Journalist Eli Saslow says there’s a “straight line” between the suspect charged with 29 counts related to the deaths of 11 people at a Pittsburgh synagogue on Saturday and the views of the white nationalist movement.
In the “horrific hierarchy of white nationalist beliefs,” Jews are considered the “primary enemy,” Saslow says. “Throughout the history of the white nationalist movement, we’ve seen more attacks on synagogues, more bombing threats on Jewish schools than we have almost any other demographic group.”
Saslow’s most recent book, Rising Out of Hatred, chronicles the life of Derek Black, a young man who was once a leading voice in the white nationalist movement but has since denounced his views. Saslow says that he spoke to Black after the synagogue shooting, and that Black feels “heartbroken” by the incident.
“Every time something like this happens, [Black] feels in small ways culpable,” Saslow says. “He wonders how much of the messaging that he did in terms of white nationalism plays into incidents like this.”
For his part, Saslow was saddened — but not surprised — by the attack.
“It seems like there’s a certain kind of inevitability. … I don’t think that this will be the last one, and I think probably, like a lot of us, I sort of live in fear and with a sense of dread of when is when is the next horrible thing like this going to happen?,” Saslow says.
Click the audio link above to hear Saslow’s reaction to the synagogue shooting, and excerpts from his September 2018 Fresh Air appearance with Derek Black. You can find audio of the full Saslow and Black interview, and read highlights of that conversation below.