As looters and members of Antifa terrorize the nation and bring violence and looting in their wake, one city in Idaho who heard they might be next was having none of it.
Upon rumor that violent protestors and rioters were considering descending upon Coeur d’ Alene, a small city in Idaho with a population of about 45,000, with intent to loot, vandalize, and otherwise cause unrest, the local militia men and women took action. Gearing up, they descended upon the downtown core to guard businesses and major intersections. They came out in mass, hundreds of people who were almost all armed, to ensure that the citizenry would be kept safe.
Some store owners were boarding up their windows in preparation of Antifa, but many of them carried on, as usual, comforted by the armed sentinels that stood guard.
Thankfully, the evening was uneventful, with at least one Law Enforcement officer allegedly saying that the intel was good and that the groups intent on causing harm backed down once they heard of the deployment.
Coeur d’ Alene has seen its share of protests, but the demonstrators and militia seem to have developed a symbiotic relationship. During the day, the protesters hold up signs that say “I can’t breathe” and “black lives matter” while the armed sentinels look on, protecting the rights of the protesters to air their grievances and concerns in a safe manner. One demonstrator, referring to them as their “unofficial guardians” said:
“There have been a couple guys trying to silence us, but the Trump supporters down there are helping keep it under control. We won’t be silenced, and I guess I’m glad people with guns are here to make sure that happens.”
One of these guardians who arrived with a gun in hand and combat boots laced up, Mike Marquardt, said of their presence:
“I think there are two types of people. The good people who are here to get a message across, and we are here to support and protect them. Then there are those who come to take advantage of the situation and cause trouble. We are here to protect against those.”
Another, who didn’t want his name identified, said
“I’m more than welcoming the BLM protest, I want their voice to be heard, I know that myself as a white straight male in the US, I know that I don’t know what it is like to be a black male person or black female person, I have no idea at all, so I want their voices heard.”
Lest people panic at the thoughts of an armed citizenry, In Idaho, it is legal to open carry. Police Captain Dave Hagar said he’s not worried about any violence springing up, commenting of the presence of these armed men and women:
“As far as armed Idahoans, we treat them like any other group, their rights are protected. What we have seen over the past week, the freedom to assemble, freedom of speech, freedom to bear arms, those are the freedoms that all Idahoans or anybody is afforded and we are here to make sure those are respected.
We have had open conversations with people out there no matter which group they are with, and I am really confident in the respect that they have shown each other so I don’t really have any concerns.”
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