Week in Review 4-5-2019
When President Trump was recently asked if white supremacy is a rising threat, he responded, "I don't, really. I think it's a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess."
It's not a "small problem" to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). A recent SPLC study of hate groups active in the US showed that their numbers rose to the highest levels in two decades last year.
It's not a "small problem" either to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Their Center on Extremism found that in 2018 domestic extremists killed at least 50 people in the U.S., the fourth deadliest year on record for domestic extremist-related killings since 1970. Over the last 10 years, right-wing extremists have been responsible for 73.3 percent of the 427 extremist-related murders in the U.S.
This right-wing extremist violence is a direct threat to the Jewish Community. We saw this when 11 people were killed last October at a Pittsburgh synagogue.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said in 2017, "white supremacist extremism poses (a) persistent threat of lethal violence." Yet it was announced this week that the DHS group that has gathered information about domestic terrorist groups and violent extremists has been disbanded. Their information helped guide policy while enabling local law enforcement to better prepare to handle these threats.
The government should be doing more, not less, to address these threats. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL) recently introduced legislation, "The Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act" (S.894 and HR 1931), to enhance government's efforts to protect our country. The bills mandate that law enforcement agencies share information and reports for better coordination.
Reducing any efforts to combat and detect domestic terrorism jeopardizes our nation's security. On September 9, 2011, we witnessed the horrific results when agencies operate in isolation.
Congress has the power to ensure that government protects its citizens. Racial and religious violence is not going away anytime soon. Durbin's and Schneider's bills, introduced before the changes at DHS, are not only fortuitous, but necessary.
Sources: PBS News, Southern Poverty Law Center