NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO:
NOTE – Your tax dollars paid for this report
Five states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Oregon — have the highest risk of seeing increased militia activity around the elections: everything from demonstrations to violence.
That’s the conclusion of a new report by ACLED, a crisis-mapping project, and the research group MilitiaWatch. They worked together to map out potential hot spots for militia-style activities around the elections.
Their report looks at states where militias have had recruitment drives and training, where they have cultivated relationships with law enforcement and where there has been substantial engagement in anti-coronavirus-lockdown protests.
Those factors are local indicators of whether militia activity might occur. For example, cultivating relationships with police suggests that law enforcement might view the militia groups as helpful, rather than a threat.
And anti-coronavirus-lockdown protests are linked to militia activity because many of those groups believe that the state doesn’t have the authority to impose such restrictions.
The report comes out as the risk of political violence around Election Day by vigilantes or militia-style groups is increasing, researchers say. Far-right, militia-style groups have been busy this year: Their numbers are growing, their online chatter is increasing and their threats are becoming more specific.
“In the conversations that I observe, the heat is higher. The vitriol is greater,” said Megan Squire, a computer science professor at Elon University who studies right-wing extremism and online spaces.
And what of Antifa? No mention.