10 This is right-wing terrorism that killed one person. Jihadism is still ahead on deaths since 9/11, 95 to 68.

Charlottesville was Terrorism: Hard Data on Threat Levels from Ideological Hate

Statistically, Perhaps We Shouldn’t Be So Worried about White Supremacy

Go here to the GAO list of terrorism acts and scroll to p. 29 (p.35 of PDF) to view. Above is a snapshot of “Far Right Violent Extremist-Motivated Attacks that Resulted in Fatalities, September 12, 2001 through December 31, 2016, as reported in the U.S. Extremist Crime Database (ECDB).” Note how few are targeting people because of race. In this image, there’s only two out out of 20. The full list does indicate a higher percentage did involve minority victims.
This Tweet is the first thing I saw Sunday morning when scanning phone around terrorism in Charlottesville. It’s been shared more than 28,000 times as of Monday afternoon, August 14. Note how the more inflammatory initial Tweet gets 20 times more shares than the slightly misleading follow-up Tweet by the same Twitter handle. And that tweet gets nearly 5 times more shares than the most accurate Tweet which points out an extremist subset of 1% of our population is responsible for more than 50% of terrorism deaths using GAO data.

GAO Terrorism Statistics

Yes, there are 62 far-right-wing incidents to 23 jihadist incidents, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. A far more relevant fact omitted in this Tweet and elsewhere is that there are 119 jihadist deaths compared to 106 right-wing deaths in the 15 years after the September 11 attacks.

See that intersection of GREEN and RED lines in this New America analysis? When “Far Right Wing” terrorism was higher than “Jihadist” terrorism, Time, Newsweek and The New York Times (among others) focused on how right-wing terror killings were “the bigger threat” using this database. Headlines going in the other direction this past year are virtually non-existent.

New America Foundation Terrorism Statistics

What do other sources say for the same 15-year period since non-resident foreign terrorists killed 2,974 victims on 9/11? Indeed, experts debate on what the threshold is to count each incident as terrorism, and attributable to which ideology. Still, I found the numbers from the two reputable sources, GAO and New America, to be in similar ballparks.

  • 95 jihadist terror killings since 9/11 (includes Orlando nightclub shooting)
  • 68 right-wing (mostly white) terror killings since 9/11 (includes Charleston church shooting and last Saturday's Charlottesville vehicular attack)
  • 8 black separatist (formerly “left-wing”) terror killings since 9/11 (includes Dallas police sniper shooting)

Population Differences

From these population pools, extremists spring forth willing to kill because of hate. The first two bullets below one could argue make up the “right-wing” group, and the last bullet would indicate the “jihadist” group. Trump partisans could also overlap with the first two groups, and hate crimes are often pinned on Trump voters and the alt-right.

  • There are about 50% of Americans who are white and Christian
  • There are about 35% of Americans who are right-wing/conservative
  • 1% of Americans are Muslim
The Muslim population will double in 40 years.
This map shows exactly who’s doing the terrorism and where: It’s almost entirely Islamic Extremists. https://storymaps.esri.com/stories/terrorist-attacks/?year=2016

Disingenuous, Statistical Cherry-Picking by Mainstream Media

When the number of right-wing killings was HIGHER before the Orlando nightclub shooting in 2016 flipped the narrative, articles in The New York Times, Newsweek, and Time magazine wrote high-profile articles using the ubiquitous New America study to say right-wing extremism is responsible for more death. Those articles are still shared widely, implying a threat from right-wing factions are far more lethal to Americans, without mentioning the population differences (Muslims are a very small percentage of residents in the United States), or the fact the “total killed” for each category obviously fluctuates. None will say that together all ideological killings combine for about 10–15 homicides a year out of 16,000. (Precisely 15,872 homicides based on 2014 CDC data, which needs updating.) These three leading media outlets simply sensationalized with these headlines:

Deep Down, SPLC Knows

Even the Southern Poverty Law Center has admitted to Reuters that an average of 5 official hate crime murders happened annually between 2003–2015. A June 2017 hate crime report by the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics puts that average at 8 hate crime homicides per year.

