How San Diego Can Address its Long Standing Problem with Violent Extremism

by on January 14, 2021 · 1 comment

in San Diego

By  Joel Day / San Diego Union-Tribune / January 14, 2021

San Diego is home to extremists who participated in a violent insurrection on Jan. 6. Our city and county must grapple with our region’s violent extremism problem and take local measures to address the problem.

Our region has long been a bastion of reactionary fascism, from the Ku Klux Klan’s roots in East County to anti-immigrant militias, and now to a whole new radicalized cadre whose membership falls in three overlapping categories: political seditionists such as QAnon and Combat 18, right-wing paramilitary militias such as the Three Percenters, and hate and supremacy groups such as RAM and Proud Boys. Each of these categories use violence against civilians to support a political agenda, the definition of terrorism, and are attempting to radicalize our neighbors before our very eyes.

We know that “reopen,” counter-Black Lives Matters and pro-Donald Trump protests in recent years have proven staging grounds for recruiting angry, disaffected Americans. Militant extremists have encouraged and provided overt support for these protests. This summer’s “reopen” rallies in San Diego were promoted by a man who previously planned rallies with the “Three Percenters” — a paramilitary group that prepares members for violent conflict with the government.

It is therefore puzzling why law enforcement didn’t regard local individuals as a threat, especially when they shouted their objective from the rooftops of social media. They posted publicly about instigating a new civil war — a revolution. This wasn’t planned on the darkest web, on 4chan or 8chan the way the New Zealand or Poway Chabad shooters did, or privately like the summer plot to kidnap Michigan’s governor. Proud Boys, Defend East County and San Diego QAnon conspiracy theorists all posted to Facebook about their clear intention to travel to Washington, D.C., to overthrow the duly elected government of the United States. To be clear: This violence was predictable and preventable, and we can take local measures to address a local problem.

For the balance of this article, please go here.

Joel Day is a research fellow at USC and a lecturer in public policy at UC San Diego. He lives in Clairemont.

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Avatar LORI SALDANA January 15, 2021 at 3:03 pm

Why is Day only now publicly making recommendations to the new City Council to take extremists seriously?

He spent the previous 3-1/2 years working in various capacities for the City of San Diego- including in former Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office- yet we heard nothing from Day or Faulconer when they had the full power of the Mayor’s office to take the actions he now recommends.

In 2017, Day was the Executive director of the city’s Human Relations Commission. That year, “San Diego Proud Boys” began harassing local activists at community events.

This was documented and reported as “hate motivated behaviors” to the County Law Enforcement Board in August 2017, after Proud Boys disrupted a peaceful demonstration at the County Administration Building.

Then, in September 2017, SDPD was forced to respond to a “Patriot Picnic” at Chicano Park, organized by the same people. A Black man was arrested trying to cross the street, and later died in custody.

In other words: This violence began in San Diego 3 years ago.
Where were Joel Day and Mayor Faulconer then?

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