According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) nearly 100 murders have been linked back to one far-right, White Nationalist website — Stormfront.org — a flawed and misguided website that claims to promote the values of “the embattled white minority.”
Insisting “every month is white history month” (one of the few accurate statements found on that site) dedicated members of Stormfront.org include such notorious murderers as Anders Behring Breivik, responsible for massacring 77 people in Norway in 2011; Wade Michael Page, who killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin the following year; and most recently Frazier Glenn (Cross) Miller, who gunned down three people outside a Jewish center in Kansas City on April 13, (none of which turned out to be Jewish.) It was Frazier Glenn (Cross) Miller’s rampage, in fact, that compelled the SPLC to release their study one month early.
Founded in 1995 as one of the first hate sites mucking up the virtual world, the SPLC’s two-year investigation of Stormfront.org concluded that the site’s early presence on the internet has helped its registered users become disproportionately responsible for major hate crimes and murders around the world. That is not to say all of its users are responsible for hate crimes and murder but that of those who move from thoughts into violent action a great majority of them are linked to Stormfront.org.
We know that the people who are going to commit the kinds of crimes, like the kinds of crimes Miller committed last weekend, this is where they live.
According to the report, Stormfront.org is the “largest hate site in the world” and “a magnet and breeding ground for the deadly and deranged.”
The site caters to roughly 286,000 users currently, of which only 1,800 log in each day. On a worldwide level, that’s still quite small, but as has been seen time and time again, it only takes one less than stable person to create great havoc and heartache. Sites like Stormfront.org help feed and exacerbate such disturbed folks into deeper stances, and occasionally deadly action.
Though the SPLC only fingered 10 killers out of the entire 286,000 users, researchers find the connection to the site pertinent because it creates a safe haven for deep breeding of ignorance, hate and bigotry where such disturbed individuals can seek refuge and further cultivate their delusions.
It’s pretty clear that websites like Stormfront are breeding grounds for people who are just enraged at their situation, it’s there that people find the reasons their lives aren’t as they had hoped and Stormfront helps them find the enemy that is standing in their way — whether it be Jews, African Americans, immigrants and so on. Unfortunately it’s not very surprising that people who live in this kind of stew of violent racism eventually pick up a gun and do something about it at some point.
In the study, the SPLC also identifies 10 characteristics common amongst the killers active online. Some of those characteristics include unemployment and active, sustained participation on more than one hate site.
Beirich went on to say:
The fact of the matter is that more people have been killed domestically by radical right extremists than Islamic extremists since 9/11 and where you find a lot of these people is on these sites.
We have enough of a problem with how we are portrayed without some homicidal whack job coming along and reinforcing that.
According to the SPLC, After (Cross) Miller was banned from Stormfront.org he posted over 12,000 times on a similar site — the Vanguard News Network — which touts the slogan “No Jews, Just Right.”
We have seen and documented at the SPLC an enormous growth of groups on the radical right, particularly in the last five years. That growth quite clearly seems to be driven by the appearance of Barack Obama on the political scene in the fall of 2008 and of course his subsequent election.
Potok also stated that such hate sites as Stormfront.org are protected by the first amendment because they do not explicitly call for or push murder as an agenda. Though law enforcement officials certainly monitor these hate sites, Potok contends that the follow-through in the analysis of such sites’ users falls short. Potok stated to this regard:
We feel pretty strongly that the Department of Homeland Security, which is the lead agency in this country for developing intelligence about these groups and individuals, has more or less taken its eyes off the ball in the sense that since 2009 the department seems more focused on Jihadists [sic] terrorism.
It appears the Department of Homeland Security is looking for love in all the wrong places. Meanwhile, the Ku Klux Klan is launching national public relations campaigns under the guise of neighborhood watch programs. Couple all this with the hate killings and Stand Your Ground laws speckling the nation with bloodshed and it’s easy to see America’s race problems, settler mentality and white privilege are still very much rampant in what many try to believe (delusional as Stormfront.org users) is a “post-racial” society. That’s one joke that should never hear a rim shot.
Dylan Hock is a writer, professor, videographer and social activist. He earned an MFA in Writing from Naropa University in 2000 and has been an Occupier since Oct., 2011, both nationally and locally in Michigan. He is published in a number of little magazines and has an essay on the muzzling of Ezra Pound included in the anthology Star Power: The Impact Of Branded Celebrity due out July of 2014 by Praeger. He is also a contributing writer for Addicting Info and Green Action News.