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April 7, 2015 113

Right-wing Terror Attacks in U.S. Approach 1990s Levels

Recent ter­ror­ist attacks, plots and con­spir­a­cies by right-wing extrem­ists in the United States are approach­ing the level of attacks in the mid-1990s when the Okla­homa City bomb­ing occurred, based on a chronol­ogy of such attacks com­piled by the Anti-Defamation League.  The chronol­ogy was released as part of ADL’s com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 20th anniver­sary of the April 19, 1995 Okla­homa City bombing.right-wing_plots_attacks_1995-2014

The list of right-wing attacks and attempted attacks chron­i­cles 120 dif­fer­ent inci­dents between Jan­u­ary 1995 and Decem­ber 2014, illus­trat­ing a steady stream of domes­tic ter­ror inci­dents in the United States stem­ming from extreme-right move­ments over the past two decades.  Tar­gets included eth­nic and reli­gious minori­ties, gov­ern­ment offi­cials and build­ings, law enforce­ment offi­cers, abor­tion clin­ics and their staff, and others.

Exam­ined over time, the attacks illus­trate the two major surges of right-wing extrem­ism that the United States has expe­ri­enced in the past 20 years.  The first began in the mid-1990s and lasted until the end of the decade.  The sec­ond surge began in the late 2000s and has not yet died down.

Dur­ing both surges, the num­ber of right-wing ter­ror attacks and con­spir­a­cies out­num­bered those in the inter­ven­ing period.  From 1995 through 2000, 47 inci­dents occurred, while from 2009 through 2014, 42 inci­dents took place.  The eight-year inter­ven­ing period of 2001-08 pro­duced 31 attacks.  The surge of recent years has not pro­duced a two-year period with as many inci­dents as the years 1995–1996, which had a high of 18 attacks, but it has come close, with 16 attacks for the years 2011-12.

When ana­lyzed on the basis of per­pe­tra­tor ide­ol­ogy, the list shows that the var­i­ous white suprema­cist and anti-government extrem­ist move­ments have pro­duced the vast major­ity of the right-wing ter­ror­ist inci­dents over the past 20 years, with 50 each.  Anti-abortion extrem­ists come in third place with 13 incidents.right-wing_terrorism_by_movement_1995-2014

Inci­dents on the list include ter­ror­ist acts and plots by white suprema­cists, anti-government extrem­ists, anti-abortion extrem­ists, anti-immigration extrem­ists, anti-Muslim extrem­ists, and oth­ers.  The list does not include spon­ta­neous acts of vio­lence by right-wing extrem­ists, such as killings com­mit­ted dur­ing traf­fic stops, nor does it include lesser inci­dents of extrem­ist vio­lence or non-ideological vio­lence com­mit­ted by extremists.

Some inci­dents had per­pe­tra­tors who adhered to more than one ide­o­log­i­cal move­ment; in such cases, the move­ment that seemed most impor­tant to the per­pe­tra­tor was used for cat­e­go­riza­tion.  Cat­e­go­riza­tion was by per­pe­tra­tor ide­ol­ogy rather than type of tar­get, a fact impor­tant to note, as dif­fer­ent move­ments some­times chose the same type of tar­get (white suprema­cists and anti-abortion extrem­ists both tar­geted abor­tion clin­ics, for exam­ple), while some per­pe­tra­tors chose tar­gets that did not closely tie in with their main ide­ol­ogy (such as anti-abortion extrem­ist Eric Rudolph tar­get­ing the 1996 Atlanta Olympics).  The 2001 plot by the Jew­ish Defense League to attack Muslim-related tar­gets in Cal­i­for­nia is not listed, as ADL includes such inci­dents under Jew­ish nation­al­ist extrem­ism rather than right-wing extremism.

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December 17, 2014 1

Apparent Extremist Threatens Police Officers and a City Employee

brandon-gibbs

Bran­don D. Gibbs

Ear­lier this month, an appar­ent anti-government extrem­ist in Louisiana allegedly threat­ened to pep­per spray police offi­cers after they attempted to serve him with an arrest war­rant for pur­port­edly threat­en­ing a city employee.

On Decem­ber 2, Bran­don D. Gibbs, 29, of Gon­za­les, Louisiana, allegedly attempted to walk towards a police offi­cer with a pep­per spray can before offi­cers arrested Gibbs on aggra­vated assault, resist­ing an offi­cer, pos­ses­sion of mar­i­juana, unlaw­ful use of or in pos­ses­sion of body armor, in pos­ses­sion of nar­cotics and improper tele­phone com­mu­ni­ca­tions. Wear­ing a face mask, a hel­met with pep­per spray attached and a knife strapped to his full body amour suit, Gibbs barely opened his door and asked police offi­cers to show their hands before he walked out of his house at the time of his arrest. This inci­dent pre­sum­ably stemmed from a dis­agree­ment regard­ing his city water service.

Prior to his arrest, Gibbs report­edly called the city’s util­ity depart­ment and threat­ened a clerk for the department’s deci­sion to turn off his water after he didn’t pay his bill. Dur­ing the call, Gibbs pur­port­edly claimed that “if you come back on my prop­erty, I’m going to put a bul­let in a tire or in somebody’s head.”

