Militias, far-right groups recast selves as mainstream at Lansing gun rally

SLIDESHOW: Seven-year-old Simbria (last name withheld by parents) waves a Gadsden Flag while carrying a toy rifle on her back Thursday at the annual Second Amendment rally on the lawn of the Capitol in Lansing. (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

SLIDESHOW: Militia members gather for a group portrait at the annual Second Amendment rally on the lawn of the Capitol in Lansing. (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

SLIDESHOW: Michigan Home Guard members take up positions at the annual Second Amendment rally on the lawn of the Capitol. (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

SLIDESHOW: Second Amendment supporters with athletic jerseys and lots of flags at the annual rally on the lawn of the Capitol in Lansing.  (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

SLIDESHOW: Phil Robinson of the Michigan Liberty Militia and some of his militia members gather behind his shield at the annual Second Amendment rally on the lawn of the Capitol on Thursday. (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

SLIDESHOW: Jeff and Sheila Humphrey of Burton stroll through the Rotunda on their first visit to the Capitol. Both carried AR-15 rifles on their shoulders during the tour. (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

Oct. 8, 2020 stories:

LANSING — Michigan militia members say they are trying to take their movement mainstream, fashioning themselves as a private security force willing to defend against protests over racial injustice and police brutality that have turned violent in some parts of the state and country. 

Dozens of armed members from various militias, most of them white, descended on the Michigan Capitol Thursday, mingling with other fringe groups like Boogaloo Bois and Proud Boys at an annual Second Amendment rally. Their public show of force would have been rare two decades ago, when militias largely operated in secrecy after two men with ties to the early Michigan movement bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City. 

"Militias are finally starting to realize that we have an important role in the public eye," said Phil Robinson, a Barry County resident and co-founder of the Michigan Liberty Militia. "The time is not to hide in the shadows. The time is to get out and be vocal, be visible."

Robinson — sporting black fatigues, an AR-15 pistol modified to mimic a rifle, wooden shield and braided beard — as become the unlikely face of the Michigan militia movement. 

In May, his group acted as an armed "security detail" at a rally in Lansing, where thousands gathered to protest Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's stay-at-home order for COVID-19. They reprised the role at a similar protest in Grand Rapids, and Robinson spoke at an "American Patriot Rally" at the Capitol in July.

Unlike some more closely guarded leaders, Robinson is open to media interviews and boasts that he was prominently featured in a recent New Yorker article on “the militias against masks.”

"The government has one job, and that is to protect our rights — not to restrict them or infringe on them or make up executive orders," he told Bridge Michigan, going on to downplay the coronavirus that health officials say has killed more than 6,600 Michiganders since March. 

"Honestly, I don't believe in this whole coronavirus shit anyway. I've been everywhere since this all started, and I've never worn a mask. I've been around thousands and thousands of people and I've yet to get any kind of illness."

The Southern Poverty Law Center in 2019 identified the Michigan Liberty Militia as one of 14 "extreme anti-government" groups operating in Michigan, including nine different militias.

"Generally, such groups define themselves as opposed to the 'New World Order,' engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme anti-government doctrines," according to the annual SPLC report.

Jeff and Sheila Humphrey of Burton stroll through the Rotunda on their first visit to the Capitol. Both carried AR-15 rifles on their shoulders during the tour. (Bridge photo by Dale Young)

Robinson practices Odinism, an ancient religion that has recently spread among white supremacists, and wore an “In Odin We Trust” patch on his jacket Thursday.  But he denies he or his group are motivated by hate, racism or animus. 

"We are the peacekeepers," he told Bridge. "We are the constitutionalists. Everybody calls [the Constitution] a piece of paper, but it's not a piece of paper. It gives us all our inalienable rights."

Boogaloo bois

Experts don’t know how many militias are currently operating in Michigan or if membership is growing. But Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel’s office has sounded alarms over the increasingly public militia activity this summer. 

“Many militia groups are often anti-government, anti-law enforcement [and] they have these extreme ideologies,” Solicitor General Fadwa Hammoud told WOOD-TV in July. “History has taught us that extreme ideologies like that often lead to mass violence.”

