It makes us very uncomfortable, but it is a fact. We have regular terrorist attacks on the wider population by white supremacists. The last of these happened at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. This festival is critical to the local economy. It is a place where you can go enjoy some strange eats, such as garlic ice cream. It is a family event, and the town is rural.
So what happened overnight when they had a shooter come in, though the fencing, and do his worst, is a sign of where we are. I will not mention the name of the attacker, just what his background was because this matters for the white supremacist online. He was killed by the police within minutes of being engaged and was nineteen years old, this also matters. According to CNN, this is what he posted hours before on Instagram, and the account is now disabled.
An Instagram account bearing the suspect’s name, which was created four days ago, posted two messages shortly before the attack began.
One included a photograph of people walking around the Garlic Festival with the words “Ayyy garlic festival time Come get wasted on overpriced sh**.”
The other, which included a photo of Smokey the Bear holding a sign saying “Fire Danger High Today,” stated: “Read Might is Right by Ragnar Redbeard. Why overcrowd towns and pave more open space to make room for hordes of mestizos and Silicon Valley white tw**s?”
A mestizo is a person of mixed descent, commonly white and Hispanic or white and American Indian.
”Right is Might,” first published in the late 1800’s, has been described as a white supremacist text that promotes anarchy while vilifying Christianity. The book calls Jesus the “true Prince of Evil” and says that the natural order is a world at war in which the strong must vanquish the weak and white men must rule over those of color.
Now, what CNN is reporting is not surprising to those of us who pay attention to this movement, and it is one. It is also reported that the rifle used in the attack was bought legally in Nevada. This matters, since Nevada, has less strict laws than California. Not that this matters much, since you can drive anywhere in the country from more strict gun laws to less strict gun laws, why federal laws are needed, that would bring consistency to this. We can dream because we will not see stricter federal statues any time soon.
Now the book that the young man recommended tells me that he is not part of the White Identity Church, and it is usually not promoted that often these days. However, it also tells me that he likely was radicalized online. As I have written before, this radicalization is happening the same way ISIS recruits people in Europe.
This young man, from what CNN reported, was angry at the number of mestizos and other lesser people who were coming to the neighborhood. He did not get to this point, most likely, from local meetings. However, the Chans are full of this language. So is Stormfront, and no, on purpose I am not linking to these sites. Yes, the police are looking for connections. However, I can tell them with a level of certainty that his digital life will reveal the radicalization process… again.
Incidentally, Stormfront is now claiming that this young man was not part of the movement. Why? He was not white enough, and by that I mean he was Italian and Iranian. In the twisted world of White Supremacy being white is a fungible thing.
Those sites also claimed early on that this was a false flag, which is a favorite of these groups. It can never be their language or their way of doing things. It is always some nefarious other, since they are peace-loving people who would prefer to repeat the Holocaust, and want a white ethnostate. But they are not encouraging anybody, and truth be told, not overtly.
There are connections to what is going on at the highest levels of our government. President Donald Trump engages in racist, islamophobic and antiseptic language regularly. He is very good at trying to say that others are the racist ones. For example, now he blames Bernie Sanders for calling Baltimore worst than some third world countries. I am not even going to correct the president, there is no use in doing that with somebody who is trying to deflect from his own deep-seated white supremacy.
How can you say that? The president never condemned the white supremacist at Charlottesville. It is no longer a discussion point, he is a white supremacist. However, his language is encouraging white supremacist all over the place. While they may discuss how far Trump will go at places like Stormfront, he is a fellow traveler. His words and lack of action is one of the reasons why we are seeing far more attacks than we used to.
There is a correlation between Trump Rallies and increased violence. According to the Washington Post:
We found that counties that had hosted a 2016 Trump campaign rally saw a 226 percent increase in reported hate crimes over comparable counties that did not host such a rally.
Of course, our analysis cannot be certain it was Trump’s campaign rally rhetoric that caused people to commit more hate crimes in the host county. However, suggestions that this effect can be explained through a plethora of faux hate crimes are at best unrealistic. In fact, this charge is frequently used as a political tool to dismiss concerns about hate crimes. Research shows it is far more likely that hate crime statistics are considerably lower because of underreporting.
Additionally, it is hard to discount a “Trump effect” when a considerable number of these reported hate crimes reference Trump. According to the ADL’s 2016 data, these incidents included vandalism, intimidation and assault.
Was Gilroy directly a consequence of what the president is saying, or not saying? No, not directly, unless the young man referenced Trump, which some shooters have. However, the environment is radicalizing people. Why are they getting radicalized? Some of it is status loss fear. Some are fearful of the other, some are anger at personal failures in life. It is complex, but the psychological makeup is exactly the same as ISIS.
When the president of the United States refuses to condemn these views and uses these tools to attack others, we should not be surprised.
Enter Congressman Elijah Cummings and the language that the president is using against him. When the president keeps using allusions to rats, and infestations, this is preparing the country for a campaign of ethnic cleansing. This is not speculation on my part. We have seen this exact playbook not just during the Holocaust. We also saw it in Rwanda. The Rohingya were persecuted after similar language was used in Myanmar. Then there are the killing fields and the Armenian holocaust. These are but a few examples.
If this does not alarm you, I have no idea what will start to make the point. The president is using words that are radicalizing young men. Whether they are accepted as white by their fellow travelers, or not, is immaterial.
It is also increasing the environment of fear in immigrant communities, and anybody who has a clue of this dark history. It will turn into more violence unless we do something about it. The first thing we need to recognize is that words matter, and that we need to recognize the danger that Trump represents.
In the meantime, we are indeed in the midst of a very low-intensity civil war, with recurrent terrorist attacks. The only reason the media refuses to call this terrorism is that this is not the other. It is time the media starts doing so. And if you are looking for parallels, there is one that is clearly out of the playbook Trump is using. Between 1929 and 1933 there were attacks by Nazis and other right-wing radicals on the wider German society. This rise in disorder was embraced as a tool to gain power. Authoritarians rely on the promise of law and order. That particular one is extremely well documented.