There’s no way around it, Bill “K2” Hartwell was upset.
With a “Guns Up III% Security Force” t-shirt tacked onto the wall behind him, the III% Security Force militia member covered his head with a “III” baseball cap and spoke mournfully to his sister in arms, AC Lytle, who also wore the militia’s gear, in a Facebook video Monday.
“I feel like because I am a militiaman, they want me to sew a gold Star of David on my shirt, so I can be recognized in public,” Hartwell said. “They want to render me defenseless. That’s what they want.”
“Of course it is,” Lytle agreed. “Because they’re weak individuals.”
Hartwell apologized if he upset anybody with his words. They weren’t meant to be anti-Semitic, he said, but rather “in support of those that endured tyranny of the worst kind in Nazi Germany.”
“And that’s what we feel like right now,” he observed.
The pair was riled up over a recent four-page opinion authored Friday by Virginia’s Attorney General, Mark Herring (D), who said that the armed militias who dressed in fatigues and allegedly patrolled crowds outside of a special legislative session on gun violence may have been breaking the state law against impersonating a law enforcement officer.
Hartwell — who later in the Facebook discussion claimed he would sue the attorney general and governor over “this bigotry against constitutional minded Americans” — took some credit Monday for the turnout of his armed compatriots.
“I called out to pretty much every state around and we had a really good showing,” Hartwell said.
Photos from that day show camouflage-wearing, AR-15-toting, earpiece-laden men staring down a line of pro-gun control demonstrators outside the session. “The private militias we saw purporting to be police outside of the General Assembly building during the gun violence special session were there to intimidate Virginians from exercising their right to meet with their representatives,” Herring said in a statement that accompanied his legal opinion.
“Seeing a group of people all dressed alike in military garb and carrying large assault-style weapons, like the white supremacist militia and paramilitary activity we saw in Charlottesville, can be intimidating and terrifying,” he added.
With Herring’s spotlight on his group, Hartwell was ready to fight.
“Come after my guns because I’m a veteran,” he said. “I don’t have anything to lose but my honor and my freedom. Those are the two things I have to lose and I’m not willing to give them up without a fight.”
“You’re poking the dog,” he added later. “And you do not realize what we will bring to bear if this continues. It’s not a threat, I’m just telling you.”
The III% Security Force shares the number in its name with the larger right-wing “Three Percenters” militia movement — the “three” refers to the supposed percentage of colonists who fought against the British. The larger movement disavowed the Security Force in March of last year after a video went viral of the North Dakota III% Security Force shooting at a model mosque.