White supremacist violence has been on the rise following lone wolf attacks and the deadly nationalist rally in Charlottesville.
Fifty-nine percent of all extremist-related U.S. deaths were caused by White supremacists in 2017. That figure was up dramatically from 20 percent in 2016, according to a new report from the Anti Defamation League. White supremacists and so-called alt-right groups committed more murders than domestic so-called Islamic extremists, with “2017 the fifth deadliest year on record for extremist violence since 1970.”
With the blistering report, more questions were being raised about whether crimes will further increase this year.
The alt-right organizations at the center of much of the violence have come into national attention after Charlottesville in August, ADL National Director and CEO Jonathan Greenblatt explained.
“While it is impossible to draw a direct line of causation between these brutal acts and the many public displays of white supremacy that took place around the country in 2017, it’s critical not to underestimate the effect of an increasingly visible alt-right and white-supremacist community on people who are already predisposed to racism,” Greenblatt wrote in The Atlantic. “As a society we need to keep a close watch on recruitment and rallies such as Charlottesville, which have the greatest potential to provoke and inspire violence.”
Other events that have pointed to an increase in violence caused by White males include the horrific Mandalay Bay terrorist attack that ended with at least 59 people killed in Las Vegas in October. Shooter Stephen Paddock was offensively characterized as a “lone wolf,” language that perpetuates wrongful stereotypes and emboldens racists. Not to mention, Nevada state law plainly states that what Paddock did can’t be called anything other an “Act of terrorism.”
A recent case has also spotlighted the harm of the “lone wolf” defense. A White supremacist who fatally stabbed a Black man in Times Square in March as “practice for a massacre” has entered into plea talks for a lesser punishment, the New York Daily News reported. Any sentence less than life imprisonment for James Harris Jackson would call attention to the trend that White males are less likely to face just punishment than Black men.
Violence involving White males and the Anti-Defamation League’s report shows the world that there’s so much work to be done to combat this horror. More criminal justice reform is needed, and new ways of tracking White Supremacist violence must be used. Undoubtedly, there has to be double the resistance to match the doubling of crimes.