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Memorial latrines, swastika pendants: disturbing and bizarre scene unfolds at gun rally on MLK Day

Memorial latrines, swastika pendants: disturbing and bizarre scene unfolds at gun rally on MLK Day

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Richmond, Virginia was swarmed by thousands of so-called pro-Second Amendment protestors today. While the rally was originally planned to protest a series of new (and reasonable) gun regulations pushed by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam and the Democratically-controlled state legislature it quickly morphed into a lodestone for militias, attracting droves of the right-wing gun-toting groups who saw it as an opportunity to show off their armaments and numbers while signaling their distaste for the government.

Given the violent history of militias in this country, there were understandable concerns about safety going into today. Police showed up in force, barricades were erected, but luckily things remained peaceful. Even so, there is something distinctly unsettling about the images coming in from the rally.

The crowd was eclectic, ranging from goofy basement-dwellers playing dress up as soldiers to outright neo-nazis and neo-confederates (a particularly egregious fact since today is MLK Day). Everywhere one looked, there were weapons of war being openly carried.

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Bellingcat’s Robert Evans attended the event and shared images of some of the more bizarre attendees. There were crackpots galore, with strong anti-Democrat sentiments and outlandish conspiracy theories posted proudly on signs. Some openly fantasized about armed insurrection, comparing the current state of affairs in Virginia to the leadup to the American Revolutionary War.

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Some protestors went so in their criticisms of Governor Northam that they compare him to Adolf Hitler, demonstrating a profound misunderstanding of history in the process.

One man wore a patch that read “RWDS” which seemingly stands for “Right Wing Death Squad.” When asked what it stood for, he refused to answer.

Hilariously, there was a “memorial latrine” dedicated to  “Dale ‘Grapeshot’ Welch.”

An independent journalist also shared some telling images from the rally.

InfoWars chief Alex Jones was spotted driving around in a massive vehicle calling for violence.

Today should serve as a wakeup call to those Americans who don’t feel the need to cobble together an ersatz identity from reactionary politics, bullets, and surplus military gear. These militias are growing bolder and there is no way to predict how they will react if Donald Trump loses in 2020. The responsibility falls on local law enforcement and the FBI to rigorously monitor these organizations and ensure the rest of us are kept safe from the heavily-armed madmen out there.

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