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Politics has grown more violent, and it's not one-sided

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Politics has grown more violent, and it's not one-sided

WATCH | Violent protests and uprisings on both sides of the political spectrum are becoming more frequent, and after GOP congressmen were targeted in a shooting in Virginia, lawmakers are more worried for their safety. 

It's unclear what motivated the alleged shooter, James T. Hodgkinson to open fire on a group of Republican Congressman practicing for a charity baseball game. The FBI is looking into Hodgkinson's anti-GOP social media posts, but have not concluded whether or not his politics were what motivated the attack. 

The divisiveness in today's political world has prompted violence from both sides of the political spectrum, and experts say it's only getting worse. 

"In California alone, since December 2015, we saw 21 violent public confrontations often revolving around political rallies, protests regarding police use of force or protests against speakers," said Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernardino. 

It's not just California, political protests across the country have turned increasingly violent. 


Police had to use tear gas and non-lethal weapons to break up Mayday protests in Portland las month, and in April police announced they arrested 20 people and 11 more were injured when fighting broke out between anti-Trump protesters and pro-Trump supporters in Berkley, California. 

SWAT teams had to break up protests in Portland. 

Protesters lit a car on fire on Inauguration day in D.C. 

Levin says the violent uprising often starts out with hate speech and conspiracy theories on social media. 

"We’re now seeing something that has emerged which is these choreographed street battles which began in social media and center around a particular event," he said. 

But it's not just street protesters, more and more fringe groups are forming on both sides of the political spectrum. 

The alt-right got lots of attention during the Trump campaign, and militant groups like the Oath Keepers and the Fraternal Order of Alt Knights continue to promote violence on social media. 

On the hard left there are groups like Antifa, or anti-fascists, By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) and Redneck Revolt. 

Both alt-right and hard-left fringe groups rally around a similar cause, frustration, and distrust in the government. 

"What we’ve seen on the hard left now, conspiracy theories, violent rhetoric and a justification for violence because on both sides of the political spectrum people feel disenfranchised and the establishment isn’t working for them," Levin said. 

Now lawmakers say they are worried for their safety. 

"Now after today I wonder whether or not I will ever feel safe going to a baseball field with practice like that," Tennessee Republican Rep. Chuck Fleischman, who was on the baseball field, told CNN.

Now some lawmakers are saying it's up to President Trump to change the tone to reign in the hostility. 

"I don't blame any one person, but I wish the President of the United States would try to set a tone of more nonpartisanship and more embracing and less divisive because this country is perhaps more divided than we’ve seen it." said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). 

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