trip to militia America revived by Donald Trump

Posted on October 02, 2020 at 3:15 a.m. – Updated on October 02, 2020 at 6:26 a.m.

The decor is rustic, the family atmosphere, country music and discreet weapons. Saturday, September 26, on the land of the Layz ranch, in the Virginia countryside, the ” guys “ of Jack Burkett, the newest president of the local militia, put away fatigues and bulletproof vests. Now is the time to recruit. And this rally in support of the Republican Party, Donald Trump and the right to bear arms lends itself perfectly to it. A few hundred people stroll between the stands, the opportunity to support the police, battered by the anti-racist protests of the spring, to register on the electoral rolls and to stock up on pro-Trump caps or bright orange stickers “Weapons save lives”.

A graying beard, fine-rimmed glasses and chronic back pain, Jack Burkett receives in the tent of the VA Militia, Louisa Chapter (“Virginia Militia, Louisa County Section”). The fifty-something, employee in cybersecurity, is outgoing, anxious to correct the image of the overarmed militiamen present in recent months in the streets of several American cities. But the intention of this claimed Christian is clear: “Protect our community against any threat”, of “Moral decline of the United States” to the “Violent and illegal demonstrations”.

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At the head of his “army” of twenty men, ready to train others in the surrounding counties, Jack Burkett recognizes himself in these groups determined to “Help an overwhelmed police force”, and to “Defend the second amendment” of the Constitution, which guarantees the right to carry a weapon. “We are the people, we assume a civic function”, he said, and this “Function” must be lived in broad daylight.

Taking the presidency of the local militia, he also broke with old habits, common to many militias. No more semi-clandestine training, encrypted communications, survivalist theses defended by his predecessor. Like the “new militiamen”, who have become part of the tensions that cross American society, Jack and his “guys” intend to leave the margins of a folkloric America for a claimed visibility. Nevertheless, a vision of the world tinged with supremacism, conspiracy and conspiracy remains. “Communist” : “We defend our right to bear arms, including weapons of war, to resist tyranny and foreign or internal threats”, explains President Burkett, propped up in his camping chair.

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