Lockdowns and strict social distancing rules have collapsed local economies, led to depression-level unemployment, and sparked outrage among many Americans, resulting in nationwide reopening protests. A new report via the Department of Homeland Security Counterterrorism Mission Center, first seen by ABC News, warns if additional lockdowns are seen, it could very well spark violence.
"A variety of illicit actors are responding violently to stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures in place due to COVID-19, and we assess both public and private authority figures and essential workers are at highest risk of being targeted, particularly as the pandemic persists," DHS said in the report, which was distributed to law enforcement and the federal government agencies last week.
"Even as parts of the country begin lifting some of these measures, some illicit actors probably will view any continued state-mandated orders as government overreach, and anticipated safety guidelines and policies—specifically the use of face masks—probably also will serve as a driving factor behind continued violent incidents related to the pandemic," the report said.
The DHS report comes as the country, as a whole, has been reopening but comes as media is starting to hype the resurgence of a second coronavirus wave. Not too long ago, we asked: "Will Americans Submit To A Second Lockdown?" -- and the answer to this question is that a massive political divide continues to increase between red-state governors (who want to reopen and stay open) and blue state governors (extend lockdowns and social distancing for fear a second wave is nearing). It will likely be up to each citizen to decide if they should be quarantined in their homes again. DHS warns people could commit "violent acts" against the government if lockdowns are extended or new ones are seen.
"Public health officials are warning of a possible second-wave of COVID-19 in late 2020, which would likely result in at least some states re-implementing stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the virus, according to press reporting. Should this occur, we would expect a repeat of current responses, including additional incidents of hostility against these restrictions, some of which could result in violence targeting law enforcement or other individuals attempting to enforce the stay-at-home orders," according to the report.
There have already been several incidents during the first round of lockdowns, including militia with assault-style weapons rolling up to multiple state capitol buildings demanding governors reopen their respective local economies.
A dozen of heavily armed young men at the anti-#quarantine #protest today in #Harrisburg— Emiliano Bos (@emilianobos) April 20, 2020
I could see a #military-style truck picking them up in front of the #Pennsylvania #Capitol
Many #Trump supporters clapping them #coronavirus#USA 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/urBoJ43ZUy
Second Amendment supporters hanged an effigy of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear from a tree as they denounced his administration's stay-at-home restrictions over Memorial Day weekend.
Horrifying beyond words...— Minh Ngo (@minhtngo) May 25, 2020
Outside of the Kentucky Governor's mansion, an armed protester hung @AndyBeshearKY in effigy while young children watched.
Nov. 3 can't come soon enough.pic.twitter.com/P9qpZX5j7F
On Monday, Reuters said 11 states recorded a surge in new virus cases, including Alabama, Arkansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Hampshire, Maryland, Maine, Nevada, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Take a look at Virginia:
Also, covidiots stormed beaches over the weekend, many with no face masks -- could increase the odds of a second coronavirus wave later this year. States are reopening, giving Americans a taste of freedom after several months of lockdowns, there's little doubt that some people will strongly object if the government issues an extension to lockdowns or a second round later this year.