[…] Already there are militias preparing for “civil unrest in the days following a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton. They are convinced “the Islamic State, or agents sent by Mrs. Clinton, or both, may soon descend” on them. At Trump rallies, supporters warn of coming riots nationwide and “another Revolutionary war” to remove Clinton from office.
This rhetoric can be dismissed as fantasies stewing in the overheated imagination of reactionaries who envision race wars and their neighborhood going “up in flames” every time a centrist Democrat is elected or Black people march for justice. But there is another grave risk likely to explode after a Clinton victory: right-wing terrorism, particularly mass shootings.
Over the last year, as white male anger congealed around Trump, there has been a lull in mass shootings, about 60 percent of which are carried out by white men. While a causal relationship between his campaign and domestic terrorism can never be proved, there are reasons to think the drop in mass shootings is linked to Trump’s candidacy as well as it is more probable there will be an outburst of right-wing terrorism after a Clinton victory.
The foremost reason is recent history. The day after Obama’s inauguration in 2009, Keith Luke, a 22-year-old neo-Nazi, went on a rampage of murder and rape in Brockton, Massachusetts, saying he was “fighting for a dying race.” Over the next two years there were at least seven other cases of deadly right-wing political terrorism carried out by white men, with targets including a Planned Parenthood clinic, the Holocaust Museum, an IRS building, and massacre in Arizona that nearly claimed the life of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords. There were other aborted political terrorist attacks or ones that ended in the death of the gunman only. The common thread was attackers were motivated by anti-government sentiment, often fueled by the likes of Fox News, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin.
The violence is already bubbling up. One examination of the public Facebook pages of more than 240 active militias found a significant spike in recent activity of members vowing insurrection and violence if Clinton wins. These groups also wax and wane according to who is president. Under George W. Bush, the number of Patriot groups, which include many militias, declined by 85 percent from the peak of the Clinton era, to a low of 131 in 2007. Within five years, under Obama, the number of Patriot had grown an astonishing 10-fold.
If anything, the danger of right-wing terrorism is greater than ever. Much of that aggression has been channeled into Donald Trump’s campaign, which may account for the drop-off in mass shootings. That’s why his defeat is likely to see a rise in attacks. The militias preparing for insurrection are a vector of future terrorism. Shane Bauer’s eye-opening look into these militias found they walk “a delicate line between stoking its members’ paranoid fears and fantasies of rebellion and holding them in check.” Some militia leaders admitted they expelled or even reported members to authorities whom they suspected were planning to kill Muslims or assassinate politicians.
Trump has convinced millions of heavily armed Americans that if he doesn’t win, then it will be the end of America. And with many followers going around with an itchy finger on the trigger, convinced war is inevitable, how long before some of them start shooting?
Arun Gupta’s full article is well worth reading. Our interesting times are about to get more interesting, and much more terrifying.