Liberty Expose: America's White Supremacy Disease
The Federal Bureau of Investigation was under fire from Senate Democrats last week over the Bureau’s ignorance towards the growing problem of white supremacists and other ultra conservative terrorist organizations in the United States. This clash was sparked after the FBI released a report that seemed to underplay the issue by lumping white supremacists with other identity-based, domestic extremist groups. There is little doubt that these far-right groups are a threat to society, and the government -- at both the local and federal level -- must do a better job at cracking down on these domestic extremist groups.
Domestic terrorism in general has been of greatest concern for the country’s law enforcement. U.S. law defines domestic terrorism as “any act dangerous to human life that violates U.S. criminal laws and appears to be intended to intimidate or coerce a civilian population, influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion, or affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping” and “must occur primarily within the jurisdiction of the United States.” According to the FBI, lone wolves using firearms pose the most risk in our society. Many of the recent attacks in the U.S. committed by white extremists are carried out by a single individual who is armed to the teeth with firepower.
The rise of white supremacy in the U.S. (and really, the world) can be linked back to the 2011 terrorist attacks committed by a lone white extremist who killed 77 through bombings and a mass shooting. The terrorist despised the influx of immigrants, particularly of the Islamic faith, to Scandinavia and wanted to purify it of any outside influence. Since then, other white extremists have used the Norwegian terrorist’s manifesto as an ideological basis. The 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia was a startling wake-up call for American security officials. Here was a sizeable group of white men that did not conceal their identity openly marching in support of an ideology based on hatred of others. The event tragically led to the hit-and-run death of a counter-protester by a white supremacist.
Today’s political climate is certainly not helping the situation. In a time when distrust of government seems to be at an all-time high, the fringes are able to take advantage of discord. A 2017 poll conducted by ABC News and the Washington Post following the incident in Charlottesville found that 9 percent of Americans surveyed said it was “acceptable to hold neo-Nazi or white supremacist views -- equivalent to about 22 million Americans;” while another 10 percent “say they support the alt-right movement.” While this number is still low, it is not something to celebrate. The fact that 22 million out of the 300 hundred million Americans find an ideology that seeks to purge the world of entire ethnicities and religions acceptable is in fact unacceptable.
Conservatives in America have a lot to work on to ensure white supremacy does not grow within its ranks. As these terrorists often espouse prominent conservative voices to legitimize their actions, those of us right-of-center must not provide fuel for the fire and actively fight any would-be white supremacist. First and foremost, conservatives must abandon any and all fear mongering over the impact immigrants have on our society. Republican President Donald Trump has certainly not helped in fighting white supremacy and extremism. POTUS has stated that the Unite the Right marchers included “very fine people,” while admonishing immigrants for either having AIDS, being terrorists or bringing rapists. Such language is below any government office in the U.S. and conservatives across the board must condemn the President whenever he steps out of line. Researchers thus far have not been able to verify Trump’s claims, but the impact of the President’s comments is nonetheless hampering efforts to fight right-wing extremism.
Then there is the issue of gun control and the Second Amendment. The FBI’s report, as mentioned previously, notes the use of firearms in these attacks so naturally regulating firearms is still as controversial as ever. In recent years, states have passed more gun laws that would seek to strip would-be evil doers of access to these weapons. Such legislation include Extreme Risk Protection Orders (ERPO), also known as gun violence restraining orders), which would allow families, household members or law enforcement officers to get the court to place temporary restrictions on “a person’s access to guns.” Such a law would go a long way in preventing gun violence, whether its suicide, non-terror related murder or terrorism (whether it’s white supremacy-connected, etc.); but for it to work requires law enforcement and state officials to actually implement these laws.
In March, USA Today’s Editorial Board reported that the FBI has failed to enforce the criminal-background check system created under the Brady Law of 1993. The school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that killed 15 people was another example of the government’s failure to investigate possible threats. The school shooter was reported to authorities of having been interested in ISIS and had previously threatened his now dead mother with a gun. While this shooter was not a white extremist, the failure of law enforcement to do their job may allow such radicals to carry out such attacks.
White supremacy and terrorism related to this ideology must not be allowed to fester any longer. Conservatives must expunge extremists from the movement to eliminate their ability to gain attention, whether its at the local or national level. Demonizing minorities merely plays into the hands of white supremacists as it legitimizes campaign. On the government side, the continued failure of the FBI and other security agencies in failing to enforce existing gun laws is exposing the public to terrorist attacks. As John Stuart Mill once said: “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”