Lots of the what, when, and where but none of the why...
... and maybe I shouldn't be hard on Frontline for not having any "whys". After all this episode is titled "Documenting Hate", and it does give us the facts. Pro-Publica's A.C. Thompson travels about the country developing the M.O of a dangerous ( is there any other kind?) neo-Nazi group named Atomwaffen that began operating in Tampa, Florida in 2015. Atomwaffen is a group of 60-200 Nazis that believe in operating entirely underground because they reached the conclusion that to parade around in the light of day just gets you fired from your job, put on an FBI watch list, and makes it harder to perpetrate terrorist acts, which is what they are really all about.
Some hard facts that Thompson uncovered in his reporting - they recruit heavily from ex-military. This is not to say that ex-military members are
ripe for Nazi recruitment, just that Atomwaffen has several ex military in their small ranks because the group values the skills that these former soldiers have. Also, they are plotting largely "lone wolf" terrorist acts targeting such things as nuclear power facilities and synagogues. They really have no leader, but they are known to admire neo-Nazi James Mason, who is in fact an elderly guy working at a retail store trying to get by . On the outside he seems quite ordinary. Mason had a long term correspondence with Charles Manson and greatly admired him.
An interesting factoid - recruitment for white supremacist groups usually increases immediately following a war. How ironic that quite a few
leaders of the neo Nazi movement returned to the USA from fighting Nazis to become Nazis themselves!
Now if the purpose of this episode was to raise the call for alarm, I think it did that. But still no why. Why do these American neo-Nazis see
Jews as the enemy? That has never been explained anywhere such that I understand. It's easier (a little) to understand people failing in life and
wanting to blame anybody - people of color and of different faiths - anything but themselves. But why is it always the Jews that they hate? Maybe I'd worry about myself if I ever DID actually understand this.
I'd recommend this episode. It is eye opening on many levels.
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