For the third time in less than three years, a “lone-wolf” racist killer has attacked a religious institution in the United States.
All the attacks have been mass shootings, involving one individual with a single firearm. And they have been particularly lethal, leaving 18 dead and only 4 wounded. All of the shootings occurred at a time when a large number of congregants were present at the targeted institution.
These killings have also occurred within about a three and a half month period, between mid-April and early August. This inexplicable compression of attack timing, what investigators call an “offense cluster,” is historically consistent with other mass killings by racist extremists, including the July 22nd, 2011 murders in Norway by Anders Breivik, the May 2nd, 2012 mass shooting in Phoenix by neo-Nazi, JT Ready, and the April 19th, 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh.
Before we dismiss the timing and targeting as mere coincidence, we should at least ask the question: Are racists using the Internet to indoctrinate their fragile- minded followers into killers or are they instructing them?
The three religious institution attackers are linked to only four racist websites. Wade Michael Page shot and killed six people at a Sikh Temple on August 5th, 2012 and had accounts on Stormfront and Crew38. Frazier Glenn Miller shot and killed three people outside a Jewish Community Center on April 13th, 2014 and had accounts at VNN Forum and Stormfront. And Dylann Storm Roof, who murdered nine parishioners at an African American church last week, acknowledges the Council of Conservative Citizens website as his primary ideological influence.
At least in Mr. Roof’s case, the website he frequented may have been more than just a source of indoctrination.
Less than three days before Roof committed mass murder at the AME church in Charleston, the president of the Council of Conservative Citizens suggested taking a .45 caliber pistol into the black community to “help mitigate violent black crime at its source.”
“Old guys like me should dress in a disheveled manner, pretend to be intoxicated, hang-out in “the hood,” and bring along a large-caliber handgun (with backup!) and help mitigate violent black crime at its source…”
Minutes later, Holt added:
“I prefer my Sig .45 with HP loads…”
Almost as if in response to this suggestion, Roof wrote in his manifesto,
“I have no choice. I am not in the position to, alone, go into the ghetto and fight. I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country. We have no skinheads, no real KKK, no one doing anything but talking on the internet.”
Five days before the shootings, Holt posted a comment on the CCC website on the topic of “wreaking revenge on innocent nigros [sic]”:
“As much as I hate “those people”?—?especially the violent black criminals who seek out white victims?—?I am somewhat repulsed at the thought of wreaking revenge on innocent nigros,[sic] not involved in crimes against whites.
But then Holt went on to say:
“Nigros, on the other hand?—?with their under-evolved Frontal Lobes?—?think nothing of taking revenge against ANY WHITE for whatever alleged grievances they harbor, real or imagined…”
Since the killings, the CCC has denounced Roof’s actions but stands by their statements, maintaining they mean what they say on their website.
Perhaps we should take them at their word.
Three weeks before the shootings, Earl Holt advocated lynching black people on the CCC site. He wrote:
“A tall tree, a short rope, and a good knot are not an expensive endeavor…”
Six weeks before the shootings, responding to an April 28th American Renaissance article about crime in the city of Charleston, South Carolina, Holt advocated the type of domestic terrorism used by the Ku Klux Klan when he wrote about the coming “race war”:
“It occurs to me that if if [sic] TSHTF?—?and we attack the enemy head-on and in force?—?we will very soon become the targets of law enforcement. However, the exploits of Nathan Bedford Forrest should be an inspiration to every Patriot wishing to do his duty, and should serve as an example of how to successfully manage the coming race war…”
In the same April article, Holt advised “White Crackers” to purchase a handgun. He wrote:
“LISTEN UP YOU WHITE CRACKERS:
Some time that same month, Dylann Storm Roof went to a gun shop and purchased the .45 caliber Glock pistol he would use to murder nine innocent parishioners at a Bible study class in Charleston last week.
Whether these attacks are random and just coincidental, the asymmetrical “hive mentality” of the often-unstable people who frequent racist forums on the Internet seems to be encouraging the targeting of minority religious institutions for attack.
Churches, synagogues, and mosques are usually among the softest targets in town. “Soft targets offer militant planners an advantage in that they can frequently be attacked by a single operative or small team using a simple attack plan,” according to a study on the security intelligence websiteStratfor.
Racist attacks on minority religious institutions are increasing and have been since Barack Obama took office. In Springfield, Massachusetts on November 5th, 2008, within hours of Obama’s election, three racist arsonists burned an African American church to the ground. The Macedonia Church of God in Christ was set ablaze in retaliation over the election of our first black president.
And church attacks are accelerating in frequency. Three weeks ago, on June 3rd, racist vandals slashed the tires of a African American church bus near Dallas and poisoned a puppy belonging to the pastor’s family. They also spray painted the words “No Niggers” on the church van.
Four weeks ago, on May 22nd, the congregation of the Sanctuary at Wilmington, NC arrived to find several nooses dangling from the trees in front of their church.
Nine weeks ago, on April 15th, after years of racist harassment, an African American church in Oak Harbor, WA was burglarized and vandalized.
Ten weeks ago, on April 7th, a synagogue in Gaithersburgh, MD was defaced with swastikas and the letters “KKK.”
On February 17th, the New Shiloh Christian Center in Melbourne, FL, an African American church, was set ablaze and a swastika was spray painted on the wall with the words “we see u.”
On February 16th, racist vandals attacked a Hindu Temple and a local school in Bothell, Washington with racist graffiti and swastikas. In December, three African American churches in Wakula, Florida were vandalized with the letters “KKK” spray painted on their walls. And in October, John White, a 40-year-old neo-Nazi, told his mother he was going out to “shoot Jews”.White drove to Congregation Etz Chaim in Lombard, Illinois, smashed out several windows and wrote “Kill Israel and Death” on the entrance of the synagogue before police arrived and arrested him at the scene.
Let’s not kid ourselves. If ISIS were involved, these attacks would be viewed as coordinated, organized acts of domestic terrorism. And until federal law enforcement calls them what they are and begins to connect some dots, the racist “killing season” in America is likely to continue.