Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Addendum: Left-Wing Violence in the Age of Trump

My previous post, Resistance or Left-Wing Terrorism: What's in a Name?, was written to start a conversation about the plague of left-wing violence in the age of Trump. Please consult my previous post for attacks that occurred prior to June 15, 2017. Also, do note that my previous post focuses on the number of Americans killed as a result of terrorist/extremist violence between January 1, 2016, and June 15, 2017, and does not claim to be an exhaustive resource for all anti-Trump violence during that time period. For recent compilations of threats and attacks targeting Trump supporters since last July, see the recent Daily Caller piece here. Ann Coulter counts over 100 attacks on Trump supporters in the last year.
Left-wing violence in America has a long and storied history (for a primer, see here). Its recent manifestations have gone under-reported and under-recognized. The attack at the Congressional Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia, represented a tipping-point in this conversation, however, as it forced left-leaning commentators to grapple with an uncomfortable new reality -- a progressive Bernie Sanders supporter attempted to assassinate Republican Congressmen. This couldn't be dismissed as flippantly as the attacks on conservative speakers and Trump supporters had been. Or could it? As I noted in my previous post:
What point, you may ask? The point at which a deranged Bernie bro shot the Republican whip, Steve Scalise. The point at which regressive leftist responses to this national tragedy ranged from calls for gun control to the need for better organized violent resistance. One Democratic Party official called the attack "so funny," while another operative called for social media followers to #HuntRepublicans. ABC's Scott Pelley stated that, "It’s time to ask whether the attack on the United States Congress yesterday was foreseeable, predictable, to some degree, self-inflicted"? Professors and journalists mocked the recovering Scalise on social media. A Trinity College professor used social media to suggest that first responders should have let Scalise and other "whites" die, using the hashtag #LetThemFuckingDie. A Nebraska Democratic Party official said, "I'm glad he [Scalise] got shot. I wish he was fucking dead." Yet, strangely, I know we haven't reached peak-Kafka. Somehow, things will get more bizarre before the fever breaks, and the trance is lifted.
I originally intended to update that post as new information emerged, but I've since been inundated by the frequency of incidents of left-wing violence and violence-promoting/praising rhetoric. Therefore, this post represents an attempt to track left-wing violence and violence-promoting/praising rhetoric since Alexandria. What follows is a ten day "snapshot" of left-leaning responses and reactions to the Alexandria attack, which reveals a disparity between the emergent reality of left-wing violence in the age of Trump, and the persistent, politicized claim of left-leaning journalists and think tanks that right-wing violence represents the greatest threat to American society.

(Of note -- the conversation surrounding political violence in Europe has followed a similar trajectory over the last eighteen months, with radical Islamic terrorism posing the deadliest threat to Europeans, while the data showing a spike in left-wing attacks. For the rise in anti-semitic violence in Europe over the last decade, see here).

Left-wing violence and death threats to GOP officials since June 15, 2017:

- An unknown number of peaceful protestors were injured when Antifa violently disrupted a free speech rally at Evergreen State College.

- Several shots were fired at a truck flying a "Make America Great Again" flag in Indianapolis, Indiana.

- Four police officers were injured when left-wing, BLM-affiliated, "social justice" activists attempted to disrupt a Pride parade in Columbus, Ohio, for not being inclusive enough.

- While leaving a free speech rally in Santa Monica, California, a Trump supporter was stabbed nine times. During the assault and attempted murder, one of the assailants shouted, "You're getting the shank white boy!” Police reports do not indicate that the attack was politically motivated, but those close to the victim have disputed that claim.

- Police blocked access to Karen Handel's neighborhood during the Georgia special election due to letters with a white powdery substance being sent to Handel and her neighbor's homes. The letters called Handel a "dirty fascist cunt," and exhorted the reader to "RESIST THE FASCIST TAKEOVER!" and "STRING UP THE COLLABORATORS!"

- Thirty GOP Congressmen have been attacked or threatened since May of 2017. For a video of the author discussing his findings, see here.

- Illinois man charged with threatening to kill the president on Facebook. The man's Facebook posts indicate that he was deeply disturbed by the media's Trump-Russia collusion narrative, writing that Trump "sold our country to The Russians. He is a Benedict Arnold."

- Ohio man arrested and charged for death threats to Rep. Steve Stivers, R-Ohio -- "We’re coming to get every g**amn one of you and your families."

- Florida man arrested for death threats to Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah -- "we are going to hunt your ass down, wrap a rope around your neck, and hang you from a lamppost!" Chaffetz says he's received dozens of similar threats.

- GOP Rep. Claudia Teeney says Democrats are "encouraging" death threats, and reports a steady stream of death threats -- some make direct reference to the Alexandria attack.

- Threats against lawmakers already surpass 2016 totals.

Left-wing rhetoric praising or calling for violence (other than the incidents noted in my the quote from my previous post above) since June 15, 2017:

- Many left-leaning commentators' initial responses included blaming Trump and Trump supporters for the Alexandria attack.

- Syracuse professor uses social media to call on supporters to "finish off" the "fascists" at a local protest.

- An Antifa website calls for violence against Trump supporters.

