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April 13, 2016 3

Firearms Increasingly Weapon of Choice in Extremist-Related Killings

extremistkillingswithfirearms1970-2015In the pop­u­lar imag­i­na­tion, the bomb is the weapon typ­i­cally asso­ci­ated with ter­ror­ists or extremists—but in the U.S. extrem­ists seem to be killing more peo­ple with firearms than with any other weapon, and that use may be increasing.

It is cer­tainly true that many of the high-profile ter­ror­ist attacks in the United States over the past cen­tury have been bomb­ings, includ­ing the 1919 anar­chist bomb­ing cam­paign, the 1963 16th Street Bap­tist Church bomb­ing, the 1995 bomb­ing of the Mur­rah Fed­eral Build­ing in Okla­homa City, and the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb­ing, among many oth­ers. Extrem­ist ser­ial bombers such as the Weather Under­ground, “Unabomber” Ted Kaczyn­ski, and Eric Rudolph have all got­ten their share of headlines.

How­ever, extrem­ists use a wide vari­ety of deadly imple­ments to com­mit their crimes, terrorist-related or oth­er­wise, from fists and boots to air­planes. The most com­mon tool of vio­lence seems to be the sim­ple firearm, a weapon that extrem­ists can use when com­mit­ting ter­ror­ist acts, hate crimes, assas­si­na­tions, armed rob­beries, and all man­ner of tra­di­tional crime. In the United States, firearms are easy to obtain and easy to use. Amer­i­can extrem­ists of all pos­si­ble types, from the far left to the far right, as well as reli­gious extrem­ists, have used firearms to com­mit deadly acts.

How com­mon is such firearms use in the United States? The Anti-Defamation League’s Cen­ter on Extrem­ism exam­ined 890 mur­ders com­mit­ted by domes­tic extrem­ists in the United States from 1970 through 2015—both ide­o­log­i­cal and non-ideological killings by extrem­ist perpetrators—and dis­cov­ered that around 55% of these killings involved use of a firearm; all other weapons com­bined made up the other 45%.

This fig­ure sig­ni­fies both the pop­u­lar­ity of firearms among extrem­ist move­ments in the United States, espe­cially right-wing extrem­ists, as well as the fact that attacks with other types of weapons may be less likely to end in death. Attacks using knives or fists, for exam­ple, may pos­si­bly result in non-fatal injuries more often than firearms. On the other end of the scale, bomb­ings are more dif­fi­cult to carry out—with many extrem­ist bomb­ing plots detected and pre­vented by law enforce­ment from ever being executed.

When one breaks down the num­bers by decade, it appears that, after a dip in the 1980s and 1990s, firearms are becom­ing more pop­u­lar than ever as the deadly weapons of choice for Amer­i­can extrem­ists. Not only have the num­bers of domestic-extremist related killings in the U.S. increased over the past 20 years, but so too has the fre­quency of firearms as the weapons in such killings.

In the 1970s, extremists—primarily com­ing from the far left—used firearms in 61% of domes­tic extremist-related killings in the United States. Many of these inci­dents involved mem­bers of left-wing extrem­ist groups such as the Black Pan­thers and the Black Lib­er­a­tion Army attack­ing police officers.

The per­cent­age of firearms use in extremist-related killings dipped in the 1980s, to only 46%, then dropped dras­ti­cally in the 1990s, down to 20%. This lat­ter fig­ure is greatly dis­torted by the Okla­homa City bomb­ing, which itself resulted in 168 deaths, but even if the bomb­ing were left out of the cal­cu­la­tions, the new num­ber would only be 42%. There are sev­eral rea­sons that seem to account for these lower fig­ures, includ­ing the rise of white suprema­cist prison gangs com­mit­ting mur­ders behind bars and the growth of the racist skin­head sub­cul­ture in the United States, whose adher­ents often eschewed firearms for beat­ing and stab­bing attacks.

How­ever, in the 2000s, firearms once more were the deadly weapons in the major­ity of killings, with 62% of the killings between 2001 and 2010 involv­ing one or more firearms. So far in the cur­rent decade, the per­cent­ages are even higher, with 72% of the domestic-extremist related deaths from 2011 through 2015 involv­ing firearms.

What accounts for this increase? Sev­eral fac­tors seem to have played a role. One is the increased use of firearms by sev­eral extrem­ist move­ments. Racist skin­heads seem to use firearms with greater fre­quency in the 2000s than they did in ear­lier decades, while the growth of white suprema­cist prison gang activ­ity on the streets—as opposed to behind bars—has allowed their mem­bers much greater access to and use of firearms.

