Witch Hunts

I’m back. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any time between Monday evening and last night to put together material for this blog. However, I did find one story that I felt was worth mentioning.

Much like the Bloods and the Crips, the neo-fascists and anti-fascists have an ongoing gang rivalry. While I couldn’t care less about two violent gangs wiping each other out, these rivalries always end up catching innocent bystanders in the middle. Earlier this week a man was stabbed by a supposed anti-fascists because of his “Nazi” haircut:

A “confused anti-fascist” swung a knife towards the face of a man with a haircut similar to the one popular with white nationalists.

Joshua Witt, 26, was getting out of his car at Steak ’n Shake in Sheridan, Colorado when a man ran over to him yelling, “Are you one of them neo-Nazis?”

The man aimed for his head over his car door, but Witt blocked the blow with his hand, which needed three stitches.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of the fascists are exploiting this attack to gain sympathy from the general public. Many of the anti-fascists, likewise, are claiming that this attack was a false flag performed by a fascist to make the anti-fascists look back. Was this attack perpetrated by an anti-fascist who decided a haircut is enough justification to stab somebody, was it a false flag, or are the facts being reported incorrectly and the real answer doesn’t involve either warring faction? It’s hard to tell.

Gang rivalries have a nasty habit of going from a disagreement over an actual transgression to mindless “us” versus “them” fighting rather quickly. Once a fight stops being about actual wrongs suffered and begin being about group identity, the tactics tend to change to the means justifying the ends. After that point it becomes difficult to tell who did what. When the means justify the ends, false flags becomes acceptable as well so you have a hard time knowing what side actually perpetrated an atrocity. Zealotry becomes common and that brings with it individuals identifying with either side trying to prove their piety by performing a seemingly random act of violence. These seemingly random acts of violence are often indistinguishable from acts of violence performed by unaffiliated individuals.

Update: 2017-08-29: Now that an investigation has been performed it appears that Mr. Witt stabbed himself and then claimed an anti-fascist did it. However, I believe the point I made in this post, that ongoing gang rivalries tend to catch innocent people in the crossfire, still holds true.