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2 years after synagogue attack, Pittsburgh has become hub for white supremacists

21 54 27
21.11.2020

JTA — In the days after the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in American history, Pittsburgh became a symbol of the enduring dangers of hatred, as well as the Jewish communal solidarity that followed the synagogue shooting.

Two years later, the city has become a symbol and pilgrimage site of a far more insidious sort: for white supremacists who see the Tree of Life gunman as an inspiration.

Those who monitor extremist activity say Pittsburgh has become a hub for white supremacist activity. In just the past several weeks, a white supremacist group held a march down a main boulevard there. About 100 people attended a white supremacist music festival in the area. A vocal white supremacist who had posted a call online to murder local Jews was released from prison. And flyers with white nationalist slogans have papered the city.

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“We have, since 2018, seen a dramatic increase in white supremacist-related violent incidents and in the overall presence of white supremacists within our [area],” John Pulcastro, an FBI supervisory intelligence analyst, said at a symposium last week at Duquesne University’s Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law. His comments were first reported by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

“If anyone thinks that this is not a huge issue in this area, having worked this for over 20 years, I can tell you this area is as worse as any that I have seen throughout the entire country,” he said. “It’s very, very important to understand that it is here.”

Mass shooters have long aspired to imitate previous high-profile attackers. The “Columbine effect,” in which school shooters seek to follow the example of the two teens who opened fire on a Colorado high school in 1999, has been observed more than 100 times, according to Mother Jones, a progressive magazine that documented the phenomenon.

The extremist, white supremacist, neo-facist group, Patriot Front marched to the city county building in Downtown Pittsburgh this afternoon. A man who appears to be Thomas Rousseau, the group’s leader briefly shouted through a megaphone before the group packed up and left. pic.twitter.com/K14h0ipZ18

— The Duquesne Duke........

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