Former Neo-Nazi Warns Mass Shootings Will Get Worse: 'They're Trying to Outdo Each Other'

A neo-Nazi turned anti-extremism activist has warned that mass shootings perpetrated by white supremacists are likely to become worse as neo-Nazis compete to be ever more infamous.

Christian Picciolini, who created The Free Radicals Project, said in an interview on CNN Sunday that the manifesto left behind by the El Paso shooter this weekend contained sentiments and conspiracy theories that have been present among extremist communities for many years.

The 21-year-old El Paso shooter, named by the Associated Press as Patrick Crusius, was taken into custody after attacking shoppers in a Walmart store. At least 20 people were killed.

Before he began shooting, Crusius posed an anti-immigration manifesto online, containing conspiracy theories including "The Great Replacement," which claims white people are being "outbred" in the U.S. and will soon be replaced by minorities.

"I think that manifestos have been very similar since 2009 when James von Brunn walked into the D.C. Holocaust Museum and left a manifesto," Picciolini explained.

"The Great Replacement," in particular, is an ever present theory in the circles in which white supremacist attackers move, he added. It was a key element of New Zealand mosque attacker Brenton Tarrant's manifesto, and extremists at the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville chanted, "Jews will not replace us."

Picciolini warned that white supremacist attacks will likely become bloodier, as extremists with similar outlooks compete to have the biggest impact. "It's all based on conspiracy theories, but what's similar about these things is now that they're trying to outdo each other, I think the death toll is going to get bigger and bigger," he said.

The situation is only being exacerbated by President Donald Trump, Picciolini said, pointing to the commander in chief's inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric.

Asked by CNN host Wolf Blitzer whether the president played a role in inspiring Cruisius, Picciolini replied, "absolutely." He continued, "So, what's happening is they are starting to put into action some of his policies that are getting push backs in a more extreme manner."

"So, they're now starting to go after immigrants. They're now starting to go after Muslims, and they're taking it into their own hands. It's only going to get worse. What they're trying to outdo is Timothy McVeigh and his Oklahoma City bombing," Picciolini explained.

McVeigh's motivation was primarily what he considered the tyranny of the federal government, exemplified by the Waco and Ruby Ridge sieges. He often quoted infamous white supremacist novel "The Turner Diaries."

Picciolini also suggested that a new legislative approach is now required to address the burgeoning white supremacist problem, one that goes beyond tighter gun control laws.

"You know, we have these discussions about guns, and we need better gun laws and more common-sense gun laws, but what is going to happen is they're just going to find other ways to do this, so we need a more comprehensive approach," Picciolini predicted.

"Things like a domestic terrorism statute which currently we don't have on the books. And let me be clear about this: Since the '80s, these white nationalists groups, myself included, we're tied globally. So, this is a transnational terror network. What we're seeing now is a wave of domestic terrorism."

This problem, he believes, is reflective of the wider political polarization in the U.S. and the anger in extremists who feel marginalized. "The more that we're having discussions about…wedge issues like immigration or gun reform…we're going to see more of these activities happen to people who are feeling like something is being taken away from them when in reality, it's not," he said.

"Equalization of rights does not equal oppression. And that's how it's landing on them at the moment."

El paso, shooting, white supremacist, extremism, worse
People leave flowers at a makeshift memorial outside Walmart, near the scene of a mass shooting which left at least 20 people dead, on August 4, 2019 in El Paso, Texas. Mario Tama/Getty