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Activism, Uncensored: In Texas, Black Second Amendment Protesters Meet J6 Demonstrators
The News2Share group lets the cameras run on a clash of groups with some similar views and similar rhetoric. But common ground is another story
Last weekend, Ford Fischer’s News2Share cameras filmed members of the Elmer Geronimo Pratt Gun Club, a group of black self-defense groups, as they held their third annual “Second Amendment Unity March” to the State Capitol in Austin, Texas. They chanted about guns, but also immigration:
“We don’t say, ‘Hands up, don’t shoot.’ We say, ‘Guns up, shoot back!’”
“Immigration, we don’t want none! Get your ass home!”
“What do we want?” CLOSED BORDERS! “When you we want it?” NOW!
“Reparations! Take your ass home! You, you and you! Take your ass home!”
When the marchers reached their destination, they found themselves occupying a space adjacent to the Southern Patriot Council, led by an oft-denounced figure named Eric Braden. The latter group was protesting on behalf of the January 6th defendants. In the above scenes, we see Braden meeting and engaging Elmer Geronimo Pratt leader Nick Bezel. The two briefly seemed to agree on the issue of reparations.
“Let me ask you something,” said Bezel. “Do you believe black people should receive reparations for what our ancestors did to build the wealth of this nation, when we were promised restitution — forty acres and a mule — only to have it taken away?”
“Absolutely,” said Braden. “Oh, yeah. Hell, yeah.”
The situation devolved. When Braden brought up Atatiana Jefferson, a babysitter who was shot and killed by a police officer in Fort Worth in 2019, and tried in a roundabout way to connect the story to Ashli Babbitt, the Elmer Geronimo Pratt protesters balked at the comparison. Jefferson, they pointed out, was at home, while Babbitt was in the Capitol. Although the two groups seemed to share some key political views, they were unable to agree on much else. This is not always the case, as Ford and his crew have documented over the years in more successful joint events involving groups like the Boogaloo Boys and “BLM 757.”
A theme is evolving in these News2Share mini-docs about protest scenes. Increasingly, demonstrations revolve around stories of people killed or imprisoned by the government. The outward characteristics of these rallying stories are beginning to sound similar symbolic themes, even if actual connections between the groups and their experiences are debatable. One Southern Patriot Council member tried to make the connection in a speech, with questionable results.
“They’ve experienced a horrible injustice,” he said, referencing the Pratt marchers. “And unfortunately, we’re just now getting a taste of it.”
The word now didn’t go over well, as you can see from the scenes above.
The Pratt protesters brought up Marvin Guy, a Killeen, Texas resident who’s been held without charge for eight years in a case involving a no-knock raid that ended with Guy shooting and killing a police officer, whom he believed to be an intruder. No drugs were found in the raid. The Patriot Council demonstrators mostly countered with J6 stories. Eventually, the Pratt club marched away.
Large media audiences often look askance at small protests, not realizing some are harbingers of larger movements to come. Pockets of populist rebellion on both left and right were small even a decade ago. The scenes documented by News2Share for years now suggest issues we thought marked hard boundaries between blue and red America — immigration, gun rights, police overreach, drug legalization — have become a jumble. Even if groups advocating on such issues don’t find common ground, the outcomes of their clashes have become less predictable.