The Upcoming Surge in Radical-Right Terrorism.
Posted on May 12, 2016
The unprecedentedly horrendous foreign terrorist attack on 9/11 left us traumatized and hysterical. One hysteria led us into the dumbest war in American history. Another hysteria led to the largest rollback in civil liberties in American history (Patriot Act, torture with impunity, Guantanamo, NSA’s universal electronic snooping, the crackdown on whistleblowers, secret federal spy fusion centers around the country). A third (and admittedly far milder) hysteria led to an overreaction to domestic Muslim terrorism (significant discrimination against all thing middle eastern, profiling of Muslims, spies in every Mosque, numerous plots by feckless kids encouraged and then triumphantly squelched by FBI agents provocateur).
Meanwhile we have a much larger domestic terrorism problem that the press and the government mostly ignore–radical right violence. There are ongoing attacks on abortion clinics, on the forestry service, on LGBT individuals. The 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was partly an attack on police. The assassination of Alan Berg was an attack on Jews and on the press.
Donald Trump is stirring up and exploiting the ingroupism and xenophobia and hate that motivate these attacks. In the likely event of Trump’s defeat we should expect an upsurge in radical right attacks by frustrated radicals, convinced that their conspiracy fantasies have been confirmed by the defeat.
Kansas has had a significant presence in the right-wing terrorist ecology. Timothy McVeigh plotted and organized the OK City bombing in Kansas.
The 2009 assassination of abortion doctor George Tiller in Wichita culminated a 30 year history of harassment and terrorism against him and his clinic. His assassin Scott Roeder of Topeka had been associated with One Supreme Court, a Kansas Freemen group. It was an off-shoot of the Montana Freemen, a racist Christian Identity group that got involved in shootouts with the FBI. Roeder had also supported the antiabortion harassment group Operation Rescue, which remains active in Wichita.
The group that assassinated Alan Berg in 1984 was called “The Order.” Its leader had previously been active in the Wichita-based John Birch Society. (The Birch Society is systemically radical but not terrorist. Charles and David Koch’s father was a co-founder.). The Order was an offshoot of the Aryan Nation, another Christian Identity group. Another Aryan Nations group called the “Midwest Bank Robbers” robbed a bank in Overland Park KS in 1994. In another Overland Park incident, former Ku Klux Klan leader Frazier Glenn Miller murdered three people in 2014, after mistaking them for Jews.
It very probably ain’t over yet.