To stop the defamation of the Jewish people... to secure justice and fair treatment to all
Creating Electronic Community of Hate
Inspiring/Guiding Criminal Activity
Providing Inspiration 
Giving Guidance
Coordinating Extremist Events
Hate Rock Concerts
"Patriot" Confrontations
Making Money Online
Selling Goods
Promoting Products Sold Online by Others.
Marketing Scams
Soliciting Donations
The Consequences of Right-Wing Extremism on the Internet RULE
Inspiring Extremist Crimes

In 1999 and 2000, three well-publicized hate crimes demonstrated the influence of the Internet on radical and violent extremists

The Williams Brothers: Murder and Arson in California.

In California in June 1999, Matthew Williams and his brother Tyler were charged with murdering gay couple Gary Matson and Winfield Mowder and helping set fire to three Sacramento-area synagogues. Police found boxes full of hate literature at the home of the brothers, though they were apparently "lone wolves" and not members of any extremist group.

In his first year at the University of Idaho, Matthew Williams had joined a charismatic Christian church. Two years later, he left that church. Searching for a new spiritual path and relatively isolated because he did not own a functional car, Williams turned to the Internet.

Described as a "born fanatic" by acquaintances, Williams reportedly adopted nearly every radical-right philosophy he came across online, from the anti-government views of militias to the racist and anti-Semitic beliefs of the Identity movement. He regularly downloaded pages from extremist sites and used printouts of these pages in his frequent attempts to convince his friends to adopt his beliefs.

Benjamin Smith: A Racial Murder Spree in the Midwest

After being named "Creator of the Year" in 1998 by World Church of the Creator (WCOTC) leader Matt Hale, Benjamin Nathaniel Smith went on a racially motivated shooting spree in Illinois and Indiana over the July 4, 1999 weekend. Targeting Jews, Blacks, and Asians, Smith killed two and wounded eight. As law enforcement officers prepared to apprehend him, he took his own life.

"It wasn’t really ‘til I got on the Internet, read some literature of these groups that…it really all came together." Benjamin Smith told documentary filmmaker Beverly Peterson months before his spree. "It’s a slow, gradual process to become racially conscious."

The Webmaster for WCOTC at the time of the Smith rampage, Kelly Daniels, admitted that Smith had sent him "about five" E-mail messages "congratulating" him on his Web work, indicating that Smith regularly consulted WCOTC Web sites. 

Richard Baumhammers: Racist Murder & the Internet

Pittsburgh gunman Richard Baumhammers murdered members of several minorities in April 2000. He was convicted of killing five people and sentenced to death in May 2001. His victims were a Jewish woman, a Black man, two Asian-Americans, and two Indian men.

Before his shooting spree, Baumhammers visited Tom Metzger’s WAR Web site. (Metzger later characterized him as "a white man" who "decided to deliver Aryan justice in a down home way.")  Baumhammers also joined the E-mail mailing list of the hate rock band Aggressive Force, repeatedly visited the popular white supremacist site Stormfront, and downloaded material from hate sites created by members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance.

On the Web site for his fledgling Free Market Party, Baumhammers called for an end to non-white immigration. He stated that "almost all" present day immigration "is non-European," and "the effect of such massive waves of immigration has been disastrous for Americans of European ancestry." Commenting on the 2000 presidential candidacy of former Senator Bill Bradley, Baumhammers wrote, "because of his 'pet theme' of racial harmony and civil rights, European-Americans of all backgrounds should be leery of a Bradley presidency." Baumhammers asked the Council of Conservative Citizens, a prominent racist group, to provide a link from its site to his, and the Council complied.

Related Links
Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online

e-mail to friendE-Mail This Article

Home | Search | About ADL | Contact ADL | Privacy Policy

© 2013 Anti-Defamation League