Federal officials have also warned of a rise in violent extremism, including among militia groups. "Much of that is linked to white supremacist-type ideology," FBI Director Christopher Wray said Thursday in congressional testimony. 

Organizers say militia membership is on the rise, especially in recent months as protests have erupted across the country following the police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man in Minnesota. 

"People want to protect their towns and cities," said Jason Maceyko of Macomb County and a member of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia. "They want to protect their fellow citizens. As a militia, we feel an obligation to protect each other."

Michigan militias, in particular, have long worked to normalize their movement, said Amy Cooter, who has spent years studying militias and is a sociology lecturer at Vanderbilt University.

"Many genuinely see themselves as sort of civil servants," Cooter said. "They think it's their personal duty as good Americans, and mostly good American men, to protect not just themselves but their families and their communities.”

But there is also significant overlap between militias and other fringe movements, she said, citing the QAnon conspiracy theory alleging that Satan-worshipping pedophiles who are part of the "deep state" are plotting against President Donald Trump. 

Maceyko, of the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia, is part of another fringe group he said shares members with militias: The Boogaloo Bois, a meme-based online movement that is preparing for an armed insurrection against government tyranny. 

Boogaloo "is the terminology we use for if and when the proverbial shit hits the fan," he said. It goes by various names online, including the "big luau," which explains the Hawaiian shirts that Maceyko and other adherents wore to the Thursday rally. 

The meme first emerged in antigovernment and white power online spaces in the early 2010s, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which says the term “Boogaloo" was initially associated with racist violence and an "explicit call for a race war.” Over the summer, at least seven people with Boogaloo ties were arrested for actual or attempted violence at racial justice protests. 

“They don’t have a lot of beliefs other than they really like guns, they really hate cops, and they want some sort of revolution,” Megan Squire, a computer scientist who researches online extremism at Elon University, told The Trace.

Maceyko, however, described the term as relatively innocuous. It's kind of an "inside joke" that activists have run with, he said, comparable to Trump supporters that embraced the term "deplorables" after Hillary Clinton used it to describe them in 2016. 

Still, the possibility of an armed insurrection is real, he said. 

"I think the way society is going, it is rather inevitable it's going to happen," Maceyko said. "It's just a matter of when. The morals and values and virtues of the days of old have seemed to disappear with the younger generation."

Vigilante justice

While a majority of them are white, "most proper militia groups, by an academic definition, do not have racism as part of their group identity," said Cooter, of Vanderbilt.

"Groups in Michigan that I have contact with actually go out of their way to discourage racism, to watch out for it, to kick people out who are racist," she said. "It's not that they do a perfect job of that, but they are attentive at least to the overt form of it."

But many militias are actively opposed to the Black Lives Matter movement, which they contend has been hijacked by anti-facist activists for their own purposes, Cooter said. 

Many militia members “believe that Antifa is all white, cares nothing about racial justice and just wants to stir up anarchy in some form or fashion," Cooter said. "And I think beliefs like that have the potential to go wrong if people feel that they're defending themselves or their communities against a threat that doesn't really exist."

That was the case last month in Wisconsin, when self-described militia members descended on Kenosha to battle back protests over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. There, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse allegedly shot three people with an AR-15 weapon, killing two. 

It’s not clear if Rittenhouse was part of an organized militia, but he reportedly fashioned himself as private security and travelled from Illinois to protect Kenosha from civil unrest. 

Nationally, about 93 percent of racial justice protests since Floyd's death have been peaceful and non-destructive, according to a recent report from Princeton University. That's been true in Michigan as well, where summer protests across the state were marked by only occasional violence in areas like Grand Rapids, Detroit, Lansing and Kalamazoo.

But Wayne Hodges of Dundee, a founder of the American Patriots of Michigan, said interest in militias like his are growing because of "rioting and looting and chaos” across the country.

"People want to be safe, so they get in with a group and everybody looks out for each other," he said. "They don't want their houses burned, their businesses burned, or anything else, so people call militias out to protect their stuff."

