White supremacists responsible for most 2020 domestic terror attacks
The numbers are in.
White supremacists are responsible for the majority of terrorist plots and attacks that occurred during the first eight months of 2020, according to a recent report by the nonpartisan think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
Researchers found that white supremacists, anti-government extremists from the violent far-right, and involuntary celibates (incels) carried out 67 percent of all domestic terrorist plots and attacks. Far-left terrorists accounted for 20 percent of the plots and attacks. CSIS analyzed 61 incidents from Jan. 1, 2020 to Aug. 31, 2020.
Terrorism, the report states, is defined by “the deliberate use — or threat— of violence by non-state actors in order to achieve political goals and create a broad psychological impact.”
So, incidents like hate crimes or protests and riots (like the racial justice demonstrations we saw this summer after the police killing of George Floyd) didn’t factor into the research. Though the researchers acknowledge hate crimes and terrorism can overlap, hate crimes aren’t always violent.
In protests for racial justice over the summer, far-right terrorists primarily targeted demonstrators. Some of their tactics included vehicle attacks, which were committed mostly by white supremacists or people who were against the Black Lives Matter movement.
Far-left terrorist attacks went up in 2020, with four times as many in 2020 as in 2019. The number of far-right terrorist attacks stayed the same in 2019 vs. 2020.
Despite the violence, there were only five people who were killed (all by guns) during these domestic terrorist attacks. This is very low compared to past incidents, like the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 people.
But, the researchers warn, violence could rise over the next year due to political divides, the COVID-19 pandemic, worsening economic conditions, racial injustice, and other factors.