Celine Ryan, Campus Reform, August 22, 2018
Dr. Matthew Valasik, a criminologist at the Department of Sociology at Louisiana State University and Dr. Shannon Reid, a criminologist at the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, recently published an article highlighting their research about “alt-right groups” and why law enforcement should treat these groups as they do conventional street gangs in order to “deter violence.”
“As criminologists who study street and prison gangs, we argue that Alt-Right groups are no different than conventional street gangs, and should be treated as such.”
Valasik and Reid address a few particular groups they believe to be “alt-right,” such as the Proud Boys, a men’s group started by Vice co-founder Gavin Mcinnes based on the notion that Western culture is superior.
The scholars also reference conflict at “Unite the Right” rallies, as well as violence at the recent protest held by the Portland, Oregon-based group Patriot Prayer, which they characterize as “alt-right groups” clashing with “counter-protestors.”
The report fails to mention the violence instigated by the “counter-protesters” or to properly name the violent groups on that side of the aisle, even though the far-left extremist group Antifa has engaged in violence at each of the events mentioned in the article.
Nonetheless, Valasik and Reid argue that treating “racist” groups like the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer as “conventional street gangs” would “deter violence” at events like this.
According to the scholars, doing this would “expand law enforcement’s toolbox to more effective tactics,” such as creating a database to “identify, collect, and share intelligence about Alt-Right members who are routinely engaging in violence,” much like police do with gang databases today.
The researchers argue that the next step would be to keep these individuals from convening, explaining that “It would then be feasible to use civil gang injunctions to limit the association and congregation of these individuals.”
The article goes into great detail explaining the ways in which these groups are similar to traditional street gangs, comparing the Proud Boys’ characteristic wearing of Fred Perry polo shirts to gang members wearing a particular color or insignia. They also reference the public presence of the “Alt-Right” groups, specifically at demonstrations and college campuses.