Extremism at Home: Recent Trends in Domestic Extremist Groups
Posted: March 6, 2007
In 2007, the United States is still heavily engaged in the war on terror at home and abroad. Many Americans who encounter the violence or hatred of extremists, however, experience it at the hands of domestic radicals from a variety of extreme groups and movements.
The population of the United States passed the 300 million mark in 2006, which means that even fringe movements in this country can attain significant size—and can cause problems disproportionate to their numbers. Hundreds of domestic extremists were arrested in 2006 and 2007 on charges ranging from hate crimes to weapons and explosives violations to murder.
The level of criminal activity, including violent crime, is high. There were fewer domestic terror plots in 2006 than in some previous years, but more hate-related crimes committed by extremists. Victims included Jews, Hispanics, homosexuals, African-Americans, multi-racial couples or families, and other minorities. One law enforcement officer died in 2006 at the hands of a white supremacist in Massachusetts; other plots to kill or harm law enforcement officers and prosecutors were revealed in California.
Extremist movements are not static. The face of domestic extremist groups a decade ago is not the same as five years ago or today. The Anti-Defamation League has recently highlighted certain of these key trends, such as an increase in Ku Klux Klan activity to exploit anti-immigration sentiments, and the rise of a dangerous skinhead/street gang in California, Public Enemy Number 1.
What follows are some of the other recent trends and developments among domestic extremist groups in the United States.