Is the Recent Shooting of a Proud Boys Leader by an Antifa Operative a Sign That Political Violence Is Escalating?

Is the Recent Shooting of a Proud Boys Leader by an Antifa Operative a Sign That Political Violence Is Escalating?
Protesters flee after an Antifa operative opened fire, hitting a Proud Boys leader

As we reported earlier this week, a suspected Antifa operative has been arrested and charged for the shooting of a Proud Boys leader during an altercation that took place in Washington early in September. This shooting took place a little over a year after an Antifa member murdered a Trump supporter in Portland, Oregon during a protest.

The Epoch Times reported:

Benjamin Anthony Varela, a 36-year-old resident of Olympia, was taken into custody on Sept. 23 on suspicion of assault and vandalism. Varela was later charged with assault in the first degree for shooting Tusitala Toese, a Proud Boys leader, according to court documents obtained by The Epoch Times.

The Proud Boys is a right-wing group some of whose members have engaged in violence against left-wing activists. The group typically clashes with members of Antifa especially in cities located in the Pacific Northwest. Members of both groups have initiated violence on various occasions.

On Sept. 4, members of the Proud Boys volunteered to protect a group of anti-vaccine mandate protesters. As usual, Antifa showed up to try to stop the protest from occurring. The Epoch Times explained:

Surveillance footage showed Proud Boys pursuing members of a group allied with Antifa when the groups confronted each other at the Intercity Transit Station.

Shots were fired “by someone from the Antifa group” according to Olympia Interim Police Chief Aaron Jelcick. A bullet hit Toese in the foot.

The footage shows an individual pulling a firearm from his waist area and opening fire at Toese and the people near him. A total of five rounds were fired. The Proud Boys leader told police he was shot by a member of Antifa.

Detectives found video footage of Varela unmasked before the incident. They also discovered footage of the Antifa operative changing clothes after the shooting. Police later executed a search warrant on Varela’s home and found a pistol in a locked container under his bed.

Last year, a similar situation occurred when Michael Forest Reinoehl, another Antifa operative, shot and killed Aaron Danielson, a Trump supporter demonstrating with right-wing group Patriot Prayer. It was later revealed that he had been lying in wait to murder a conservative attending the rally.

While shootings have been rare at these types of demonstrations, it seems there has been a slight increase. In most of these cases, nobody is harmed. But is it possible that we will see political violence escalate in the near future?

Up until this point, most of the violence has involved fists, knives, and blunt objects. Obviously, this is bad enough. But it is not difficult to imagine how much worse it would be if people started using firearms more often.

While I am not one who believes the nation is headed toward a second civil war, I do believe that more violence is a possibility. All it takes is for someone on either side to shoot and kill multiple people. Inevitably, someone on the other side will do the same as retaliation.

This could have horrific ramifications. It would give governments an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests under the guise of trying to safeguard lives. It would also inflame an already tense political landscape. Hopefully, these incidents do not become more frequent.

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