When I first heard about the chaos at the hospital, I knew I had to cover it. For some background, they recently faced an intimidation campaign by various right wing groups and individuals . This was sparked by allegations of early sex changes for kids. The aggression culminated in multiple bomb threats leading to one arrest and federal charges.
Shortly thereafter a man named Chris Elston arranged a protest. There was some belief that this protest would involve the notorious NSC-131, an anticommunist, neonazi organization. I went to cover the protest. Being a known street fighter I wore bloc, though I was only there in my capacity as a journalist. When I arrived I found about five people with signs on one side of the street and about 100 Antifa members on the other side. They were seperated by riot police. The people with signs weren’t saying much. Antifa was screaming about Nazis. I went looking for the Nazis and found no known members of any neo Nazi group. Mainly elderly ladies. One man from supposedly anti gay organization. This is not the case as their leadership and senior membership is pretty damn gay. Like the gayest people I’ve ever met. They comprise most of my gay friends.
I continued to look about and noticed several armed men and Antifa’s regional intelligence commander. They were not from the area and in fact tend to launch their excursions from Philadelphia. I also encountered an Antifa female who said hello and told her friend I was a fascist but kinda cute though, even with the mask. I milled about a bit, not finding much of interest. The intelligence commander is tough and dangerous, but usually relies on local forces. They didn’t have their tactical commander on the field so I wasn’t too concerned.
Finally Chris appears and it’s on. The intelligence team rushed forward flanked by armed and armored gunmen. The police jumped in and quickly set up barricades, dealing us off. One Antifa member slipped past and then proceeded to do a peaceful interview with the man. After a while, I cut in and interviewed him as well. First I asked why he was even there.
His basic beef was that they were using puberty blockers, which he believed stunted the growth of the children, and that further damage was done by administering hormones of the opposite sex. I asked him if these procedures are reversible at all, and he claimed that at that point they’d already missed puberty and harmed their development. That was all I asked him. He spoke about not believing there even are trans kids, asserting that they are in fact simply homosexual. These points I would say are the crux of his argument. He did not express any anti trans sentiment, though he did express sentiments that the trans community would dislike.
Shortly thereafter the local art commander arrived. He does wild stunts to pad his documentaries and has drawn the ire of everyone from the JTTF to the Secret Service. This raises the risk of incident as his antics are independently dangerous, rile up the crowd and mask real attacks. That day he seemed more intent on filming for a show or movie. He then interviewed Chris. In approached and he asked me if I was going to apologize to him for an incident on Mayday. I asked what for and he claimed I punched him. His story had me running around like “Ninja Gaiden, doing ninja shit”, when I assaulted him. This was not the case. In reality it looked like I was beating up four dudes, but it was in fact a gang of idiots charging about attacking a politician. I thwarted the attack, the crowd of about one hundred counter attacked and I then escorted the attackers to safety. After debating this he pulled out a video showing me and then him hitting the deck. I explained that didn’t mean I hit him. He then tried to have the police arrest me for assault and said he wanted to file a report. They ignored him and he stormed off.
After a while the main brunt of the police for left, leaving a small security contingent. Having got all the interviews to be had (Antifa intelligence isn’t very chatty), I figured this would be a good time to leave. I waited for a time where I wasn’t surrounded and then slipped into the streets, departing without incident.
Now, there are several things to consider in addition to the debate at hand. I think Antifa’s approach was heavy handed and that a hospital is an inappropriate place for an armed battle with 131 who didn’t show. I also think that their chants were less inspiring to the children and doctors than they think. A mob outside screaming “WE HATE YOU!” scares people. It just does and if you’re inside and hearing this, you don’t know who they’re talking to. On the other hand, while sarcastic, “the stochastic terrorism tour” was a poor name and given the context of the matter with the bomb threats and such, I think it’s also inappropriate for a hospital, though they weren’t screaming profanity or blocking the streets like Antifa was.
All in all, it was an interesting moment.