Hodges said he attended a "Michigan Patriots for Trump" rally in Sterling Heights last week and said several families came up to his militia asking to take photos with them. 

That's quite a change from 20 years ago, when Hodges said he first "started hanging around with militias." That was shortly after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing masterminded by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, who had reportedly attended early Michigan militia meetings.

"People thought militia groups were a bunch of crazy people running around in the woods plotting to overthrow the government," Hodges said. "That's not the case; 99 percent of militia guys support the police, they support the government as long as the government follows the constitution."

While he's a Trump supporter, Hodges said the militia movement is not political and that membership is not defined by party loyalty. 

"None of us care what your beliefs are," he said. "If you want to be gay, you want to do whatever, that's fine. You got a right to say whatever you want to say. You don't have a right to riot and loot and burn stuff. That's when we get involved. We won't stand by and allow it to happen.”

Proud Boys

While Thursday's rally was a Second Amendment March, attended by hundreds of non-militia members and ostensibly focused on gun rights and safety, the Capitol complex had the feel of a political rally. The ubiquitous Trump Unity Bridge float was parked nearby, red "Make America Great Again" hats dotted the Capitol lawn and speakers included an organizer for a recall Whitmer petition drive. 

Few attendees wore masks.

Asked about the heavy militia presence, organizers with Michigan Open Carry Inc., said they have no official alignment with the groups. 

"But anyone that supports the Second Amendment and is willing to stand for our freedoms, that's who we work with," said legislative director Tom Lambert. 

"At MOC, the primary mission is to educate and empower with information, whether that's telling a militia how they lawfully carry or whether that's telling a housewife how to lawfully protect yourself or whether that's working with police to understand what the laws are of the state and how to interact with gun owners better."

State Sen. Jeff Irwin, an Ann Arbor Democrat who regularly stops by Capitol demonstrations, said the annual open carry rally typically focuses on "how responsible gun owners are not a threat to others, but this rally seemed to have a different flavor to it."

"It seemed to be more about politics and about promoting Trump and more about attacking the pandemic response than it was about guns," Irwin said. 

"It was pretty heavy cosplay," he added, referencing costume play performance art where people dress up as characters from popular culture. 

He noted the presence of “Proud Boys,” roughly two dozen members of a far-right “western chauvinist” group that has been labeled a hate organization by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of links to white supremacism.

Former Proud Boy Jason Kessler, for instance, helped organize the 2017 "Unite the Right Rally" in Charlottesville, Virginia, that featured white supremacists and neo-nazis. 

But the group has more recently made a public showing of expelling openly racist members and, according to Rob Nabers of Holt, one of the few African Americans at Thursday’s rally, it is not a white nationalist organization. 

Nabers said he met other Proud Boys at the same Second Amendment rally last year and has since joined the group, which he called "the best move of my life."

"They didn't spit in my face. They didn't say 'Get out of here n-word.’ They embraced me," he told Bridge. "A lot of these guys are [military] veterans, and I'm a veteran myself, so it was all brotherhood."

Proud Boys countered racial justice protests last month by marching through downtown Kalamazoo, sparking a violent conflict with counter protesters who local police say were a "catalyst" for the ensuing brawl. 

At the time, Public Safety Chief Karianne Thompson denounced what she called "hate-mongering" by the far-right group.

“The Proud Boys came to town and completed their mission by creating a divisive situation for the community then leaving, hopefully with the chaos continuing, which is their M.O.,” Thompson said. “On social media later that night, they were joking about it, that they had created the chaos they had hoped to.”

Nabers defended the Kalamazoo demonstration, saying “Proud boys don’t start fights, we finish them.”

The group promotes western culture but that is not a "euphemism for white culture," Nabers argued. "Everyone said immigrants built this country. All of us did. So that's what I mean by western chauvinism and extreme patriotism."

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Comments

Bobby Powell - ...
Thu, 09/17/2020 - 10:42pm

I was there. "Dozens" doesn't even begin to describe a crowd in the THOUSANDS!

You are Fake News. REALLY fake news.

Insta Life
Mon, 09/21/2020 - 2:02pm

Easily solved. If you were there, send us a link to your photos.

