While most politicians and candidates continue to bloviate and spread fear about ISIS and Islamic terrorists, one home-grown, domestic, white male terrorist took himself partly out of the game with his own stupidity.
Michael O’Neill, a forty-five-year old alleged white supremacist from Wheatfield in upstate New York, had a little bomb factory set up in his garage. According to local law enforcement, O’Neill made a total of seven explosive devices. Two weeks ago, one of the devices exploded, injuring his leg so badly that it had to be amputated. Fortunately, nobody else was hurt.
O’Neill claims he was just planning to blow up some old tree stumps. However, when law enforcement arrived at O’Neill’s home, they found a number of interesting clues as to O’Neill’s more likely agenda. According to U.S. Attorney William Hochul,
there were some items that we described in court as consistent with, white supremacists, to include the Ku Klux Klan, and the Nazi imagery, some of the verbiage which was particularly on the Nazi picture, also the Confederate battle flag, [which] means that law enforcement has more work [to do].
In addition, the bombs contained homemade shrapnel, including nails and BB pellets.
Neither O’Neill’s neighbors nor his stepfather, William Ross, were aware of his activities. Ross claims that if he had known what his stepson had been up to in their own house, he would have alerted the authorities.
It’s a bit difficult to believe that Ross, who is a county legislator, had no idea what his stepson was up to, given all the white supremacist accoutrements found at the residence. Nonetheless, that evidence is enough for law enforcement to keep O’Neill in custody while he recovers from his injuries. Even missing a leg, O’Neill is considered enough of a threat to justify his ongoing detention while he awaits trial.
The case of Michael O’Neill highlights the fact that, for all the talk and worry over Muslim terrorists carrying out attacks in the US, the far greater threat is from radical white, males. Since September 11, 2001, 48 Americans have been killed as the result of attacks by white, right-wing extremists – nearly twice as many as those who died at the hands of Islamic Jihadists. Unfortunately, conservative politicians tend to dismiss the former as “lone wolves,” acting of their own volition. Some are – but not all of them. And in any event, terrorism is terrorism, regardless of whether or not there is an organization involved.
All too often, the deadliest enemies are hiding among us in plain sight – like Michael O’Neill.