New data shows risks of domestic violent extremism in Tennessee

(WDEF)- “We’ve seen a huge jump in this kind of material since COVID,” said Kieren Aris.

According to Moonshot CVE, data collected on Google search from September 2020 to March 2021 shows Tennessee has 77% more searches per capita than the US average for Armed Groups including how to join them.

“Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen a number of these really horrifying incidents. Not in Tennessee but in other places and it really highlights this is an issue we need to take seriously and figure out how to prevent,” said Aris.

Aris said this research wasn’t a look at people interested in gun carry.

“It’s not gun-carrying that’s the issue, it’s the intent. Why are you trying to carry a gun,” said Aris.

It was meant to gather what people are looking at in a violent sense. According to the study, 20% of searches fell into the most serious risk category, desire to cause harm. This includes searches for bomb-making instructions.

“We’re talking about arm groups that are malicious. We’re talking about malicious people who have a very specific grievance. And those grievances tend to be or intended towards conspiratorial thinking or kind of the outsider,” said Aris.

He said COVID and the pandemic have caused a spike in domestic violent extremism searches.

“People have a lack of clarity on anything. It’s so hard to separate facts from emotions right now,” said Aris.

He added the data collected highlights the extent to which the spread of conspiracy theories has pushed domestic violent extremists into taking action.

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