It seemed obvious that we were going to be seeing some changes after the January 6th riot on Capitol Hill. One of the immediate results could be seen among progressive activists and 99% of the mainstream media. After years of ignoring riots and mayhem growing out of left-wing activism, arguably dating back to even before the deaths of Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, liberals and their media enablers had finally found a target they could agree on. A riot perpetrated by a group of Trump supporters who believed the election was stolen was quickly reformatted into a massive attack by white supremacists and domestic terrorists. Personally, I’m fine with calling the attack an act of domestic terrorism since it fits the conventional description. It would just be nice if some of these critics had applied the same definitions when the looting and destruction were being fomented by groups they support.
But what’s to be done about it in the aftermath? Calls for greater scrutiny of alleged “hate groups” are being bandied about, including the possibility of law enforcement and intelligence agencies looking into their activities. Preventing all of these white people from engaging in any more acts of terror must be a priority, at least for some people engaging in the debate. But some of the same activists from civil rights groups making these demands are simultaneously waving the caution flag because they fear any expansion of police powers might wind up being used against them. If you think that sounds crazy, check out the descriptions used in this article from the Associated Press about the “cautious” way civil rights groups are approaching the subject.
As federal officials grapple with how to confront the national security threat from domestic extremists after the deadly siege of the U.S. Capitol, civil rights groups and communities of color are watching warily for any moves to expand law enforcement power or authority.
They say their communities have felt the brunt of security scrutiny over the last two decades and fear new tools meant to target right-wing extremism or white nationalists risk harming Muslims, Black Americans and other groups, even if unintentionally.
Their position underscores the complexity of the national debate surrounding how to balance First Amendment expression protections with law enforcement’s need to prevent extremist violence before it occurs.