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 The National Terrorism Advisory System, an alert system of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is maintaining its warning that the United States remains in a heightened threat environment. DHS issued that alert status in late May, 2023.

In light of the horrifying terrorist attack in Israel by Hamas, a democracy that is a close U.S. ally, a reminder of that warning is appropriate. As Colorado and Chaffee County head into the 2023 election season, DHS reminds us that:

“Lone offenders and small groups motivated by a range of ideological beliefs and personal grievances continue to pose a persistent and lethal threat to the Homeland. Both domestic violent extremists (DVEs) and those associated with foreign terrorist organizations continue to attempt to motivate supporters to conduct attacks in the Homeland, including through violent extremist messaging and online calls for violence.”

The alert goes on to warn that continuing in the coming months, several factors could mobilize individuals to commit violence. These “include their perceptions of the 2024 general election cycle and legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues.”

Likely targets of potential violence include: “US critical infrastructure, faith-based institutions, individuals or events associated with the LGBTQIA+ community, schools, racial and ethnic minorities, and government facilities and personnel, including law enforcement.

Just in the past 72 hours, after the terrorist attacks on Israel, the U.S. has issued a heightened security alert around U.S.-based Jewish synagogues and schools.

It should be pointed out that the democratic election system of the United States is run at the local level – as close to the people of this democracy as possible. For so many, this is reassuring because the people who prepare and run our elections are our neighbors and friends. We KNOW them. But this makes it extremely important that local citizens pay attention to their surroundings, keep an eye out for things that look unusual, and follow the DHS request: “If you see something, say something.”



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