Researchers: The US Is On Path To Widespread Political Violence

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Sarah Shaiman

Scholars are wary that the United States could devolve into violence at a mass scale.

Scholars of armed conflict and human rights violations have come out against the United States’ use of force against peaceful protestors, according to an article published on Just Security. They claimed this is not a “theoretical exercise,” but rather real violent human rights violations happening in real time on American soil.

  • President Trump threatened to invoke the 1807 Insurrection Act against peaceful protestors, against the will of many governors. Additionally, the United States military police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protestors to clear the area for a presidential photo-op at St. John’s church. 
  • Jeffrey Smith and Richard Ashby Wilson write, “Whatever their legal status, conventional norms about the proper role of the military in securing domestic public order have been shredded.”
  • The authors believe that the United States is heading down a path of “widespread and systematic” violence. 
  • Fears have circulated that Trump would refuse to concede his power if he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden in November, whom he currently trails in the polls. 
  • There are a number of indicators to suggest the United States could commit mass atrocities against its citizens: social and economic inequality, poor economic conditions, creation and/or increased support for paramilitary groups, and the polarization of parties along mainly racial or religious lines. 

While a country may possess some of these traits without issue, the fact that the United States possesses so many is troubling to scholars. The United States has also received soft condemnation from UN officials for their repeated human rights abuses against their own citizens. 

The authors of the piece implore nonpartisan officials in the Trump Administration to coordinate with intelligence agencies to help curb mass violence before the November 2020 election. They note that a number of high-ranking military officials have rebuked the president’s actions, a positive sign. 

While many believe mass violence is reserved for the United States military to enact on foreign soils, it can in fact happen here. 

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