Accord­ing to state­ments Gibbs made to police offi­cers and to activ­ity on his Face­book account, his actions towards law enforce­ment and pub­lic offi­cials appear to be influ­enced by anti-government extrem­ist beliefs. After police offi­cers charged Gibbs with resist­ing arrest in May 2013, he allegedly told offi­cers that he trained every week­end in Mau­repas, Louisiana, with a 500-person mili­tia on shoot­ing and mil­i­tary tech­niques. In one of his Face­book posts, Gibbs claimed that he stud­ied abroad “in @ home” to learn “empro­vised [sic] weapons spe­cial­izm [sic] and “hand to hand com­bat” in order “to defend myself and my land against any treat [sic]” and to “make your entinc­tions [sic] abso­lutly [sic] clear shoot to kill.” The likes on his Face­book page include eight dif­fer­ent mili­tias and he is part of the “Three Per­centers for Con­sti­tu­tional Troops and Law Enforce­ment” Face­book group, which har­bors anti-government extrem­ist beliefs.

For­mer mili­tia move­ment adher­ent Mike Van­der­boegh of Pin­son, Alabama, cre­ated the Three Per­cent con­cept in 2008, based on the belief that only three per­cent of Amer­i­cans will not dis­arm dur­ing a future rev­o­lu­tion against the alleged tyranny of the Amer­i­can gov­ern­ment. The con­cept itself is based on a his­tor­i­cally incor­rect myth that only three per­cent of the Amer­i­can pop­u­la­tion fought against the British dur­ing the Amer­i­can Rev­o­lu­tion. In 2012, Geor­gia mili­tia man Fred­er­ick Thomas claimed that Vanderboegh’s on-line novel Absolved, a “tech­ni­cal man­ual” to over­throw the so-called total­i­tar­ian gov­ern­ment, inspired him to plot to kill gov­ern­ment employ­ees and blow up gov­ern­ment buildings.

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July 15, 2014 3

Militia Activist Has History of Inciting Revolution

In a response to the on-going cri­sis involv­ing juve­nile undoc­u­mented migrants cross­ing the U.S. bor­der with Mex­ico, mem­bers of a small right-wing extrem­ist mili­tia group in Texas recently issued a call for mili­tia groups to “guard” the border.chris-davis-anti-government

Local media noticed the leader of the group, “Com­man­der” Christo­pher Davis of Poteet, had posted a YouTube video in which he seemed to instruct peo­ple to point weapons at migrants and threaten to shoot them.

In response, Davis removed his YouTube videos and Face­book pro­file and assured reporters that he was just going to “sup­ple­ment” law enforce­ment and “help them.” Said Davis, “There’s noth­ing mali­cious …We’re just here to serve free­dom, lib­erty, and national sov­er­eignty.” Davis even announced inten­tions to meet with law enforce­ment in the Laredo area.

Yet a closer look at Davis reveals a his­tory of atti­tudes towards gov­ern­ment that seems not nearly so help­ful and benign. In fact, until Davis started “Secure Our Bor­der – Laredo Sec­tor” in recent weeks, his anger and rhetoric were directed not at immi­gra­tion, but almost totally against the fed­eral government.

An analy­sis of Face­book and Twit­ter post­ings by Davis dat­ing back to 2012 reveals extreme antag­o­nism towards the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Claim­ing not to rec­og­nize any law or author­ity that “goes against the Con­sti­tu­tion,” Davis has repeat­edly expressed his will­ing­ness to phys­i­cally con­front a “tyran­ni­cal” fed­eral government.

Wait­ing on the gov­ern­ment to make the first move, Davis claimed in Decem­ber 2012 on Twit­ter, “is like step­ping into a bear trap to dis­en­gage it.” Rather, as he explained the fol­low­ing April, “when tyranny becomes law, rev­o­lu­tion becomes duty.” In Jan­u­ary 2014, Davis swore an oath on Face­book to defend Amer­ica “against the cur­rent tyran­ni­cal government.”

Davis has repeat­edly claimed that peo­ple have only two options left: “mass civil dis­obe­di­ence or another 1776.” Some­times Davis has urged the for­mer, while at other times, as in a Feb­ru­ary 2014 twit­ter com­ment, he has warned peo­ple not to be con­tent “to merely march” when the gov­ern­ment is using “fear, force, and vio­lence as weapons of oppression.”

In March, Davis declared on Face­book that “we will attempt to arrest the tyrants” and that there was only “a min­i­mal chance of suc­cess with­out vio­lent con­fronta­tion.” But Davis said that he and oth­ers were “will­ing to lay down our lives, if needed.”

What­ever path Davis envi­sions, war with the gov­ern­ment seems to be at the end of it. In a June 2 tweet, Davis argued that there are only three options: 1) a “plan of action in a last ditch effort to take our coun­try back,” 2) “take up arms and phys­i­cally remove the tyrants,” and 3) “stay reac­tive, they drop the ham­mer down…pockets of resistance…try to fight back.” All three options “will lead to war.”

To date, Davis’s efforts to mobi­lize mili­tia groups at the bor­der have met with lit­tle suc­cess, rais­ing the ques­tion of whether he may once again turn his focus to his favorite per­ceived enemy: the fed­eral government.

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