The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks and exposes the spread of hate in America, says “hate groups” increased for the fourth straight year in 2018 and now number a record 1,020 — up 30 percent since 2014.
“We’re seeing a lot of bad trends,” Heidi Beirich, director of the center’s intelligence project, told The York Times on Wednesday. “There are more hate groups, more hate crimes and more domestic terrorism in that same vein. It is a troubling set of circumstances.”
On Friday of last week, law enforcement officers arrested Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Paul Hasson for plotting to kill elected officials, prominent journalists, judges and “leftists in general. “
“I am dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person o the earth,” Hasson said in a letter to friends. “I think a plague would be the most successful but how do I acquire the needed / Spanish flu, botulism, anthrax not sure yet will find something.”
A search of Hansson’s apartment in Maryland found 15 assault-style rifles, shotguns, handguns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
On his work computer, Hasson compiled a list of those he called “traitors,” including anchors and hosts of news shows on CNN, MSNBC pus Democratic elected officials like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, members of Congress like Alexandria Ocasion-Cortez and Maxine Waters along with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (who he referred to as “Sen blumen jew.”
“Much blood will have to be spilled to get whitey off the couch,” Hasson wrote.
At the Southern Poverty Law Center, those who track such actions point to the hateful rhetoric of president Donald Trump as a big part of the increase of hate groups.
“Trump has made people in th white supremacist movement move back into politics and the public domain,” says Beirich. “He is a critical aspect of this dynamic, but he is not the only reason why the ranks of hate groups are growing. The ability to propagate hates in the online space is key.”
The Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, in a report issued in January, found 2018 is the deadliest year for right-wing extremism since the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
The Anti-Defamation League and the law center say the murder of 11 people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh in October of last year came from “the increasingly combustible mix of anti-immigrant sentiment, violence and online conspiracy-mongering.”
“The white supremacist attack in Pittsburgh should serve as a wake-up call to everyone about the deadly consequences of hateful rhetoric,” said Jonathan A. Greenblatt, president of the Anti-Defamation League, in a statement accompanying its report. “It’s time for our nation’s leaders to appropriately recognize the severity of the threat and to devote the necessary resources to address the scourge of right-wing extremism.”
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