As many were quick to point out, the parallels between the Norway terrorist and the right-wing extremists in the US are striking. Both represent a similar world-view based on white-supremacy and Islamaphobia. In light of the fact that the Department of Homeland Security was forced to bury a 2009 report ordered by the Bush administration and conducted by a lifelong Republican that specifically warned of right-wing terrorism in the United States, the question of whether or not we are attributing enough resources to this threat weighs heavily on analysts’ minds.
Domestic terror analyst Daryl Johnson tells Huffington Post that right-wing extremism has been on the rise in the United States since the election of the first black President and the recession, and other analysts raise concerns that we are not giving enough resources to the rising threat from the right-wing. Johnson warns that right wing extremism has “exploded” in the last few years.
There are conflicting reports from analysts and the DHS regarding whether or not the agency is devoting enough resources to the threat from the right, with Johnson claiming that our resources are focused on Islamic terrorism to a much larger degree than right-wing terrorism.
Huffington Post reports:
…Johnson claims that DHS has devoted fewer resources to tracking such activity. Since he left DHS last year, he says his unit, which focused on domestic terrorism, has been reduced in size from at least seven people to a single inexperienced analyst and a lone contractor. In comparison, there are at least 25 analysts devoted to tracking Islamic terrorism, he told HuffPost blogger Brian Levin, a criminal justice professor at Cal State San Bernandino.
That imbalance in law-enforcement resources persists despite the preponderance of right-wing attacks and access to weapons, Johnson says, noting that “there were more firearms possessed by the [alleged right-wing extremist] Hutaree militia than by all 200 Muslim extremists arrested in the U.S. since 9/11.”
That account is disputed by the DHS official, who says that parts of the agency were reorganized and that there are “a significant number of analysts who focus on homegrown violent extremism.” The agency gives multiple briefings on such activity to state and local governments, the official said.
Once again we are faced with our complicity in allowing the right-wing to silence facts in order to protect themselves, at the cost of American citizens. Were we to put a brown face on any of the right-wing extremists who murdered Americans in the last two and half years, the outcry and demand for security would have been deafening. Instead, Republicans continue to stoke fears of the “other” in order to win elections, and condone their political leaders using violent rhetoric against the “enemy”, which is any American who does not see the world they way that they do.
I place much of the blame for the current cycle of the media’s willful blindness at Rupert Murdoch’s feet. Since the Oslo attack, Fox News and their cohorts have attempted to blame Muslims for the attack, accused the camp of being a “Nazi youth camp”, and continued their assault on the President’s “otherness” with Sarah Palin using the word “foreign” to describe the President’s worldview and policies more than once several nights ago.
Two days ago I wrote about how we have allowed the right-wing to shame us all into silence with their constant cries of persecution, to the detriment of empirical facts and critical thinking. The media is to blame for barely covering the shooting sprees of right-wing extremists here, and failing to draw the conclusion that yes, Houston, we have a problem. I also find great fault with our government and with Democrats in general for their willing obsequiousness to the howling cries of the right.
Might does not make right. This is a government designed to protect the people. At its core, that is the single largest purpose of this government. We spend billions on defense against foreign “enemies” and yet our own Department of Homeland Security is said to be understaffed and perhaps not focused enough on the clear and present danger the right-wing extremists pose to all American citizens.
There are, of course, political strategies involved in the way Democrats attempt to deal with the right-wing terrorism that rises with a Democratic presidency. There may be much truth to the fact that attempting to soothe the fears stoked by Fox News and right-wing pundits of gun-control, for instance, is wise in the long-term. However, we are at a crisis point in this country and I suspect that the leaders in Washington DC have no idea just how bad things are for average citizens on the ground. Their own threats have risen, but they don’t seem to realize that so have threats against all Americans who do not share a vision of a white “Christian” nation ruled by a militia and the Bible.
I wrote President Obama when he took office, wishing him well and asking him for two things. I asked him to deal with the problem of hate-speech in the media and I cautioned him about what citizens on the ground who worked the 2008 election experienced first hand, including repeated death threats for simply supporting a Democratic president. But even when the President tried to deal with Fox News, the country and the media betrayed us all by expressing outrage that he would hurt Fox News’ feelings by pointing out the empirical fact that they are not a news organization.
As for the threats on the ground, the President and the DHS are tasked with attempting to defuse fears in a climate of hate, engendered, stoked and deliberately invoked by many Republicans and their publicity firm of Fox News. The President has the additional burden of being the first black President, in that any attempt to control the right-wing will be seen by them as proof of their paranoia and could potentially be used as the fuse.
I am a citizen of the country, like most of you. We deserve and are entitled to vote our conscience, express our political beliefs and religious beliefs or non-beliefs without fear of retribution. Those are the ideals this country was founded on. It is not enough for the government to give us vague assurances that they are dealing with this problem, when we have other analysts suggesting that in fact, we are not. The people of this country deserve to be protected and free. This is an outrage to the ideals of democracy and freedom; it’s an abomination of the moral center of this country.
This is a crisis, an impending threat, and a turning point. It is unacceptable for the right-wing to threaten other citizens with terrorism every time they lose the office of the presidency, and since Republican leaders and pundits have done absolutely nothing to tamp down the fears but instead used every arsenal in their books to stoke them, they all, even the moderates, will have blood on their hands and their conscience with the next attack on American citizens. Every single last one of them who does not speak up and condemn the rhetoric and support the President and the government in dealing with an established threat to this country and her citizens has blood on their hands.
The right will scream that both sides do it. They will say and do anything to justify and explain away the facts. They have marginalized themselves with their own refusal to be accountable and deal with reality. We need not appease an enemy of democracy by allowing it to flourish without condemnation. They will wail, they will threaten, they will cause harm to innocents. They already have, repeatedly. It’s time to stop listening to them. Other citizens also deserve to have their constitutionally protected rights upheld, and if it means inhibiting hate speech or access to weapons, so be it. Rights are not “free”; they come with responsibilities.
I love this country, and it pains me to admit that I am ashamed of these people and of their entire political party for allowing hate to define us all. Shame on the Republican Party leaders, each and all. None of them are innocent, for they all to some degree participated even if by silence. How dare they tread on the rights of all citizens to be safe just because they rightly lost an election due to their own malfeasance and criminal behavior. If they had brown faces, we would not be having this discussion at all. And that is the undeniable shame that stains this country today.