Let me comment briefly on the TPM Reader responses below on the “tactical” lifestyle, Jan. 6th, mass shootings and more. Most of these have been in the vein of, “It’s not just the long wars, it’s this too.” And I think in every case I agree. No big historical development or reality pops up out of nowhere, unrooted to the particular historical era in which it arises.
It’s true as MF puts it that the millions of young American men who saw combat in World War II didn’t come back and spend years dressing up as GIs. In a way they didn’t have to as they returned to a society rapidly reorganized around the Cold War. It’s worth noting that the long-running abandoned POW activism emerging out of the Vietnam War was in many ways just that and it was a seedbed of late 20th century right wing activism. But certainly the mere existence of foreign conflicts didn’t “cause” the tactical firearms culture. A whole host of factors conditioned that reaction.