They were the first to fall.
Their names are Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, Ricky John Best, and Micah David-Cole Fletcher.
They are heroes.
They are martyrs.
Two of them died, and the third was critically injured, defending two Muslim teens from harassment in Portland, Oregon, widely regarded as one of the most “liberal” cities in the country. The attacker was a white fascist piece of shit (but I repeat myself) who will go unnamed here, that their deeds may be forgotten.
In the wake of the attack, the alt-Right has rallied behind this pair of hot dogs in an old suit. Here is someone, they say, who stepped up in the name of “free speech.” (Never mind that said “stepping up” consisted of taking away those Muslim girls’ “free speech.”) To the fascist right, this act of terrorism is an act of heroism. Something to be admired.
Something to be emulated.
This act of terrorism exposes their protests of “freedom of expression, man” as the excuse for bullying and violence that it is. It shows their hand, it shows their intentions. Consider: if they had not planned to escalate to violence and murder all along, they would be condemning the murders, and the ambulate hair clog that committed them. They would say “no, a line was crossed, you took it too far.”
But they do not. They celebrate.
The message is clear. The message is, “if you challenge us, you’re gonna get cut, anytime, anywhere.” The message is, “this is our country, not yours, and we will kill you to prove it.” The message is, “we mean it when we talk about the lynchings and gas chambers.”
It is a declaration of war.
The game has changed. The two heroes who were murdered may not have been the first to die for the struggle against fascism in America, but we can now be certain they won’t be the last. We no longer have the luxury of simply using our words and hoping for the best. We now live in a world where standing up for what we believe in might put us in mortal danger, where interceding in an act of harassment may cost us our lives.
And yet, we must act.
We did not ask for this war, but it is upon us. If we are to overcome the specter of fascism, we must accept that the arena has changed and prepare accordingly. We must arm ourselves, we must train, we must be ready to fight — for even an act as simple as stepping between a fascist and his prey may require us to defend our very lives.
Do not seek violence, my siblings — but accept that it may come at any time, and prepare accordingly.