In the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque attacks in New Zealand, one of the most disturbing revelations was that the shooter (who I won’t name) had been inspired by white supremacy motivated attacks in the United States, Sweden, and elsewhere. The Christchurch attacks, which left 50 people dead, clearly seemed to be part of a trend.
White supremacist and far-right-wing attacks are on the rise, according to most experts and various data sources. In 2018, right-wing murders in the United States jumped to 50, a 35 percent increase from a year prior. In Europe, far-right attacks surged 43 percent between 2016 and 2017.
Now, analysts are concluding that the attacks are interlinked, with past attacks inspiring copycats and the like. The New York Times has found that since 2011, at least one-third of white extremist killers were inspired by previous attacks. The New York Times looked for individuals who expressed reverence for prior attacks or showed reverence for the perpetrator’s tactics.
Most frequently, white supremacists have cited the Norway shooter/bomber who left 77 people dead in 2011. The attack remains one of the deadliest in history and rocked the generally peaceful Scandinavian country. In one case, another perpetrator wrote online that the Norwegian shooter had inspired “Aryan men to action.” The perp then killed three people in a Jewish retirement home.
In some cases, perpetrators have even communicated with one another. A school shooter in New Mexico, for example, corresponded with a mall shooter in Germany. Despite the disturbing trends and connections, however, the federal government and President Donald Trump have largely downplayed the attacks.