Illustration: Paul Hoppe

Our Little Town of Bethel

A Black Lives Matter confrontation pitted neighbor against neighbor — and displayed the raw power of a social media flash mob

As much as Bethelites tend to express affection for their town, they seem to view the place through two distinct sets of lenses. Some see it as an agreeable refuge; other as an imperiled redoubt.

The bikes belonged to members of so-called “one percenter” motorcycle clubs based in the area, many toting weapons and looking eager to throw down.

Newman approached one of the counterprotesters, a man carrying a three-foot metal spike, and asked if he was prepared to use it. The man responded affirmatively.

“We don’t view you as Americans. That’s the bottom line, that’s the hardcore truth. We view you as domestic terrorists.”

Medium editor-at-large, with bylines in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, the New York Times and numerous other publications. ¶

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