Fashion sense senselessly stolen by idiots

Steve Gillespie

I’ve written before how frustrating it is to have the likes of the Ku Klux Klan hijack symbols of my heritage – because they incorporate rebel flags, American flags, crosses, and bagpipes in their little parades and such while preaching racism – but the anti-government boogaloos also have corrupted my fashion sense!

Now being a white, male, southern, American, Christian, of Celtic descent, with a large collection of Hawaiian shirts, could get me mistaken for one of these idiots.

Although most boogalooers are not white-supremacists, some white-supremacists are boogalooers – but they’re all idiots – unfortunately, they are idiots who wear Hawaiian shirts.

The boogaloo name comes from references by the group to Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo, which is a play on words with the title of the 1984 movie, “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.” It’s considered slang for a bad sequel, apparently.

According to the Associated Press, far-right gun activists and militia groups first embraced the term before white supremacist groups adopted it in 2019.

“And while some “boogaloo” followers maintain they aren’t genuinely advocating for violence, law-enforcement officials say they have foiled bombing and shooting plots by people who have connections to the movement or at least used its terminology,” AP reported last year.

You may have noticed last week that boogalooer Aaron Swenson, 38, was sentenced to 50 years in prison down in Texarkana upon his conviction of attempted capital murder of a peace officer.

The Texarkana Gazette reports that Swenson posted countless threats and memes on Facebook expressing his distaste for law enforcement in the months before he armed himself with two pistols, a 12-gauge shotgun, a katana sword, and more than 150 rounds of ammunition the night of April 11, 2020. He wore a Hawaiian shirt to symbolize his association with the boogaloo movement and a tactical vest as he drove the streets of Bowie County, Texas, live-streaming on social media his search for a police officer to kill.

Fortunately, Swenson’s live-stream was brought to the attention of law enforcement by 911 calls.

“As Swenson heads down Interstate 30 toward Arkansas, he catches sight of Texarkana, Texas, Police Department Officer Jonathan Price parked on the westbound access road and tells his audience he is turning around to get him,” The Gazette reports. “Price was listening to the feed, surmised that Swenson might be talking about him and drove away. Later in the night, Price would deploy a spike strip on Highway 82 in Hooks, Texas, which deflated one of Swenson’s front tires.”

Homeland Security Special Agent Gregory Harry testified that Swenson’s plan was to shoot a police officer and then decapitate him with the katana sword he’d made himself. After Swenson stopped his pickup on Highway 82, nearly 30 officers surrounded his truck, which was blaring heavy metal music, and after 25 minutes he finally followed commands to give up.

Harry also said Swenson quit his job as a machinist after the killing March 12, 2020, during a police raid in Maryland, of a far-right militia member who has been described as a martyr for the boogaloo movement. That was Duncan Lemp, 21, killed after officers said he ignored their commands when they entered his home with a search warrant.

AP reported that in March of last year, a Missouri man with ties to neo-Nazis was shot and killed when FBI agents tried to arrest him. “Timothy Wilson, 36, was planning to bomb a hospital in the Kansas City area on the day that a COVID-19 stay-at-home order was scheduled to take effect, authorities said. Wilson told an undercover FBI agent that his goal was “to kick start a revolution” and referred to his plans as “operation boogaloo,” according to an agent’s affidavit.”

Many more boogalooers are facing a variety of federal charges, and last year a report by the Tech Transparency Project, which tracks technology companies, found 125 Facebook “boogaloo”-related groups that had attracted tens of thousands of members before Facebook updated its policies to prohibit use of “boogaloo” and related terms.

So be advised, not everyone in a Hawaiian shirt is an idiot, but there’s a bunch of these idiots out there. And like all extremists, they somehow identify as being patriots. They are a lot of things – but they are no patriots.

Steve Gillespie is editor of The Daily Press. Email him at editor@paragoulddailypress.com.

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