Professor: "Spoiled" Otto Warmbier "got exactly what he deserved"

- A Hollywood director called Trump and McConnell terrorists on social media.

- Actor Johnny Depp jokes about assassinating the president.

-Leftist agitator Michael Moore complained to his Twitter followers that the media hadn't (in the wake of the Alexandria and Flint terrorist attacks) called the Governor a terrorist over the Flint water problem.

- MSNBC commentator says that defending Trump is like "hugging a suicide bomber."

- "Morning Joe" co-host says that the Trump administration is a developing "dictatorship."

- Young Democratic Socialists at the University of Georgia retweet that "House Republicans should NOT be shot! They should be guillotined." The organization removed the tweet and said it was a "joke and should not be taken literally."

- Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, related in a radio interview that he wakes up every morning hoping that Trump has a "massive stroke."

What, one may wonder, has been the response of many left-leaning journalists and think tanks?

Analyses from left-leaning journalists have begun to trickle out and have followed a familiar pattern--emphasize how rare left-wing terrorism has been since the 1960s and 1970s, draw only from studies produced by left-leaning think tanks that claim that right-wing terrorism represents the biggest threat to American society, oppose Trump's immigration orders, and downplay the big-picture significance of the Alexandria attack. NPR's "fact-check" on left-wing terrorism dismisses claims that the Alexandria attack represents an emergent trend (based on interviews with J.J. McNabb, an expert on political extremism at George Washington University, and Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism). For a critique of NPR's "fact-check," see hereSalon insists that "left-wing violence is relatively rare these days," and stresses that recent attacks in London and the U.S. show that "not all terrorists are Muslims: as the past week should remind us, political violence is not restricted by race, religion or ideology."

Articles aimed at countering Trump's immigration orders push the narrative produced in left-leaning think tanks that right-wing terrorism represents a greater threat to the American public than radical Islamic terrorism. This includes The Nation (based on SPLC, ADL, and a 2015 survey of law-enforcement agencies conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum and the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security--see here). Newsweek and The Independent focused their analyses on a joint project by the Investigative Fund at the Nation Institute, a nonprofit media center, and Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting (for the full study, see here, for a lament about how their federal grant funding is drying up, see here, for methodological flaws in the Reveal study, see here), and drew similar conclusions--Trump's focus on radical Islamic terrorism is misplaced. The Huffington Post, using the same study, ran an article entitled, "Most Of America’s Terrorists Are White, And Not Muslim," and predictably emphasizes the dangers of right-wing extremism.

Some left-leaning journalists and experts, however, have begun to make pained-admissions that left-wing terrorism might be a potential problem, although there is a notable tendency with these analyses to downplay conservative concerns as overblown, hyper-focused on Antifa activities, and disconnected from the greater threat posed by right-wing extremists. Brian Levin, head of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at Cal State San Bernardino, states that "left-wing extremism is now officially on the radar," but still emphasizes the primacy of right-wing extremism. In a similar vein, Oren Segal, director of the ADL's Center on Extremism, says that “one shooting is tragic, but it doesn’t necessarily constitute a trend,” but concedes that "we cannot ignore the potential or violence or the reformulation of left-wing extremist groups." Pulitzer Prize winner and nationally syndicated columnist, Leonard Pitts Jr., laments that conservatives are "reflexively" blaming Democratic Party rhetoric for the Alexandria attack, but assures readers that this will not stop him from criticizing "a president of unprecedented incompetence" who "is being enabled by a Congress of criminal complicity in an agenda of frightful destructiveness." Despite the unsubstantiated hyperbole (criminal?), he concedes that "left-wing terrorism might be making a comeback." He concludes that this is a "moment for soul-searching."

Critics of the various studies produced by left-leaning think tanks point out that these studies tend to downplay radical Islamic terror attacks outside of the United States (globally the most frequent and deadliest), rarely point out that Muslims make up less than one percent of the U.S. population, yet account for twenty-seven percent of all terror attacks within the U.S., and tend to emphasize the number of incidents, rather than the number of Americans killed. Additionally, left-leaning studies selectively choose the time-frame they analyze in manner that minimizes the number of fatalities produced by radical Islamic terrorism, such as starting after 9/11/2001, or ending prior to 6/12/2016 (the Orlando attack). These methodological flaws prevent a sober analysis of the most consistent (jihadist), as well as emergent (left-wing), threats to American society.

Similarly, methodological flaws skewed the analyses of left-leaning think tanks and may have prevented those researchers from recognizing the growing threat left-wing terrorism poses. While left-leaning studies tend to lump many different groups into a vast "far right-wing" classification, thus amplifying the data set tallies, the same studies simultaneously water-down the frequency of, and fatalities produced by, left-wing attacks by breaking left-wing groups into separate classifications. Left-leaning think tanks may also be starting to feel the financial pinch, as Trump appears to be killing the goose that lays the golden egg -- federal grant funding -- that once made looking for right-wing terrorism such a lucrative enterprise.

Let's have a closer look at the methodology of one of the newer studies.

