25 Mar Terrorism and Criminal Effects during COVID-19: Jihad, White Supremacists, Gangs, and other Eschatological Musings
As the world buckles down and quarantines, terrorists thrive and spawn. Mostly via technology albeit, but also in person. Similar to the Arab Spring, terrorists and the like are energized when the world’s head is down. This gives them time and space to plan. In fact, it gives them plenty of space. The inevitability of law enforcement restrictions and limitations during a spreading pandemic such as COVID-19 provides a playground for those with nefarious intentions. This novella article will provide insight into the current atmosphere of the Jihadists, Right-Wing terrorists, and general criminal gangs.
Jihad never sleeps, especially when they are provided an open meadow to think, plan, procure, and build. As the world draws in, ISIS and Homegrown Violent Extremist (HVE) types thrive and flourish. Individuals that love death have little concern about life outside of Dawa (Proselytization) and Dunya (Temporal World). In addition, their livelihood and efforts are bolstered by their acumen in technology. They are adept in conference calls and encrypted apps. In fact, encryption makes for an almost worry-free existence as they plan and synergistically promulgate their poisonous ideology amongst themselves. So, in the end, Jihadists are not only surviving during this pandemic, but they are basking in their freedom. On the bright side, law enforcement will always be diligent about keeping one eye open for such a threat even during this war against the Coronavirus.
Right-Wing terrorists such as neo-Nazis, white nationalists, and patriot/sovereign citizens all have different beliefs, but have some commonalities especially right now. Whether your group is racist, seeks independence from the government, or believes that small groups of similar ilk should train and as well avoid having their guns taken by the government, now is the time. They are combining (most likely in small groups) and collaborating in their efforts. Again, COVID-19 provides such groups some space, but it also empowers their ideology. Communities and families in quarantine ‘helps’ white supremacists as they see this as potential fulfillment of segregation via compartmentalization of peoples by ethnicity. It also engenders the resurgence and collation of whites as what they would consider the dominant race. In the end, although the majority of us see these groups as crackpots with troubled childhoods, they find solace in each other, again enabled by technology-based gatherings. Again, the good news is law enforcement has strong past performance with such individuals and will be savvy to their non-ingenious ways.
Gangs. These will be our greatest issue as to criminality during COVID-19. Gangs, whether Crips, Bloods, MS-13, or whichever, find strength more in numbers and survival than ideology. Crips and Bloods collaborate, gangs dig in and fortify, and weapons and ammunition abound. They have hierarchy, processes, know how to dominate and steal, and could be some that survive with ease. As resources such as food and medicine become limited, the gangs know how to hunt and gather. They also know how to live in austere conditions, teach child soldiers through example, and have a language that is sometimes only known to them. This will be one of our greatest challenges if times become more difficult and people start to lose hope due to lack of basic necessities. A strong gang becomes an effective Army in times of law enforcement limitation. As more and more police departments are affected by the Coronavirus, patrol will find less ability to make contact, conduct field interrogations, and arrest perpetrators. Gangs know this and thrive, especially in such enabled space. Gangs are selfish entities but are protective of their families. If supplies are running out, they will preserve what they have and seek out what they need, through violent mechanisms. Those that live in projects will fortify their structures, use ‘lookouts’ and develop effective supply chains with strong armed security. Bottom line, gangs will be a force to be reckoned with. Finally, the good news, if COVID-19 tapers off law enforcement knows who gang members are and what they do or did. Law enforcement knows how to deal with gangs in a very effective way during non-pandemic times. The war against gangs will pick back up and gangs will not prevail.
In the end, terrorist and criminal elements are finding space and ability during COVID-19. They know that concerned citizens and law enforcement are restricted and limited due to the impact of the Coronavirus. Times of chaos and calamity enable freedom for planning, lack of scrutiny, and a sense of newfound purpose for such elements. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, but we as citizens must keep our eyes open now and protect ourselves and families as a means of self-preservation and protection.