As Trump targets refugees, don’t forget our long history of white right wing terrorists

On Tuesday, the Daily Show‘s Trevor Noah made an important point about President Donald Trump: In his zeal for demonizing Islam and associating the belief system with terrorism, Trump overlooks the simple objective fact that terrorism by white extremists — namely white nationalists and Christian extremists — remains unsettlingly prevalent in the U.S.

Noah noted the irony of Trump’s endless war with media, given that media coverage of terrorism and violent crime is often deeply biased and Trump “should be thanking the media, because if they didn’t freak people out and hyper-report about terrorism, there’s a good chance he would still be fake-firing celebrities on NBC.”

And indeed, from America’s earliest days, violence by white males often motivated by racist agendas has always been ignored. Today, the violent acts of white men are perceived as the crimes of disturbed individuals, while media and a significant portion of the public see the acts of violence and terror committed by people of color as representative of their race or ethnicity, as a whole.

Following the mass shooting in South Carolina committed by Roof, Slate compiled a list of the numerous murders and terror attacks committed by white people from 1995 to 2015.

Below is a summary of that list:

October 9, 1995: A sabotaged railroad track causes a train to derail, killing an Amtrak employee in Hyder, Arizona. Propaganda material from the “Sons of Gestapo” is found near the scene.

April 12, 1996: Neo-Nazi named Larry Wayne Shoemake kills a black man in a random Jackson, Mississippi attack.

Larry Wayne Shoemake (Right Wing Violence)

July 27, 1996: Eric Robert Rudolph detonates a bomb at the Atlanta Olympics and kills one person. Two years later, he detonates another bomb kills at a Birmingham abortion clinic, killing one person. He later said the bombings were part of his fight against abortion and “the homosexual agenda.”

Eric Robert Rudolph (Carolina Public Press)

May 29, 1998: Alan Pilon, Robert Mason and Jason McVean shoot and kill a Colorado police officer who tried to arrest them for stealing a water truck. The two were linked to anti-government militias.

Jason McVean and Alan Pilon (Unsolved Mysteries)

October 23, 1998: James Charles Kopp shoots and kills a abortion provider in Amherst, New York in front of his wife and children.


July 1, 1999: White supremacist Brothers Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams kill a gay couple in Redding, California.

Benjamin Matthew Williams and James Tyler Williams (SPLC)

July 2-July 5 1999: Neo-Nazi Benjamin Nathaniel Smith kills black basketball coach Ricky Byrdsong and a Korean graduate student and wounds nine other non-white victims over the course of three days.

Benjamin Nathaniel Smith (Murderpedia)

August 10, 1999: Neo-Nazi Buford Furrow kills a Filipino immigrant inside a Jewish community in Granada Hills, California.

Buford Furrow (Murderpedia)

September 15-October 4, 2001: Aryan Brotherhood member Mark Stroman shoots three South Asian men in the Dallas area, killing two of them. He said his actions were meant as revenge for 9/11.

Mark Stroman (screen grab)

May 24, 2004: Father and son Wade and Christopher Lay kill a bank security guard in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The two reportedly did it in revenge for the 1993 law enforcement siege on the Branch Davidian cult’s compound in Waco Texas.

Wade and Christopher Lay (Tulsa World)

July 27, 2008: Jim David Adkisson shoots and kills two people during a children’s performance of a musical at a Unitarian church as revenge against people who had voted for liberals and Democrats.

Jim David Adkisson (Murderpedia)

January 21, 2009: Neo-Nazi Keith Luke rapes and kills an immigrant from Cape Verde in Brockton, Massachusetts, then kills a 72-year-old homeless immigrant.

Keith Luke (screen grab via Fox25)

April 4, 2009: Richard Andrew Poplawski kills three Pittsburgh police officers. He was regular fixture in white supremacist online forums and promoted government gun confiscation conspiracy theories.

Richard Andrew Poplawski (MySpace)

April 25, 2009: Joshua Cartwright kills two Okaloosa County, Florida sheriff’s deputies. Cartwright’s wife said he exhibited anti-government paranoia.

Joshua Cartwright (WJHG.com)

May 31, 2009: Scott Roeder walks into a church in Wichita, Kansas and kills usher Dr. George Tiller, who is also an abortion provider.

June 10, 2009: An 89-year-old white supremacist James von Brunn kills a security guard at the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

James von Brunn (Wikipedia)

May 20, 2010: “Sovereign citizens” father-son pair named Jerry and Joseph Kane kill two West Memphis, Arkansas police officers.

Joseph and Jerry Kane (screen grab)

September 26-October 3, 2011: White supremacists David Pedersen and Holly Ann Grigsby kill Grigsby’s father and stepmother in Washington, a man they believe is Jewish in Oregon, and a black man in California.

David Pedersen and Holly Ann Grigsby (Yuba County Sheriff’s Office)

August 5, 2012: White supremacist Wade Michael Page kills six people at a Sikh temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.

Wade Michael Page (Wikipedia)

August 16, 2012: “Sovereign citizens” Brian Smith and Kyle Joekel allegedly kill two Louisiana sheriff’s deputies. They are currently awaiting trial.

Kyle Joekel and Brian Smith (St. John Sheriff’s Office)

April 13, 2014: KKK member Frazier Glenn Miller kills three people near a Jewish community center in Overland Park, Kansas.

Frazier Glenn Miller (1985)

June 8, 2014: Jerad and Amanda Miller kill two police officers in a random attack at Las Vegas pizzeria, then kill a customer at a Walmart. The Millers had spent time on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s property during protests related to Bundy’s dispute with the federal government.

Jerad and Amanda Miller (Facebook)

June 17, 2015: Dylann Roof murders nine people at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Dylan Roof (screen grab CNN)

July 24, 2015: “Anti-feminist” John Russell Houser kills two women at a screening of the Amy Schumer comedy Trainwreck in Lafayette, Louisiana. He had a history of right-wing and anti-government web postings.

John Russell Houser (Lafayette Police Dept.)

Nov. 27, 2015: Right wing Christian extremist Robert Lewis Dear shoots and kills three people, including a police officer, at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.

Robert Lewis Dear (Colorado Springs Police)

Certainly, considering the violent crime of white people is not to say they should be associated with terrorism, but that no group should be stereotyped or perceived as having a monopoly on the capacity to commit acts of terrorism. This hasn’t stopped Trump from taking the program “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, and renaming it “Countering Islamic Extremism” and “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism.”

Following Trump’s orders, the program will soon no longer target groups such as the white supremacists, religious extremists, and anti-government militia-members who have carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.

[This post has been updated] Editor’s note: Some of the cases from Slate’s list were left out due to their inconclusiveness of motive. This post is in no way an attempt to minimize the very real threat of Islamic terrorism. It’s an attempt to reinforce the fact that refugees represent a minimal threat to U.S. national security as opposed to homegrown threats.



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