The 2015 DOJ-financed survey of law-enforcement agencies conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum and the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security, was authored and published by Charles Kurzman and David Schanzer on June 25, 2015. The survey examines the period from September 12, 2001, to June 22, 2015, and compares survey data of law enforcement threat perceptions with a synthesis of data on extremist attacks collected by the ADL and the University of Maryland's START Center Global Terrorism Database. Kurzman and Schanzer conclude that most law enforcement officers overestimate the threat posed by radical Islamic terrorism, and underestimate the threat posed by right-wing extremism.

Of course, the only way Kurzman and Schanzer can make this case is by excluding two of the deadliest terrorist attacks in American history -- September 11, 2001, and the Orlando attack (June 12, 2016). In the data chart provided by the study, Muslim extremist attacks and fatalities for 2001 are listed as zero, and zero, respectively, with one terrorist plot foiled. Zero! In reality, the 9/11/2001 attack resulted in nearly 3,000 killed and an additional 6,000+ injuries. The death and injury toll from that one attack is still rising, and the number of claimants is now in the tens of thousands, with an estimated 247.3 billion dollar total economic impact. 1,300 children were orphaned. Nevertheless, our well-credentialed authors thought it appropriate to start their data set on the day after this attack occurred, treating the deadliest terrorist attack in American history as a statistical anomaly. Due to the date of publication, this report also does not include the Orlando attack, which was the deadliest mass shooting in American history -- forty-nine killed and fifty-three injured. Is this sound scholarship?

There's also the question of objectivity. A cursory examination of the professional publications and activities of Kurzman and Schanzer reveal that both actively support "progressive" causes, and were previously closely involved in shaping the Obama administration's emergent policy on extremism -- that is, redefining the focus of federal anti-terrorism/extremism efforts from the radical Islamic extremism to right-wing extremism. Both supported the Syrian refugee resettlement policy, and are now dedicated to resisting Trump's immigration orders. Do they strike you as impartial truth-seekers?

Back to my point -- in the age of Trump (the last eighteen months), Americans are fifty-one times more likely to be killed by a radical Islamic terrorist, and thirteen time more likely to be killed by a left-wing terrorist, than by a right-wing terrorist.

51:1. 13:1.

- The Cowboy Historian 

4 comments:

  1. The MSM is not even pretending to be professional. It's all narrative. You underestimate Jihadist attacks: Ft. Lauderdale and Tampa Bay killed 7 people. There was a racist stabbing at University of Texas. And if New America is going to include black supremacists, why do they leave out The DC snipers, 2009 Oakland police massacre, Omar Thorntons 2010 killing of 8 whites, Christopher Dorner, 2014 NYPD double homicide, Charles Thornton or Sharref Allmans mass murder of whites?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for reading, Chris. You raise a few interesting points. I did not include Esteban Santiago in my analysis (the last eighteen months) because he claims to have been "hearing voices" and under "government mind control" prior to the attack. While there is some reason to believe he may have been a self-radicalized jihadist, mental illness may also have played an important role. You have a slightly stronger case, in my opinion, with Devonte Arthur. He was certainly an extremist, but, again, mental instability might be interpreted as clouding a clear-cut ideological motive. I know, he said he was defending Islam -- "Allah Muhammad." He obviously didn't know much about Islam. He transitioned from Neo-Nazi affiliations (with bad intentions, considering what they found in his apartment) to being a self-radicalized Muslim just prior to killing his roommates. Accordingly, I chose to leave any attacks that might be considered questionable (in terms of a clear-cut ideological driver) out of my statistics. It was for this same reason that I did not include the Portland stabber as either left-wing, or right wing. Was he an extremist? Absolutely. However, classifying his motive is a bit trickier, as I noted in the post. He was, at one point, an ardent Bernie supporter, but is then shouting at Muslims and stabbing people on the public transit. Self-aggrandizing psychopath? Yes. Driven by a coherent ideology? That, I'm not so sure about. See what I mean? Concerning your comments about New America and black nationalism -- I think an equally important question is why does New America have an umbrella classification for "far right-wing" extremism, but then has no comparable umbrella classification for "far left-wing." Why create a separate black nationalist/separatist/supremacist classification when it seems pretty clear that these groups came out of the 1960s/1970s radical left? I find this apparent methodological inconsistency most interesting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! You have coherent standards without a political bias. The same cannot be said of the MSM who jump onto any story that fits the narrative (ie: Portland stabber, who actually killed 2 white males) without doing their homework on the suspects. New America lists Jeremy Christian as "Right wing terrorism", though be was a left wing open borders advocate who hated all religions. Dylan Roof too had mental issues but was held up as representative of all white America by the WashPost? HuffPo and Salon. They have a low bar for "right wing" terrorism and a high one for left wing terrorism. A police officer was assassinated in NYC by an anti-cop black nationalist. This will get worse as they continue to celebrate or understand certain "terrorists", such as the Scalise shooting, FALN member Oscar Lopez and BLA fugitive Assata Shakur. After years of denying and even condoning such attacks, they have lost the moral high ground.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, Chris. I'm a straight-shooter -- no bull. Stay tuned to my blog. I'll periodically do updates on this issue. You can also find me on Facebook. ~Godspeed

      Delete