Events this week have me thinking of Edward Robb Ellis' Echoes of Distant Thunder, Life in the United States, 1914-1918.
The event was a verbal & physical assault on a Muslim taxi driver in Virginia.
The Washington Post reported on the attack here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/va-man-charged-with-assaulting-musli...
This one of many attacks following the Boston Marathon bombing and by and large responsible people have denounced them (note that I do include Fox News in that category). There have been times in the past when that (the denouncing) might not have taken place.
Ellis' book describes US reaction to German U boat attacks on American shipping. One attack in particular on a ferry boat of the coast of Chatham, MA ignited a firestorm of anti-German fury that saw many German Americans assaulted and killed and in at least one case a home was broken into and a bust of Beethoven smashed in the spasm of fury.
More chilling in those pre-FBI days, a vigilante force of some 500,000 volunteers sprang up and bought badges for 50 cents apiece that deputized the wearer to wreak havoc on those suspected of German sympathies. I believe Steinbeck's East of Eden makes reference to this wave of violence as well.
I'm wondering if anyone else here has read anything historical that ties into current events like this?