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Thursday, June 8, 2023

LARPing and Violent Extremism

After Kaleb Franks was arrested in October 2020 for plotting to abduct Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, he initially claimed he and his compatriots were only LARPing.

Over the past half century, live action role play (LARP) has grown into a worldwide cultural phenomenon. It involves preplanned theater wherein participants portray characters in an imaginary environment and interact with one another in real time.

On the other hand, violent extremism supports or commits real, ideologically motivated violence to further political, social, or religious goals.

This article will outline definitive ways to distinguish between LARP and criminal or malicious activity, which may be helpful to both law enforcement and prosecutors if suspects of targeted violence claim they were playacting.

Most people engaged in LARP as children, pretending to be certain characters and moving into a fictional world with rules defining the actions within it. The stage was set, characters were assigned, and a story line was created.

LARPing as a cultural pastime has evolved into playing tabletop games, recreating historical events (e.g., military battles), or enacting futuristic fantasy. One can even attend dinner theater events during which diners LARP as characters in a mystery.

Read more at FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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