Anonymous
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 8:12am

Too many years of Republican rule have turned this state into a dump controlled by uneducated right wing cults.

Mike
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 9:03am

There's nothing mainstream about these people! They're nothing but right wing vigilantes.

mw
Mon, 09/21/2020 - 10:08am

The problem is these extremist vigilante groups are being legitimized and embraced by GOP politicians.

Bek
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 9:25am

No, Mr. Robinson you may not have become ill after mingling with “thousands” of people without a mask.
You are probably a asymptomatic super spreader though!

jonsnana
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 10:33am

There are an awful lot of terms in this article that need to be defined so that we don not assume editorial bias, ie "far right wing." What does that even mean? There are many more. Perhaps you need some unbiased proof reading.

Pete
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 11:14am

You're right, "radical right" would be more appropriate, or even "traitors to the Constitution".

Jason
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 1:10pm

They let the DNC proof read it. lol

middle of the mit
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 3:30pm

jonsnana,

Triggered much? Have you heard the term "leftists", "commies", or anyother derogatory comment like that anywhere at all? What ever do they mean?

Why is it when the right runs around with guns and angry faces yelling about how their freedumbs are being taken from them, some can't figure out that is not an adult way to act, let alone something you would want your children imitating? Oh wait! That little girl with the Gadsden flag and fake AR doesn't look much over 8 years old!

Pete
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 11:06am

So racist domestic terrorist groups are trying to become more mainstream? So much winning!

David
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 12:18pm

This is a portrait of the Republican Party currently led by a certifiable lunatic!

K Hill
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 12:25pm

Why is it okay for Michigan militia to carry weapons of war anywhere in the State let alone the Capitol building? It is failure of the President who abdicated responsibility to address the COVID 19 virus that has led to lives lost, businesses lost or threatened....

Anonymous
Mon, 09/21/2020 - 2:06pm

Because they are white Trump supporters. They are the same people who praise Trump for gassing peaceful protesters near the White House for a Trump photo op.

Jason
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 12:56pm

How many were arrested yesterday and what laws did they break??? Did they loot, vandalize, set fire to anything or assault civilians or the police?? Were they stopping traffic and jumping on cars?? Just asking for a friend.

middle of the mit
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 8:08pm

Jason,

Those in power have nothing to protest over. These people are just trying to "project power".

And the cops agree with them. Why would they want to alter that in any way?

I could show you all kinds of video of white people NOT succumbing to law enforcement........and NO guns were ever drawn............let alone fired.

You have heard of the Bundy's.............haven't ya? And NO! I am not talking about Al Bundy!

What about Dylan Roof? Shot 9 black people in a Church! When he was apprehended? NO guns. And he got to go through the Burger King drive through BEFORE he went to the station!

https://www.snopes.com/news/2015/06/22/dylann-roof-burger-king/

If it was a black person that had shot 9 white people in a Church? Do you have any doubt that person would be dead today? I don't.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R3rjEKFmHzw

This is a video of black mental healthcare worker trying to protect his white patient. He was the one that was shot. If that doesn't disgust you..........then I don't what would.

When those on the lower rungs of society can't get society to listen to them..................they find ways to make you listen to them. Maybe you should listen.

Jason
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 1:05pm

I just love "unbiased reporting" lol.

Jason
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 1:08pm

Question? Who determines what is false or defamatory? I just love journalism in this era....screw freedom of speech... we will decide what is true or not....then we will publish it. Sure wish they would have taken their own advice for the past 3 years of lies...but no.

Craig Reynolds
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 10:51pm

In order to accept any validity to your comment it is required that you provide facts upon which to base your claim. I'm waiting ......

Craig Reynolds
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 10:53pm

Examples required for validation of statement.

