“We have since changed our procedure to not run any ads whose web sites we can’t access,” Streisel said. “That wouldn’t necessarily prevent what happened at Lowell High School in California … but it would at least add another layer of protection.”
According to published reports, Lowell High’s student newspaper team saw a fake web site when they checked the advertised web site address. Representatives from the school were unavailable for comment as of press time.
High school students are in the primary age group Victory Forever is trying to “reach, educate, and radicalize,” said an unidentified spokesperson for the organization in an eMail message to eSchool News.
“More so than any other group, young people still have the ability and natural rebelliousness to think independently of the prevailing social order. Additionally, young people are not burdened by the many responsibilities faced by most adults–maintaining high-paid careers, making the mortgage payment every month, providing for a wife and children, et cetera, so they have a much larger degree of freedom to engage in politically incorrect ideas and actions,” the spokesperson said.
Today’s troubled economy, the election of the nation’s first black president, and the perception that other countries are rising in influence are fueling a rise in activity among white supremacist and militia groups, according to an intelligence assessment by the federal Department of Homeland Security in April. “Right-wing extremists,” the report says, “are harnessing this historical election as a recruitment tool.”
There is a violent edge to this movement. Lone wolves and small groups who are “embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat,” according to the report. It cited an April shooting in Pittsburgh that left three police officers dead at the hands of a gunman reportedly influenced by racist ideology and fears that a gun ban was imminent with President Barack Obama in charge.
Victory Forever urges visitors to its site to “arm yourself and become proficient in the use of firearms,” and its web site links to an AK-47 discussion forum.
In the first five months of Obama’s presidency, Chip Berlet, senior analyst with Political Research Associates, a Somerville, Mass., think tank, said racist, right-wing extremists killed at least nine people.
Such attacks are a vent for racial anxiety and outrage at the perceived liberal government by people who feel powerless to reach the political elites, according to Berlet. Instead, they target those within reach.
“It’s a perfect storm for violence,” Berlet said. “You ignore it at our peril.”
The Victory Forever spokesperson said the group has several more advertisements currently scheduled to run. Because these have been successful, the spokesperson said, Victory Forever will continue to seek additional advertising opportunities in high school newspapers.
“More than 25,000 white resistance MP3s have been downloaded since the beginning of the advertising campaign. We have also seen a huge increase in the sale of our white resistance music distribution CDs, which are now appearing on high school campuses all across America,” the spokesperson said.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.
Carmel High School’s HiLite