The Myths Fueling Today’s Armed Right

The Myths Fueling Today’s Armed Right

The 13 men charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer called themselves the Wolverine Watchmen, a possible reference to the white supremacist vigilante militia in the HBO series Watchmen . The suspects began planning their kidnapping this summer, with live fire exercises and explosives, according to the charges. Not long before, gangs of armed men, many of them carrying AR-15s, and defiantly not wearing facemasks, protested inside the state capitol in Lansing against strict health measures imposed by Whitmer. Similar armed right-wing groups across the nation are planning to privately police polling sites on November 3, as President Donald Trump called for in the presidential debate in late September. At first blush, it may seem hard to connect the various themes that crop up in recent stories about the armed right. There is, of course, the adamant assertion of their right to bear arms, but also a penchant for white supremacy (evidenced by their baleful presence at Black Lives Matter protests, and the online contempt they routinely hurl at the movement), a resistance to common sense public health measures meant to prevent the spread of a deadly pandemic, and the specter of voter intimidation. But at a deeper level, what connects this powerful, and dangerous, set of attitudes and reflexes is a collection of myths that have spread like coronavirus mutations through social media, allowing the different groups of the armed right to perceive themselves as good guys fighting various historic evils. Many of these myths […]

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