Just how bad is the white nationalist terrorism problem?

Three of the Walmart workers, Melisa Gonzalez, Jesus Romero and Raven Ramos, who helped people to escape attend a mass shooting occurred on Aug. 3. Lola Gomez/Austin American-Statesman

You can pick any batch of statistics you like to illustrate the seriousness of white nationalist terrorism. The Anti-Defamation League calculates that “73.3% of U.S. extremist-related murders in the past decade were committed by right-wing extremists, including white supremacists.”

The Christian Science Monitor reports: “Terror attacks around the world have receded since 2014, falling from about 17,000 in 2014 to about 11,000 in 2017, according to the University of Maryland’s Global Terrorism Database.” However, while Islamic terrorist attacks are decreasing in the Middle East, “the U.S. has seen a recent surge, experts say, led by a more visible and aggressive community of white supremacists and neo-Nazis. There were 65 terror-related incidents in the U.S. in 2017, up from 6 in 2006. Of these, 37 were tied to anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, or other racist, xenophobic motivations.”

Another way to measure the severity of the problem is to gauge reaction from groups that address white nationalist terrorism and, more generally, threats to democracies. In the latter category, the international human rights watchdog Freedom House put out an extraordinary statement:

“‘We are deeply saddened by the terrible events of the past weekend. We must recognize and combat growing white nationalist terrorism in the United States and elsewhere,’ said Mike Abramowitz, president of Freedom House. ‘White nationalist ideology, which is the apparent motive behind the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, threatens the social fabric of this democracy, and of other places around the world where it has found a home.’

“‘President Trump was correct to renounce racism and white supremacy this morning. At the same time, we call on him to refrain from further heated rhetoric about Latinos, immigrants, and members of nonwhite ethnic groups that fans the flames of this hate.’”

A Freedom House official told me that rarely does the organization address a U.S. domestic issue. “When we do, it is because we feel like the actions of our leaders are threatening the very fabric of our democracy,” she said. “This is a moment like that.”

In addition, the chairmen of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Kean, a former Republican New Jersey governor, and Lee Hamilton, a former Democratic congressman from Indiana, told USA Today that the country would benefit from an independent commission. Nevertheless, “both 9/11 leaders cautioned that the investigation they led benefited enormously from public and political support summoned in the aftermath of a catastrophic strike by foreign-born terrorists-a show of national and sustained unity that has yet to emerge from even the most deadly domestic attacks.”

Meanwhile, the ADL, whose mission is fighting hate groups and prejudice, did not mince words. ADL chief executive and national director Jonathan Greenblatt told MSNBC interviewers, “We are facing something very unique. Every marginalized community in our country is under attack. ... We have never had a moment like this before.” He said without equivocation in a CNN interview that Trump’s rhetoric contains the “staples of white supremacist rhetoric” and that white nationalists have been “emboldened” under this president.

The ADL called for legislative action on two fronts. “ADL is calling on Congress to pass the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act of 2019, which would authorize domestic terrorism offices and units in [the Department of Homeland Security], [Justice Department] and the FBI, require federal law enforcement agencies to regularly assess right-wing extremist threats, and provide resources to assist state and local law enforcement to reduce these threats.” It also urged Congress to take up the Domestic Terrorism DATA Act, “which focuses on increasing the coordination, accountability and transparency of the federal government in collecting and recording data on domestic terrorism, and the No Hate Act — which seeks to improve local and state hate crime training, prevention, best practices, and data collection initiatives.”

The only ones not treating this as an urgent matter are Republican lawmakers, who show no sign of returning from summer recess, and the president, who did not in his address to the country call for action on anti-domestic-terrorism bills on gun safety or on fully funding federal law enforcement’s domestic anti-terrorism operations. Ironically, for a president who whips up phony national emergencies (which, not coincidentally, are based on instilling fear of immigrants), he has no capacity to deal with a real one. At a moral and national security inflection point that those well versed in terrorism and democracy understand, the president is AWOL. Worse, he’s a culprit.

