Southern Poverty Law Center

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Countering Violent Extremism

The Domestic Terrorism Danger: Focus on Unauthorized Private Military Groups

The Charlottesville tragedy came close to home for me because I teach at the University of Virginia and because it signaled the reappearance of a threat I had encountered before: the rise of well-armed private militia groups. For those close to the action, including the law enforcement personnel on duty, hardly any aspect of the Charlottesville confrontation was more menacing than the appearance of organized, often uniformed, private bands of men in military getups, openly brandishing assault rifles and other long guns.

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