Even more con­cern­ing is the appar­ent grav­i­ta­tion of domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists towards firearms as a weapon of choice. In the early years of this move­ment, fol­low­ing the 2003 U.S. inva­sion of Iraq, much of the energy of those extrem­ists with vio­lent impulses were directed at elab­o­rate plots involv­ing bombs or even mil­i­tary weapons—plots typ­i­cally stopped by law enforce­ment before they could ever be car­ried out.

Since 2009, how­ever, there have been a num­ber of high-profile inci­dents in which Islamic extrem­ists have used firearms to con­duct shoot­ings (and one instance, the Boston Marathon bomb­ing, where the per­pe­tra­tors used both bombs and firearms), includ­ing shoot­ings at Ft. Hood, Texas; Lit­tle Rock, Arkansas; Chat­tanooga, Ten­nessee; and San Bernardino, California.

The rise of ISIS in the past sev­eral years may have con­tributed to the increase in attempted small arms attacks; Al Qaeda gen­er­ally favored high-spectacle and sym­bolic attacks, whereas ISIS has been more prac­ti­cal, urg­ing adher­ents to com­mit any attack they think they can pull off.

Most of the Islamic-related shoot­ings were mass shoot­ings, which may be the final piece of the puz­zle. Though most extrem­ist killings con­tinue to take one vic­tim at a time, the num­ber of mul­ti­ple vic­tims in deadly extremist-related inci­dents (both ide­o­log­i­cal and non-ideological) has cer­tainly grown. Since 2001, there have been 24 domes­tic extrem­ist inci­dents in which at least three peo­ple were killed—and firearms were the weapons used in the vast major­ity of these cases, includ­ing such deadly shoot­ing sprees as the 2012 Wis­con­sin Sikh tem­ple shoot­ing and the 2015 Charleston church shooting.

The increased num­ber of mul­ti­ple vic­tim inci­dents by extrem­ists is also one of the rea­sons why the death toll has been ris­ing. From extrem­ists on the right such as white suprema­cists and anti-government extrem­ists to reli­gious extrem­ists such as domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists, gun vio­lence seems more likely to increase than decrease in the com­ing months and years

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March 2, 2016 1

While Vying For Attention, Small California Klan Encounters Conflict

The Loyal White Knights (LWK) had every inten­tion of hold­ing a “White Lives Do Mat­ter” protest on Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 27, 2016, at Pear­son Park in Ana­heim, Cal­i­for­nia. But before the event could kick off, a bloody brawl erupted between Klan sup­port­ers and counter-protesters.

Klans­men, barely able to exit their cars, were sud­denly swarmed by counter-protesters who wres­tled Bill Hagan, the Cal­i­for­nia LWK’s Grand Dragon, to the ground. Other Klan mem­bers were sim­i­larly attacked, and as the chaos con­tin­ued, Klan mem­bers stabbed three counter-protesters, appar­ently with the tip of a flag pole, leav­ing one crit­i­cally wounded.

Six Klans­men were arrested, but they were released on Feb­ru­ary 29, after law enforce­ment deter­mined they were act­ing in self-defense. Seven anti-Klan-protesters were booked by the Ana­heim Police Depart­ment on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and for elder abuse (after stomp­ing on a senior Klan member).

(At any poten­tially inflam­ma­tory protest, sep­a­rat­ing the pro­test­ers from any counter-demonstrators is crit­i­cal – it pro­tects even the most hate­ful speech while ensur­ing the safety of every­one involved. This sep­a­ra­tion was clearly not achieved – or main­tained – in Anaheim).

Like other Klan groups around the coun­try, the Loyal White Knights say they rep­re­sent the increas­ingly “endan­gered” white pop­u­la­tion, which they claim makes up a mere 9 per­cent of the world’s pop­u­la­tion. In fact, Klan groups them­selves appear to be the only “endan­gered” entity: The ADL has iden­ti­fied about thirty active Klan groups in the United States, slightly down from the 2014 tally. Most Klan groups range in size from small to very small; chap­ters are often com­prised of a sin­gle local member.

As a feint against their dimin­ish­ing influ­ence, Klan groups con­tinue to use attention-getting stunts to attract pub­lic­ity.  For exam­ple, in 2015 the Inter­na­tional Key­stone Knights made head­lines for appeal­ing an “adopt a high­way” court rul­ing in Geor­gia while the Knights Party drew media atten­tion after spon­sor­ing a pro-white bill­board in Arkansas.