Cathy
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 2:04pm

Bill Barr urges protesters to be charged with sedition.
Attorney General William Barr and top officials within the Justice Department have urged federal prosecutors to charge violent protesters who have burned buildings with sedition, an internal memo shows.
In the memo to US attorneys, Jeffrey Rosen, the department's No. 2 official, wrote that he and Barr have told federal prosecutors should aggressively go after demonstrators who cause violence. The memo said prosecutors do not need to prove that protesters were plotting to overthrow the US government in order to bring rarely used sedition charges against them. Invoking the rarely used law could instead be used when a defendant tries to oppose the government's authority by force, the memo reads.
Okay, so charge these protesters as well or does it only apply to BLM Mr. Barr? Or those who will vote against Trump?

Doug
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 4:43pm

Meanwhile, the Left mainstreams the burning down of American cities...

middle of the mit
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 7:41pm

Doug,

except you can't tell us one American city that has been burnt to the ground...can you?

And then you blame forest fires on us too? Or is it dead, dried out trees that spontaneously combust?

If you conservatives could come up with one talking point.................instead of throwing food at the wall to see what sticks..........you might be something that I couldn't deal with.

Nawww! It would still be based on fiction!

Doug
Sat, 09/19/2020 - 11:25am

Sounds like you didn't pay attention to Minneapolis burning. Try to stay informed a little bit

John Q Public
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 11:42am

It's ironic that in the vast majority of cases the protestors have only resorted to violence after the police responded with force.

middle of the mit
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 4:22pm

Doug,

Last I heard Minneapolis was and still is a city. It hasn't been burned out of existence, has it? It would be nice if you could show where this information comes from. I still see news reports from there.

Maybe if we did half of what you did to the teachers to get out all the "bad teachers" we could avoid situations such as this, by getting rid of bad cops. Unlike your side, I am not going to label all cops bad, but the good ones need to start speaking up.

EB
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 7:38pm

“History has taught us that extreme ideologies like that often lead to mass violence.”

An armed uprising seems inevitable. Given that the insurectionists will be armed with military style weapons, you have to wonder what the counter force is going to be. The national guard?

Paul Jordan
Fri, 09/18/2020 - 11:19pm

I'd suggest a better term for these militia and vigilante types might be 'right wing anarchists'. They don't seem to understand--or perhaps don't care--that unless they are formally deputized by some civil authority they have no legitimate peace-keeping function.
Their very illegitimacy is contradicted by the second amendment's reference to "a well-organized militia". At that time, there was no standing US army. States were defended by militias organized by the government for that purpose. (In the slave-dependent states, of course, there were also slave patrols organized by government to enforce the reign of terror inflicted on enslaved African Americans.)
These 'militias' are an ill-trained, self-selected, heavily armed mob--and that should scare us all.

John Q Public
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 9:09am

I completely agree. The second amendment has been perverted to justify ownership of military style weaponry and these "militias" exist to serve their own purpose. I do not want them to speak for me and "defend" my freedom, property, or, God forbid, my life.

Math Sux
Sat, 09/19/2020 - 10:55am

It's Michigan, predominantly rural, consistently in the top 5 of hunting license sales nationwide; gun ownership IS mainstream.

The left needs to get over it.

William C. Plumpe
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 11:45am

And what do you "hunt" with an AR-15 ?
Humans? You sure don't need an assault rifle to hunt deer when there are plenty of perfectly good rifles designed specifically for hunting.
AR-15's are designed specifically for killing humans and have one purpose and one purpose only---to kill humans.
If you own an AR-15 or other assault rifle then you must have plans to kill humans sometime soon.
Think about that next time you fondle your gun.

Math Sux
Mon, 09/21/2020 - 5:40am

Ok class, repeat after me..."An assault rifle is a selective fire, mid caliber fire arem. Automayic weapons are only legal to possess with an expensive Federal Permit. AR stands for Armalite, not assault rifle."

Even if you knew the above, I will still continue my reply. Is it the firearm itself you don't like or the method of operation? How do you feel about a pump action shotgun? Is that acceptable? Here is where emotion fails when facts are presented; a 3" 12 gauge shotgun shell, when loaded with #4 buckshot, has 41 projectiles, each .24" in diameter, as opposed to the scary black rifle that commonly shoots a .223" projectile. Most shotguns hold 4 rounds in the magazine and one in the chamber, therefore 5 shells x 41 pellets/shell is 205. The scary rifle holds 30 round, each with a single bullet. Shall we get rid of shotguns, too?

