Shootings that left three dead at police brutality protests have intensified fears of growing violence as a profoundly divided US heads into elections amid economic crisis, a deadly pandemic and the worst social unrest since the 1960s. President Donald Trump, seeking to win a second term amid the turmoil in November, heads to Kenosha on Tuesday, the city of Wisconsin that plunged into violence last week after a young black father was shot seven times in the back.
The state governor, Democrat Tony Evers, called on Trump to postpone his visit in vain, claiming that it will “hamper our recovery” and suggesting that the town’s residents are already traumatised. One of them, Gregory Bennett, said he no longer feels secure in the town where two demonstrators were shot dead last Tuesday evening, a 17-year-old who formed a far-right militia to defend private property.
Local white people “are in terror, they are searching for a reason to protect themselves, and we have people here [the militias] searching for a reason to strike,” said Bennett, a social worker and former military member who said he would no longer leave his house without a bulletproof jacket and a gun. In the United States, where the right to self-defense is part of the national identity, at least one weapon is possessed by some 30 per cent of adult population.