Richard Tobin is an 18-year-old white man who was sitting in his car in the parking lot of Menlo Park Mall in Edison, New Jersey. He had a machete in his hand and planned to kill African-Americans there were so many around him, which “enraged” him. Thankfully, he did not do it and is now in custody.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports, Tobin, who lives in Brooklawn, New Jersey is accused of “the vandalism of two Midwestern synagogues earlier this year, making him the latest target of a law enforcement crackdown against alleged white nationalists in South Jersey.”
The outlet also reports, “Court documents say Tobin also confessed to obsessively plotting more violent action and, in one case, got as far as sitting in the parking lot of the Menlo Park Mall in Middlesex County with a machete willing himself to ‘let loose’ on Black shoppers.”
FBI Special Agent Jason D. Novick said in court docs, “Tobin said that he was triggered by the state of the country, such as when he saw a Pride parade or a large number of African Americans in one location. There were so many African Americans around [the mall] that enraged him.”
There has been a rise of white nationalism in New Jersey and Tobin was reportedly part of the group called the “white protection league.” NJ.com reports it is an “invitation-only social media network known as The Base, which caught the attention of extremism watchdogs last year. The network was founded by a purported veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with the goal of uniting white supremacists across the country and inspiring them to carry out violent attacks.”
White nationalism is on the rise. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), extremist-related murders spiked 35 percent from 2017 to 2018, “making them responsible for more deaths than in any year since 1995.”
NBC News reports, “Hate crimes in the country increased by 17 percent from 2016 to 2017, marking the third straight year of a spike in hate crimes, according to an FBI report released last November. More than half of the hate crimes reported in 2017 were motivated by racial or ethnic bias.”
White terrorism is clearly a threat to our country and many people credit the rise in this extremism to Donald Trump.