­nia, Texas and Geor­gia and pro­vides infor­ma­tion on their demo­graph­ics and goals.

The newslet­ter includes a pro­file on Mohamed Abdu­lahi Has­san, a Min­nesota man who joined Al Shabaab, the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate in Soma­lia, and who may have inspired as many as 11 peo­ple liv­ing in the U.S., includ­ing the Gar­land shoot­ers and sev­eral Amer­i­cans who attempted to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

This edi­tion also includes infor­ma­tion on mul­ti­ple ISIS-related arrests, women engaged in Islamic extrem­ism, hack­ing activ­ity by the ISIS cyber-unit, the declas­si­fied Osama bin Laden memos, pro­pa­ganda videos by ISIS and Al Shabaab, and the death of Al Qaeda spokesman Adam Gadahn.

To sub­scribe to ADL’s Ter­ror­ism Update newslet­ter, click on the below image:

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May 7, 2015 8

Point of Contention: A Fractured White Supremacist Take on Immigration

richard-spencer-brick-wall

Richard Spencer has advo­cated for a white ethno-state

For over a hun­dred years, since the Ku Klux Klan of the early 20th cen­tury loudly pro­claimed its com­mit­ment to “100% Amer­i­can­ism,” fight­ing immi­gra­tion has been one of the most con­sis­tent hall­marks of white suprema­cists in the United States. For many, immi­gra­tion was noth­ing less than a sin­is­ter Jew­ish plan to flood Amer­ica with non-whites and thereby weaken and ulti­mately destroy the white race.

Because of strongly held con­vic­tions such as these, it is no sur­prise that white suprema­cists have so often been at the fore­front of anti-immigration activism. From Ku Klux Klan mem­bers hold­ing anti-immigration protests to neo-Nazis engaged in vig­i­lante patrols along the U.S.-Mexican bor­der to clos­eted white suprema­cists set­ting up “main­stream” anti-immigration orga­ni­za­tions, these groups have con­sis­tently been a major seg­ment of America’s extreme anti-immigrant fringes.

Yet the evo­lu­tion of the white suprema­cist move­ment in the United States reveals an inter­est­ing phe­nom­e­non. Though white suprema­cists remain united in their intense dis­like of immi­gra­tion and their belief in its alleged dan­ger to the white race, clear diver­gences of opin­ion have emerged among them about how they ought to respond—or, indeed, whether they ought to respond at all.

It may be too gen­er­ous to call them “schools of thought,” but sev­eral clear approaches to the issue of immi­gra­tion now clearly exist among white suprema­cists, each essen­tially stem­ming from a dif­fer­ent set of opin­ions on how to “pre­serve” the white race.

The dif­fer­ing approaches include:

  • Con­tin­u­ing actively to fight against immi­gra­tion by attempt­ing to mobi­lize fear­ful or angry whites using rhetor­i­cal strate­gies that include a focus on chang­ing demo­graph­ics in the United States;
  • Aban­don­ing the active fight against immi­gra­tion to focus instead on cre­at­ing white enclaves within a mul­ti­cul­tural United States, where whites could live with and sup­port each other in a sort of vol­un­tary self-segregation; and
  • Also giv­ing up on fight­ing immi­gra­tion into the United States but going a step fur­ther by cre­at­ing a sep­a­rate ethno-state for whites only—an inde­pen­dent white “homeland.”

Each of these view­points is reflected in the ideas or writ­ings of an advo­cate. Though white suprema­cists have dif­fer­ent approaches to the sub­ject of immi­gra­tion, all are ulti­mately react­ing to the pro­jec­tion that whites will become a minor­ity in the United States in the com­ing decades.

Read the full arti­cle: Point of Con­tention: A Frac­tured White Suprema­cist Take on Immigration

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