We All Know What Real Civil War Looks Like Because It’s Already Going

Recently, a trailer came out for the upcoming film Civil War. For those who haven’t seen it yet, let’s take a look at it first:

While it looks like it’ll be a very entertaining film, it doesn’t really square with the reality of civil wars in the 21st century. The idea that we’d see large camps of military forces, fighter jets, and people in camo in dug-in positions looks a lot more like World War II than any civil war these days.

The film will probably depict some accurate fighting, such as small groups fighting each other in the streets. The guy with green hair wearing chipped nail polish firing a precision rifle of some kind was another nice touch.

But, the truth is, we don’t really need to watch a movie to visualize what a civil war looks like, because we’re already seeing the fighting. We’ve been seeing it for years. Don’t believe me? Just think back to 2019 and ask your old self whether you’d have ever expected to see the following real-life scenes from the last few years.

Examples Of Civil War Bubbling Up

Let’s start with the time in 2020 that a group of protesters created a zone in Seattle where government officials were not allowed. Video appears to be age-restricted, but you can watch it here.

Known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, and then changed to the Capital Hill Occupied Protest, the zone stood for weeks. It was somewhat tolerated by city and state officials until people guarding one of the roads into the zone shot and killed two black teenage boys who had made a wrong turn.

This was part of the wider George Floyd protests initially, but as they drug on and on, many cities had protests and riots that were more generally pushing for anarchism and other political goals.

Another big flareup during this time was at the Minneapolis Third Precinct in 2020:

Unable to get enough National Guard fast enough, the station was guarded with a skeleton crew and then abandoned when it became clear that they couldn’t hold it without deadly force. The mayor admits that given the mass rioting the city was already experiencing, he thought the whole city would be lost to rioting were police to use deadly force. So, they gave the order to flee, and barely got away with their lives.

Just months later, this happened:

(Yes, I’m aware that this was a compilation of the worst that happened and that not everyone there acted this way)

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s the first-person video of a Nazi active shooter from last year? (Warning! Extremely violent video)

His motivation? Like the El Paso shooter, his aim was to participate in a race war of some kind.

Or, what about this scene from later that year outside of a drag show?

You can look at the whole thread for yourself, but there were people armed with rifles to protect the event, other people threatening to attack it (one man had a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire), and others were trying to agitate the people with rifles to get a gunfight started.

Let’s also look at what’s been going on in Atlanta this year:

This Is Only A Few Examples

I’d love to be able to say it took a lot of effort to dig these up, but there were just a few of many examples of small-scale and medium-scale coordinated or planned violence over the last few years. These more radical flare-ups were connected to previous events going back decades.

But, because the intensity of the violence and sometimes low-level warfare has been ratcheting up slowly, we’re like the proverbial frogs in a pot of water on the stove. But, the violence also ebbs and flows, rising and falling in intensity, which makes this bazaar of partisan violence and factionalism even harder to mentally navigate.

So, if we want to visualize civil war, we really don’t need to use our imaginations as much as our memories. It’s already here, but most people won’t consider it a war until the violence happens more often and is more widespread.

But, if it does become widely considered a civil war, we won’t really be able to identify the day it started. There won’t be a Fort Sumpter-like event where the war begins or floods of people wearing uniforms streaming out into open fields to shoot at each other while planes fly overhead.

So, the question right now isn’t “if” a civil war will occur, but what we can do to protect innocent people from it.

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