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One in five US adults say political violence is justified: study

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-07-21 10:14

The US Capitol Building is seen after a snowstorm in Washington, DC, the United States, on Jan 3, 2022. [Photo/Xinhua]

A new nationwide survey has found that one in five adults in the United States believe that political violence is justified at least in some circumstances, according to the Guardian.

Researchers discovered that mistrust and alienation from democratic institutions have reached such a peak that substantial minorities of the American people now endorse violence as a means toward political ends.

Researchers said "these initial findings suggest a continuing alienation from and mistrust of American democratic society and its institutions, founded in part on false beliefs," according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

Remarkably, just over half of the sample group – 50.1 percent – agreed with the contention that in the next few years the US would confront another civil war.

The findings "suggest a high level of support for violence, including lethal violence, to achieve political objectives," researchers wrote. "The prospect of large-scale political violence in the near future is entirely plausible."

The scientists set out to discover just how open individuals in America are to engaging in political violence given the pummeling US democracy has taken in recent years. Extreme political polarization, skepticism about government and democratic institutions, rising gun violence and increased firearms sales, together with the rampant spread of conspiracy theories and misinformation have combined into a toxic soup, reported the Guardian.

Its consequences were on display on January 6, 2021, when hundreds of Donald Trump supporters and white supremacists stormed the US Capitol building, leading to the deaths of seven people and scores of injuries.

Against this backdrop, the study uncovers disturbing signs of seething discontent and deep unease just beneath the surface of US society. More than two-thirds of the respondents said they feared that the country was facing "a serious threat to democracy".

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