The threat is not from beyond our boarders, but from within
Over the past decade, the Anti-Defamation
League has counted about 450 U.S. murders committed by
political extremists, reported The New York Times.
Of these 450 killings, right-wing extremists
committed about 75 percent. Islamic extremists were responsible for about 20
percent, and left-wing extremists were responsible for 4 percent. Nearly half
of the murders were specifically tied to white supremacists.
As this data shows, the American political right
has a violence problem that has no equivalent on the left. And the 10 victims in Buffalo this past weekend are now
part of this toll. “Right-wing extremist violence is our biggest threat,”
Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the ADL, has written. “The numbers don’t
The pattern extends to violence less severe than
murder, like the Jan. 6 attack on Congress. It also extends to the language
from some Republican politicians — including Donald Trump — and conservative
media figures that treats violence as a legitimate form of political
expression. A much larger number of Republican officials do not use this
language but also do not denounce it or punish politicians who do use it;
Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, is a leading example.
It’s important to emphasize that not all extremist violence comes from the right —
and that the precise explanation for any one attack can be murky, involving a
mixture of ideology, mental illness, gun access and more. In the immediate
aftermath of an attack, people are sometimes too quick to claim a direct
cause and effect. But it is also incorrect to pretend that right-wing
violence and left-wing violence are equivalent problems.
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