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


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