SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) President Trump made controversial comments about the chaos in Charlottesville yesterday. National Security Expert Ryan Vogel joined Good Morning Utah with Brian Carlson to talk about what it means for our nation.
This past week revealed once again that armed and violent anti-government and white supremacist groups represent one of the greatest security threats inside the United States.
On August 11, hundreds of torch-carrying alt-right protesters marched on the campus of the University of Virginia. The marchers were protesting the plan to remove a statue of Confederate Civil War general, Robert E. Lee. The protest resulted in the death of one counter-protester, when an extremist drove his car into a crowd, and two police officers.
The protesters were largely made up of KKK members, neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other far-right extremists, attempting to make a provocative political statement using intimidation and violence. This is the hallmark of domestic terrorism.
Overshadowed by the events in Charlottesville, on the same day the FBI arrested a man in Oklahoma for attempting to blow up a bank. Jerry Drake Varnell, an anti-government and pro-militia extremist, created and attempted to detonate what he believed to be a 1,000-pound explosive device in a van parked in front of a major bank just half a mile from the site of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Three months ago, the FBI and DHS issued a joint report and warned of the growing threat posed by white supremacist organizations. The report noted that such groups “were responsible for 49 homicides in 26 attacks from 2000 to 2016 … more than any other domestic extremist movement,” and that more violence is expected in the year ahead.
White supremacist groups and the domestic terrorism they promote can no longer be dismissed as fringe elements unworthy of national attention and response.
· The openness with which these groups operate is a sign that they believe the public and the government are on their side, either explicitly or tacitly.