WASHINGTON (NNPA) – The disclosure that Wade Michael Page, the Army veteran responsible for killing six people at the Oak Creek Sikh Temple outside of Milwaukee, was a White supremacist has awakened the nation to the truth that White supremacists are a threat to more than just people of color.
After earning a less than honorable discharge from the Army in 1998, Page joined Hammerskin Nation, “one of the oldest, most violent and most dominant skinhead groups in the United States,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit organization that tracks hate groups.
Even though hate groups such as Hammerskin Nation often escape being labeled as a terrorist organization, experts say that when they’re White-power rhetoric fuels violent action, that’s exactly what they are.
The New America Foundation, a non-partisan public policy think tank based in Washington, D.C., collected data on terrorist attacks after 9/11. The NAF study revealed that right-wing extremists have carried out eight fatal terrorist attacks in the U.S. Militants connected to al Qaeda or jihad-inspired radicals have committed four terrorist attacks in the United States –half as many of White supremacists –that have killed 17 Americans. If the FBI investigation concludes that Sikh temple shooting was indeed an act of domestic terrorism, the death toll from right-wing terrorism will jump to 15.
Last week, New America Foundation director and CNN national security contributor Peter Bergen wrote:
“The numbers in the New America Foundation database may well understate the toll of violence from right-wing extremists. Another FBI study reported that between January 1, 2007, and October 31, 2009, white supremacists were involved in 53 acts of violence, 40 of which were assaults directed primarily at African-Americans, seven of which were murders and the rest of which were threats, arson and intimidation.”
Jennifer Rowland, program associate in National Security Studies Program at NAF, said that many of these crimes carried out by White supremacists were prosecuted as murders or hate crimes, which generally carry lower sentences than domestic terrorism convictions.
“These guys are terrorists, too,” said Rowland. “When [right-wing extremists] are killing people and they’re politically motivated that falls inside our definition of terrorism.”
Terrorize continued on page 4