Reader asks, 'Why cry wolf?'

Watching the news for the last month I noticed a huge increase in the number of reports on the in “enormous” increase in “white nationalism.” To be precise I noticed it only being perpetuated from the one side of the political aisle. So I decided to look into the issue. I googled it and I was not disappointed. Thousands of articles with words like “extremists,” “white nationalists,” “violence,” “dangerous rhetoric” with little or no supporting evidence or documentation. So I asked myself the empirical question, “Have I seen any “white nationalists” lately?” Well have you? 

So I looked for some facts. Here is what I found.

According the Government Accounting Office, after the Twin Towers attacks since Sept. 12, 2001 to Dec. 31, 2016 there have been 85 attacks in the United States by violent extremists resulting in 225 deaths. GAO reported citing data from the U.S. Extremist Crime Database.

Of those 225 deaths:

• 106 individuals were killed by far-right violent extremists in 62 separate incidents;

• 119 individuals were killed by radical Islamist violent extremists in 23 separate incidents;

• The number of people killed in a given year ranged from one to 49.

Since 2016 I found 

• The numbers for 2017 totaled 37 for all extremists groups 

• The numbers for 2018 were 49 for all extremists groups.

(During the same time frame (2001-2018) there were 319,418 homicides in the United States). 

So, let’s put things into perspective. Since President Donald Trump was elected a total of 86 people have been killed in the United States by “all” types of extremist groups. I would have narrowed it down to just “white extremists groups” but I couldn’t find the breakdown. During the same time frame and estimated 50,580 people were murdered, 204,438 people died from drug overdose, and according to the CDC more than 1 million people died from obesity.

I would say we have bigger problems then extremism, but I digress.

I wonder why all the rhetoric? Why do politicians want to be so divisive? Why do they use words like “intolerables,” “deplorables,” “Walmart shoppers”? Look to your neighbor. Is America really as racist as the politicians declare we are? Do you see racism in America or do you just believe what they say? Look at the numbers. There are 350 million people in this country. The FBI estimates the Black Panther Party has 5,000 members and the Klu Klux Klan has 3,000 members nationwide, yes nationwide. Really? Extremism? “White nationalism,” “extremism” on the rise? 

I have never seen a member from any extremist group. To me they are like the Loch Ness monster or Bigfoot. Politicians can clamber all they want about seeing Bigfoot, Nessie, Black Panthers or a white nationalist, but until I see one with my own to eyes, I will just look at the facts from the FBI reports and assume they are lying as usual.

Bernard Thompson

Crawfordsville

More from this section

The story seemed to pop up then fade in less than a day, which was warp speed even in today’s social-media-driven news cycles. And it was pretty tame stuff, considering how normality is sliding into the abyss from both sides of the great divide these days. Still, there was something weirdly … Read more

(3) comments

Bernard Thompson

1. First I quoted FBI and government statistics which you never contested. I simply asked people to make an observation. I am sorry that I am ignorant about privilege. I was deserted by my father at birth, left to live with relatives in a 3 bedroom house with 11 other people. MY privilege consisted of peanut butter sandwiches every day for the first 6 years of school because we couldn’t afford jelly. Try swallowing that with no milk. That was my privilege.















2. Comparing the KKK and the Black Panthers is a perfect equivalency in that both are hate groups, both are racist, and both should be condemned. How are they unequal?











3. Racism is wrong and I never said it wasn’t. Your implication is that only white people can be racist is incorrect. I have been attacked because of the color of my skin. Ignorant people are everywhere. I do not know how the government obtains their numbers on hate groups but since the only authority on these issues is the Federal government would assume they have other ways of calculating the members other than having them raise their hands for a count. I obtained those numbers from the FBI website, are you implying the FBI fudges the numbers on hate groups?



















4. You said you were confronted by a fully adorned member of the KKK. They look silly don’t they? Did you get a photo of this KKK member at O’Charlie’s? I called and spoke with management and they did not recall the incident. If it happens again please learn how to use your cell phone photo option and take a photo. You would be able to sell if for a small fortune to media outlets. I am sorry that you have seen a swastika tattoo. I don’t believe we should base public policy on tattoos. If that were the case, the Hispanic community would be in some serious trouble as they would be associated with all the people with LA RAZA and MS13 tattoos and all the African Americans would be associated with gangs like the Black Panthers, Bloods and Crypts. I was a Marine Recruiter in Chicago. You would be surprised on how many gang tatoos I saw and to be honest I did see a swastika one also. I threw them all out of my office. You see I didn’t want to die defending this country beside someone who hates.















In short, you don’t like my position and that is okay but that doesn’t make me a bad person. I disagree with you but I don’t think you are a bad person. I have learned years ago when someone resorts to personal attacks they have no argument. I glad to see you admit that politicians divide us by giving examples of the way liberal politicians claim conservatives divide us to compare to the ones gave showing how liberals divide us. Thank you for confirming that fact I never stated “real racism” was not an issue. Your implication that I have some nefarious purpose is silly and a typical use Alinsky smear tactics. Your comments are so silly that I don’t need a defense. What you and people fear is the truth. I think everyone should remove their blinders and honestly assess the issue. The fact is that Institutional racism does not exist and the issues we face today have other root causes? There are a few members of organizations like La Raza, Black Panthers and the KKK that do hate people based on hereditary factors. They should all the condemned. As a far as a soapbox is concerned, you should look down.


