Report: North Carolina at ‘moderate risk’ of election-time violence from militias

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina has been listed as one of the states at “moderate risk” of increased militia activity in the election and post-election period, according to a report which reviews the latest data on right-wing militia organizations across the country.

The new joint report comes from Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a crisis mapping project, and MilitiaWatch, which researches U.S. militias.

Groups described as militias include the Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer, III%ers, Boogaloo Bois and Sons of Liberty, according to the report.

ACLED described militias as:

We find that these armed groups engage in hybrid tactics. They train for urban and rural combat while also mixing public relations, propaganda works, and ‘security operations’ via both online and physical social platforms to engage those outside of the militia sphere. There is an increasing narrative and trend that groups are organizing to ‘supplement’ the work of law enforcement or to place themselves in a narrowly defined ‘public protection’ role in parallel with police departments of a given locale. Ahead of the election, right-wing militia activity has been dominated by reactions to recent social justice activism like the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, public health restrictions due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and other perceived threats to the ‘liberty’ and ‘freedoms’ of these groups. Right-wing militia groups are often highly competitive with one another, but many have coalesced around this period of heightened political tension.

ACLED & MilitiaWatch

The report cites North Carolina’s history of “neo-Confederate and paramilitary organization, especially around Confederate monuments” — seen both this summer and last year as well.

According to the report, the Proud Boys have been active in the state since the start of the summer.

ACLED says the group has been engaging in protests around “child sex trafficking, which have spiked in connection with the QAnon movement.”

“In other cases, those armed at protests have not necessarily been linked to a named militia: in late June, for example, a group of white men showed up with guns to observe a protest associated with the BLM movement in Danbury,” the report reads.

Demonstrations in support of President Donald Trump in recent weeks add to the presence of militias, the report cites.

Population of certain cities and towns in North Carolina was also cited as a contributing factor.

“Cities with medium-sized populations, as well as suburban areas, serve as natural points of coalescence for militia activity. North Carolina is home to a number of such cities — including Greensboro and Chapel Hill — which have historically and contemporarily acted as rallying points for violence,” the report reads.

According to its website, the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) is a disaggregated data collection, analysis, and crisis mapping project.

Read the entire report here.

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