The issue of white terrorism in the U.S. is not one politicians or the media have ever truly been comfortable confronting.
While high profile commentators and Republican politicians are all too happy to discuss the global terror threat from Islamist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda, statistics suggest that the real problems are much closer to home.
In the wake of the Paris attacks, a number of state senators and presidential candidates have taken to fearmongering about Syrian refugees, failing to recognise that Islamic State murderers are precisely what the refugees are fleeing.
Thanksgiving weekend is over, & after all those warnings about Muslims, the 1 terrorist incident of the weekend is a white hater in Colorado
— Michael Moore (@MMFlint) November 30, 2015
However, politicians are also failing to confront the reasons why two recent high profile shootings in the U.S. happened. Both were perpetrated by white gunmen – one at a Black Lives Matter protest and the other at an abortion clinic.
Sadly, as ever, these killers were instantly branded “mentally unstable loners”, just like Charleston shooter Dylann Roof and countless other white mass murderers.
It’s not a new phenomenon, with politicians hesitant to brand a white shooter a “terrorist”, partly because such a description would require Republicans to confront some uncomfortable truths about America’s gun laws.
As GOP incites fear of Syrian refugees, white terrorists have:
―Shot up Planned Parenthood
―Stalked mosque w/ rifles
―Shot black protesters
— David Harris-Gershon (@David_EHG) November 27, 2015AdvertisementAdvertisement
Even so, figures on domestic terrorism from the New America Foundation which have re-surfaced this week, may give people some pause for thought.
According to i100, the statistics reveal that since the September 11 attacks in New York in 2001, two-thirds of the deaths in “terror attacks” on U.S. soil have been carried out by “right wing” attackers – primarily, white supremacists.
Speaking to Vox, David Sterman, the senior programme association at the New America Foundation, said:
There is a conventional wisdom that terrorism in the U.S. is the province of foreigners and is seen as a problem of infiltration. And while there is certainly a reason for that perception, as the September 11 attacks were conducted by people who came in from abroad, in the 330 cases we’ve examined since September 11, we found 80 per cent are US citizens.
More figures released by Statista expand on that point, showing that between 2001 and 2011, 3,000 U.S. citizens were killed by what the media termed “terrorism”, while more than 130,000 came as a result of “gun homicide deaths”.
Speaking to MSNBC prior to an armed protest outside a mosque in Texas, Muslim American author Dalia Mogahed added:
When you look at the majority of terrorist attacks in the United States, according to the FBI, the majority of domestic terror attacks are actually committed by white, male Christians.
So while the likes of Ben Carson are using dehumanising rhetoric to describe Syrian refugees on the run from terrorism, and Donald Trump is actually pitching the disgraceful idea of registering all Muslims in America in some sort of database, just remember who the real threat to U.S. citizens actually are.