This figure above found in the PDF of the 2016 ADL report titled “MURDER AND EXTREMISM IN THE UNITED STATES IN 2016: An Anti-Defamation League Report” are the only breakdowns in terms of ideologies of murderers, representing the years 2015 and 2016. The PDF was the source for several stories, such as The Atlantic, that boldly stated right-wing extremists committed 74% of the 372 politically motivated in the U.S. between 2007 and 2016. Bizarrely, only the news release about the report mentioned those high numbers, but the report itself does not. To date, as I slightly modify this section in October 2018, no source is available as to how the ADL determined totals of 372 deaths — many times higher than New America or GAO totals. For example The New York Times source doesn’t show where the ADL came up with such numbers. Apparently, I was not the only one who was confused. However, I may be the only one reporting about it.

More Statistical Cherry-Picking by Mainstream Media (the Anti-Defamation League example of ideological bias)

[Everything below slightly edited Oct 2018; also new info & statistics added in the “In Conclusion” ending of this Medium post, along with supporting arguments from Coleman Hughes, Glenn Loury and John McWhorter.]

Presidential Medal of Freedom winner and presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson was placed on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “Extremist Watch List.” The SPLC’s also put Christian groups and Muslim liberals on the list, such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Maajid Nawaz, who is suing the SPLC for defamation. A July 2017 Politico piece on the SPLC asks “Has a Civil Rights Stalwart Lost Its Way?” and whether it is overstepping its bounds in the Trump era.

Are There Financial Incentives for Fighting “Hate”? Are “Hate” Murders Exaggerated? (Short Answer: Yes.)

Indeed, the undercount of any non-white supremacist killings the ADL readily confesses. The ADL has controversially also put “alt-lite” groups into their “hate” column. Counting as a terror act what otherwise might simply be a criminal act committed by a white criminal radicalized in prisons (and tatted up) is a stretch as well.

Twice as many blacks kill whites than vice versa in the United States, according to government data stretching back to 1980. Though published annually in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, this is largely unreported in academia and media due to sensitivities around race. It is sourced in a single Politifact article touching on Freddie Gray and Trayvon Martin’s deaths that indicated intraracial bloodshed (black-on-black, white-on-white) more often affects African Americans, and also said, “Overall, the percentage of homicides that cross race lines has increased from about 8 percent of the total three decades ago to about 13 percent.” Basically, Politifact and the Tampa Bay Times carefully talk around this political correct issue. SOURCE: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/expanded_homicide_data_table_6_murder_race_and_sex_of_vicitm_by_race_and_sex_of_offender_2015.xls
This critic of the GAO may be right-wing, but I don’t think he’s largely wrong.

Hate Crime Murders in 2017 and 8 Black Separatist / Left-Wing Police Killings NOT Listed in New America Data (UPDATED in 2018)

When reading the following ask yourself, “Did I hear about these hate crime incidents?” Part of it may be whether you paid attention to the news that day, but it could also reflect the echo chamber you’re in as well.

The face of a drunken racist murderer who gets three consecutive life terms.
Never heard of Kori Ali Muhammad and his targeted killing of 3 random white men? If you know of other hate crime murders listed exhaustively here and not this one, maybe you should ask yourself, “Why not?”
File under: When an anti-white cop killer Tweets. Why isn’t Malik Mohammad Ali on New America’s list of ideological terror killings when even The Southern Poverty Law Center lists him and his sovereign citizen beliefs as extremist?
SOURCE: https://www.newamerica.org/in-depth/terrorism-in-america/what-threat-united-states-today/

2019 Addendum: What If Per Capita Offending in Ideological Terrorism Was the Same Between Whites and Blacks? (Answer: With at Least 22 Black Terrorist Killings Since 9/11, They Likely Are.)

  • “2017 Oregon Train Stabbing: On Friday, May 26, 2017 Jeremy Joseph Christian stabbed to death two men and injured a third on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon. The two men who were killed intervened when Christian started harassing two African-American teenagers — one of whom is Muslim and was wearing traditional Muslim clothing — on the MAX train and used anti-immigrant hate speech in addition to other vitriol.” [Note: The men were white but defending these women during the hate incident. And Christian was clearly as mentally ill as Fredrick Demond Scott in Kansas.]
  • “2018 Kansas City Murder: In July 2018, Ronald Lee Kidwell, a 47-year-old white man, was arrested and charged in the murder of MeShon Cooper-Williams, a 43-year-old African-American woman whose body had been found after she had been reported missing in early July. Kidnell reporteldy was a white supremacist who would brag about membership in the KKK and drape himself in the Confederate flag … Law enforcement has not labeled the murder a hate crime, but says it is investigating all possibilities.”

