It’s a sad fact that there have been so many arrests of young white men with large arsenals, ill intent, and a copycat mentality in the days since a rash of mass shootings — from Gilroy to El Paso to Dayton — devastated the nation that its hard to keep track of them.
There is a serious danger that we will become overwhelmed and desensitized to the magnitude of the problem of America’s violent gun culture if we let each of these recent arrests blend into each other and just become more media noise to vaguely ignore.
So as a public service, here is an accounting of the four most recent domestic terror suspects who have been interrupted by law enforcement authorities before they were able to carry out any of their allegedly deadly plans.
First let’s look at James Reardon Jr., a 20-year old Ohio man, who was arrested Friday after the FBI Violent Crimes Task Force raided his house and seized a cache of weapons and ammunition, including dozens of round of ammo, multiple semi-automatic weapons, a gas mask, and bulletproof armor after Reardon made threats toward a local Jewish community center in his community.
According to ABC News:
“Police initially became aware of Reardon on July 11 when he posted a video on Instagram of a man shooting a semi-automatic rifle with sirens and screams in the background. He tagged the Jewish Community Center of Youngstown in the post.”
“Reardon is an avowed anti-Semite and white nationalist and attended the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, according to WYTV. During the raid on his house on Friday police also discovered anti-Semitic and white nationalist propaganda.”
The white supremacist suspect has been charged with telecommunications harassment and aggravated menacing and is being held on $250,000 bond with a court hearing planned for Monday morning.
Next up, we have Richard Clayton, the 26-year-old Winter Park, Florida man who was arrested, according to police, after making a Facebook post that read:
“3 more days of probation left then I get my AR-15 back. Don’t go to Walmart next week.”
Coming right after 22 people were killed in the El Paso Walmart shooting, Florida law enforcement did not take Clayton’s post lightly, despite the fact that he was found not to actually have been on probation.
Clayton — who “appears to believe in the white supremacist ideology and has a history of posting threats on Facebook using fictitious accounts,” according to police — was arrested, charged with intimidation through a written threat, and was being held on $15,000 bond before being able to take any violent action.
Clayton wasn’t the only Florida resident to be arrested for threats of mass violence.
Tristan Wix, a 25-year-old Daytona Beach resident, was arrested on Friday after sending several text messages that included threats about shooting at large crowds and hoping for large kill counts, according to the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
As reported by Yahoo! News, Wix posted text messages like these:
“A school is a weak target.. id be more likely to open fire on a large crowd of people from over 3 miles away.. I’d wanna break a world record for longest confirmed kill ever.”
“What you wanna do after the fact, is your own business, if you want to plan to escape we can work on that. But I don’t intend on walking away alive, unless I see it fit.”
“But a good 100 kills would be nice. I already have a location (laughing cry face emoji) is that bad?”
“I’m not crazy I just wanna die and I wanna have fun doing it, but I’m the most patient person in the world.”
After being arrested in a Winn-Dixie parking lot in Daytona Beach Shores, Wix told detectives that “he does not own any firearms but is fascinated with mass shootings.”
He’s currently being held without bail at the Volusia County Branch Jail. At least, unlike the other three recent suspects arrested, no evidence of racist rantings or membership in neo-Nazi organizations has been discovered yet.
The progressive Northeast was not spared its share of white nationalists, however, as demonstrated by Norwalk, Connecticut resident Brandon Wagshol.
According to a Facebook post from the Norwalk Police, the FBI, the 22-year-old Wagshol was arrested on Thursday and “charged with 4 counts of Illegal Possession of Large Capacity Magazines.”
The FBI had “received a tip that Wagshol was attempting to purchase large capacity rifle magazines from out of state” and began a joint investigation with the Norwalk Police.
“During the investigation it was revealed that Wagshol was buying rifle parts online in an attempt to build his own rifle. Wagshol had a Facebook post that showed his interest in committing a mass shooting,” the Norwalk PD’s post explained.
“During a search of the residence, officers seized .40 caliber handgun, .22 caliber rifle, rifle scope with laser, 4- firearm optic sites, firearm flashlight, numerous .40 caliber, .22 caliber and .300 Blackout rounds of ammunition, body armor with a titanium plate, camouflage shirt, pant and belt, ballistic helmet, tactical gloves, camouflage bag and computers. The firearms are registered to Wagshol’s father who resides at the residence however they were accessible to Wagshol. Wagshol is being held on bond and will appear in the Norwalk Court on August 16, 2019,” the joint statement with the FBI relates.
Any doubts about Wagshol’s political orientation or racist and homophobic views were demolished by one look at his Twitter feed which included posts like these:
While it’s reassuring to know that Wagshol and these other potential killers are off the streets for now, one must wonder how many more disaffected young white men are still in their bedrooms or at shooting ranges thinking similarly murderous thoughts and harboring long-held grievances against anyone who doesn’t look like them.
These four men alone make a mockery of Donald Trump’s tweet yesterday warning about the menace posed by Antifa and threatening to designate the fascist fighters a terrorist organization, all while saying nary a word about the origins of the real domestic terrorist plots in white supremacist organizations and ideology.
With three of the four copycat gun maniacs all in thrall to white nationalist propaganda, one does not need to ponder deeply to realize where the hate is being generated, and Donald Trump is on Twitter every day preaching his message of hate to all of these other losers who have yet to be caught before it’s too late.
Don’t let yourself be desensitized or overwhelmed. This is not normal and only by removing Trump from the presidency will our society be able to begin to return to normalcy.
Follow Vinnie Longobardo on Twitter.