UMaine professors discuss how we can prevent another January 6th attack

Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 4:00 AM EST
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Maine (WABI) - What happened on January 6th, 2021 has dominated headlines over the past year, but, many are asking, what are we doing to prevent it from happening again?

“I was pretty shocked and embarrassed. I think we can quite easily call January 6th a domestic terrorist attack,” said Karyn Sporer, a professor of sociology at the University of Maine.

Professors we spoke with say the country was at risk for something like this happening.

“There had been this whole provoking of the sense that the election was illegitimate. That simply wasn’t true,” said Amy Fried, professor of political science.

They say there has been a long history of extremism and distrust in government, and over the last few years, we’ve seen that bubble up.

Now, what’s important, is having a conversation nationally and even locally about what happened.

They say we are still vulnerable to something like this happening in Maine.

“There is an on-going conversation just in the state of Maine about what does violent extremism look like here. There’s always been a foot hold of extremism in Maine. The state of Maine has at least three active hate groups. They’re there, we all know it. They’re hanging signs on the 95,” said Sporer.

They say how we continue to move forward with investigating and penalizing the people who helped make the insurrection possible will play a key role in preventing it in the future.

“Going forward, the January 6th Commission will be starting to hold public hearings. So far, a lot of what they’ve been doing is behind closed doors,” said Fried.

“Unless we respond with very stiff incarceration penalties, I think we’re opening the door for this behavior to happen again,” said Sporer.

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