10 plots and attacks by white people the White House left off its terrorism list
In a speech to U.S. military leaders Monday, the president accused the media of ignoring terrorist attacks for political reasons. Without offering specifics, Trump referenced attacks in Europe and said “in many cases the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it,” adding, “They have their reasons, and you understand that.”
The White House later released a “timeline” of 78 attacks the administration believes did not receive adequate media attention. Except they did. Not only did all of these incidents receive plenty of media coverage, but the list also focuses exclusively on attacks perpetrated by Muslims, troublingly seeming to ignore incidents linked to far-right extremists and white nationalists even as the threat to Americans posed by these groups has grown.
The three most recent deadly jihadist attacks in the U.S., in San Bernardino and Orlando, claimed a combined total of 63 lives. (The shooter in the January attack in the Fort Lauderdale airport that killed five people claimed to have been inspired by the Islamic State group, but his ties to the group were unclear.) But a 2015 study by the New America Foundation found that between 9/11 and June 2015, white supremacists and right-wing extremists killed nearly twice as many people (48) on American soil as radical Muslims did (26).
The nonpartisan think tank also noted that every lethal attack inside the United States from 9/11 to 2015 was committed by a citizen or legal resident, throwing water on Trump’s idea that restricting foreign immigration will reduce the risk of terrorism. The administration reportedly plans to deprioritize national security investigations into domestic right-wing extremists, focusing instead on “radical Islamic extremism.”
Here’s a list of deadly attacks and terrorist plots over the last three years in the U.S. and Canada that involved white extremists. Like Trump’s list, this collection of incidents is far from comprehensive — it’s something we cobbled together from the VICE News archives, reports by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Google. (The Global Terrorism Database has the most comprehensive information on terror attacks around the world from 1970 until 2015.)
And much like the incidents flagged by the Trump administration, all of these cases received at least some level of media attention, but the White House either overlooked or chose to ignore them when compiling its list.
Date: Jan. 29, 2017
Location: Quebec, Canada
Incident: Alexandre Bissonnette, a 27-year-old Canadian described by authorities as a “criminal extremist” inspired by extreme right-wing French nationalists, killed six people and wounded 19 others at an Islamic Cultural Center in Quebec City. The attack was cheered by far-right groups in Canada, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer said it was “a terrible reminder of why we must remain vigilant,” apparently citing the attack as justification for Trump’s U.S. travel ban on people from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
Date: Oct. 14, 2016
Location: Garden City, Kansas
Incident: Three men allegedly belonging to a group called “The Crusaders,” an anti-immigrant, anti-government militia, were charged with conspiring to bomb a Somali immigrant community in Kansas. Patrick Stein, one of the defendants, told an undercover agent that he hoped the attack would be a “bloodbath.” Stein, Curtis Allen, and Gavin Wright stockpiled firearms and explosives, which they planned to use to attack a building complex that is home to many Somali immigrants. The men repeatedly referred to the Somalis as “cockroaches.”
Date: Nov. 27, 2015
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado
Incident: Robert Louis Dear, a 57-year-old Colorado man, attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. Armed with four assault rifles and other weapons, Dear killed three people and injured nine others. According to court documents, Dear told investigators that he hoped he would be met in heaven “by aborted fetuses thanking him for saving unborn babies.” He said he was driven to action by false allegations that Planned Parenthood clinics sell baby parts. Dear also characterized members of the “Army of God,” a group of anti-abortion extremists behind other attacks on abortion clinics, as “heroes.”
Date: Nov. 24, 2015
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Incident: Four men wearing ski masks attacked Black Lives Matter protesters during a demonstration, wounding five. Allen Scarsella, the only assailant with a gun, was convicted on assault charges. The other defendants were charged with second-degree assault. The four men reportedly met online in forums frequented by people with racist and anti-government views. The evidence against Scarsella included text messages he sent to his friends where he discussed shooting black people and photos on his phone that showed him posing with confederate symbols.
Date: July 23, 2015
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
Incident: John Russell Houser opened fire at a movie theatre during a showing of “Trainwreck,” a film starring the comedian Amy Schumer. He killed two women, ages 21 and 33, and injured nine others before committing suicide. Houser espoused extremist right-wing views and was reportedly an ardent anti-feminist.
Date: June 23, 2015
Location: Charleston, South Carolina
Incident: Dylann Roof, a self-avowed white supremacist, walked into the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, a historically black church, and joined bible study. After an hour, as congregants had their heads bowed in prayer, Roof opened fire, killing nine black churchgoers. Roof’s website, “The Last Rhodesian,” featured photos of him posing with neo-Nazi and white supremacist symbols and a manifesto, in which he expressed his racist views towards African-Americans.
Date: Nov. 28, 2014
Location: Austin, Texas
Incident: Larry Steve McQuilliams, armed with a .22 caliber rifle, fired more than 100 rounds at government buildings in downtown Austin, including a police station, a Mexican consulate, a federal courthouse, and a bank. He tried to set the consulate on fire before he was shot dead by police. There were no fatalities. Police searched his rental van and found homemade bombs made from propane cans, a map containing 34 targets, and a white supremacist book called “Vigilantes of Christendom.” Police characterized McQuilliams as a “homegrown American terrorist trying to terrorize our people.”
Date: June 8, 2014
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Incident: Jerad and Amanda Miller, a couple who shared their extreme anti-government positions through videos posted online, shot and killed two Las Vegas police officers, and later killed a civilian in Walmart store. The Millers had spent time on Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s property during protests related to Bundy’s dispute with the federal government.
Date: June 4, 2014
Location: New Brunswick, Canada
Incident: Justin Bourque, a 24-year-old from Moncton, Canada, shot five officers from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, killing three and severely injuring two. He was captured after a 10-week manhunt. Bourque posted pro-gun and anti-police slogans on Facebook, and said he feared Russia would invade Canada in a third world war.
Date: April 13, 2014
Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Incident: Frazier Glenn Cross, a former Ku Klux Klan leader, opened fire on two Jewish sites in a Kansas City suburb on Passover eve, killing a doctor and his 14-year-old grandson and a third woman. Cross shouted “Heil Hitler” as he was taken into custody.