America Is Overlooking Threat Posed by Hate Groups
As the military and domestic security apparatus of the United States continues to direct its focus on radical Muslims, the shooting at the Sikh temple in Milwaukee by white supremacist Wade Michael Page begs the question: Is America overlooking the threat posed by hate groups?
The New York Times addressed this intriguing question with a roundtable of experts who weighed in on the question.
“Has the government’s focus on Muslim terrorists made us neglect the threat from white hate groups? Should law enforcement pay more attention to them?” the Times asked.
“There was little that law enforcement officials or others could have done to foresee or forestall the racist attack,” wrote Mark Potok, an expert on the American radical right and a senior fellow of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala. “Page does not seem to have done anything to suggest that he was planning a slaughter, and his views, fully protected by the First Amendment, were no different from those of thousands of other angry white nationalists.
“Still, the attack occurred in the context of a sharp rise in the number of hate groups and antigovernment “patriot” organizations, mostly spurred by the changing racial demographics of our country, which are personified in our first black president. Domestic, non-Muslim terrorism has been on the rise since Barack Obama took office in 2009. Given that reality, is there something more that law enforcement should be doing?…Perhaps it’s finally time for [head of Homeland Security Janet] Napolitano to take this problem seriously and rebuild and strengthen Homeland Security’s intelligence capabilities to face a clearly mounting threat. That might not have prevented the tragedy in Milwaukee, but it could very well save the lives of untold numbers of other Americans targeted by the racist right.”