The rise of the Tea Party as a reaction against the election of America’s first President of mixed racial descent ushered in an era of emboldened racists. With Trump’s encouragement, racists are crawling out of the woodwork.
These hateful words and threatening actions are beginning to spark actual violence, hate crimes aimed at non-Christians, non-whites, and LGBT Americans. According to The Washington Post, the recent death of Blaze Bernstein (who was both Jewish and gay), has been linked to a neo-Nazi, Samuel Woodward.
Samuel Woodward, a 20-year-old past classmate of the victim, was not acting alone. The Post sheds further light on his connections with neo-Nazis:
‘Quoting three sources with knowledge of Woodward’s recent past, the investigative news site reported Woodward joined the hate group in 2016 and attended a three-day training camp with other members in Texas. Pictures from the event captured Atomwaffen Division members in skull masks, making Nazi salutes. The website reported that the training included lessons in firearms and hand-to-hand combat, preparation for the group’s “ultimate aim of overthrowing the U.S. government through the use of terrorism and guerrilla warfare.”’
He joined Atomwaffen Division in 2016, during the increasingly racially charged atmosphere of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. Remember that this time period was notable for the outspoken racism and sexism openly displayed during Trump’s rallies:
WARNING: This video is uncensored and contains profanity as well as racial slurs.
The fact that a racist like Woodward is finding groups of like-minded people is alarming. But the fact that these groups are radicalizing is worthy of immediate attention.
The Atomwaffen Division conducted a training camp in Texas. Woodward attended this intensive event, which featured, according to ProPublica:
‘…instruction in firearms, hand-to-hand combat, camping and survival skills.’
This is clearly a group that exists not to offer a safe place for speech, but to prepare and equip racists to physically and violently attack those they hate. Allegedly, their ranks swelled after the “Unite the Right” rally that was tacitly condoned by President Trump.
Atomwaffen have aggressively recruited on college campuses, with posters like "Black Lives Don’t Matter” and "Join Your Local Nazis."
You haven't heard about it because most elites think the real threat on campus is anti-racist organizing. https://t.co/GRA2XeEDFN
— we're going to pass AVR (@SeanMcElwee) January 27, 2018
I'm working on an investigation into the alleged neo-Nazi murderer Sam Woodward & his membership to Atomwaffen Division for @ProPublica, with @awinston & @ACInvestigates. Here's our first piece: https://t.co/EmNvEKstSs pic.twitter.com/okfW2PeTqq
— Jake Hanrahan (@Jake_Hanrahan) January 27, 2018
Blaze Bernstein’s murder is far from the only one connected to Atomwaffen Division. Members of the radical hate group are charged with several other murders, each of which was motivated by their Nazi beliefs.
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