In the wake of January 6th, a global terrorism expert turned her attention to Domestic Violent Extremism (DVE) and in her groundbreaking new book, she opens a rare, raw, and sometimes bizarre window into the lives of those who hate. What sets HOMEGROWN HATE: Inside the Minds of Domestic Violent Extremists apart is Dr. Speckhard’s gifted ability to get personal and go deep into troubled histories, failed plots, acts of domestic terrorism, and how most were able to exit hate. Among Speckhard’s most surprising findings: rarely was hate the motivation for joining a hate group.
HOMEGROWN HATE introduces the reader to 15 domestic extremists culled from 51 in-depth interviews, including an exclusive interview with a Proud Boy (now in prison) just days after he entered the Capitol Building on January 6. Most—not all—are white, male, and American. Among them, Benji wanted to “honor” Dylann Roof (who massacred nine African Americans during bible study) by shooting up a synagogue for the KKK; Ryan is a former U.S. combat vet turned Aryan Brotherhood; Klayton, a tragic figure from New Zealand, has Aryan Nations hate literally tattooed across his face. There are propagandists and leaders, including the head of the largest neo-Nazi group in the U.S., and a neo-Nazi rockstar who exported the KKK from the U.S. to Germany.
Their search for dignity, significance, noble purpose, and belonging was easily exploited by recruiters, then buy-in to ideologies, conspiracies, and violence followed along a trajectory of directed hate, with isolation and the echo chamber of hate keeping them trapped inside.
That hate took different forms. Many were white Christian nationalists and accelerationists seeking the demise of society to establish a conservative white Christian ethno-state. Some followed Christian Identity, which believes Blacks were subhuman “beasts” in the Garden of Eden and Eve had a literal sexual liaison with the serpent, manifested as a man, which spawned Jews as the seed of the devil. Others were anti-Christian, followed Viking gods and believed whites were the elite super race. Most treated women as breeders.
Though most have renounced DVE, they report their former groups are well-armed and prioritize police and military infiltration and recruitment. Some groups are actively planning for a violent racial holy war they call RAHOWA, inspired by a pseudo religion dedicated to the superiority of the white race. Many believe January 6 was its harbinger and RAHOWA is closer than we think.
From daycares to dance clubs, homegrown extremists are at the center of horrific domestic carnage, yet Speckhard reminds us, no one is born a violent extremist. These are people made into haters by forces in and around their lives. Speckhard’s goal is clear—reverse the growth of DVE—but to simply slap labels of bigoted, uneducated, or evil on this swath of humanity is to do so at our own risk. Threaded with expert analysis, HOMEGROWN HATE helps us better understand how and why the vulnerable and lost among us are radicalized, and offers us opportunities to intervene at key points to undo this grave threat brewing from within.
*Each interview, with permission, was videotaped. Interviews of these extremists with links to short video excerpts are available upon request*
About the author: Anne Speckhard Ph.D. is Founder and Director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism (ICSVE); Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine; media expert and seasoned public speaker. She has consulted with the U.S. State Department, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, FBI; European Commission, Balkan and EU governments, Interpol, Europol, OSCE, UN Women, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, among others. @AnneSpeckhard