The number of activities officially designated as “hate crimes” in 2017 was up by around 17 percent from the year before, with much of the rise in such incidents happening due to a rise of domestic right-wing terrorism.
Of the 65 known incidents of domestic terrorism that happened last year, more than half — 36 incidents in total — were perpetrated by individuals with extreme right-wing viewpoints. Only 10 incidents involved leftists with extreme views, and only seven terror-related incidents were conducted by people who held “Islamist extremism” beliefs, per reporting from the Washington Post.
The study that the Post reported on cited data obtained from the Global Terrorism Database. Other studies have found similar rises in far-right extremist actions, including the Anti-Defamation League, which found that there was a 57 percent increase in anti-Semitic actions last year as well.
Experts say that the rise in far-right domestic terrorism stems from extreme anxieties that persisted from the time that former President Barack Obama was in office. Those anxieties continued into the administration of President Donald Trump.
Although Trump has denied that he or anyone else from his administration has encouraged violence through their rhetoric, terrorism experts have suggested that Trump’s comments on issues like immigration and other subjects have possibly given extremists the idea that he tacitly supports their actions.
Beyond the examination of incidents that occurred in 2017, the report from the Global Terrorism Database also demonstrated that extremist right-wing domestic terrorism was the motivating factor behind a plurality of incidents from 2010 to the present.
Of the 263 incidents that occurred between that period of time, 92 of them (roughly 35 percent) were perpetrated by individuals with such viewpoints. Far-left extremists accounted for about 13 percent of incidents, while domestic terrorists who said they were inspired by “Islamist extremism” were roughly 14 percent of the total. A third of incidents had no confirmed motivating factor.
One item to note in the report, however, is the Las Vegas shooting that took place a year ago. That incident, in which terrorist Stephen Paddock shot and killed 58 individuals, wounding dozens more, was not listed as a right-wing domestic terrorist incident because Paddock’s motivations were never officially confirmed.
However, reporting from the Guardian indicated that Paddock harbored extreme right-wing viewpoints, as he discussed conservative conspiracy theories with individuals in the days before his attack, including with a gun dealer he met with in a Bass Pro Shop parking lot as he was trying to get a conversion to his guns.
That gun dealer said that Paddock was ranting about “FEMA camps” and “anti-government stuff,” with Paddock also saying that “sacrifices have to be made” to make America aware of these false conspiracy theories.