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USC Experts Discuss How a Violent Weekend Renews Attention on Hate, Guns and Terrorism

May 17, 2022


The threat at home: extremists and terrorism

Erroll Southers is an expert on domestic terrorism and former FBI official who wrote the book “Homegrown Violent Extremism” in which he discusses the threat of terrorism from extremist individuals and groups in the United States — i.e. “homegrown terrorism”. Southers is the USC Associate Senior Vice President of Safety and Risk Assurance and the former director of the Safe Communities Institute at the USC Price School of Public Policy. More info:



Some call it hate. Is it domestic terrorism?

Jeffrey Fields is an expert on terrorism and counterterrorism, international security and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. He is director of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Washington, DC Program. Fields formerly served as a Presidential Management Fellow (PMF) and served as a senior adviser and political-military analyst with the U.S. Department of Defense and as a foreign affairs officer with the U.S. State Department.

Fields previously has commented that mass shootings, such as the one at a Charleston, S.C., church in 2015, are not just hate crimes but acts of terrorism.



‘White anxiety’ is a driver of fear and hate

“The Buffalo shootings shine a light once again on something I devote a chapter to in my latest book—namely, the fact that Trump’s electoral success and political impact reflect not ‘economic anxiety’ but ‘status anxiety.’ That is, much of our politics are driven by white anxiety about losing their place in the racial hierarchy, about no longer being a member of the dominant social group in America (a position they’ve occupied since this nation’s inception), about losing that defining feature of their social identity and being ‘demoted’ to a mere equal among equals. When many whites of all social and economic circumstances hear phrases like ‘inclusion, diversity, and equity,’ they are listening with ears attuned to their status anxieties and so hearing existential threats to their social and personal identities.”

Jody Armour is the Roy P. Crocker Professor of Law at USC Gould School of Law. Armour’s expertise ranges from personal injury claims to claims. Armour studies the intersection of race and legal decision making as well as torts and tort reform movements.



In SoCal shooting, authorities believe China-Taiwan politics were an issue

Tom Hollihan is a professor of communication at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. Hollihan participated in oversight of the Taiwan elections in 2020. He has also written about gun violence. He is available to speak about the case in Laguna Woods, where last weekend a suspect entered a Taiwanese church and killed one person before he was captured.



Families may seek justice but it may not come easy

Greg Keating, an expert on torts/personal injury lawsuits, can discuss the types of lawsuits previously filed by the families of mass-shooting victims. Keating is the ​​William T. Dalessi Professor of Law and Philosophy at the USC Gould School of Law. Keating is also an editor of a torts casebook and writes on torts, professional responsibility and legal theory. He says that tort lawsuits are possible in this type of situation, though they have rarely been successful.