Article Thumbnail

The Real Domestic Terrorists Are Drivers Who Want to Run You Over

Some people can’t stop fantasizing about mowing down protesters in their cars

Republicans run the country, and they need a scapegoat to explain why it’s such a flaming piece of shit right now. The president and his boot-licking proxies have settled on the “outside agitators” of antifa — a leaderless, anti-fascist non-organization — and attempted to smear those peacefully demonstrating against police brutality as terrorists. Naturally, however, the street activism in U.S. cities of all sizes is entirely homegrown (how can any marchers be from the “outside” if the protests are happening everywhere?), and the ones trying to incite violence at rallies are… wait for it… far-right extremists. Also, the cops, but hey, same thing at this point. 

As the videos above confirm, there is another, related danger: angry motorists recklessly plowing into crowds. It is an action without ambiguity — the intent is to intimidate, threaten, harm and terrorize. It is terrorism, the same kind that we saw at Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, when a neo-Nazi named James Alex Fields Jr. drove his Dodge Challenger into leftist protesters the weekend of a white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 28 others. Fields is now serving two life sentences, plus an additional 419 years. Months later, Alek Minassian, an avowed incel, allegedly killed 10 and injured 16 in a business district of Toronto with a rented van, targeting pedestrians. Jihadist terrorists have carried out similar deadly vehicle-ramming attacks in New York, Barcelona, London, Stockholm and elsewhere. 

It is appalling, if unsurprising, to see this tactic of war employed against groups who are only obstructing roads to claim the value of black lives and demand the dissolution of our racist police state. Ditto the fact that some drivers have already gotten away with it, in part by failing to hit anyone. What may shock you, though, is how common it is for certain people — think white suburbanites — to openly fantasize about mowing down protesters with their car.

Search the phrase “I will run you over” on Twitter and you’ll see no end to the sentiment. While often couched as a hypothetical, since these would-be murderers are always far from the action (e.g., “if I see anyone blocking my way,” “if rioters and looters come to my town,” “if someone smudges the front grille of my Ford F-350 truck,” etc.), there is evident malice to the comments. By posting them on social media, the drivers send a message: We don’t brake for human rights

Again, much of this “horny for vehicular manslaughter” demographic is watching the unrest in America from home, through the grim ideological lens of Fox News — or worse. They tend to believe that Black Lives Matter protesters are the dangerous “antifa” terrorists that Trump says they are, and targeting random cars to destroy. If these motorists have the slightest inkling of what #BLM is actually hoping to achieve, then they still do not understand why it involves potentially causing traffic — that this is one of the only ways to make an indifferent populace aware of what’s going on, let alone care.

To the extent they theoretically approve of free assembly, they’d prefer it to be as invisible as possible: Go ahead and wave your signs, just not anywhere on the route between my house and Target, goddamn it. In this calculus, a minor inconvenience for any person of privilege outweighs the trauma of extrajudicial killings and harassment visited on communities of color. Your movement stops where my commute begins.

A curious facet of these posts — or not, if you remember how white entitlement works — is the implication that after you hurt someone (or multiple someones) with your car, you can merrily proceed to your destination without consequence. We call this a “hit and run,” and depending on the scene of the crime and its outcomes, it may carry a serious felony charge. That a pedestrian is in the street does not give you the right to treat them as a speed bump, despite the GOP’s best efforts to legislate this into reality.

Would these road ragers also deliberately swerve into an oblivious jaywalker, or a mentally ill person who has strayed from the sidewalk? At any rate, they never seem to say so. Theirs is the bloodthirsty daydream of a scenario in which they have no choice but to maim and steamroll individuals who happen to be advocating against racism — this pesky fact has nothing to do with it! — and that the barbarous act will not really be their fault but nonetheless, maybe, cause some well-deserved physical trauma. Get out of my way, libs.

The best part is, it doesn’t even have to be a car. A well-made bike can also handle the job:

Anyone announcing their intent to slam their Mazda into demonstrators at the first opportunity is possessed by fury and fear. It’s that simple. But to share a disturbing interior monologue that may become evidence of premeditated murder lets us know they believe in a culture that would protect and justify this action — and, frighteningly enough, this isn’t wildly off-base. The ascendant movement in America right now poses literally zero threat to them, yet they are prepared to take a life to escape its general vicinity. Maybe they could reevaluate that choice.