Is Right-Wing Extremism the Biggest Threat to America?

So asks a writer at the HuffPo, with the following shocking evidence:
Since Sept. 11, 2001, nearly twice as many people have been killed by white supremacists, anti-government fanatics and other non-Muslim extremists than by radical Muslims: 48 have been killed by extremists who are not Muslim, including the recent mass killing in Charleston, S.C., compared with 26 by self-proclaimed jihadists, according to a count by New America, a Washington research center.
Forty-eight deaths in 14 years in a nation of more than three hundred million does not even rise to the level of statistical noise. Meanwhile, this charming study ignores the thousands of Americans killed by self-proclaimed jihadists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere.

Terrorism in general isn't much threat in America. This is true even if we extend "terrorism" to what would normally be considered random acts by psychopaths rather than part of a coherent terrorist agenda. There have been a few acts directed at police lately, apparently inspired by the BLM movement. If you were reading the news last week, it probably sounded like a crisis -- and each act is certainly a tragedy, especially for the family and the department. All the same, 2015 is shaping up to be among the safest years in a quarter century for police officers. Note that the 36 officers projected is quite close in number to the 48 Americans killed by non-Muslim "extremists," but in a single year. A very safe year.

In the same year, 668 Americans have been killed by police. We can't really say if that's good or bad, because this is the first time anyone's really tried to keep the numbers. Typically, for comparison, there are about 3,500 drownings in a year. Millions of people interact with the water or the police every year, and for the most part neither the water nor the police intend to kill you. However, if you're going to panic about 48 people killed over fourteen years by "radical right wing extremists," police and swimming pools should scare you to death.

UPDATE: Another grave danger: car ownership.


Anonymous said...

That …."and other non-Muslim extremists" is one big caveat, because it sweeps up nearly every allegedly politically motived killing in my recent memory. There have been reports of this killer or that one being a "right-wing extremist" followed very often by later information that the person was, indeed, a lefty.

As far as I can tell, the right wing in this country is well-behaived, and intent on requiring fellow-travelers to behave or leave their presence. They are to be commended for this.

The left, however, likes its violence. It wants its revolution, even though we in the US call our revolutions "elections."

There are two reasons why terrorism is not a great threat in the US:

1. We don't need it. All any American has to do is convince other Americans that the idea is good, and the idea happens. We have elections at all levels every two years, and in some cases, every year. We can always change our decision-makers, so we do not need to blow anything up.

2. So far, we do not have very large concentrations of Muslims in any part of the US. Right now, terrorism follows the increased numbers of Muslims in every society, worldwide.


Gringo said...

HuffPo quotes the NYT, which quotes and links to The New report, among other “Deadly Right Wing Attacks” lists “2010 Austin ,TX plane attack.” The manifesto of Joseph Stack, the pilot of the plane that flew into an IRS building in Austin, ends with the following statement:
”The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.”

That doesn’t sound like the statement of a “right-winger.” They make the mistake of assuming that anyone who is against the gummint is automatically a “right-winger.”

The Beltway sniper is not included on the list. Yet Malvo was a Muslim. From Wikipedia:

A series of trial exhibits suggested Malvo and Muhammad were motivated by an affinity for Islamist Jihad.[34]
• Exhibit 65-006: A self-portrait of Malvo in the cross hairs of a gun scope shouting, "ALLAH AKBAR!" The word "SALAAM" scrawled vertically. A lyric from Bob Marley's Natural Mystic "Many more will have to suffer. Many more will have to die. Don't ask me why."
• Exhibit 65-016: A portrait of Saddam Hussein with the words "INSHALLAH" and "The Protector," surrounded by rockets labeled "chem" and "nuk".
• Exhibit 65-043: Father and son portrait of Malvo and Muhammad. "We will kill them all. Jihad."
• Exhibit 65-056: A self-portrait of Malvo as sniper, lying in wait, with his rifle. "JIHAD" written in bold letters.

So is New America claiming that Malvo was more crazy than Muslim/Jihadi? But couldn’t the same be said about the Charleston church shooter?
The New America list is neither accurate nor without bias.

David Foster said...

If one wants to look at risk from any phenomenon, it is necessary to look at the mechanisms involved, not just the raw statistics. You could have looked at the death rate from flu in 1917 and concluded that it wasn't much to worry about....not so true, one year later. Or consider a vehicle that has metal fatigue problems in the steering linkage, as a result of improper heat treatment. Maybe it tends to show up around 50,000 miles. Only a few vehicles of the fleet have reached that mileage level. So far...

Islamic terrorism is being advocated and sponsored by thousands of individuals and organizations, some of them quite well-funded, and asserts to imprimatur of a major religion---which assertion is accepted by millions. Moreover, it is passively assisted by powerful figures in American and European government, journalism, and academia, who endlessly excuse and downplay it.

None of these things is true of right-wing terrorism in America.

douglas said...

and of course, we will start the counting of incidents and victims after 9/11. You know, that might skew things a bit.

Ymar Sakar said...


Slave rebellions were a bigger threat against the eugenic philosophy of the DemoNcrat South than Lincoln ever was. The fact that Lincoln then funded and armed the slaves to allow more of them to rebel, was not going to endear him to Southern Aristocrats that owned black slaves to promote their political and religious views.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Megan McArdle did a full takedown of the report. Commenters here have anticipated some of her arguments.

douglas said...

Of course, they do see us their biggest threat, and of course, in a way they are right. Perhaps it's time more people wake up to the idea that they are our biggest threat. But I guess most would rather comfortably go along oblivious.