It’s been nearly a week since a self-described fan of Donald Trump walked into a mosque in Quebec City and opened fire, killing six worshipers. Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, called it “a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant and why the President is taking steps to be proactive instead of reactive when it comes to our nation’s safety and security.”
Spicer’s statement left the press corps baffled. He seemed to be suggesting that a far-right, ultra-nationalist, white supremacist, radicalized by social media into murdering Muslims, somehow proved Trump’s position on the need to focus on the threat of Islamic terrorism.
But let’s pretend, for a moment, that facts actually matter, especially when it comes to the safety of American citizens. Here are the facts about terrorism in the United States:
- Americans are almost seven times as likely to be killed by a white extremist than by an Islamic one, according to one study.
- Citing a 2013 study, the New York Times notes: “Right-wing extremists averaged 337 attacks per year in the decade after 9/11, causing a total of 254 fatalities.”
- According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there were 42 militia groups in 2008; today, there are 276. Meanwhile, anti-government groups grew to 998 in 2015, while the number of right-wing hate groups grew from 784 in 2014 to 892 in 2015.
- According to the Anti-Defamation League, “domestic extremist killers” killed more people in 2015 than any other year since Oklahoma City in 1995.
[From CNN article by Reza Aslan, author of “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth”]