In Which We Learn That You’re Much More Likely to be Killed by a Bed Than by a Political Extremist

 

Man Wearing Gas Mask Standing Beside Store Facade

‘We are a tinderbox’: Political violence is ramping up, experts warnLos Angeles Times

Politically motivated violence has ebbed and flowed throughout U.S. history. Currently, America is going through an upsurge in right-wing violence, according to researchers who track attacks and other incidents. They say today’s climate is comparable to that in the mid-1990s, when a similar wave of right-wing violence culminated in the 1995 bombing of the federal office building in Oklahoma City, which killed 168 people.

I’ll call bullshit on that. I can do that. If someone pulls the the Oklahoma City bombing out of their ass and makes a gratuitous suggestion that it’s about to happen again, I get to gratuitously deny it.

In fact, to avoid having to repeat myself, I’ll call bullshit on most of the article. It’s extremely slanted.

There were 9,625 threats against members of Congress and their families last year, according to the Capitol Police — more than twice as many as in 2017.

How many of the threats were carried out? I’ll estimate zero. That is the biggest scam . . . everyone gets death threats but no one ever dies.

Has anyone ever been killed by someone who notified them ahead of time? Did Lee Harvey Oswald send JFK a death threat? It’s a bad move, if you have any ambition of actually getting away with the crime, to alert the victim in advance.

Over the last decade, politically motivated extremists, a majority of them right-wing, have killed over 400 people in the U.S., according to the Anti-Defamation League, which has tracked domestic political violence for 15 years. In 2021, political violence resulted in 29 deaths, according to the ADL’s most recent report.

The ADL data is flawed and consistently mis-cited, as we’ve pointed out before. A neo-Nazi strangles his wife, the ADL counts it as an extremist killing. A white supremacist gang member kills a rival white supremacist gang member, the ADL counts it as an extremist killing.

And so on.

The ADL includes those it describes as “anti-government” or “incel/manosphere” as right-wing extremists. Why being anti-government or incel requires being a right-wing extremist, I do not know.

 

One thing that gets in the way of understanding the world is a lack of context and perspective. During the same 10-year period cited by the ADL, there were at least 165,000 murders in the U.S.
The FBI has not issued the official number of murders in the U.S. in 2021, but it is expected to exceed the number of murders in 2020: 21,570. The ADL says 29 of the 2021 murders were committed by extremists.

So the ADL data could be characterized as follows: The number of murders committed by extremists is very small.

In 2020, according to the CDC, 1,080 people were killed falling out of bed. Are you terrified of beds? You’re much more likely to be killed by a bed than by an extremist. Is the Los Angeles Times running alarmist stories about beds?

Though some Democrats have been criticized for provocative language . . . the party as a whole, especially President Biden, has been more forceful than Republicans in renouncing extremist rhetoric and actions.

“It’s one thing to condemn the violence,” Biden told reporters Saturday after he cast his ballot early in Delaware. “But you can’t condemn the violence unless you condemn those people who are arguing that the election is not real.”

Biden dedicated an entire speech in Philadelphia to warning of peril to democracy.

That’s the speech where he said Republicans are democracy-hating fascists, right? That should calm everyone down. Thanks, Joe.

Nowhere in the article that I can see is it mentioned that Democrats spent Trump’s entire term arguing that his election was not real due to Russian collusion, with a couple of impeachments thrown in for political theater.

Don’t sleep on the edge of the bed.

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