America’s Most Violent Terrorists: White Christians

Say “terrorist attack” to us and, like Rudy Giuliani asked how he’s feeling, we immediately respond “Nine-eleven!” But in the 14 years since 9-11, it’s not Al Qaeda operative who have been killing us. We have met the enemy, as Al Capp told us so long ago, and he is us. (US Navy/Wikipedia photo.)

Say “terrorist attack” to us and, like Rudy Giuliani asked how he’s feeling, we immediately respond “Nine-eleven!” But in the 14 years since 9/11, it’s not Al Qaeda operative who have been killing us. We have met the enemy, as Walt Kelly told us so long ago, and he is us. (US Navy/Wikipedia photo.)

“The domestic radical right has killed more people than radical Islam since 9/11 in the United States, without a doubt.” Those are  the words of Ryan Lenz, principal writer of a Southern Poverty Law Center study of violent “terrorist” attacks that occurred in the U.S. between 2009 and 2015. In a classic example of confusing ideologues with facts, the SPLC study found that while US security officials were focused exclusively on protecting against foreign organizations of Islamic extremists, Americans were steadily being picked off by home-grown, Christian lone wolves.

Here are the confusing facts that the SPLC winnowed from the facts of the cases:

  • The total number of “terrorist” attacks in the six-year period: 63, or on average, one every 34 days. (That is precisely the frequency of  school shootings in the U.S. since Sandy Hook in 2012, according to a CNN analysis.)
  • Three quarters of the attacks were conducted by a single individual operating entirely alone. Another 15 per cent were carried out by two people. That leaves 10 per cent that involved some kind of organization.
  • Half of the attackers expressed venomous anti-government sentiments, and were members of the so-called “patriot” movement of Christian libertarians (although the clubs, militias, Klans or whatever were not involved with the attacks).
  • The other half of the attackers comprised haters — of women, of abortion, of non-white people and of non-Muslims.
  • Most of the attacks (59%) involved guns, 25% explosives. The use of guns has been rising, the use of explosives is trending downward, because it has become more difficult to obtain explosive materials. Possibly because we don’t have a National Dynamite Association.
  • The Ku Klux Klan, thought by many to be a powerful force among the deranged, is a mere shadow of its former self. It has become a kind of Al Sharpton of the extreme right, showing up at events already in progress, littering the area with fliers, getting on TV, and bugging out before it’s over.

The SPLC is not the first organization to warn about the increasing danger of violent right-wing extremism. (By the way: although almost all these attack dogs are white Christians, it would be indefensible to claim their religion was somehow responsible for their criminality. You listening, Bill Maher?) The first organization to get its hair on fire over this threat was — wait, wait, don’t tell me — our own Department of Homeland Security. It was 2009, and in a report on “Right-Wing Extremism” the DHS said this:

“Lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.” The authors reported a surge in right wing extremism, and thought it was not a coincidence that it was taking place immediately after the election of America’s first black president.

The right-wing nuts went nuts. (The report was actually a confidential heads-up to police forces, but was immediately leaked to the wing nuts.) Because the report pointed out that the extremists were having some success recruiting among veterans, the American Legion among others screamed that the report was an attack on veterans. The leader of another fringe group, known as Republican Members of Congress — a guy named John Boehner — found the whole thing to be “offensive and unacceptable,” explaining that DHS was using the word “terrorist” not to describe Al Qaeda, but “to describe American citizens who disagree with the direction Washington Democrats are taking our nation.”

Almost immediately, DHS secretary Janet Napolitano (who, we must remember, worked for Barack Obama) withdrew the report, apologized for its contents, and accused the team that put it out of not following proper procedures. Virtually everyone who worked on the study resigned.

It used to be a joke to say, as Daniel Patrick Moynihan once did, “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.” Where American right-wing nuts are concerned, it is no longer a laughing matter. Knowing the facts, about who is really out to get you, can be a life-and-death matter.



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8 Responses to America’s Most Violent Terrorists: White Christians

    • Tom Lewis says:

      Thank you. Walt Kelly it is. I hate it when the things I know so well they don’t even need to be checked, turn out to be wrong. And it happens a lot…..

  1. Tom says:

    Well, when you have a “super-power” (read STUPID power) whose young men are mostly unemployed in a country awash in guns (not to mention drugs, depression, poverty, and more), and with right wing extremists like Rush Limbaugh spewing hate and venom (as “entertainment” no less) 24/7 what do you expect?

    Even the police – who used to be the people to turn to when things get weird – are THEMSELVES brutal and trigger-happy and to be avoided if possible. Their victims, like the young teen recently, are guilty of “failing to avoid injury!” Mentally handicapped, aged, wrong address, hands up and unarmed? No matter – the cops kill everyone (of color) and sort it out later (with no accountability). It’s open season on pet dogs now – even if they’re old and no threat they get “dusted” just the same.

    Now, you’d think the ‘edumacation’ system would instill some basic humanity somewhere along the way, but that was before competition for grades, positions of authority, popularity, jobs, etc. took over (as compared with cooperation, being a contributing member of a team, gregarious, and naturally curious, for example) and “the ends justify the means” bogus philosophy supplanted the Golden Rule.

    In a world run by psychopaths, the only examples we get from “on high” are of “might makes right,” while in the popular culture, the gun solves all problems. Did you ever notice how few movies anymore have an actual plot or (even less prevalent) character development?

    Suicide is up among the military and the population. Two recent examples:


    So, in conclusion – it may be the case that white people are the leaders in psychopathic, sociopathic, selfish, brutal behavior (simply because they occupy the positions of power and wealth and wish to keep it that way at all costs – to the rest of us), but others are “learning” by example and will have to resort to this awful, aberrant human behavior just to protect themselves before long.

