Men wearing Hawaiian shirts and carrying guns add a volatile new element to protests - 2020-06-03
The report found evidence of rising militarism among followers of QAnon, which once spoke cryptically of shadowy forces within the federal government. Now many adherents describe themselves as part of a "Qarmy," a term whose use doubled on Twitter in 10 days recently, according to the Network Contagion Research Institute. The researchers also found an explosion in the use of military badges and revolutionary flags online and in real-world protests.
Joan Donovan, director of the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard Kennedy School's Shorenstein Center on Media Politics and Public Policy, said Boogaloo group members had shown particular ability to insert themselves into events started by others, a tactic called "stream sniping." Common in the world of Internet gaming, it refers to interrupting someone else's live stream to bring attention to yourself and to provoke authorities to appear on the scene.
"Extremists across the ideological spectrum exploit poor governance and state fragility. We know this from the history of terrorism around the world," said Jessica Stern, an expert on terrorism and a research professor at Boston University's Pardee School of Global Studies. "We can expect, based on recent U.S. history, that hard-left groups, hard-right groups and international actors will try to exploit this tragically chaotic moment."