Back in early 2009, the Department of Homeland Security caused quite a bit of ruckus when word got out about a report that warned about Rightwing extremists, even though they had also written one about Leftwing extremists. Much of the negative response over the report was made because the report painted veterans as potential extremists, but the perpetrator of Sunday’s killing spree was a Vietnam veteran with 20 years of active duty, retiring as a Master Sergeant. His stint in the army included 13 years as a member of the Green Berets. The guy who shot up the Sikh Temple in Wisconsin back in 2012 was also a military veteran. Two individuals don’t make for a trend, however, these two were the ones that DHS was trying to warn us about. Here’s an ABC News report detailing the outcry over that report with their links left intact for reference points.
Conservatives Decry Homeland Security Report on “Rightwing” ExtremismApr 15, 2009 9:45am
Yesterday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich tweeted that “The person who drafted the outrageous homeland security memo smearing veterans and conservatives should be fired.”
Gingrich was referring to this report prepared by the Department of Homeland Security’s Extremism and Radicalization Branch, Homeland Environment Threat Analysis Division, and coordinated with the FBI.
As Fox News has reported, DHS also issued a study of the threat of leftwing extremists (read it HERE.) But the report on the rightwing extremists is the one attracting heat in the conservative bloggosphere, from Gingrich, Michelle Malkin, Powerline, and elsewhere.
The report states that while DHS “has no specific information that domestic rightwing terrorists are currently planning acts of violence…rightwing extremists may be gaining new recruits by playing on their fears about several emergent issues.”
DHS defines “rightwing” as “broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.”
Since that ABC News report was published, the Southern Poverty Law Center has cataloged 38 separate incidents involving people who have ties to Rightwing extremist groups or held Rightwing extremist views, with the first incident happening less than two weeks later. That list does not include the BLS/Bundy ruckus that happened, although I would only classify it as Rightwing because of all the Patriot Militia groups that got involved with the ordeal. I found a separate list, complied by Wm. Robert Johnston, that listed attacks in the US, and this list shows one fatal Leftwing attack in that same time frame.
Had people actually stopped to actually think of what the reports were trying to communicate, there could have possibly been 39 fewer acts of violence in this country over that time span. Instead, the knee-jerk reaction of having hurt feelings and bruised egos has bequeathed additional bloodshed and death to us all. It takes less effort and it’s far easier to lash out in anger when someone within our “group” is labeled in a negative light than it is to actually look at things from an unbiased viewpoint to check for potential danger.
We spend far more time trying to divide ourselves in America, whether it’s by race, political affiliation, sex, gender, or any other metric. At the end of the day, we are all American. We owe it to ourselves and our descendants to make this country a much safer place to live, even if that means having to look at our own “team” to stop dangerous activities. In 2009, DHS tried to direct our attention to watching out for potential violence, even if it was from within our own ranks. We didn’t listen then, and many people have died as a result. If we continue to do nothing but play political gripe and moan, it seems as though the body count will continue to rise. You have to ask yourself if you’re content with doing nothing, even if that puts your family or your own life at risk.