Letter: Where the Patriot Prayer group goes, hate follows

Editor,

Your newspaper published an article on Jan. 29 titled “Gun-rights group planning Whidbey gathering,” which announced the Feb. 2 “Enforce the 2nd Amendment” meeting at Greenbank Farm.

The article fails to describe the potential danger posed by the two groups hosting the event.

Joey Gibson’s Patriot Prayer is described by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as “violent extremists.”

This group is known by SPLC for their strategy of forming “flash marchers,” “a ready-to-rumble crew” looking to provoke bloodshed.

And where Gibson goes, more violent extremists often follow, including hate groups like the Proud Boys and Identity Evropa. For his Greenbank meeting, Gibson’s co-host is Washington Three Percenters, identified by the Anti-Defamation League as a wing of the new militia movement that pledges armed resistance against the U.S. government.

Increasingly, groups like the Three Percenters are serving as private security forces for white nationalist groups.

Their armed presence was heavily featured at the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville Va., in 2017. Since Charlottesville, groups like Patriot Prayer and Washington Three Percent have tried to style themselves as mainstream, attaching themselves to movements like those opposing the “March for Our Lives” protests against gun violence.

But no one who educates themselves about right-wing extremism is fooled.

These groups come to places like our island to provoke violence and to try and divide neighbor from neighbor.

That is not what we are about. We must all stand together and say clearly, Whidbey Island rejects extremism and hate.

Linda Bainbridge, Larry Behrendt, Marcia Comer, Adriane Fain, Pamela and Curt Fick, Bob and Merran Gray, Stephanie Hammer, Art and Merri Huffine, Diane Jhueck, Dawna Nolan, Diane Paul, Babette Thompson and Linda Brown Wehrman

Whidbey Island residents

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