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UC Lecturer: San Diego's History With Far Right Extremists Makes It Vulnerable To Domestic Terror

Supporters of President Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Jose Luis Magana AP
Supporters of President Trump climb the west wall of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.
Joel Day, a UCSD lecturer in the School of Global Policy and Strategy who specializes in homeland security and extremism, joined Midday Edition to talk about how local connections to the Capitol riot highlight San Diego's history with extremism and the threat of terror that exists today.

After the Capitol Riot, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a rare national terrorism advisory warning that violent domestic extremists could carry out attacks in the coming weeks.

One person arrested last week in connection to the riot was from the San Diego area. The man, Jeffrey Smith, 33, is an Army veteran.

Ashli Babbitt, an Air Force veteran, who died during the attack after being shot by police while trying to climb through a window at the Capitol was also from San Diego.

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Joel Day, a UC San Diego lecturer in the School of Global Policy and Strategy who specializes in homeland security and extremism, joined Midday Edition to talk about how local connections to the Capitol riot highlight San Diego's history with extremism and the threat of terror that exists today.

"We know for instance that the Three Percenters group, one of these paramilitary right wing groups that trains people to overthrow the government, was part of setting up the 'Reopen San Diego' protests," Day said. "Those sorts of dangerous connections mean our neighbors are being targeted, our neighbors who are frustrated but aren't terrorists are being recruited every day into these groups and that our law enforcement, our civilian leadership needs to take that far more seriously that we currently are doing."

RELATED: San Diego Woman Killed By Police During US Capitol Rioting ID’d

Day said there are between 17 and 20 hate groups in the San Diego area primarily located in East County and North County. He also believes the connection between extremism and the military presents a challenge to local law enforcement agencies that will have to put more resources toward intelligence gathering to reduce the threat of domestic terrorism in the region.