LETTER: Sober reflection

Paul Conway

To the editor:

After reading Mr. Shearman’s June 4 column, I see that the right wing has a new boogeyman, Antifa. How convenient. It’s a challenge to keep the old folks scared all the time.

There has been property destruction and looting during the recent protests. As always, the usual knuckleheads of all races take advantage of unrest to do what they do, break and steal things. But are there some nefarious groups who have other motives?

Likely so. What did Attorney General William Barr say the other day? A “witches brew” of extremist groups across the political spectrum, often pretending to be another group, are responsible for much of the violence. The only group he mentions by name is Antifa. Barr is the cleverest of the Trump collaborators. He knows what he has to say to keep the boss happy.  The man’s talents are wasted in America. He would be the ideal secret police chief in Turkmenistan or any autocracy existing or under construction.

But he is probably right about who is taking advantage of the protests – anarchists and assorted white supremacists/nationalists.

No doubt Antifa has some part in this. Thanks to social media you can now do a lot of damage, connect with other like-minded people and remain safely anonymous.

Keep something else in mind. Who shows up armed to the teeth? It’s not Antifa. If we are going to call anybody a domestic terrorist organization, we ought to draw a wider net. It was a Boogaloo Boi who killed a deputy sheriff and wounded another in California. Mr. Shearman knows from experience what a real insurgency looks like as do I. Antifa is an extremist group but we are not in an insurgency yet.

This reminds me when Lynn Jenkins put on the No Gitmo Detainees in Leavenworth show back in 2016. That was masterful political theater. The life-size portrait of Khalid Sheik Mohammad at his hairiest and scariest was genius. Mike Pompeo was there, too. It worked. I remember one poor woman sobbing how frightened she was. I wish I had jumped up and told her she was more likely to be shot by a parish priest than assaulted by a rampaging jihadi escapee from the fort.  Water under the bridge now. Guantanamo will be a geriatric prison until the last detainee dies of old age.

We have serious problems in our society. High time for some sober and serious reflection. Hunting for the convenient scapegoat solves nothing.