Last month, a neo-Nazi known to the FBI threatened a pro-LGBTQ event in North Carolina.
A recent protest against a drag story hour in Sanford involved Jarrett William Smith, a former U.S. soldier with a neo-Nazi background, Raw Story reported. Smith’s presence at the event, where drag performers read stories to children, is part of a disturbing trend of far-right figures targeting LGBTQ+ events.
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Smith, who lives in South Carolina, was identified at the protest wearing a skull mask and a shirt with Nazi symbols and references. His past allegations include attempting to encourage the assassination of former presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke and advocating arson against an anti-fascist podcaster.
Smith, who served in the U.S. Army, was later convicted of distributing bomb-making instructions.
The aim of the event, held at a local yoga studio, was to provide a safe and inclusive space for children to enjoy Halloween-themed stories told by drag performers. According to Raw Story, Smith was part of a group that marched to the event and joined a small gathering that included a local pastor. Protesters lined up on the public sidewalk behind the venue.
The incident marks a further escalation of anti-LGBTQ+ activities by those with extremist backgrounds.
A detailed case study from the Center for Development of Security Excellence provides further context on Smith’s troubling background. Smith enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 12, 2017 and was later stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas. His military training included combat and tactical operations. The FBI first noticed Smith’s extremist activities in 2019, when he used his Facebook account to spread instructions on building improvised explosive devices and expressed a desire to fight with a violent right-wing extremist group in Ukraine, the case study said.
Smith’s online activity escalated after he moved to Kansas, where he was stationed at Fort Riley. He discussed plans to target Antifa members and spoke of destroying cell phone towers or local news stations. In August 2019, Smith gave an undercover agent instructions on how to make a vehicle bomb, emphasizing the accessibility of the necessary components.
His arrest on September 20, 2019 came after he gave an undercover FBI agent specific instructions on how to build an explosive device and make improvised napalm.
Smith’s participation in the Sanford protests is an alarming indication of his ongoing involvement in extremist activities. His military background, coupled with his radical ideologies and knowledge of weapons, poses a significant threat, particularly to the LGBTQ+ community, which is increasingly being targeted by right-wing extremists.
In August, The lawyerreported that violence accompanied growing hostility toward the LGBTQ+ community. This was tragically illustrated by an incident in Cedar Glen, California, where Laura Ann Carleton was fatally shot during a dispute over a Pride flag in her store. The gunman, identified by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department as Travis Ikeguchi, had torn down a Pride flag and hurled homophobic slurs at Carleton before the shooting. The act was not only a heinous crime, but also a stark reminder of the dangers facing the LGBTQ+ community and its allies.
Source : www.advocate.com