America was built on armed protest—it is how the nation was founded.
I’ve covered protests in America for the last twenty years. But it wasn’t until 2017, in Charlottesville, Virginia, that I saw men with guns take to the streets. It blew me away.
Since then, thanks to President Donald Trump’s rhetoric, I’ve watched the armed and emboldened masses of Boogaloo Bois, Proud Boys, and other far-right militias march unmasked past police who give them fist bumps and support. Leftist activists, by contrast, usually arrive unarmed. And they’re met with police violence: pepper spray, tear gas, and rubber bullets.