Fascists beware…leftist self-described anti-fascist groups are arming themselves and patrolling demonstrations and neighborhoods to ensure their own safety.
“After Charlottesville, there was this recognition that there has to be somebody who’s not on the right who is willing to be in places that law enforcement either isn’t willing to be, or where law enforcement is supporting fascists,” Shannon explains. “When you see law enforcement escorting Nazi groups to parades [in places like DC or Detroit] you realize there’s a space to be filled by people who are confident in their skill as gun owners but whose bigger mission is community defense and protection.”
For Vixen, the decision to join came from the threats right-wing extremism poses to her identity. A trans woman who grew up shooting guns off her front porch in Indiana, she spoke about the toxic culture she had encountered at many gun ranges, and of the obligation she felt to protect her queer community.
“Today, I’m a trans woman at Trans Pride, so I feel like I’m personally able to step in front and put myself in front of people who are being attacked or harassed and just try to de-escalate the situation – which is always the goal,” she said. “Obviously, you don’t ever want to celebrate having to use force on someone, but completely throwing it away as an option is really self-defeating.”
So far, none of the members have had to use their weapons in this context, and the hope expressed is that they never will.