Terry Gross, host of National Public Radio’s (NPR) Fresh Air hosted Peter Bergen, author of The United States of Jihad, they discussed what could be described as an overwhelming concern in America: domestically grown “jihad” style terrorists.
According to Bergen, since 9/11 our nation has looked at terrorism through the lens of the falling American Towers. By doing so, we are actually overlooking the fact that we are growing terrorists in our own country who are completely unrelated to Islam and they are killing more and more people.
Gross asked Bergen to compare the number of people killed in the U.S. by terrorists radicalized in two different ways, Christian anti-government extremists and radicalized Islamic extremists.
Well, since 9/11, the foundation that I work at, New America, we’ve been compiling deaths caused by jihadi terrorists. And at a certain point, we started thinking, hey, why don’t we also – there are anti-government fanatics who’ve also killed people and violent neo-Nazis. And so since 9/11, 45 people have been killed in the United States by jihadi terrorists while 48 have been killed by people animated by, you know, anti-abortion, neo-Nazi, anti-government fanaticism.
Peter Bergen is an expert in homegrown terrorism, whose book traces the history of how militant Islamic groups came to recruit lone wolves in the U.S., using the internet and social media to radicalize and recruit Americans. Americans became innovators in the jihadi use of digital media according to Bergen, who is also CNN’s national security analyst and is the author of four previous books about terrorism.
Gross commented that, on the whole, “Americans are much more preoccupied with jihadi terrorism on American soil,” even though there are more deaths caused by right-wing and anti-government extremists.
Bergen stated that it wasn’t surprising that many seem, “but the fact is, is that, you know, we had a neo-Nazi shout “hail Hitler” after he killed three people in Kansas City at a community center in 2014.”
If he shouted, Allah Akbar, what was already a pretty big news story would’ve become an even bigger news story, I’m sure. So, you know, that’s just kind of just the environment we live in.
What Bergin seems to be talking about is the simple fact that the American public has been flooded with fear regarding refugees and homegrown “Islamic” terrorism, knowing that citizens of our country may be in contact with ISIL and other radicalized groups. However, more people have died at the hands of those Americans radicalized by our own right-wing politicians, Christian extremists, anti-government groups, and white supremacists/Neo Nazi groups. The fact is, it is overwhelmingly American citizens and permanent residents that kill Americans in terrorist acts.
The conclusion of this is simple, terrorism is a relatively insignificant problem in the United States, far behind gun deaths and other major issues. However, fear is not rational, so its terrorism is very overblown in the media.
We are “3,000 or 5,000 times more likely to be killed a fellow American with a gun than you are to be killed in the United States by a jihadi terrorist” or any other type homegrown terrorist. Of course, our right-wing government officials are only concerned with one of these problems and the NRA “pays” handsomely to keep it that way.
Listen to the full interview here:
Featured image via Twitter