An old law school pal of mine works in “targeted violence prevention”. That means she’s involved in a lot of efforts to combat and track white nationalist networks. She is very well and widely connected in her field. She shared, during a guest talk with my students, that there’s been a lot of “chatter” through white nationalist networks (e.g. private message boards, and on white nationalist social media) in Southern California about targeting LA and other So. Cal Pride events next month.
As some may know, Orange County has been an ongoing home to several very violent Nazi militia enclaves like Rise Above Movement. Southern California has been a site for white nationalist actions by “accelerationists”. An accelerationist is a type of white nationalist who believes that the “race war” or “racial holy war” is coming. In this narrative, white people will fight against everyone else. They will then establish the U.S. as an exclusively white ethno-state (which would also presumptively eliminate all LGBTQ people, and all Muslims and Jews, in their imaginings).
Accelerationists believe that the way to “accelerate” the supposedly inevitable race war is through violent acts that promote chaos and instability. A typical tactic is to accost people who are among their targeted groups at public events. They provoke and insult and try to get some kind of reaction, so that they can claim that their physical attacks or assaults are in self-defense. (That way they attempt to avoid any legal accountability). Some of you are familiar with this happening at Black Lives Matter events, for instance.
I don’t know that there are any specific threats of a mass shooting. I certainly wouldn’t ask or encourage anyone to avoid Pride events if you would normally go. But — if this isn’t already on your radar — this is a good time to give thought to what makes sense for you if you are planning on bringing kids or anyone especially physically vulnerable. Think through safety plans with loved ones if you need or decide to quickly leave an event. If you would normally carry any form of personal protection (e.g. pepper spray), consider whether you would want those resources on hand this month.
If you’re part of an organization involved in or participating in a Pride event, this is also just a good time to check that plans around safety and threat response are robust enough, and well conceived. And last, if a white nationalist were to essentially “get in your face” at a Pride event to try to provoke a response, I think it can help to think ahead about how you would or would not want to react or take care of yourself.
Again, please get the word out!
In Solidarity, Beth Ribet, PhD, JD, Director, Repair