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Rightwing Extremism and Violence

June 11th, 2009

Steve Benen, amongst others, makes an excellent point: Limbaugh, Fox News, and others on the right wing went ballistic when a DHS report [PDF] from early in the Obama administration warned of right-wing radical extremists who might commit violent acts. They cried persecution, and accused the Obama administration of injecting politics into homeland security. (Let’s not even get into that bit of hypocrisy, or look into the fact that a Bush administration official authored this particular report.)

From the report:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration. …

Proposed imposition of firearms restrictions and weapons bans likely would attract new members into the ranks of rightwing extremist groups, as well as potentially spur some of them to begin planning and training for violence against the government. …

Prominent among these themes were the militia movement’s opposition to gun control efforts, criticism of free trade agreements (particularly those with Mexico), and highlighting perceived government infringement on civil liberties as well as white supremacists’ longstanding exploitation of social issues such as abortion, inter-racial crimes, and same-sex marriage. …

…recent state and municipal law enforcement reporting has warned of the dangers of rightwing extremists embracing the tactics of “leaderless resistance” and of lone wolves carrying out acts of violence.

As I mentioned, the right wing ranted that this was nothing but a bald-faced political attack against the right wing.


  • Richard Poplawski, a right-wing extremist, shot three police officers dead partly because he feared Obama would institute a gun ban (though this happened just 3 days before the report was issued, it stands within a body of recent evidence)
  • Scott Roeder, a right-wing pro-lifer, shot dead Dr. George Tiller in a church
  • James Wenneker von Brunn today shot and killed a guard at the Holocaust Museum; von Brunn is a right-wing white supremacist who also belonged to the “birthers,” the group holding that Obama was not born in the U.S.

Note the last two happened within a week or so of each other. Kind of hard to dismiss the DHS warning now… Some of these people are scary, and now that the whole wingnut wedge is going into moonbat overdrive, more and more of the armed violent extremists are falling off the edge and into the headlines.

How long before they become a full-fledged terrorist group? That question, sadly, is no longer asked in levity.

As for how this makes the right wing look? Well, this is the bed they have made for themselves–and they continue to be unapologetic in their hate-filled rants of rage and tinfoil-hat conspiracy-spinning. If anything, they are ramping it up. They have no one to blame for appearances except themselves.

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