Charlottesville Neo-Nazi Involved in Attempted Terror Attack
Newsweek reports that a neo-Nazi was caught in Nebraska attempting an attack on an Amtrak train.
A 26-year-old white man who attempted to commit a terror attack on an Amtrak train in rural Nebraska also attended the doomed “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last August on the white supremacist side, according to a court document.
St. Charles, Missouri resident Taylor Michael Wilson has been charged with an attempt to commit terror by targeting an Amtrak train in southwest Nebraska in October 2017. FBI Special Agent Monte Czaplewski, writing in an affidavit attached to the criminal complaint, suggested that Wilson wanted to murder black people. The document suggests that he had weapons, as well as a National Socialist Movement (NSM) business card with him at the time he was arrested.
Wilson entered an engineer’s seat of an Amtrak train after midnight on October 22 and started “playing with the controls” of the train, according to Czaplewski’s account. No one was injured or killed in the attempted attack.
Newsweek reached out to NSM for a comment about the revelations but did not immediately receive a response. The group is neo-Nazi in nature, has ties to the more traditional American Nazi Party and has been connected to other elements of the modern, so-called alt-right movement at rallies and events.
This is yet another example of the far right terror threat we are currently facing. This well documented phenomenon hasn’t received the media coverage it deserves.
Radical Islamic terrorism is of course a real threat, but our seemingly hyper focused tunnel vision on that issue, much of it to my observation driven by Islamophobia, has caused us to underplay the extreme danger these extremists pose.
The Newsweek story highlights another important issue, and that is the far-right’s deflection.
Within the context of street-level politics, there is some bizarre irony to Wilson’s arrest for attempting to commit terror on an Amtrak train. Figures loosely associated with the “alt-right” movement attempted to blame “Antifa,” or anti-fascist demonstrators, for a fatal Amtrak train derailment that took place in Washington state in December. The story, however, was quickly discovered to be fake news.
I’ve made no secret of my sympathy, if not approval of everything they’ve ever done, for Antifa on the basis of my belief in the right to self-defense against Nazis, fascists, and racists like those we saw in Charlottesville. The right has attempted to make Antifa into some kind of boogeyman. This has no basis, and such comparisons are absurd.
FBI Director Christopher Wray was quoted in the Pacific Standard as saying before Congress “While we’re not investigating antifa as antifa—that’s an ideology, and we don’t investigate ideologies—we are investigating a number of what we would call anarchist-extremist[s], where we have properly predicated subjects of people who are motivated to commit violent criminal activity on kind of an antifa ideology.” Even taking this statement into consideration there can be no comparison between the far-right and the far-left. Right-wing extremists committed the Charleston Church Shooting, murdered Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, plotted to bomb Somali immigrants in Kansas, and murdered a black soldier. Antifa has done nothing comparable and should not be used as a distraction from the major, right-wing domestic terror threat we are facing.
The media needs to give it more attention, law enforcement needs to dedicate more resources to it, and the rest of us need to speak out against it. Failure to do this will only lead to more tragedy.