Mass Shootings and Extremism
By Melissa Ryan
This week I was struck by an editorial in the Capital Gazette, written just a few days after the paper’s newsroom staff were the collective victims of a mass shooting. Much of the conversation concerning the editorial revolved around a line aimed at Trump but I’m more interested in this passage immediately above that:
“Here’s what else we won’t forget: Death threats and emails from people we don’t know celebrating our loss, or the people who called for one of our reporters to get fired because she got angry and cursed on national television after witnessing her friends getting shot.”
This is the reality for survivors of mass shootings and the victims’ families. It doesn’t matter if they’re parents grieving their children, students speaking out for their right to be safe at school, or reporters at a local newspaper. Extremists online will organize attacks against them online, and in the case of the recent Annapolis shooting, celebrate the fact that they were attacked. Americans accept this reality just as easily as we accept mass shootings now. On Twitter, Waldo Jaquith made a similar point but he went a step further.
When somebody survives a mass shooting now, they are subjected to weeks or months of death threats. This shows that the shooters aren’t really lone attackers, but part of a network of perhaps-unwitting coconspirators, collectively commuting acts of terrorism, a societal cancer.
— Waldo Jaquith (@waldojaquith) July 1, 2018
Last year Jennifer Fiore wrote a piece for this newsletter about the similarities she saw between pro-gun activists and the alt-right saying:
“Gun extremists are now part of the alt-right coalition, embraced by none other than Milo Yiannopoulos. It makes sense: both use the same tactics and have the same outsized effect on politics. Their use of digital tools to amplify their message is consistent, as is their misogyny, racism and penchant for political destruction. Finding a way to counter their narrative is critical to progress on a slate of political issues and, generally, stabilizing our democracy.”
More and more I’m realizing we’re not looking at mass shootings as holistically as perhaps we should. They’re a tool of the extreme right in America. And whether we’re talking about Congress, tech platforms, or the White House, little is being done to stop them. It’s time we had a deeper conversation about this. You can’t talk about extremism in America without talking about guns and you can’t talk about mass shootings without talking about the American far right.
Donald Trump is an embarassment
By Kendall Brown
Donald Trump has done a lot to embarrass us over the last year and a half. He’s insulted all of America’s allies and aligned himself with autocrats like Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-un. He started a trade war and pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord. And he’s spent the entirety of his presidency so far attacking people of color and immigrants, saying they are from “shithole countries”, all have AIDS, and refuse to go back to their huts.
Next Friday, Trump will visit England, and we want to make sure that the people of England know he does not represent us. Check out our blog post on what HOPE not hate U.S.A. supporters are doing to make that happen.
HOPE not hate: How the far right is radicalizing American politics
On Thursday 28 June, HOPE not hate brought together activists, researchers, and politicians for the first Ctrl Alt-Right Delete conference, in Washington D.C. Throughout the day, speakers and panelists from nonprofits and political organizations discussed how the far right is radicalizing American politics, shared their knowledge, strategized, and planned the fightback against hate in the era of Trump.
- A thought provoking project from Solutions Journalism, which aims to answer this question: “What if journalists covered controversial issues differently — based on how humans actually behave when they are polarized and suspicious?” I spent a lot of time digging into this one.
- Democracy Fund’s Voter Study Group released Muslims in America: Public Perceptions in the Trump Era.
- Also from Voter Study Group: Testing the Limits: Examining Public Support for Checks on Presidential Power.
- Yes, Defending White Supremacy Should Be Costly (Rolling Stone)
- The Right’s New Viral Star Is ‘Red-Pilled’ Hair Stylist From New York (The Daily Beast)
- Richard Spencer learns what it’s like to be an unwanted migrant (HOPE not hate)
- American Hate Group Looks to Make Allies in Europe (ProPublica)
- Trial runs for fascism are in full flow (The Irish Times)
- Cryptocurrency May Be Tool for Election Meddlers, Senators Told (Bloomberg)
- The far right is using antiquity to re-brand itself – but classicists are fighting back (NewStatesman)