The Department of Homeland Security has issued a warning about a potential increase in extremist violence fueled by recent mass shootings, including the massacre in Uvalde last month; an expected Supreme Court ruling on abortion rights; and November’s midterm elections.
"In the coming months, we expect the threat environment to become more dynamic as several high-profile events could be exploited to justify acts of violence against a range of possible targets," DHS said in a bulletin released early Wednesday.
The warning comes in the aftermath of an 18-year-old gunman killing 19 students and two teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde. Just weeks before, a white supremacist in Buffalo, New York, walked into a neighborhood grocery store and killed 10 people, most of whom were older Black residents.
Officials said future targets of extremist violence could include more people of color and religious minorities, government personnel and members of the press. The department also said it is working with the FBI and other government agencies to share timely information and provide "tools and resources" to federal, state, local and tribal entities.
In 2022, the U.S. has seen more than 250 mass shootings — events in which four or more people were killed — according to the Gun Violence Archive. Since the Uvalde massacre, the deadliest school shooting in the state’s history, Texas Republican officials have expressed little interest in implementing stricter gun laws. In April 2021, 59% of Texans surveyed in a poll by the University of Texas at Tyler and The Dallas Morning News said they disagreed that elected officials were doing enough to prevent mass shootings. Only 38% of respondents agreed.
At some point this month, the Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a ruling that could potentially overturn Roe v. Wade and leave Texans without abortion access.
The agency said the threat is expected to last until Nov. 30.
More from The Texas Tribune