If you’ve been listening to the vitriol spewed by the Right — and even if you haven’t — you’ve probably heard whispers that ISIS is sneaking terrorists into the country as Syrian refugees. While this is not in any way true, our conservative friends absolutely believe it, and their politicians — Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson, and the rest of the Clown Car™ — absolutely capitalize on the opportunity to demonize Muslims, all while completely ignoring the true terrorist threat: crazy white people.
“We have no idea who these people are, we are the worst when it comes to paperwork,” Trump said of refugees from Syria who are fleeing ISIS in mid-November. “This could be one of the great Trojan horses.” The billionaire adamantly declared that “we cannot let them into this country, period,” because refugees represent a “problem.”
This is a sentiment that has become quite popular with the Right — keep them out, they’re dangerous, they’re going to kill us. After all, we have more important problems — like Planned Parenthood, Benghazi, and whatever nonissue conservatives insist on pretending is an impending threat to America. One very real issue that conservatives all ignore is the threat the Right poses, a threat far greater than any Muslim — one that was very recently placed on full display by Robert Lewis Dear’s attack on a Planned Parenthood facility in Colorado.
Dear, a Christian conservative, killed three and injured nine in his terrifying attack, in which he set up propane tanks in the parking lot of the Planned Parenthood and went in shooting. Desperate conservatives, in an effort to shield their violent and hateful rhetoric from any blame, have concocted a story of a bank robbery gone wrong in which the terrorist ducked into Planned Parenthood to avoid the police, but that story has been disproved time and again. Some, like 2016 presidential candidate Ted Cruz, portray Dear as a “transgender leftist activist” because of a typographical error on his voter registration — another tale that is, of course, utter and complete bullshit. Perhaps conservatives are simply ignorant of literally everything — or maybe, just maybe, they don’t want you to realize that you are more than seven times more likely to be killed by a right-wing terrorist than one of their dreaded Muslims.
Conservatives are right about one thing — the United States faces an unprecedented and growing terrorist threat. To understand the nature of this threat, you need only do one thing: look in the mirror…unless you’re not white; in that case, find a picture of a white person and look at it. There’s your terrorist.
A survey conducted by the New York Times with the Police Executive Research Forum last year of 382 law enforcement agencies revealed something startling: 74 percent reported anti-government exreemism as one of the top three terrorist threats in their jurisdictions while only 39 percent listed “Islamic” extremism. In fact, only three percent listed Muslim extremism as a “severe” problem while seven percent said anti-government extremism is a severe issue. The Times notes that, when compared to right-wing extremism, Islamic terrorism is a minor problem:
Despite public anxiety about extremists inspired by Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, the number of violent plots by such individuals has remainedvery low. Since 9/11, an average of nine American Muslims per year have been involved in an average of six terrorism-related plots against targets in the United States. Most were disrupted, but the 20 plots that were carried out accounted for 50 fatalities over the past 13 and a half years.
In contrast, right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities, according to a study by Arie Perliger, a professor at the United States Military Academy’sCombating Terrorism Center. The toll has increased since the study was released in 2012.
Other data sets, using different definitions of political violence, tell comparable stories. The Global Terrorism Database maintained by the Start Center at the University of Maryland includes 65 attacks in the United States associated with right-wing ideologies and 24 by Muslim extremists since 9/11. The International Security Program at the New America Foundation identifies 39 fatalities from “non-jihadist” homegrown extremists and 26 fatalities from “jihadist” extremists.
“Meanwhile, terrorism of all forms has accounted for a tiny proportion of violence in America,” the authors note. “There have been more than 215,000 murders in the United States since 9/11. For every person killed by Muslim extremists, there have been 4,300 homicides from other threats.”
Conservatives can continue to fear monger away about the “threat” presented by Syrian refugees all they want, but the fact is that of 784,000 refugees settled in the United States since 9/11, only three have been charged with plotting a terrorist attack. Meanwhile, we deal with white terrorists like Dylann Roof, Jerad and Amanda Miller, and Robert Lewis Dear.
Watch a report on the dangers presented by right-wing extremism, below: