Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Huge State of Huge Extremes

"California is obviously the largest state, and it is already majority minority."
"Which is the nationalists' and the nativists' nightmare."
Lawrence Rosenthal, chairman, Center for Right-Wing Studies, University of California, Berkeley 

"The hate right now in California, and the whole country, it’s worse than I ever remember."
"I’m not sure who to blame. Do we blame the parents? Do we blame the schools? Do we blame the administration? I don’t know."
"I just don’t know if it’s going to get better or worse. Something like this shouldn’t happen in a community like Poway."
Joseph Lind, 63, La Jolla,California
Hannah Kaye, center, at the interment service for her mother, Lori Gilbert Kaye, in San Diego on Monday. Lori Kaye was killed in the shooting at Chabad of Poway on Saturday.  Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times
California is celebrated for many things; its size, its population, its weather, its wealth, its social programs, its position central to the nation's technological advances, as a high-tech hub, its palatial homes, and so much more, including its notorious socially 'progressive' outlook and its dedication to environmental issues. But it is also special in another, less salubrious way as being home to more organized hate groups than any other state in the Union.

There are street fighting skinheads and black nationalists, Holocaust deniers and Muslim haters, groups known to be a threat to society and whom police watch as closely as they can to stay ahead of potential trouble. But police have no idea how to react to the presence of lone attackers who seem to have no affiliation with known groups under scrutiny. They have no need of group membership to nurture their psychopathic pathology of hatred. They have the Internet.

Law enforcement, particularly in California, is increasingly challenged by lone extremists inspired by news media detailing mass murders around the globe. The case of John Earnest, 19, formerly a regular church-goer with a friendly, outgoing disposition whom his pastor spoke of as a "sweet" guy in the wake of his deadly rampage in a mass shooting at a San Diego synagogue, baffles authorities. "This guy was nothing before. So how many others are having the same ideas?",said a law enforcement agent.

The F.B.I. admitted to having received a tip of an online threat mere minutes before the shooting at the synagogue on April 21. Good information, but it arrived too late to be acted on before the atrocity took place. The shooter had been inspired and supported from the flourishing online communities that come together on 8Chan. Forums there offer "instant feedback", observed Keegan Hankes, an analyst studying extremism from the right."We’ve started referring to them as the apocalyptic community, these online groupings that are marked by a sense of urgency” of their perceived threat to white dominance
PHOTO: Police tape is viewed around the area, Oct. 28, 2018, outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a fatal shooting in Pittsburgh, Oct. 27, 2018.
Police tape is viewed around the area, Oct. 28, 2018, outside the Tree of Life Synagogue after a fatal shooting in Pittsburgh, Oct. 27, 2018      Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images
The F.B.I. tracked roughly 900 domestic terrorism cases last year with another four thousand falling under international terrorism. Of growing concern in the United States are the West Coast and the Great Lakes states. The Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention was newly created in April, announced by Kevin McAleenan, acting homeland security secretary. California has the distinction of leading all other states in the number of its hate groups.

The largest racist skinhead population in the country is in California according to the Anti-Defamation League highlighting and responding to anti-Semitism. According to the League's recent audit, California led in anti-Semitic incidents last year closely followed by New York. The year previous California, according to the Council of American-Islamic Relations had the highest number of anti-Muslim incidents. Otherwise known as CAIR, the Islamic group is known to be affiliated with Islamist extremists themselves.

San Diego in recent years has become the focal point for the Western Hammerskins, a chapter of the largest skinhead gang in the country. Six worshipers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin were killed by one of their members in 2012. White supremacist groups have been particularly active in California over the past three years since an Anaheim appearance of a Ku Klux Klan rally led to a bloody clash between Klan members and anti-fascist counter protesters.

Labels: , , , ,

Follow @rheytah Tweet