The Eaglequill

Home Grown Terrorism

Jaden Brumage, reporter

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A strong wave of raw hatred has been felt throughout the country in the past few years. The nation has been emotionally broken down by acts of violence that seem uncalled for, and despite the immense public disapproval and grievance, these attacks have continued.

In late October, Cesar Sayoc, nicknamed the “MAGA bomber” in reference to Trump’s slogan, mailed pipe bombs to prominent democratic figures including Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former Vice-President Joe Biden, as well as a number of left-winged representatives and senators; these bombs were not detonated, and Sayoc, a far-right extremist from Florida, is in custody.

 

Perhaps more infamous than the “MAGA bomber” is his van that includes Trump and anti-democrat stickers plastered all over the windows. His pledged support to Trump seemingly connects the recent hate crimes towards minorities and democrats to the controversial comments made by the president.

 

These targets were also victims of Trump’s Twitter rants. In a tweet posted on October 29th, he claims that “there is so much GUILT by Democrats/Clinton, and the facts are pouring out. DO SOMETHING!”

 

It’s not unreasonable to believe that Sayoc’s plot was spurred on by the president’s very public dislike of the democrats. When people follow blindly and adopt another’s opinion without serious consideration, things like this are bound to happen.

 

The recent “MAGA bomber” is just one of many attacks by extremists in the past decade. From September 2001 to December 2016, there have been 85 attacks by violent extremists in the United States, ultimately resulting in 225 deaths, according to the U.S. Extremist Crime Database. 74% of those attacks were committed by far-right extremists, and the remaining 26% were committed by radical Islamic violent extremists.

 

From this data, the top two years with the most number of deaths are 2015 and 2016, with 41 and 49 deaths. Coincidence or not, these years featured the 2016 presidential election campaigns, where Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump fought for the title of the presidency.

 

Trump clearly isn’t solely to blame for these attacks. Rather, government officials and extremists, typically those on the far-right side of the political spectrum, but condone an environment that contains rising discrimination towards women, people of color, religious minorities, and members of the LGBTQ community; the lack of action and continuous bickering between political parties prevents these home-grown terrorists–practiced either through a non-progressive mindset or violent actions– from being discouraged.

 

“I think that Trump has influenced that certain base to have confidence and to be more bold in their radical views. With his actions and encouragements it’s a nod toward domestic terrorism that those specific viewpoints and actions are acceptable,” Lexi Jackson, a junior at Eaglecrest states.

 

Trump has provided a plentiful amount of oxygen to the ember of discrimination and hatred that has been burning in America since the nation’s birth.

 

Repeatedly, domestic acts of terror are encouraged by previous acts of violence. Within the past couple of weeks, Robert Bowers has been accused of murdering 11 Jews in the Pittsburg synagogue shooting, and a Kentucky man named Gregory Bush has been accused fatally shooting two black men at a supermarket. Now, what do these men have in common?

 

They were native-born men acting alone. Not Islamic extremists. Not illegal immigrants. Nationalistic, discriminatory middle-aged men with a prevalent history of violence and hatred towards others.

 

Jackson adds, “I think that those type of viewpoints have been rooted in America forever and that they’re not new, but I think the acceptance and openness has acted as a green light [for these extremists].”

 

The problem here is that our government officials, especially president Trump, continues to hold the mindset that the majority of terrorism in America is mostly committed by foreigners, as seen with the “Muslim ban.” In another one of his tweets, Trump writes that “nearly 3 in 4 individuals convicted of terrorism-related charges are foreign-born.” These statistics have been disproved, as Trump’s claims have not been backed up by the Department of Homeland Security report in January of 2018 that he was referencing.

 

We’ve been ignoring this intense problem, but some Americans can’t admit that the problem lies within our borders.

 

President Trump and some members of the Republican party cannot acknowledge these acts of home-grown terrorism by these far-right extremists because elements of base of their party is at risk. This certainly does not mean that all Republicans are racists, sexist, and discriminate against other religions; these are just extremists, which are present in every political party. Instead, Trump’s weakness of pride prevents him from conceding that the majority of domestic terrorism is committed by people that mirror his values.

 

Public disapproval is not enough. Thoughts and prayers are not enough. These show opposition but not the drive to make a change. We need to identify our weaknesses first individually and then as a nation and make serious attempts to address them.

 

The longevity of our country, as well as our lives, are at stake.

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Home Grown Terrorism