The most com­mon Klan tac­tic, how­ever, con­tin­ues to be the use of fliers to broad­cast their racist, anti-Semitic, homo­pho­bic, and increas­ingly Islam­o­pho­bic mes­sage. In 2015, the ADL counted 85 Klan flier­ing inci­dents, an increase from 73 inci­dents in 2014.  In the last six months, the very small Cal­i­for­nia Loyal White Knights group has caused an out­sized stir in a num­ber of Cal­i­for­nia cities, includ­ing Whit­tier, Santa Ana and Ana­heim, as neigh­bors dis­cov­ered candy and rock-filled bags with pro-Klan mes­sages on their front lawns. As the Anti-Defamation League has pre­vi­ously noted, this leaflet­ing activ­ity is actu­ally a des­per­ate pub­lic­ity tac­tic, and reflects Klan groups’ declin­ing stature and membership.

Today’s Klan groups tend to be irres­olute, short-lived and in a con­stant state of flux.More than half of the cur­rently active Klans were formed just in the last five years. While a few long­stand­ing Klans, still exist, they are mere shad­ows of their for­mer selves. In fact, two promi­nent Klans dis­banded in Late 2015: Mor­ris Gulett’s Louisiana-based Aryan Nations Knights and Ron Edward’s Kentucky-based Impe­r­ial Klans of America.

As befits the groups’ shrink­ing ranks, pub­lic Klan events are increas­ingly rare. There were only two pub­lic Klan events of con­se­quence in 2015.  In July, mem­bers of the Loyal White Knights and the Trin­ity White Knights joined mem­bers of the neo-Nazi Nation­al­ist Social­ist Move­ment in protest­ing the removal of the Con­fed­er­ate flag from the South Car­olina State House.  In March, approx­i­mately 20 Klans­men ral­lied in Mont­gomery, Alabama, at an event hon­or­ing Mar­tin Luther King, Jr.

In the 1920s, accord­ing to some his­tor­i­cal accounts, Anaheim’s Pear­son Park was the site of events that attracted upwards of 20,000 Klan sup­port­ers. This past weekend’s protests and vio­lence involved six Klan sup­port­ers — and while that cer­tainly epit­o­mizes the state of today’s Klan, the group’s his­tor­i­cal bag­gage and unde­ni­able noto­ri­ety means that even one Klan mem­ber has the poten­tial to spark con­sid­er­able pain and upset.

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February 28, 2016 27

Extremist Support of Donald Trump

Updated March 2, 2016

White suprema­cists have been enthu­si­as­tic sup­port­ers of Don­ald Trump since he announced his can­di­dacy for pres­i­dent in June 2015 with big­oted remarks about Mex­i­can immi­grants. Sub­se­quent remarks from Trump about ban­ning Mus­lim immi­gra­tion to the U.S served to solid­ify that sup­port. White suprema­cists believe that Trump is voic­ing their own xeno­pho­bic and big­oted views toward immi­grants and non-whites.

David Duke white beard texe marrs site

David Duke

David Duke, a racist and anti-Semite and the most noto­ri­ous bigot in Amer­ica, urged his sup­port­ers to back Trump. On his radio show in Feb­ru­ary, Duke said that “vot­ing against Trump is really trea­son to your her­itage.” Duke even told his lis­ten­ers to vol­un­teer for Trump dur­ing the elec­tion. He added that he hoped that Trump “does every­thing we hope he will do.”

One of Trump’s biggest sup­port­ers is neo-Nazi Andrew Anglin who runs the Daily Stormer web­site. The site is filled with vir­u­lently racist and anti-Semitic arti­cles. In July 2015, Anglin wrote an arti­cle that praised Trump for his com­ments on Mex­i­cans. Anglin asserted, “The Trump Train has left the sta­tion and is run­ning non-stop to total vic­tory over the bar­bar­ian hordes of Mex­ico. Because there is one issue which mat­ters beyond all other issues and that is the inva­sion of White coun­tries by non-whites.”Anglin adds that “the amount of good” that Trump has done “is immea­sur­able.” Anglin now refers to Trump as “our glo­ri­ous leader,” and extols Trump at every turn.

White suprema­cist William John­son, head of the Amer­i­can Free­dom Party does more than talk about sup­port­ing Trump. He has actu­ally cre­ated the Amer­i­can National Super PAC, which has paid for a series of robo­calls sup­port­ing Trump for pres­i­dent. The calls have gone out num­ber of states, includ­ing Iowa and New Hamp­shire. New robo­calls are sched­uled for Ver­mont and Min­nesota which tell vot­ers not to “vote for a Cuban.” The calls go on to say that the “white race is dying out in Amer­ica and Europe because we are afraid to be called ‘racist.’” John­son has long courted the more hard­core mem­bers of the white suprema­cist move­ment, includ­ing racist skinheads.

