New Jersey Grapples With Far-Right Extremism

dublinbay z6 (KS)

Just as we feared--a rise in far-right violence. Here is the example of N.Jersey.


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"New Jersey investigators were looking into a routine complaint from a woman who said her ex-boyfriend was harassing her, when they uncovered something far more dire: The 25-year-old man had stockpiled weapons and far-right propaganda and had talked about shooting up a hospital.

Two months later, New Jersey State Police responding to a crash in the same county discovered illegal assault weapons in the back seat of a car. Later, they found 17 more firearms, a grenade launcher and neo-N@zi paraphernalia in the driver’s home.

The arrests of the two men rocked law enforcement officials in Sussex County, raising fears that far-right extremism is growing in this sleepy, rural area in New Jersey.

It is impossible to know if the two arrests so close together are a fluke or signal of a growing white supremacist movement in the county, law enforcement officials said. . . .

Sussex has lately been seeing ugly signs of increasing racism and anti-Semitism. Vandals have scrawled sw@stikas in schools, and in a highly-publicized incident last fall, supporters of a Jewish congressman had their Sussex County home vandalized with anti-Semitic graffiti.

[. . .]

At the same time, there has been a rise in right-wing extremism across the country. White supremacists and other far-right extremists have killed more people than any other category of domestic extremist in the past 18 years. In August, for example, a white supremacist targeting Mexicans murdered 22 in a Walmart in El Paso.

Sussex as a case study

Tucked along New Jersey’s western border, Sussex County is rural and mostly white, though over the last five years there has been a small but steady increase in the number of immigrants living there. President Trump easily carried the county in 2016.

[. . .]

. . . [T]he most frequent targets have been the district’s schools: Sw@stikas have been found at schools in Glen Rock, Ridgewood, Emerson and the Pascack Valley.

Mr. Gottheimer noted that other hate groups like the Oath Keepers and the [KKK] were gaining a foothold in his district. “The concern is those acts of hate are the embers and then they begin to get radicalized,” he said.

[. . .]

Mr. Zaremski was an emergency medical technician who frequented white supremacist forums online and had a trove of neo-N@zi literature. He was only caught because he sent a photo of his ex-girlfriend wearing parts of a N@zi uniform to her employer, officials said.

The police later discovered that he had made videos set in New Jersey that mimicked, shot-by-shot, the first minutes of the live-streamed massacre of Muslims by a right-wing terrorist in Christchurch, New Zealand. He had also stockpiled automatic weapons, each with the same markings on the gun magazines as the Christchurch shooter, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

Indeed, Mr. Zaremski was so obsessed with the mass shooting in New Zealand that he made his former girlfriend watch the video of the shooting repeatedly, investigators said. He also affixed a “Right Wing Death Squad” patch to his E.M.T. jacket.

[. . .]

The way Mr. Zaremski became radicalized has become the new normal, law enforcement officials and experts on hate groups said. More and more alienated young people are adopting extreme ideologies in online forums and chat rooms, rather than joining traditional groups like the [KKK]."


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/29/nyregion/michael-zaremski-joseph-rubino-essex-nj-white-supremacist.html

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One point stressed in the article is the problem created by the federal policy of deferring such cases to local authorities. The result is "there was no longer a national repository of data and information on far-right groups" that can be shared with local authorities, and local authorities have trouble infiltrating right-wing groups because they don't have enough information on them. In other words, nobody knows how to find these online mavericks with their stockpiles of weapons and blood in their eyes.

Kate

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ohiomom

Find them? The two examples above mention rural, but to find them just look in your own neighborhoods. Read comments on local news sites and you can tell by the comments to news stories how people think. They show you who they are.

Will they also be listed as terrorist groups, or is that only for south of the border and across the pond?

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Ziemia(6a)

While the president as pledged to counter this problem, the federal government under his watch has cut resources to tackle this issue.

... the two top members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee sent a letter to Attorney General William Barr questioning how the Department of Justice intends to protect citizens from domestic terrorism. It's a question reverberating across the government, particularly as the threat of right-wing extremism continues to grow: according to a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, attacks by far-right perpetrators more than quadrupled between 2016 and 2017.