Marco Dees

Bernard,







1. Your supposedly “empirical” question only yields circumstantial evidence. When you suggest that something isn’t a problem because you don’t personally see it in your neighborhood, you show your ignorance and privilege.



2. Comparing the Black Panthers with the KKK is a false equivalency.



3. Racist people know they are wrong and they know they should be ashamed of themselves for being so blatantly hateful. Therefore many do not "register" officially with their local racism clubs. Therefore we may never have truly reliable/accurate data on these groups.



4. If you pay any attention at all you can see these people quite readily. Last year KKK members posted hateful flyers all over downtown Lafayette (there is video footage available). About a month ago my family and I were exposed to a KKK member in full hood/cloak at an O'Charlie’s. And right here in Crawfordsville I've seen more than one swastika tattoo. These are just a few examples that readily came to mind but you and I both know it wouldn’t be difficult to site more.



5. Tellingly, the only politicians you care to mention are dividing us are the ones who use language like “deplorables”. I noticed you failed to mention the politicians who divide us by using words like “fake news”, “rapists”, “thugs”, and “sh!@-h0le countries”. You have no interest in uniting Americans. You have an interest in uniting white Americans behind the absurd idea that racism is a thing of the past and minorities need to just shut up and sit down.







I understand your urge to put on your blinders and dismiss racism in an effort to declare the struggle over and ease our collective conscience but the fact is racism is still very much a problem and the struggle is not over. Pretending racism is not a serious problem is not only enabling but actively subversive. As I see it your eagerness to dismiss this problem is either a) an attempt to alleviate your own personal shame for having hateful views you know you cannot justify or b) an example of a very common recruitment tactic of hate groups: first, position racism as a non-issue that requires no attention so they let their guard down, then start planting seeds via broad generalizations (often coded as patriotic or hearkening back to a supposedly better time), then slowly turn up the heated rhetoric until they are boiling in hate before they know what happened.







In short, your argument is counterproductive, hurtful, and clearly disingenuous as you suggest racism is a non-issue that isn’t worth discussion but you apparently see anti-racism as being a big enough issue for you to take to your soapbox.







Respectfully,


Bernard Thompson

1. First I quoted FBI and government statistics which you never contested. I simply asked people to make an observation. I am sorry that I am ignorant about privilege. I was deserted by my father at birth, left to live with relatives in a 3 bedroom house with 11 other people. MY privilege consisted of peanut butter sandwiches every day for the first 6 years of school because we couldn’t afford jelly. Try swallowing that with no milk. That was my privilege.











2. Comparing the KKK and the Black Panthers is a perfect equivalency in that both are hate groups, both are racist, and both should be condemned. How are they unequal?







3. Racism is wrong and I never said it wasn’t. Your implication is that only white people can be racist is incorrect. I have been attacked because of the color of my skin. Ignorant people are everywhere. I do not know how the government obtains their numbers on hate groups but since the only authority on these issues is the Federal government would assume they have other ways of calculating the members other than having them raise their hands for a count. I obtained those numbers from the FBI website, are you implying the FBI fudges the numbers on hate groups?















4. You said you were confronted by a fully adorned member of the KKK. They look silly don’t they? Did you get a photo of this KKK member at O’Charlie’s? I called and spoke with management and they did not recall the incident. If it happens again please learn how to use your cell phone photo option and take a photo. You would be able to sell if for a small fortune to media outlets. I am sorry that you have seen a swastika tattoo. I don’t believe we should base public policy on tattoos. If that were the case, the Hispanic community would be in some serious trouble as they would be associated with all the people with LA RAZA and MS13 tattoos and all the African Americans would be associated with gangs like the Black Panthers, Bloods and Crypts. I was a Marine Recruiter in Chicago. You would be surprised on how many gang I saw and to be honest I did see a swastika one also. I throw them all out of my office. You see I didn’t want to die defending this country beside someone who hates.











In short, you don’t like my position and that is okay but that doesn’t make me a bad person. I disagree with you but I don’t think you are a bad person. I have learned years ago when someone resorts to personal attacks they have no argument. I glad to see you admit that politicians divide us by giving examples of the way liberal politicians claim conservatives divide us to compare to the ones gave showing how liberals divide us. Thank you for confirming that fact I never stated “real racism” was not an issue. Your implication that I have some nefarious purpose is silly and a typical use Alinsky smear tactics. Your comments are so silly that I don’t need a defense. What you and people like you fear is the truth. I think everyone should remove their blinders and honestly assess the issue. The fact is that Institutional racism does not exist. There are a few members of organizations like La Raza, Black Panthers and the KKK that do hate people based on hereditary factors. They should all the condemned. As a far as a soapbox is concerned, you should look down.


Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.