Diego Torres Silvestre/Creative Commons

It’s time to come to grips with the “white identity extremist” problem we have in America.

The latest example: The FBI has charged a 26-year-old white Missouri man with attempting to commit a terror attack on an Amtrak train in rural Nebraska in October. According to multiple outlets, court documents that were unsealed on Wednesday reveal that Taylor Michael Wilson had participated in the deadly Unite the Right white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., and expressed a desire to murder black people.

Advertisement

Here’s more about the terrorism charge from Newsweek:

Wilson entered an engineer’s seat of an Amtrak train after midnight on Oct. 22 and started “playing with the controls” of the train, according to [FBI Special Agent Monte] Czaplewski’s account. No one was injured or killed in the attempted attack.

The Lincoln Journal Star adds that Wilson was found to be armed, carrying a “.38-caliber handgun in his waistband and a speed loader in this pocket.” He also wore a backpack containing more speed loaders, a box of ammunition, a knife, tin snips, scissors and a ventilation mask, authorities said. More weapons were later found at his home.

Advertisement

Wilson also carried a business card for the National Socialist Movement, which Newsweek describes as a neo-Nazi organization with ties to the American Nazi Party.

This makes Wilson another in a string of “alt-right”-affiliated men who have recently committed or been charged in violent and murderous acts. Newsweek lists William Edward Atchison, a regular commenter on the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, who killed two students at his high school last year; Nicholas Giampa, the Virginia teen who allegedly killed his girlfriend’s parents days before Christmas; and Matthew Riehl, the Denver man who ambushed a Douglas County deputy on New Year’s Eve, as just a few examples.

Advertisement

As the Journal Star reports, an informant told the FBI that Wilson “had expressed an interest in ‘killing black people’ and others besides whites,” although it’s unclear when the informant alerted the FBI. Wilson is also a suspect in a 2016 road rage incident in St. Charles, Mo., where a man pointed a gun at a black woman while driving on Interstate 70 for “no apparent reason.”

Let’s consider for a moment that, according to the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, between 2000 and 2016, white supremacists were responsible for more homicides than any other domestic extremist movement (49 homicides in 26 attacks in that 16-year span).

Can we talk about how these white identity extremists were radicalized? Better than talk about it, can we study it? Is there a hotline? Should we determine terrorist-threat levels for WIEs?

Advertisement

Months before Nicholas Giampa allegedly killed his girlfriend’s parents in their home, his neighbors suspected that he had mowed a a 40-foot swastika into a community field. The 17-year-old’s neighbors opted not to call the police but instead talk to Nicholas’ parents. They were assured that the teen was getting treatment for his “behavioral issues,” as the Washington Post reported.

One neighbor who came across the swastika told Post reporters, “For the first time, I was fearful that there was someone living in our neighborhood who was capable of incredibly irrational behavior.”

That’s the problem: Nicholas Giampa was not acting irrationally. Neither was Wilson. And in all likelihood, neither was Riehl. They know what they’re doing. They know why they’re doing it. They’re broadcasting, in so many ways and so many mediums, what it is they intend to do.

Advertisement

When are we going to do something about it?