Dakota Reed, a young man from Washington state pleaded guilty to making online threats to kill dozens of Jews and carry out a school shooting, among other acts of terrorism.
Police were tipped off to Reed, 20, by the Anti-Defamation League’s Centre on Extremism in the fall of 2018 after the organization uncovered his threats. Upon raiding Reed’s home, authorities found a dozen firearms and white supremacist propaganda.
Using a string of online aliases, including the name Tom Shill, Reed had posted his plans. “I’m shooting for 30 Jews,” he wrote on Nov. 11. “No pun needed. Long ways away anyways. See you Goys.”
“We can’t vote away what our fathers tried to, we must spill blood,” he also wrote. He talked about “pulling a Dylann Roof,” referring to the white supremacist who gunned down nine people in in South Carolina in a black church.
Besides picking up obvious references, the ADL and organizations like them understand the lingo, hidden language and codes that are often used by these types of extremists. They also make it their business to monitor such individuals as well as those that are following them on social media.
It is a mind-boggling job. There was a day when people could only connect person-to-person, but the internet allows communication between people all around the world with a simple click.
The fortunate thing about the internet is that this extremism is now being posted openly, allowing those that have the ability to follow and understand the threats the opportunity to alert authorities about crimes being plotted before they happen.
On the flipside, it makes it extremely difficult to slow the spread of such propaganda and its influence.
Besides having programs in place (in prisons, etc.) to help these individuals become disengaged from their violent and extremist beliefs, we also need to double down our efforts to make sure young people aren’t drawn to them in the first place.
Find out what you can do to Prevent Violent Extremism by clicking here