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Two men armed with long guns who describe themselves concisely as “free Americans” stood guard outside a store Wednesday night to protect it from looters in Minneapolis because the police obviously can’t be everywhere.
“Before there were cops, there were Americans,” one of them observed in the brief video embedded below that has gone viral.
Hopefully, this form of volunteerism can serve as a deterrent without any actual conflict.
The men say they support the protests over the death of George Floyd, but they don’t approve of the looting that has accompanied the community anger against the police.
In justifying their presence that included two others, one of the men said that “Basically, you’ve seen the records the cops keep, and the cops are a lot less likely to tread on people’s rights when there’s other armed Americans with them. So we figured it’s about damn time – or at least I figure it’s about damn time – for some heavily armed rednecks stood with fellow citizens.”
The other man explained how they wound up outside this particular smoke shop.
“We’ve been moving around and just trying to see what’s what without necessarily getting completely slapped by massive groups of people.” Then they heard about the owners of one or more nearby closed stores who were trying to defend their businesses.
“We heard that and like, ‘Well, we better kit up and go see if these guys need help.’ It turns out these guys are out here with machetes and shattered windows trying to keep looters out of their business because the cops can’t get in here. And so, I figured, before there were cops, there were just Americans. So here we are.”
The man continued that he has no problem with the demonstrations after Floyd died after being pinned to the pavement by the knee of a police officer on his neck.
“Bottom line: justice for George Floyd, but I hope they stop looting at some point. If there were more of us, we could stop them from looting. But it’s just us four.”
The first man added that “we definitely don’t agree with the looting; we do agree with the cause and the protest.”
WATCH: Armed citizens are attempting to stop looters in Minneapolis
“Before there were cops, there were just Americans. So, here we are.”
“Justice for Floyd but we don’t support looting…”@maxnesterak
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) May 28, 2020
Officials have fired all four officers involved in the George Floyd incident, and criminal charges against at least one of the cops are likely. President Trump has also authorized a federal investigation.
Twitter weighed-in on the Second Amendment supporters in the viral video; here’s a sample.
@LivingForMOMs @HKirov23 @liz_v_d @CservenD That’s how it should be! Free citizens of the United States of America ready to protect their country! This nonsense with the african american population thinking they can get away with stealing and destroying businesses has to stop!!!
— Jordan M. (@JordanMilkov) May 28, 2020
If we have a repeat of the LA riots, i think im gonna peace out of this area.
You can protest, but you dont loot.
It solves nothing but show that a movement isnt about what they first claimed and are just taking advantage of mob rule.
— Comix Villain (@ComixVillain) May 28, 2020
👍👏👏 How is looting stores and private companies justice against the act committed by police officers? Just some dumbasses being destructive and using the death of an innocent man as excuse. The protests are understandble but not this.
— Raven 👁 (@Cpt_Fives_) May 28, 2020
Nothing wrong with that. Let them protect their place of work. They still believe in justice for Floyd but rioting and destroying stuff isn’t right
— Beckett Papa (@BeckettPapa) May 28, 2020
In the LA riots after the Rodney King incident, Korean stores were protected by Koreans on the roofs with rifles. A lot of the time, just the sight of a rifle pointed at them got the looters to go elsewhere.
— PNW Shan (@PNWShan) May 28, 2020
Armed American patriots of different ethnicities working peacefully and lawfully to protect other Americans is a beautiful sight. God bless them & prayers for George Floyd’s &all affected by this tragedy. We must stand together, they will use this to divide us. Prove them wrong!
— CacaBear🐻 (@CacaBear38) May 28, 2020
According to a reporter for the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the looters are destroying businesses owned by immigrants apart from those large corporate-owned outlets.
Many of the shops destroyed along this stretch of Lake Street are immigrant-owned businesses — many of which were already struggling during the pandemic. “Now it’s worse,” said Roberto Hernandez, who stood guard outside his nutrition store for 5 hours to protect it from looters.
— Liz Sawyer (@ByLizSawyer) May 28, 2020
The looting also included a very disturbing incident in which an elderly wheelchair-bound woman was repeatedly attacked by rioters as she allegedly tried to prevent them from robbing a local Target superstore.
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