Vehicle Attacks Rise as Extremists Target Protesters
Make no mistake - this is exactly what right wing lone wolf terrorism looks like.
Right-wing extremists are turning cars into weapons, with reports of 50 vehicle-ramming incidents since protests against police violence erupted nationwide in late May.
At least 18 are categorized as deliberate attacks; another two dozen are unclear as to motivation or are still under investigation, according to a count released Friday by Ari Weil, a terrorism researcher at the University of Chicago’s Chicago Project on Security and Threats. Weil has tracked vehicle ramming attacks, or VRAs, since protests began.
The 20 people facing prosecution in the rammings include a state leader of the Virginia Ku Klux Klan, as well as a California man who was charged with attempted murder after antagonizing protesters and then driving into them, striking a teenage girl. Video footage of some attacks shows drivers yelling at or threatening Black Lives Matter protesters before hitting the gas.
“The message they’re trying to send is: you need to get out of the street and stop these protests,” Weil said. “They’re trying to intimidate the most recent wave of BLM protesters, to stop their movement.”
The last rash of vehicle rammings occurred in 2015 and 2016, Weil said, when the “Run Them Over” meme was popularized in far-right circles in response to Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline.