Homegrown Radicals More Deadly Than Jihadis in U.S.
by Scott Shane
In the 14 years since Al Qaeda carried out attacks on New York and the
Pentagon, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United
States, explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants.
But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white
supremacists, antigovernment fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical
Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, compared with 26 by
self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research
The slaying of nine African-Americans in a Charleston, S.C., church last week, with an
avowed white supremacist charged with their murders, was a particularly savage case. But
it is only the latest in a string of lethal attacks by people espousing racial hatred,
hostility to government and theories such as those of the "sovereign citizen" movement,
which denies the legitimacy of most statutory law. The assaults have taken the lives of
police officers, members of racial or religious minorities and random civilians.
Non-Muslim extremists have carried out 19 such attacks since Sept. 11, according to the
latest count, compiled by David Sterman, a New America program associate, and overseen
by Peter Bergen, a terrorism expert. By comparison, seven lethal attacks by Islamic
militants have taken place in the same period. . . .
WHO IS A 'TERRORIST'? There is no
generally accepted definition of terrorism.
A UN High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change defined terrorism as "any action intended to
cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of
intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organisation to
do, or abstain from, any act."
["After these killings in Nevada, and the murders at a Jewish community center in
Kansas, and the murders at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, and multiple murders by members
of the 'sovereign citizens' movement in the last few years, it's worth remembering that
since 9/11, right-wing terrorism has killed many more Americans than al Qaeda
terrorism," Paul Waldman writes in the Washington Post.--Conor Friedersdorf, "If the Las Vegas Killers Were Muslims We'd Call
Them Terrorists, theatlantic.com, June 10, 2014]
[Such attempts to address extremism fail because they evade rather than address the
central causes of the ongoing expansion of terrorism and political violence around the
world, especially in the Arab world.--Rami G. Khouri, "Beware the hoax of countering violent extremism,"
aljazeera.com, September 29, 2015]
[B.J. Soper took aim with his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and fired a dozen shots at a
human silhouette target. . . .
Deep in the heart of a vast U.S. military training ground, surrounded by spent shotgun
shells and juniper trees blasted to shreds, the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard was
conducting its weekly firearms training.--Kevin Sullivan, "Primed to fight the
government," washingtonpost.com, May 22, 2016]
[Devin Patrick Kelley, 26, opened fire on a small Texas church on Sunday morning,
killing 26 people, wounding at least 10 others--Tim Stelloh, Caitlin Fichtel, Tracy
Connor, "Who Is Devin Kelley, the Texas Church Shooter,"
nbcnews.com, November 6, 2017]
[Everytown for Gun Safety, released a revealing study, "Mass Shooting in the United
States, 2009-2016," that argued that, in the U.S., most mass shootings are related to
domestic or family violence. It reports that from 2009-2016, there were 156 "mass
shootings," incidents in which four or more people were shot and killed. . . . "These
incidents resulted in 1,187 victims shot: 848 people were shot and killed, and 339
people were shot and injured."--David Rosen, "Terrorism
and White Men's Murderous Rage," counterpunch.org, November 7, 2017]