Sometimes, Major Media Is Completely Incorrect with No One Fact-checking Them

Since writing this piece in Summer 2017, I’ve continued to see the media play up right-wing “white terrorism” as a major threat even though in the Trump era mass shootings have stayed mostly proportional by race (though, obviously almost all committed by men), and they represent far less than 1% of fatal firearm murders. But the media is hell-bent on playing up white right-wing terrorism as a bigger threat than the facts dictate. The New York Times fabricated what the FBI said in an editorial on August 4 , 2019, directly after a El Paso anti-immigrant xenophobic massacre in Walmart killed 22. They wrote, “Far more Americans have died at the hands of domestic terrorists than at the hands of Islamic extremists since 2001, according to the F.B.I. The agency’s resources.”

Update Sept 2019: New America Posted a New Report (Could explain why their chart went up from 109 far right killings to 111 killings.)

So Peter Bergen and his fellow writers ended up writing a 9/11 anniversary report that consists of five fact-filled pages:

Finally, My Unpublished Work — Relevant?

This piece I wrote after the Pittsburgh synagogue murders by a white nationalist who ascribed to white genocide conspiracy theories after there was an onslaught of finger-pointing at angry white men after Trump. CNN’s Don Lemon topped the list. But I looked at the data and found simply that wasn’t the case. White Americans simply aren’t over-represented in hate murder, but that’s how they’re constantly represented in the media. I firmly believe this disconnect between reality and media representation is what leads to Trump being president, and may actually be furthering more white nationalism — which is dangerous for America, I believe.

Some notes I would send to New America for their consideration. The per capita rate of terror murder may not be necessary, but I do believe the black extremism deadly attack category is a vast under-count. See above. SOURCE: https://www.newamerica.org/in-depth/terrorism-in-america/what-threat-united-states-today/
From 2015 to 2017, blacks have increased their murder count of white Americans (which includes most Hispanics) by 76. Whites have only increased their murders of blacks by only 28 total. Though said before, it bears repeating: Since at least 1980 twice as many blacks have killed whites than vice versa in the United States. In my estimation, the deficit-gap in killings of blacks and whites favoring blacks the past 12 years is EQUAL to the number of 3,265 black lynchings from 1881 to 1941. A controversial fact for sure, but still a fact. SOURCE: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-6.xls
Came out Sept 2019 to little fan fare: SOURCE: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/tables/expanded-homicide-data-table-6.xls
Consistent 2:1 ratio of killings since 1980, according to U.S. Department of Justice data. SOURCE: https://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/htus8008.pdf
Cato Institute posting August 14, 2017: Murders in Terrorist Attacks by the Ideology of the Attacker, 1992–2017.

Forgot 9/11 and 1995 Oklahoma City Bombing?

OK, let’s include them. An analysis today by the Cato Institute does.

The Real Question Is: What Should We Do to Keep Ourselves Safe?

The evidence clearly shows that the largest threats are still from Islamic extremism compared to right-wing terrorism. But as stated repeatedly, based on the last 15 years, the chances of dying from a racist or jihadist is infinitesimally small. And if “the big ‘ol dirty bomb” happens, as vast quantities of radiological material is currently missing, don’t be in a big city.

People say this is like Big Brother and can lead to racial profiling. Or it’s just common sense, and partially helped catch the Islamic terrorist responsible for the 2016 New York and New Jersey bombings. From Wikipedia: “At around 10:30 a.m., a Linden bar owner was in a deli across the street from his bar, watching CNN, when he saw a man sleeping in the bar’s doorway. He recognized the man as Rahimi from news reports and called 9–1–1, saying ‘the guy looks a little suspicious and doesn’t look good to me.’ When three Linden police officers arrived fifteen minutes later and awoke the man, they realized that the man was Rahimi.”
Ignored in the Charlottesville narrative: Statistical trends. Source: CNN and Southern Poverty Law Center.

