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WIU prof’s article states domestic terrorism could rise in 2021

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MACOMB — An article by Dean C. Alexander, a law enforcement professor at Western Illinois University, anticipates that domestic terrorism to rise in the coming months.

Alexander wrote an article for Security Magazine (December 2020) regarding extremism in the United States in 2021, stating that “extremism here encompasses multiple participants, including the radicalism of the anti-government movement.”

“This highly diversified sphere of extremism comprises participants such as sovereign citizens, militias, anarchists and anti-police operatives. Naturally, these radicals often target police either directly or while their supporters carrying out other illicit activities,” he said in a press release from WIU.

Between 2017-2019, the number of white nationalist hate groups (as designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center) rose by 55 percent. The FBI’s November 2020 release of hate crime statistics for 2019 notes 7,314 criminal acts (a three percent increase over the previous year) with a record 51 murders.

“Segments of radicals within the U.S., such as hate groups and militias like the Atomwaffen Division/Nationalist Socialist Order and Boogaloo Bois (Boys), are known as accelerationists in that they seek to start an upheaval precipitated by a notable attack,” Alexander said. “Never underestimate the lethality arising from lone wolves, especially in causing mass casualty terror attacks, such as the mass shootings at the Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018 and the Orlando nightclub in 2016. The incoming presidential administration will have its hands full with these and unknown threats.”

He said to fight the threats, police need to be convinced the threats are real and devote the resources to fight radicalism and raise awareness on them. The public also need to be aware of and vigilant about the threat.

“As the contributing factors to the existence of terrorism are diverse, whole society efforts (e.g., mental health, community and civic engagement, religious institutions, and schools) must be sourced to achieve success,” he pointed out.

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