I-Team: Extreme members of militias in Michigan drive violence

I-Team: Extreme members of militias in Michigan drive violence

The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that in the U.S., there were about 180 militias, which are defined by the law center as antigovernment groups that engage in military-style training, active in 2019. (WWMT/File) KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Michigan has been a hotbed for militia groups for decades. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that in the U.S., about 180 militias, which are defined by the law center as antigovernment groups that engage in military-style training, were active in 2019 and, of those groups, 18 were active in Michigan. The group said militias and other antigovernment groups don’t necessarily advocate or engage in violence. "Ninety percent are largely normal people who see this somewhere between a hobby and as a personal, unique way to be prepared way to defend themselves, should worst-case scenarios hit," Amy Cooter, a senior lecturer of sociology at Vanderbilt University, said. Cooter, who has studied militias in Michigan for years, said it was the 10%, and extremists, that were concerning. "They’re more engaged in conspiracy theories, as a result might be more likely to engage in violence or act upon it," Cooter said. Members of a militia group that fell within that 10% were charged in an alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. According to the FBI : "Many militia extremists view themselves as protecting the U.S. Constitution, other U.S. laws, or their own individual liberties. They believe that the Constitution grants citizens the power to take back the federal government by force of […]

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