Over the years, our nation has seen its fair share of racism and discrimination, to be sure. While our Constitution declares that we are all made equally and, therefore, should have the same rights, freedoms, and access to opportunities in life, unfortunately, some would disagree.
Even more unfortunate is the fact that some of those individuals would come together to harass or even attack those who may not look or believe as they do.
All races and populations seem to have at least one faction or group that is this way. However, in recent days, or at least those that have garnered the most attention, have been white nationalist groups.
Essentially branches off the infamous KKK, these groups promote racist propaganda, participate in marches, and in some of the most extreme cases, engage in rioting or attacks on specific individuals or events.
Patriot Front has become such a group. And according to both police records and researchers, it is becoming more and more hostile.
In June, for example, police were called when a group of 20 Patriot Front members were seen masking up and loading into a U-Haul truck in a hotel parking lot. According to the witness who tipped police off, they looked “like a little army” and were headed to an LBGTQ event in downtown Coeur d’Alene.
Fortunately, the truck was stopped by police before any damage could occur. Inside the vehicle, police found reinforced baseball caps, a smoke grenade, metal shield, and papers seeming to plan out their riot.
Naturally, the arrest drew quite a bit of attention, even nationally.
And yet, since then, racist propaganda pieces put out by the group and its members have not ceased or even slowed down. In fact, more than 1,000 racist posts and such were put out by the group between the end of June and the end of August, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Additionally, the group has marched on Indianapolis since then, as well as stormed Boston in July, where they were accused of attacking a black man with shields.
Founder of Task Force Butler Institute, Kristopher Goldsmith, says, “They are not afraid of police.” His volunteer veterans organization has been researching far-right groups such as Patriot Front and is one who is concerned about where this group is headed.
According to Goldsmith, their lack of fear, either from police or the justice system overall, is due to their relative success throughout their history. Nearly every time they act, whether it be to march or riot or put out propaganda, there have been very few legal repercussions. In fact, according to Goldsmith, they “feel that they have overwhelmed law enforcement.”
And this gives them a sense of security and even being untouchable, so to speak.
Goldsmith, as well as a program director at the Western States Center, Lindsay Schubiner, say this only increases the risk the group could pose in the future as their confidence grows.
If not kept under check, they could end up like the now infamous Proud Boys, who engaged in extreme racially motivated activity in Washington and the Portland area for years without consequences. Eventually, they grew so confident in their abilities and ability to get away with things that they played a major role in the planning and infiltration of the Capitol building on January 6.
That is precisely why Goldsmith, Schubiner, and others are trying to bring national attention to Patriot Front and other groups like them. The hope is that a national or federal case can be brought against the group, keeping them in check and letting them know they are not invincible.
As Schubiner says, “We’ve seen from other cases and from the history of white nationalism in the U.S. that significant legal action, including civil suits, can be really effective in diminishing the threats” they pose.
And so, Schubiner’s organization, in partnership with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, has written to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, urging him to take federal action. Separately, Goldsmith’s group has written a similar request to the Department of Justice.
They hope the DOJ decides to take such action, as they did against the KKK.
However, even that is not without its risks. Should the feds bring a case and lose, it would only encourage Patriot Front and others to continue in their treachery. Let’s hope they have a solid case.