Expert cites Obama’s election, changing demographics for hate groups’ growth
DENVER — Wade Michael Page, the man police say opened fire and killed six people in a Wisconsin Sikh Temple, is from Colorado and is believed to have been involved in several local hate groups.
Following the shooting, FOX31 Denver did some digging and found an apparent rise in hate groups across Colorado—and we’re not alone.
Hate groups are on the rise across the country and experts say several events have brought this on — including the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the election of President Obama, and changing demographics.
When Wade Page inexplicably targeted the Sikh temple in Wisconsin, the white supremacist not only claimed innocent lives, but his actions highlighted a disturbing trend: hate groups are on the rise.
“The hate movement has been basically, rapidly rising now for over a decade,” said Heidi Beirich from the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In 2000, the Southern Poverty Law Center was tracking just over 600 hate groups. By 2011, that number dramatically increased to one-thousand eighteen.
What changed? Some say the changing face of America.
Starting with the 2000 census which predicted by 2055, less than half of the country would be white.
“And if you’re a white supremacist and you find that out, it’s pretty terrifying because that puts an end to your dreams of creating a white nation in the United States,” Beirich said.
Hate groups and hate crimes are mainly motivated by race and religion.
In 2009, an avowed white supremacist was arrested for fatally shooting a security guard at Washington’s Holocaust Memorial.
He died while awaiting trial.
In 2011, the FBI found a backpack loaded with explosives and an anti-blood clotting agent at a Martin Luther King parade in Spokane, Washington.
The suspect—identified as a white supremacist—pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime.
In 2012, fourteen alleged members of the anarchist group American Front were arrested on charges including anti-American paramilitary training and planning an attack in central Florida.
Prosecutors say their ultimate aim is race war against Jews, immigrants and other minorities.
Trials are scheduled for later this year.
Police believe Sikh temple shooter Wade Page acted alone, so how do you stop an apparent lone wolf?
“The sad fact is that Wade Page is just one of thousands of people who look like him [and have] racist tattoos, who say vile things about killing Jews or blacks or whatever the case might be,” according to Beirich. “But he decided to step over to violence, and most people won’t. And it’s very, very hard to know when that’s going to happen.”
The FBI says unless there’s a threat of violence, agents cannot arrest them, no matter how hateful the speech.