IF I owned a scary black rifle, I would certainly not choose it for "defending" myself against anything much larger than a coyote or a woodchuck. It is a varmint round that HAPPENED to be choosen by the US military for reasons beyond the scope of this argument. By the way, that scary rifle was first picked by the US Air Force for security forces when the rest of the military was still using the .308 Winchester, having changed from the .30-06 after it's use in WWI, WWII, and Korea.

Either the .308 or .30-06 is a better round for deer hunting or warfare than a .223 on a round-for -round basis. That being said, is a scoped deer rifle now a "high powered sniper rifle"? Is that the next thing that people want to ban? How many times is it necessary to repeat that it is NOT the gun, but the person behind it that is dangerous?

Also, I would NEVER fondle any firearm as the finger prints and body oil can cause rust. Wipe them down after every use to keep things clean and ready for the next meander through the woods and fields chasing those delicous (but hardly dangerous) rabbits, grouse, squirrels, and pheasant. (Perhaps you can see I use a gun to get outside and away from people...and get my dinner)

middle of the mit
Mon, 09/21/2020 - 5:26pm

Ok class, could you tell me how many competitive shooters use an AR-15?

Most of my relatives are conservative. Not ONE of them own an AR-15. In fact, only the ones who can't hit the bullseye with all 3 shots we practice with, use a semi auto for hunting anything other than birds or squirrels or varmints. Action of choice no matter the caliber? Bolt action.

When shooting clay pigeons? Unless they are trick shooting by trying to shoot more than two targets at a time? Double barrel, break barrel loaders. When hunting birds they use a pump action. I have seen friends that have semi auto shot guns, but they seemed to jam more often than any other gun.

You can use semantics all you want, the AR was designed as a civilian version of the military weapon. And what does the military use those weapons for? I have NEVER seen anyone at the deer pole with an AR.

[[[[An AR-15 style rifle is a lightweight semi-automatic rifle based on the ArmaLite AR-15 design, which is itself a scaled-down derivative of Eugene Stoner's AR-10 design. The Colt AR-15 is closely related to the military M16 and M4 Carbine rifles, which all share the same core design and have the same operating principle. The term "AR-15" is now most-commonly used to refer only to the civilian variants of the rifle which lack the fully automatic function.

The primary distinction between civilian semi-automatic rifles and military assault rifles is select fire. Military models were produced with firing modes, semi-automatic fire and either fully automatic fire mode or burst fire mode, To prevent a civilian semi-automatic AR-15 from being readily converted for use with the select fire components, several features were changed

After the term modern sporting rifles was coined in 2009 by the US National Shooting Sports Foundation, a firearms industry trade association, it was quickly adopted by the trade association and some manufacturers.[4][5] An expanded marketplace emerged with many manufacturers producing their own version of the AR-15 design for commercial sale. ]]]

The thing is though, there are changes to make those "civilian ARs" back into what they were designed for, aren't there? And could you tell me what you are hunting that you need 30 round clips? Only poor hunters need that many bullets. And if I was that poor of a shot? My dad never would have let me go hunting in the first place..............and I doubt I would've gotten a hunter safety certificate.

Many posters on this board and others aren't afraid to tell us what they purchased these weapons for. Why deny it?

Sometimes Reality sux worse than math, doesn't it?

Craig Reynolds
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 11:06pm

As usual , geographic area gets incorrectly mixed up with areas of metropolitan population density - from mlive.com:
82% of Michiganders live in a metro area
Four of five Michigan residents live in an urban or suburban county that is part of a metropolitan statistical area.
About 11 percent live in one of the 19 micropolitans, such as Traverse City or Mount Pleasant, and 7 percent live in a rural county such as Newaygo or Gladwin.
https://www.mlive.com/news/erry-2018/12/906ac4ccb82663/comparing-urban-v...
The fact of the matter is that a significant number of gun-owners feel a personal connection to the US Constitution and its principles only through the arbor of the 2nd Amendment, and this narrow avenue blocks out a lot of the history of the last three hundred years on this continent.

