Sherman, set the Wayback Machine for January 2016. Donald Trump was inaugurated as President, which torched off (literally) weeks of protest. Then came the 2017 Charlottesville attack, the riots in Kenosha and Minneapolis and January 6th. Add it all up, and it’s pretty clear that the Overton window for expressive violence is wide open at this point. Our population, as a whole, is more willing to express their frustration on the streets right now than any time since the early 70’s.
And to make things even worse, we have an election coming up and we have Israeli’s defensive actions in Gaza, which is very unpopular with the permanently pissed-off crowd.
Increasing use of violence as protest and not one but two potential trigger points does not bode well for 2024. Things are quiet now, so take this time to get ready for what may lie ahead. Paul Martin has a great list of things you can do right now to make sure any violence which might happen affects you but lightly. In addition to his list of common-sense prep advice, I’d add…
Rigorously follow John Farnham’s rule of “Don’t go to stupid places to do stupid things with stupid people at stupid times.” Okay, so your friends are going to a political rally tomorrow. What possible benefit is there for you in it, other than to show them that you’re a part of their tribe? Stay home, and let them get arrested for “parading.”
Buy a dashcam and have it rolling 24/7. Practically all of the incidents from the last four years have started on our nation’s roads, and having an impartial recording of what’s going on around you makes a lot of sense if you have to defend yourself in court later on. Plus they’re really good as evidence for traffic accidents.
Follow the social media accounts of potential trouble-making organizations so you can know what they’re up to. Twitter, errr, X is really good for this. If the Leprechaun Liberation Army posts that they’re going to have a “Day of Action” for mythical Celtic creatures in two days, avoid that location like the plague.
Establish a baseline of normal, and learn to spot when normal changes. “Left of Bang” is a great book to help you accomplish that goal.
Carry all the time, and carry more than a gun. Pepper spray and a flashlight should go with you all the time as two alternatives to “BANG” when things get really weird.
Most of all, live your life and enjoy it. Using violence to enact political change didn’t begin in 2016, and it ain’t gonna end in 2025 either.