Florida has a serious problem with right-wing extremists


  • Screen grab via ADL
Over the last two years, incidents involving extremists groups have dramatically increased across the country, but this issue is particularly evident in Florida.

According to a study released today by the Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism, from 2017 to 2018, extremist groups in Florida have accounted for 197 incidents, including five murders/mass shootings, five terror plots and one police shootout, as well as seven rallies and 83 instances of propaganda distribution.

Most significantly, the report highlights Florida as home to three of the worst extremist-related murders from the last year: the Palm Beach Gardens killings, the school shooting that left 17 dead in Parkland, and the yoga studio shooting in Tallahassee. It also includes the attempted bombings by the Florida "MAGA Bomber."

Of those reported incidents in Florida, 98 involved right-wing extremist groups, which is by far the largest margin for any particular grouping. It's also worth noting that only two reported incidents were related to Islamic groups, and only one was related to a left-wing extremist group.

The other 98 weren't attributed to any specific group, but were categorized as related to anti-Semitism.
Data from the ADL shows that the bulk of these incidents were performed by white supremacist and alt-right groups like Identity Evropa, Loyal White Knights and Patriot Front.

In the Orlando area, 20 instances were reported between 2017 and 2018, with the majority involving Identity Evropa. For those of you unfamiliar with this group, the Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as a hate group bent on "preserving western culture." The group's founding leader, Nathan Damigo, was once quoted as saying "I think one of the major books that got me started was David Duke's My Awakening, and I think from there the rest was really history."

In Orlando's surrounding areas there were three instances reported in both Sanford and Maitland, and one each in Longwood, Oviedo and Ocoee.
Though the Sunshine State doesn't necessarily lead the country in these reports, Florida still ranks among the top. Statewide, Florida reported the fourth most incidents from extremist groups; only other heavily populated states like New York (472), California (470) and Texas (270) experienced more activity.

As a whole, 2018 was the fourth deadliest year for domestic extremism since 1970, with a total of 50 deaths, and right wing groups were associated with every single one.  "Every one of the 50 murders documented by the COE was committed by a person or persons with ties to right-wing extremism, although in one incident the perpetrator had switched from white supremacist to radical Islamist beliefs prior to committing the murder," says the report.

"In fact, 2018 saw the highest percentage (98 percent) of right-wing extremist-related killings since 2012, the last year when all documented killings were by right-wing extremists. Right-wing extremists also killed more people in 2018 than in any year since 1995. For comparison, only 62 percent of extremist killings in 2017 were committed by right-wing extremists, and only 21 percent in 2016."

The entire sobering report, including the interactive map, can be viewed here.

Correction: The article incorrectly stated that former Florida Senate candidate and Orlando's goat blood-drinking Holocaust denier August Sol Invictus was affiliated with Identity Evropa, when in fact he's actually more directly associated with the FMI.

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