Jared Tay­lor, a white suprema­cist who runs the Amer­i­can Renais­sance web­site is another enthu­si­as­tic sup­porter of Trump. The Amer­i­can Renais­sance site fea­tures arti­cles that pur­port to demon­strate the intel­lec­tual and cul­tural supe­ri­or­ity of whites. Tay­lor has writ­ten a num­ber of arti­cles endors­ing Trump. His voice also appeared on the Amer­i­can National Super PAC robo­calls in Iowa, where he told vot­ers that “we don’t need Mus­lims. We need smart, well-educated white peo­ple who will assim­i­late to our culture.”

Richard Spencer, a white suprema­cist who runs a tiny think tank called the National Pol­icy Insti­tute has posted videos and arti­cles endors­ing Trump for pres­i­dent. Spencer is a sym­bolic of the new white supremacy whereby young racists would rather don suits and ties than a Klan robe to pro­mote white nation­al­ism. In an inter­view, Spencer said that Trump “seems to gen­uinely care about the his­toric Amer­i­can nation that is white people.”

Kevin Mac­Don­ald, a noto­ri­ous anti-Semite and retired pro­fes­sor, has also backed Trump. He has lauded Trump’s com­ments about ban­ning Mus­lim immi­gra­tion and says that elect­ing Trump “may be the last chance for Whites to elect a pres­i­dent who rep­re­sents their inter­ests.” Mac­Don­ald actu­ally tried to raise money for his anti-Semitic pub­li­ca­tion, The Occi­den­tal Quar­terly, by tout­ing Trump’s can­di­dacy. He wrote, “Don­ald Trump’s can­di­dacy is a game changer and has a very real pos­si­bil­ity of suc­cess. In this new cli­mate, mil­lions of White peo­ple are real­iz­ing that it’s entirely legit­i­mate to oppose immi­gra­tion and mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism. It’s okay to oppose the idea that every last human has the moral right to immi­grate to a West­ern coun­try, or that all peo­ples and cul­tures are equally accept­able as immigrants.”

Matthew Heim­bach, a racist and anti-Semite who co-founded the Tra­di­tion­al­ist Youth Net­work, a white suprema­cist group, has expressed sup­port for Trump. He wrote, “The march to vic­tory will not be won by Don­ald Trump in 2016, but this could be the step­ping stone we need to then rad­i­cal­ize mil­lions of White work­ing and mid­dle class fam­i­lies to the call to truly begin a strug­gle for Faith, fam­ily and folk. For this rea­son alone I will cam­paign for Don­ald Trump because as the say­ing goes ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’ and that is dou­bly true if that per­son is viewed as an enemy by the Inter­na­tional Jew.”

It has also been reported that the Knights Party, a Klan group in Arkansas, uses Trump and his views as a talk­ing point when ques­tion­ing poten­tial recruits. In an arti­cle in Politico, Rachel Pen­der­graft, a spokesper­son for the group, said that Trump, “has offered KKK mem­bers a prime oppor­tu­nity to feel out poten­tial recruits on their racial attitudes.”

In media inter­views, Don Black, who runs Storm­front, the largest white suprema­cist Inter­net forum in the coun­try, has said that Trump has helped drive traf­fic to his site. In inter­views in Politico and Vice, Black said that Trump had been a boon to the white suprema­cist cause.

Lee Rogers, who runs the neo-Nazi web­site Infos­tormer, refers to Trump as “our leader.” Like Andrew Anglin, Rogers posts viciously racist and anti-Semitic arti­cles on his site and exalts Trump.

Hunter Wal­lace, aka Brad Grif­fin, a white suprema­cist who pro­motes South­ern nation­al­ism offi­cially endorsed Trump for pres­i­dent on his web­site, Occi­den­tal Dissent.

James Edwards, a white suprema­cist who runs the Polit­i­cal Cesspool web­site and radio show, wrote a blog about attend­ing a Trump rally in Mem­phis on  Feb­ru­ary 28 as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the press.  Edwards declared that he is vot­ing for Trump and encour­aged his own sup­port­ers to do the same. Edwards added, “With Trump, Amer­ica has a chance to regain her identity.”

As a 501(c)3 non-profit orga­ni­za­tion, the Anti-Defamation League does not sup­port or oppose can­di­dates for polit­i­cal office.

 

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