In Conclusion: What about Hate Crimes? What Is the Threat Level?

While there is a 17% increase in the number of hate groups since 2014, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the white nationalist/neo-Nazi ones have dropped precipitously. It’s the growth of black hate groups that drove that jump. Additionally, no one knows if each group has 10 members or 100 or 1000 — they don’t open their membership records, and few are verifiable like the 3000 in the Ku Klux Klan in 22 states, compromising the largest and most notorious hate group. (That’s one Klansman for every 100,000 Americans, if keeping track.) Critics have said the SPLC should focus on the total number of hate-fueled individuals that could be spread among splinter groups — and they certainly have the resources to do so.

The most interesting fact I’ve yet to find: How many people are in each of these groups? Five? 500? Combined, how many are there? Source: CNN and Southern Poverty Law Center.
When I was in 9th grade, my mom took me to the Oscar-nominated film “Mississippi Burning” where I learned of the 1964 lynching deaths of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. My impression then and for decades after was that lynchings were a regular occurrence during this period in the South, with this case garnering national attention because two of the victims were both white and civil rights activists from the North (“agitators”). Recently, I discovered source documents from Tuskegee University that showed those 3 murders were among the only documented lynchings for a decade (see third row above). Additionally, almost all the lynchings took place before 1936! I find this bewildering to discover because lynchings are historically listed as a major motivation for the great migration of African Americans to Northern states. Obviously, the imagery is gut-wrenching, but I wonder if we over-estimate how often it occurred in the mid-20th century — not recognizing that Emmett Till’s awful and grotesque 1955 death was an anomaly by this point in the Deep South. For example, a celebrated 2018 lynching memorial in Alabama dedicated to social justice used a different source and methodology than Tuskegee (a historically black university) to come up with around the same number of blacks killed, around 4000. However, the memorial, and the many stories promoting it, omit any mention of the fact that one-quarter of people lynched during the Jim Crow period were white. (The Guardian point this out in passing, mentioning the Tuskegee breakdown.) Certainly, these institutions of remembrance — and grievance — don’t convey that today’s African Americans did not, in all likelihood, have a grandparent or great-grandparent who experienced the threat of lynchings. Some do. Yes, lynchings are a stain on the United States of America. But we have others. Coleman Hughes and brave voices like his have stated correctly the following: Twice as many black people are killed every year by other black people than nearly 100 years of Jim Crow lynchings. Yet, who wants to talk about that? (IMAGE SOURCE: Tuskegee University, Lynching, Whites & Negroes, 1882 -1968; PDF)
Just a meme.
  • 26% of perpetrators of hate crimes are black (13% of population)
  • 46% are white (63% of population are non-Hispanic white with around 16–17% of ethnic Hispanics added to that in FBI categories — basically whites and Hispanics are mixed together, combining to about 80% of total population in FBI stats)
  • 26% are Hispanic (17% of the population)
Does this picture represent America? Or is it a small fraction blown up by the media? Taken from The Atlantic article mentioned in this post titled, “What Trump Gets Wrong About Antifa.” Unfortunately, they got their facts from the ADL and they’re exaggerated. Just like the overall narrative around Charlottesville.

BONUS GRAPHICS I MADE: Just So you Know Where I’m Coming From

I know many people have an existential fear of what’s to come in this country. Still, we should be aware of the lack of violent events in the recent past as a gauge of understanding ideological threat levels. Even if murder-by-bigotry or twisted beliefs triples or quadruples, how is that going to affect us year-to-year? I myself designed these two meme images, which I thought would also be a food-for-thought addendum for this posting.

Source: https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/terrorism-immigration-risk-analysis
Source: www.newamerica.org/in-depth/terrorism-in-america/what-threat-united-states-today/ (Includes racist murders in Charleston and hate-filled killings in San Bernardino and Orlando, among others.)

--

--

Writer. Researcher. Designer. Human seeking better outcomes for all. Empiricism, relevant facts, and logical arguments > simple narratives.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
David Shuey

Writer. Researcher. Designer. Human seeking better outcomes for all. Empiricism, relevant facts, and logical arguments > simple narratives.