Someone
Sun, 09/20/2020 - 6:44pm

I straddle the line on this a bit. I try to be open-minded and see where people are coming from.

But this is a bit of cognitive dissonance. Trump renewed the emergency powers from 9/11. Extreme patriotism (nationalism/jingoism) are at odds with personal liberty. Blacks have been protesting against police violence for over FIFTY YEARS. "Be peaceful" and no one seems to listen. Not that I advocate violence, but hey, maybe SOMETHING is wrong. Also, don't talk to cops about how to understand the law. They're about the only people that don't have to understand it and get away with it. Yes, if you break a law due to your ignorance, that's no excuse. If a cop arrests you for breaking a law that doesn't exist, no big deal.

That being said, protecting your family and community is important too. Knowing people have your back and you're not judged because of your color (ANY color) is a good thing, but can evolve into an "us vs. them" thing - that goes for White nationalists and Black nationalist all the same. I just don't much understand this disconnect between these guys and Trump. What, because he's conservative? Why not Jo Jorgensen?

Also, why anti-mask? "Your right to swing your fist ends where my face begins". So it is with something like COVID. Because it's not visible to the naked eye means it does not affect the rights of others? I don't blame people for being wary, suspicious, and distrusting of the government. But conspiracy theories are best when only a few people need to orchestrate. How is something like this being orchestrated? It defies possibility.

Anyways, people make their own choices. Make sure you're actually making your own, and not letting others do it for you.

Sad Sack
Mon, 09/21/2020 - 3:09am

The dangerous people who think they are defending the Constitution and the USA are about to destroy it, possibly in about six weeks, IMO. I was taught in HS by WWII vets that the USA fought fascism and authoritarianism in WWII and they warned us and warned us about this very time. Now to be an anti-fascist is anti-American? So are these demonstrators pro-fascist? ? I'm confused. Are these militia members more patriotic than other Americans? Why is the Confederate flag flown at Trump rallies? Michigan had 90,000 troops against the Confederates. These demonstrators are all on the wrong side but don't know it. They're anti-American and they unbelievably support an anti American president beholden to Russia, a President who somehow brainwashed 40% of us. Who will defend America and the Constitution from these brainwashed citizens who mis-label their fellow citizens "socialists"? Is there an armed counterforce of American patriots? They are dishonoring Michigan vets of WWII and the Civil War, but they cannot be reached and de-programmed. If they knew they were about to bring down America would they still do it? Was Timothy McVeigh a patriot? No, he was a brainwashed fool, along with the other anti-American militia-terrorist, a Michigan man, Terry Nichols, who killed 168 American workers and children. From the many comments I've read in many places, these gun-totin' dudes are just itchin' to kill their fellow Americans. It's a well known fact in their circles, but I haven't seen many "fake" media stories about sold-out assault weapons and ammo. Like Trump said, he wouldn't want to panic people. It's like the entire Republican Party has gone rogue. I thought a coup would be considered seditious?

Pssst
Mon, 09/21/2020 - 2:11pm

Here's the dirty little secret Trump doesn't want his followers to know. Their most powerful military hardware doesn't stand a chance against the US Military once they cede all their power to an authoritarian Trump who thinks they are all "suckers" and "losers". Careful what you wish for, boys.

Can I
Tue, 09/22/2020 - 12:44am

bring a potato launcher into the capital building? Unloaded...........but do you check those who have weapons for loaded or not?

Just askin'

I thought maybe that way I could exercise my free speech by painting something on my potato launcher. Innovation and Ingenuity! Have to find some way around the law.........don't ya?

Anonymous
Sun, 10/04/2020 - 6:59pm

"It’s not clear if Rittenhouse was part of an organized militia, but he reportedly fashioned himself as private security and travelled from Illinois to protect Kenosha from civil unrest."

That's strange. What I "heard" was that he went to Kenosha to help with cleanup. There's even a photo of him cleaning up graffiti. He did not bring a gun with him, so how did he intend to "protect" anything? Did the authors interview him? If so, I doubt he said he went there "to protect Kenosha from civil unrest."