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Monday, 05 June 2017 07:08

Racist Attacks in the US Are a Trend, Not Isolated Incidents

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Knife 0605wrp optA fixed-blade knife. (Photo: KennethHan)The violent actions of resentful, bitter and hate-filled white men are more than isolated incidents; they are a trend. The rise of white supremacist groups, alt-right groups staging provocative demonstrations, white men stockpiling weapons, hate speech spewed on social media, white nationalist materials spread about college campuses in the dead of night, and unprovoked deadly attacks on Muslims and African Americans are all part of a coming out party for White Supremacists in the age of Trump.  

According to a new report by the Anti-Defamation League titled "A Dark & Constant Rage: 25 Years of Right-Wing Terrorism in the United States," there has been "150 right-wing terrorist acts, attempted acts, and plots and conspiracies that took place in the United States during the past 25 years (1993-2017)."

"In March 2017, a white supremacist from Maryland, James Harris Jackson, traveled to New York City with the alleged intention of launching a series of violent attacks on black men to discourage white women from having relationships with black men," the report documented. "After several days, Jackson chose his first victim, a 66-year old black homeless man, Timothy Caughman. Jackson later allegedly admitted that he had stabbed Caughman with a small sword he had brought with him, describing the murder as a 'practice run.'"

Richard Collins III, a student at Bowie State University and a recently commissioned U.S. Army second lieutenant, was stabbed to death just days before his graduation during a recent visit to the University of Maryland at its College Park campus. According to insidehighered.com, "Sean Christopher Urbanski, a University of Maryland student, was … arrested nearby and charged with first-degree murder. ... Urbanski was a member of a Facebook group called 'Alt-Reich Nation,' where people shared racist memes."

And, last week in Portland, a racist white man stabbed to death two men, and wounded a third, when those men intervened on behalf of two young women -- one of whom was wearing a hijab -- being unmercifully harassed.

Jeremy Joseph Christian, the man police say fatally stabbed Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, and Ricky John Best, 53, and wounded Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, was a white supremacist that has social media postings expressing "an affinity for Nazis and political violence," the Associated Press recently reported. "He calls for a homeland for whites, he has anti-Semitic statements praising Nazis," said Heidi Beirich of the Southern Poverty Law Center after examining his Facebook page.

Slate's Daniel Politi reported that Christian "participated in the 'March for Free Speech' in Portland on April 29 with a baseball bat in tow in an effort to attack left-wing protesters. Police took the bat away but he spent all day yelling racist slurs and giving the Nazi salute. "

The Portland Mercury pointed out that a few Portland police officers "appeared to be familiar with Christian, but not threatened by him," believing that "he had a head injury and was mentally ill."

Remembering the victims: The Oregonian/OregonLive reported that "Namkai-Meche, [was] a 23-year-old Reed College graduate from Ashland, [and] was remembered as the sort of person who would stand up for what he believed was right, even if it meant putting himself at risk.

"Best, 53, had retired from the Army in 2012 after 23 years in the military. He lived in Happy Valley and had worked for the city for the past few years. He had three teenage sons and a 12-year-old daughter."

Alt-right supporters of Donald Trump have been planning a June 4 "Trump Free Speech Rally" in Portland's downtown and a June 11 "March Against Sharia." Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is asking organizers to cancel those events and has asked the federal government, which controls permits for the plaza where both rallies are slated to take place, to withdraw the permit for the "Trump Free Speech Rally." As of this writing, The "March Against Sharia" had not received a permit.

"I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland," Wheeler wrote. "There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now."

According to the Bangor Daily News, "The attack came at a time of escalating tensions in Portland, a city with a long track record of activism and protests. Since President Donald Trump's election in November, the city has been beset by violence at political rallies from groups on the left and the right. Clashes between black-clad 'antifa,' or anti-fascist, activists and right-wing protesters associated with white nationalist movements have become increasingly common at otherwise peaceful demonstrations.

"The organizer of the 'Trump Free Speech Rally,' Joey Gibson, sought to distance himself and his group, Patriot Prayer, from Christian, especially as reports surfaced that he appeared at the group's other events. In a video posted to Facebook on Sunday, Gibson condemned Christian and said antifa protesters were trying to incite chaos at the upcoming rally by exploiting the attacks on the train.

"'There's going to be more intensity, there's going to be more threats,' Gibson said. 'They're using the deaths of these two people and Jeremy Christian — they're using it to get Portland all rowdy about our June 4 rally, and it's absolutely disgusting.'"

The Guardian's Moustafa Bayoumi recently reported that "James Buchal, the Republican chair for the greater Portland area, told the Guardian that a rally scheduled for 4 June should not rely on the police for protection. Instead, he says, rightwing demonstrators ought to hire far-right militia groups such as the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters to guard them while marching. Both the Oath Keepers and the Three Percenters are extremist anti-government groups who urge violent 'self-defense' against our system of government."

The ADL report pointed out that "Right-wing extremists have been one of the largest and most consistent sources of domestic terror incidents in the United States for many years, a fact that has not gotten the attention it deserves."