In a remarkable new study, the New York Times found that law enforcement agencies in the United States are more concerned about right wing extremists than ISIS in their jurisdictions. In a survey of 382 law enforcement agencies, the Times found that while 39% were most concerned over the threat of Islamic terrorism, the vast majority, 74%, found right wing extremist groups to be a bigger threat to the safety and wellbeing of people in their regions. The majority of these right wing groups follow anti-government ideologies.
Many news reporters and media analysts have been quick to concur with the survey’s findings. Since the September 11 Terrorist Attacks, only nine Muslims have been involved in terrorist plots, with fifty fatalities. This compares to the over 300 attacks by right wing extremists each year, which have resulted in the deaths of 254 people, 25 of whom have been police officers.
Police officers have been a favorite target of right wing extremists due to their representation of the authority and power of the United States government. Media experts also point out that right wing news outlets usually use government action in propaganda campaigns, demonizing the government and putting a target on the backs of law enforcement personnel.
While Americans should always be concerned about foreign adversaries, it is important to remember the threat of homegrown extremism as well.