Far-right extremists seek ways to exploit the coronavirus pandemic: NPR

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White nationalists and other far-right extremists see an opportunity in the chaos of America’s response to the crisis.

/ Richard Theis / Getty Images / EyeEm

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/ Richard Theis / Getty Images / EyeEm

White nationalists and other far-right extremists see an opportunity in the chaos of America’s response to the crisis.

/ Richard Theis / Getty Images / EyeEm

For months, officials say, the 36-year-old white supremacist Timothy Wilson has amassed bomb-making supplies and talked about attacking a mostly black synagogue, mosque or elementary school.

Then the coronavirus hit the United States, giving Wilson a new target – and a deadline. The FBI says Wilson planned to bomb a Missouri hospital with COVID-19 patients inside, and he wanted to do so before the Kansas City home order came into effect at midnight March 24. .

“Wilson considered various targets and eventually settled in a local hospital in an attempt to harm many people, targeting a facility that provides critical medical care in today’s environment,” said the FBI in a statement.

The attack never took place. Wilson died in a March 24 shootout when federal agents decided to arrest him after a six-month investigation. It was a case of extraordinary domestic terrorism, but it got lost in the steady stream of news about the coronavirus pandemic. Extremism researchers warn against neglect of such episodes; they worry that the example of Missouri is a harbinger as far-right activists seek ways to exploit the crisis.

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