February 10, 2021
excerpted from WOSU/NPR
Ohio ranks second in the nation for the highest number of active, extreme antigovernment groups, according to a recent report by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which found 566 groups in the United States in 2020. Ohio has 31; only California had more, with 51.
“You can have 100 groups, but if there are two members, it’s quite small,” said Glen Duerr, an assistant professor at Cedarville University, who studies terrorist groups. “In general, the core leadership and the core adherents to any of the groups is fairly small.”
And Kaltenthaler said national issues, like overturning the results of the presidential election or protecting against possible firearm seizures, don’t usually drive recruitment. “A lot of the issues are quite localized,” Kaltenthaler said. “For example, in Ohio, one of the things that really plays a role in militias is local economic issues – farm foreclosures, or like in Southeast Ohio, issues with mining or just a general lack of jobs.”
Aside from problems brought on by COVID-19, the U.S. economy is healthier than it was in 2008, so Kaltenthaler thinks the coming years could see a drop in Ohio’s militia activity. And President Joe Biden is less of a polarizing figure and recruitment tool than Obama or the Clintons.
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