White supremacists are radicalizing alt-right extremists and using the internet to recruit them, giving them a far larger audience than available to ISIS recruiters.
And they are killing people.
Alt-Right killers are responsible for at least 43 deaths and 60 injuries, with 13 alt-right related fatal episodes according to new research.
According to new research by The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), “there have been at least 13 alt-right related fatal episodes, leaving 43 dead. And more than 60 injured in these incidents (see list). Nine of the 12 incidents counted here occurred in 2017 alone, making last year the most violent year for the movement.”
They explain that the alt-right consists of “vicious trolls, racist activists, and bitter misogynists.”
Radicalization has been used so often with ISIS types of groups to describe the radicalization of young Muslim men through the propaganda of ISIS but white supremacists who are using the same techniques to radicalize young white men have had the added benefit of larger social media platforms allowing them to flourish.
The perpetrators were all male and mostly under the age of 30 with the average age of the alt-right killer being 26. SPLC notes, “While some certainly displayed signs of mental illness, all share a history of consuming and/or participating in the type of far-right ecosystem that defines the alt-right.”
Perhaps being alt-right is in and of itself a form of mental illness or the movement itself attracts those vulnerable to its message of excusing personal failure and misery by blaming women and minorities. Either way, those using “mental illness” to excuse and ignore the murderous actions of alt-righters are missing the point by a mile. We don’t excuse ISIS members for their actions by citing mental illness. The same standard should apply to white political terrorists.
SPLC traced the beginnings of this movement back to 2012 and 2013, to the murder of Trayvon Martin and Gamergate, the relentless threatening of women developers and journalists by alt-right trolls.
“Both were formative moments for a young generation of far-right activists raised on the internet and who found community on chaotic forums like 4chan and Reddit where the classic tenets of white nationalism — most notably the belief that white identity is under attack by multiculturalism and political correctness — flourish under dizzying layers of toxic irony.”
The alt-right propelled Donald Trump forward on social media and indeed the man elevated this political movement to the highest position in the land by bringing alt-right top hater Steve Bannon of Breitbart News to the White House as a senior adviser.
SPLC noted that Bannon referred to Brietbart, which was the home of infamous internet troll/hater/loser Milo Yiannopolous, “the platform for the alt-right.”
The alt-right is killing people and they have been supported in their hate missions by an entire infrastructure that refused and refuses to call them out and hold them accountable. That this infrastructure is also largely driven by white men who may or may not share these ideas but definitely benefit from the privilege of not being an automatic target of alt-right violence is also, once again, yet another reason why being a political minority is an issue.
If more women and people of color were in positions of authority to speak up about how damaging it is to be the victim of an attack by the deranged, yes deplorable, alt-right, perhaps larger social media companies would have stepped in before over 100 people were injured and at least 43 people had their lives stolen from them.
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah has won two Telly Awards and is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.