Extremist-Related Mass Killings Have Been On The Rise

“despite the total number of mass killings staying static, the number of events with extremist ties has increased, resulting in a higher percentage of extremist-linked mass killings.”

“reports from the DHS and ADL also indicate far-right extremists make up the plurality of violent attacks with extremist ties.”

““Over the past decade, right-wing extremists have committed the majority of extremist-related killings in all years but one — 2016, the year of the shooting spree at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, by a person motivated by Islamist extremism,” the report read. “Of the 444 people killed at the hands of extremists over the past 10 years, 335 (or 75%) were killed by right-wing extremists.” The report also found that the majority of deaths caused by these killings are from shootings — over 80 percent of the victims of deadly extremist violence were killed with firearms in each of the last five years.”

A guide to Ron DeSantis’s most extreme policies in Florida

“This legislative term, the governor and his fellow Republicans waged culture wars everywhere from the classroom to the bathroom to Disney World, making the state a pioneer of some of the most extreme right-wing policies in the US.
DeSantis’s legislative agenda in Florida — which he has framed as a “blueprint” for America — has targeted immigrants, LGBTQ individuals, Black Americans, and women, as well as the corporations who come to their defense. And state lawmakers have advanced DeSantis’s own political career at the expense of transparency and accountability. That’s all been done in the name of wooing an activist GOP base, which still loves former President Donald Trump and has given him a historically large lead in Republican primary polls.”

“DeSantis signed a law that imposes felony penalties on health care workers who provide gender-affirming care for minors. The law includes a unique provision that could allow some parents to ask Florida courts to override other states’ custody decisions for children receiving gender-affirming care, though it only applies to a narrow set of circumstances. Advocates are challenging parts of the law on an emergency basis in court, arguing that it violates parents’ fundamental rights to make medical decisions for their children and that it violates the Constitution by discriminating against transgender children.”

“Bathroom bill: DeSantis has made it illegal for Floridians to use bathrooms and changing facilities that don’t correspond with their sex at birth.”

“Gender identity: Florida expanded DeSantis’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” law to place additional restrictions on the teaching of “human sexuality” through high school and to require that schools promote abstinence from sex outside of marriage and monogamous heterosexual marriage. That law also prevents schools from requiring that teachers use pronouns that align with their students’ gender identity and declares that it is “false to ascribe to a person a pronoun that does not correspond to such person’s sex.””

“Drag shows: He also signed a law that bars establishments from allowing minors to watch an “adult live performance” that “depicts or simulates nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or specific sexual activities.” Though the law is intended to target drag shows, many drag shows do not include any such content.”

“The legislature has approved a bill that bars most abortions after six weeks, with some exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. In cases of rape and incest, a person would have to provide documentation like a restraining order in order to obtain an abortion up to 15 weeks. The legislation would penalize physicians who knowingly violate its parameters with potential fines or jail time. The policy won’t take effect until the state’s Supreme Court makes a decision on its existing 15-week abortion ban.”

“One new law bars public colleges and universities from funding efforts that promote diversity, equity, and inclusion, also known as DEI. DEI programming typically examines disparities and focuses on how marginalized groups can be better represented in staffing or curriculum. Opponents of the law worry that it could drive away students and faculty, while supporters argue that such programs are used to quell dissent.”

“A new policy also bans the state’s public colleges and universities from offering general education courses about “identity politics” and the idea that “systemic racism” is “inherent in the institutions of the United States.” This law expands restrictions DeSantis previously pushed in the K-12 system to higher education.”

“The legislature amplified the state’s efforts at book banning, with a new law that mandates that certain books can be pulled from school shelves for review within five days of a person flagging it as concerning. At least one Florida school district has already faced a lawsuit over its approach to book banning due to concerns that it violates free speech rights.”

“There has been $12 million allocated for flights that DeSantis can use to transport migrants from Florida to other states. DeSantis gained national attention for flying migrants from San Antonio, Texas to Martha’s Vineyard; and now faces a lawsuit over that stunt.”

“DeSantis signed a law nullifying an agreement that would have allowed Disney to continue to develop and maintain its theme parks in Florida with relative independence. Disney consequently sued DeSantis for waging a “relentless campaign to weaponize government power” over the company. It’s part of a long-running feud between the governor and Disney, which started when company executives spoke out last year against what critics call Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” law, which bans classroom discussion of gender identity and sexual orientation.”

“DeSantis signed a law eliminating the requirements to report where he goes and who he meets with in an official capacity, insulating him from public scrutiny as he launches his presidential campaign.”

“DeSantis signed a law that relaxes campaign finance reporting requirements for state political committees, which currently disclose their fundraising figures monthly. That applies to DeSantis’s state political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis, which reported about $86 million cash on hand as of the end of April.”

“the bill introduces new fines for outside voter registration groups and requires they provide a receipt when they help someone fill out a voter registration application — a measure that Democrats say could have a chilling effect on minority voters who tend to register through these groups.”

Does banning extremists online work? It depends.

“It’s been over a year since Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube banned an array of domestic extremist networks, including QAnon, boogaloo, and Oath Keepers, that had flourished on their platforms leading up to the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Around the same time, these companies also banned President Donald Trump, who was accused of amplifying these groups and their calls for violence.

So did the “Great Deplatforming” work? There is growing evidence that deplatforming these groups did limit their presence and influence online, though it’s still hard to determine exactly how it has impacted their offline activities and membership.

While extremist groups have dispersed to alternative platforms like Telegram, Parler, and Gab, they have had a harder time growing their online numbers at the same rate as when they were on the more mainstream social media apps, several researchers who study extremism told Recode. Although the overall effects of deplatforming are far-reaching and difficult to measure in full, several academic studies about the phenomenon over the past few years, as well as data compiled by media intelligence firm Zignal Labs for Recode, support some of these experts’ observations.

“The broad reach of these groups has really diminished,” said Rebekah Tromble, director of the Institute for Data, Democracy, and Politics at George Washington University. “Yes, they still operate on alternative platforms … but in the first layer of assessment that we might do, it’s the mainstream platforms that matter most.” That’s because extremists can reach more people on these popular platforms; in addition to recruiting new members, they can influence mainstream discussions and narratives in a way they can’t on more niche alternative platforms.”

Islamic extremists sidestep Facebook’s content police

“Photos of beheadings, extremist propaganda and violent hate speech related to Islamic State and the Taliban were shared for months within Facebook groups over the past year despite the social networking giant’s claims it had increased efforts to remove such content.

The posts — some tagged as “insightful” and “engaging” via new Facebook tools to promote community interactions — championed the Islamic extremists’ violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, including videos of suicide bombings and calls to attack rivals across the region and in the West, according to a review of social media activity between April and December. At least one of the groups contained more than 100,000 members.

In several Facebook groups, competing Sunni and Shia militia trolled each other by posting pornographic images and other obscene photos into rival groups in the hope Facebook would remove those communities.

In others, Islamic State supporters openly shared links to websites with reams of online terrorist propaganda, while pro-Taliban Facebook users posted regular updates about how the group took over Afghanistan during much of 2021”

“Facebook said it had invested heavily in artificial intelligence tools to automatically remove extremist content and hate speech in more than 50 languages. Since early 2021, the company told POLITICO it had added more Pashto and Dari speakers — the main languages spoken in Afghanistan — but declined to provide numbers of the staffing increases.

Yet the scores of Islamic State and Taliban content still on the platform show those efforts have failed to stop extremists from exploiting the platform.”