Jennifer Rubin writes reported opinion for The Washington Post.



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(20) comments

hermit thrush

to Scoot24 Aug 13, 2019 8:45am: no, i meant some good faith points on the subject at hand. i have seen rl's comments for years too, and i can you tell from personal experience that s/he discusses things reasonably when you actually put forth points to discuss.


I assume you speaking as rockloper's advocate. Of course you feel that s/he makes valid points; they align with your progressive views. There is no discussion with progressives, it's their point of view only. Is there any other?

hermit thrush

i am speaking only for myself. i love how just a couple comments earlier you were doing this "tell me who has no intent to see all sides of the topics before drawing a conclusion" line, and now you're painting with the broadest brush imaginable in writing "There is no discussion with progressives". suffice it to say there is a bit of tension between those two quotes. and let me assure you, i am here to discuss topics in good faith, but i also don't suffer fools. it is pretty telling that you still haven't offered a single substantive point to challenge the case made in rubin's column.


Just speaking what I have witnessed. I have been reading comments on the WDT site for a few years without commenting until recently. I stand with my statement (not a debate, a statement) you, Rockloper and Holmes just feed off each other within your liberal beliefs. This isn't just a liberal problem, the conservatives own it also.


More anti-Trump rhetoric from the WP. Sorry, but in 2019 none of this grandiosity of prose won't work. The booming Trump economy and its gains for All Americans "Trumps" the democrat race card. According to this if you are white and have pride in yourself and/or country, you're a "white nationalist terrorist".

Consider the sources, ADL and the Freedom House. Both are not what it seems. Both have been criticized for aligning with left leaning groups and have been sharply criticized for acting more as left leaning pressure groups. We all know the WP and it's history of printing fake news.

My name is Holmes and yes I am real...

Holmes -- the real one

Uh --- My name is Holmes and disapprove this message.

hermit thrush

hard to know where to start with a screed like this. rubin's piece is completely solid. you have done nothing to refute it except baselessly try to smear the washington post and the (in fact highly reputable) sources cited by the piece. you speak of "the WP and it's history of printing fake news" -- can you name a single factual matter of any question that the post has gotten wrong in recent years?

and there's nothing "booming" about the economy under trump. it's just continued to chug along like it did under obama (except now with a lot more debt).


This column is facts but only the facts that support the progressive agenda that the WP promotes. I don't have time to educate you on how to look for varying viewpoints on topics but if you do, you'll see something somewhere in the middle.

hermit thrush

i understand not having the time to write a long comment, but you have gone to the opposite extreme and written something with no content whatsoever. if you have any points of substance to contribute, then by all means do so. when you're playing poker, you can't just say that you have a hand full of aces, you have to actually put your cards on the table.

i love the condescending" I don't have time to educate you" line!

hermit thrush

props to the wdt -- great choice of a column.


Banish republicans from this country. They are the scourge of the earth.

Holmes -- the real one

That last paragraph says it all, ------- but much too gently.


I would assume that the Democrats are sitting in Washington waiting for the Republicans to show up.


Yes, and the Republicans are dividing this country. Go back and read your comment and tell me who has no intent to see all sides of the topics before drawing a conclusion.

hermit thrush

if that's how you think rl rolls, then put forth some good faith points and see what happens.


I made a "good faith point". I've seen rl's comments on here for years and its obvious that it's all anti-Republican no matter what.


How is this comment allowed? Talk about inciting violence and hate. All I can say is wow...sad


I agree. It's fine to have differing views but the progressives think that their beliefs are the only ones because of their superior intelligence.

hermit thrush

the "i don't have time to educate you" guy is here complaining progressives' belief in their own "superior intelligence." quite a world we live in.


This RL just continues to go off the deep end. Scary stuff. I now have an appreciation for the gun laws we have in NY...

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