But, despite a growing threat, resources under the Trump administration appear to be dwindling. During recent congressional testimony, senior FBI officials said they were overseeing around 850 domestic terrorism investigations, compared to about 1,000 investigations the year prior. When Brette Steele, the former regional director of strategic engagement in the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Terrorism and Prevention Partnerships, testified before Congress, she noted major cuts within the agency since 2017.

https://amp.businessinsider.com/trump-cut-resources-fight-white-supremacy-domestic-terrorism-2019-8

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Ziemia(6a)

And they've cut back in the funding of DHS services that deal with this.

Though there must be positive signs that Trump is being pro-active about this problem.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

The growing problem of lone-wolf far-right extremists becoming radicalized online alone in their bedrooms--

To me that speaks a new degree of alienation in our society.

Why such extreme alienation? Is this the contemporary version of the "Invisible Man" syndrome? Takes blowing up a hospital or a school in order to feel "seen"?

Kate

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

Here is the famous Ralph Ellison statement of "invisibility"--as applied to being black in a white society. The description of how "invisibility" is experienced can apply to any other alienated group also--say, lone wolf white supremacists. How ironic.

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"Prologue

I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted
Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a
man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids -- and I might even be
said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people
refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus
sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard,
distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings,
themselves, or figments of their imagination -- indeed, everything and
anything except me.

Nor is my invisibility exactly a matter of a bio-chemical accident to
my epidermis. That invisibility to which I refer occurs because of a peculiar
disposition of the eyes of those with whom I come in contact. A matter of
the construction of their inner eyes, those eyes with which they look through
their physical eyes upon reality. I am not complaining, nor am I protesting
either. It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often
rather wearing on the nerves. Then too, you're constantly being bumped
against by those of poor vision. Or again, you often doubt if you really exist.
You wonder whether you aren't simply a phantom in other people's minds.
Say, a figure in a nightmare which the sleeper tries with all his strength to
destroy. It's when you feel like this that, out of resentment, you begin to
bump people back. And, let me confess, you feel that way most of the time.
You ache with the need to convince yourself that you do exist in the real
world, that you're a part of all the sound and anguish, and you strike out with your fists, you curse and you swear to make them recognize you. And,
alas, it's seldom successful.
"

https://bpi.edu/ourpages/auto/2010/5/11/36901472/Ralph%20Ellison%20-%20Invisible%20Man%20v3_0.pdf

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What do you think? Lone wolf white supremacists suffering from the condition of invisibility as their population decreases?

Kate

ETA: Ellison's famous novel is titled Invisible Man.

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batyabeth

"White supremacists and other far-right extremists have killed more people than any other category of domestic extremist in the past 18 years."

but the REAL threat is immigrants, gays and uppity women who demand body autonomy, right? Fearing the white guy down the street is more realistic, but to listen to the RW pundits, they're just protecting "America" and we should be more afraid of the immigrant who cleans the floors.

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althea_gw

"rather than joining traditional groups like the [KKK].""

What a weird way to describe the kkk. A traditional group, like American as apple pie? I would have said "established extremist groups".

The thing is, this country was founded and built on white supremacy so it's no surprise that the expression continues to take new forms. The current administration has been the most tolerant of white supremacy that we've had in a long time, which opens to door to an openness toward what has been the constant subtext in the U.S..

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

"The thing is, this country was founded and built on white supremacy so it's no surprise that the expression continues to take new forms. "


Excellent observation.

Kate


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JodiK

While that's true, Althea, one might think that we'd evolved enough as a species to realize how wrong it is to place any race or ethnic group of people above another.

In too many cases, it would appear that such enlightenment or realization has not taken place.

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Carro

block busting

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Ziemia(6a)

We are evolving.

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Ziemia(6a)

More Americans can vote although more needs to be done, still. Some of those who made the Voting Rights Act necessary are still active in local government. And many of those they mentored certainly are as well.

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althea_gw

Jodi, at least racism is no longer overtly codified in U.S. law.

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dublinbay z6 (KS)

". . . at least racism is no longer overtly codified in U.S. law."


Yes, Althea. One must be thankful for that at least.

Kate

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