Antisemitic activity was up 60% in 2017. White supremacist activity on campus is up 250%. Our President acknowledges that he's a Nationalist. And in the last week, we've seen a dozen pipe bombs mailed to his perceived enemies, and a mass shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue where the gunman yelled "All Jews must die!" before opening fire.
The President would have you believe these events are unrelated, but are they?
There is a concept called Stochastic Terrorism, which is defined as:
"The use of mass, public communication, usually against a particular individual or group, which incites or inspires acts of terrorism which are statistically probable but happen seemingly at random."
In a blog post in 2011, the pseudonymous blogger G2G defined it as "remote control murder by lone wolf".
"The stochastic terrorist is the person who is responsible for the incitement. For example they go on radio or television and stir up hatred toward a particular person or group.
The random actor, or "lone wolf" as the term is used in law enforcement and intel, is the person who responds to the incitement by carrying out the violent or terrorist act against the target person or group. For example they shoot someone or detonate a bomb. While their action may have been statistically predictable (e.g. "given sufficient provocation, someone will probably do such-and-such"), the specific person and the specific act are not yet predictable.
There may be intermediaries in the chain of cause and effect. For example person A hires person B to go on television and incite hatred of group C; and then person D "pops up out of nowhere" and attacks one or more members of group C.
At each step, plausible deniability increases through the diffusion of responsibility. "Oh, it was just a lone nut, nobody could have predicted he would do that, and I'm not responsible for what people in my audience do."
The random actor gets captured and sentenced to life in prison, while the stochastic terrorist keeps his prime time slot and goes on to incite more lone wolves."
We've found ourselves again with "lone wolves" popping up to add to the ever increasing list, and the talking heads are spouting their typical rhetoric. After ten years of increasingly violent rhetoric against Liberals, threatening that immigrants are terrorists and criminals coming here to rape and pillage, that "Democratic Mobs" are rising, that a civil war is imminent, they suddenly clutch their pearls when actual extremists triggered by their rhetoric rise up and commit real acts of violence.
They point to metaphor used by Democratic leaders as though it's equivalent to the actual murders being committed. Conservatives across Facebook unironically repeat assertions by Limbaugh and the like that Conversatives don't do this, that it must be Leftist. They somehow are completely isolated against the fact that right wing violence has been a constant and recurring theme in this country, which has amplified and accelerated over the last decade.
James Wenneker von Brunn. Joseph Stack III. Jim David Adkisson. Richard Poplawski. Scott Roeder. Byron Williams. Jared Loughner. Dylann Roof. Chris Harper-Mercer. Nikolas Cruz. Cesar Sayoc Jr. Robert D. Bowers. Lone wolves all, but with a striking consistency of right wing, white supremacist views, and a penchant for taking violent anti-Democrat rhetoric seriously enough to commit mass atrocities.
No matter how hard President Trump and his media allies attempt to distance themselves from this violence, no matter how hard they try to paint metaphor as equivalent to subtle incitement, they have blood on their hand. The argument that it's "just some crazy lone wolf" type falls flat when we see it's the same crazy lone wolf type over and over again, inspired by the same handful of pundits and political leaders, and the same targeting of the very people those pundits and leaders speak against.
They should be held accountable.