June 3, 2009 View Discussion
by Patrick Young, Esq. - Blogger
The killing of abortion doctor George Tiller in his church led some in the media to reconsider the earlier scorn provoked by a Department of Homeland Security warning to police agencies of a possible upsurge in rightwing violence around the issues of abortion and immigration. This should not have been the trigger for a second look. Two poorly-publicized attacks leaving four immigrants dead show that such violence began soon after the innauguration of President Obama.
Keith Luke’s killing of two immigrants from Cape Verde in Brockton, Mass. shows the dangers of the spreading hatewave. Luke is a young man with a history of mental disturbances. He became a follower of the White Supremicist website podblanc. Podblanc is modeled on Youtube and has over 1,000 channels for racists. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center “The content includes combat handgun training, homemade explosives how-to guides, and a complete audio recording of the infamous race-war fantasy novel, The Turner Diaries. One Podblanc video details the security measures at three synagogues in northern California. The most popular video on the site shows Russian neo-Nazis beheading and shooting Asiatic immigrants. Also popular are montages of skinheads in Russia and eastern European countries punching, kicking and stomping orthodox Jews and non-whites. The victims appear to be selected at random as they ride subways and walk down public streets. In one video, a skinhead wielding a log crushes the head of an African immigrant, obviously killing the man. The faces of the attackers are blurred to protect their identities.”
Keith Luke, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center “said he’d developed his views in large part from watching videos on Podblanc, according to police. His plan, he said, was to kill as many non-whites as possible and then burst into the weekly bingo night at a local Orthodox synagogue with guns blazing.” Luke had no known ties to organized White Supremicist groups in his area and seems to have absorbed the ideology of violence entirely from the internet. His killings were described by Luke as a martydom operation designed to save the dying white race.
In a second case, three months ago, a Republican activist who had begun to exhibit signs of mental instability murdered two Latino students in Florida. He wounded three other students. Prior to the killings, Dannie Baker had begun making anti-immigrant statements and had appeared so frighteningly radical that other Republican activists reported their concerns to the police. We do not yet know conclusively where Baker had gotten his ideas of an impending immigrant takeover of the United States.
The extreme right is out in force now, and many Americans who grew up believing that their Whiteness was a badge of priviledge are susceptible to to their blandishments. The disturbed or distressed among them, a tiny minority to be sure, have already demonstrated an ability to translate extremist theory into deadly practice.
The Homeland Security warning was not a blanket indictment of conservatives, but instead a realistic warning to police that this trend among those on the very fringes of the right is growing and become more dangerous.