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I live in the county with one real town and one used-to-be town. Total population, just under 24k.
Around 3 June, I happened to be at the county Walmart for my weekly grocery run. While there I observed two vehicles, both out of state, whose occupants were primarily black males with dreadlocks. Both vehicles had markings/decals that made me wonder: BLM was hand-painted on the rear window of one of them. There was one black female I saw. It was a curiosity to me but that’s about all so I forgot it: Just assumed they were passing through.
Then on 18 June, a member of the county constabulary advised that members of Antifa had been seen in town and were thought to have been doing recon. My alert level increased but still – why would they be interested in a small place like this, even if we are only an hour away from a major city. And still, it’s only a rumor.
On 30 June, six out of state cars were seen, by me and by a couple of others, at a run-down ten-room low rent motel that hasn’t been busy in six years. Well, that’s unusual, I thought. On 2 July, four of them at different times of the evening were seen circling the town square where there is a Confederate service memorial (you have to be looking for it to see it).
3 July, I received an email from a friend that there would be a gathering of like-minded folks to provide a “presence” on the square. I asked a senior member of the sheriff’s department that lives close to me, he did confirm what had been seen and that regular patrols would continue but nothing more. Also that nobody was going to put their life or health on the line for a people that don’t care. The next morning, I received confirmation there had been a small group of armed citizens at the square all night, that the same vehicles had in fact come around throughout the night, one time specifically taking a gander at the memorial – did not leave the cars. I do know they were seen circling the square shortly after 2 a.m.
4 July, I received a plea for more attendance, they were just too few and it was a long night. I had been thinking “I am just not going to shoot somebody to protect a statue nobody cares about” and had decided not to pursue any action. Then close to the evening hour portions of an oath some here have taken came to mind: “…I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic…” At the last minute, I put my AR in the Jeep, my Glock on my waist, and went. The wife asked why, I responded that I wasn’t sure – but this was something I had to do. All the out of state vehicles (California, Indiana, NC) were gone from the hotel, but around 9 p.m. one of the previously identified vehicles did apparently surveil the square. We were only eight, including one man’s wife. I had to leave around 10 p.m., but the rest stayed all night.
In fact, there was no incident and I may never know if our presence stopped it. I do know there were significant disturbances and some arrests in downtown Nashville, maybe related or maybe not. Should I have stayed home? Should I have gone? I can’t say.
The number of us that were present was just too small to prevent any serious activity, and considering that while I was the oldest, there were three others of retirement age, plus the apparent apathy of so very many, it was decided – right or wrong – that this was not the battle: So, the evening of the 4th was the last night on patrol. Cowardice? Wisdom? I don’t know.
As it turned out, nothing has yet happened.Published in