    Thank you Mr. Lewis for another stellar essay.

  2. Randy C says:

    If I recall correctly, Daryl Johnson, the led on that study didn’t resign, he got thrown under the bus and fired. I wasn’t surprised. Daryl was a good analyst, but like most of us in IA/IP at DHS, sometimes our work didn’t line up with the politics of whomever was running the show at the time and we were promptly discarded. I got sent on a two year rotation after one of my studies ran afoul of the prevailing opinion of the time and then left DHS when my rotation was up rather than go back into that mess. Daryl lasted longer than I did but in the end, they shit canned him as well.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      What is they say about telling truth to power? Something about don’t do it if your job depends on it? Anyway, thanks for trying.

      • Randy C says:

        This silly Midwestern boy (myself) had this dumb idea in his head that his purpose in the intelligence community was to get at the ground truth of whatever topic I was assigned. I learned the hard way in 2002/03 that what the administration wanted to hear was that Iraq had ongoing WMD programs and the answer from my home agency, Disneyland In Anacostia, (DIA) was no. What came back from the Five Sided Funny Farm (Pentagon) was “you didn’t support the president.” Yes, that is a direct quote from Rummy himself.
        So, I left about a year later to defend the homeland only to discover that you would give them the answer they want to hear or else.

        Funny how I’m now living out in rural southwest Virginia watching and waiting for it to all come crashing down.

        Truth in government? Not on your or my life.

      • Lidia17 says:

        What they say about speaking truth to power is, “don’t bother, because the powerful already know the truth.”

  3. John says:

    “it would be indefensible to claim their religion was somehow responsible for their criminality”. This statement is not even remotely true. Of course it is their religion that is responsible – there is virtually nothing different in this regard then the religion of Islam advocating violence, Christianity shares exactly the same traits (and deceptions).

    Without their religion (indoctrination), the ideology supporting their actions of violence and terror would not exist. Their religion is DEFINITELY related and is at the root of their actions.

    Christianity is based upon a fabrication of history and events. Christians draw their beliefs from the Bible, which is a known forgery with thousands of errors and contradictions. Moreover, Christians believe they are “authorized” from this flawed book on non-historical events (most didn’t happen) to engage the “enemy”. This, and distorted, flawed interpretation (cherry-picking) of specific passages gives rise to domestic terror by the more radicalized extremists. Examples are easily found, bombing of abortion clinics being a prime example.

    What Christians refuse to do is validate the Book. They have always assumed it must be true, accurate, even inspired by Divine guidance. What they do not know and refuse to investigate is the true history of the Bible and it’s authors, creation, omissions and accuracy. Which if done with honesty, scholarly integrity and sincerity will reveal something terrifying: most of the stories in the Bible, including the life of Christ are simply fabrications and do not have any supporting documentation in the contemporary historical record. Historians and archeologists are well aware of this fact.

    This lackadaisical approach to knowing your religion carries over into how what is written (true or false) is then interpreted. Most Christians do not know that many passages within the New Testament are outright fabrications (they do not exist in the remaining original documents historians do have). Quite a bit of the teachings of Christ for example, and over one half of the New Testament is considered outright forgeries. Nor is there a single contemporary reference to Christ or his life or ministry. The same can be said of the Old Testament and most of the patriarchs.

    The knowledge is being deliberately suppressed and denied by church authorities (all Christian churches to be exact), but can easily be uncovered by simply reading the research of authoritative experts and historians. They make a very arguable case that the Bible and the creation of religion is really a fraud, based upon evidence and the historical record, and the known attempts (documented) to pass off various forgeries (books, passages, wording changes).

    Many of the stories in the Bible today actually came from a single source and were copies of copies of copies of known forgeries, each with different but changed wording to support the current dogma at the time. Tracing this all back is extremely difficult and requires language experts and experts in history, but it has been done and their results are now available to read. The conclusion is stark: Christianity is a fraud. But that has not changed how people still believe in this, or how they choose to interpret favorite passages to justify their actions.

    So to get a domestic terrorist from Christianity is relatively easy: ignorance of their own religion permits any “interpretation” as desired; inaccurate translations and inconsistencies and many, many different Bible “versions” permit all kinds of Christian sects to claim “authority”; and cherry-picking specific but inaccurate versus allows anyone to believe almost anything from the Bible depending on how it’s spun (taught) and emphasized – including the alleged right to engage in violence against “unbelievers” and “sinful practices”.

    Muslims have done the same thing. Many Westerners understand already that Islam is another false religion based upon fabrication and distorted teachings. Many of the events with Islam and Christianity simply never happened, but believers who sought to promote their religion claimed they happened. This is not credible and never has been, contemporary documentation must exist in order for such incredible claims to be considered true and accurate. Such documentation however, does not exist.

    I am an ex-minister / ex-Christians. I too once believe the Book, taught it to thousands for many years, but watched in horrifying dismay at the abuse within the ministry and the lives ruined by the church authorities. This dissension caused me to launch a multi-decade research project of my own which led to the knowledge and awareness above. It was clear in short order that the church world (all of it) was deliberately lying and deceiving believers. And it was clear why they do this, but I
    kept at it for twenty years to be certain. In the end, I quit because the love of the truth is more important then believing or practicing a lie.

    I have only barely mentioned the whole of what was revealed, there is much, much more.

    Undoubtedly, this is a lot to accept or believe, especially for those ensnared. Anyone truly interested will have to do this for themselves, or continue to be held captive by the multi-layers of deception religion promotes.