On Saturday, 20-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. of Ohio drove his car through a crowd of protesters picketing against a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
He killed 32-year-old paralegal Heather Heyer – and injured 19 others, five critically.
While the alt-right has been widely condemned for the violent march, those holding the rally designed to ‘Unite the Right’ – are attempting to sue the City of Charlottesville for failing to facilitate free-speech.
They call themselves “Fashys” (short for fascism) and they are polar opposite to the stereotypical image we somehow have come to imagine when we think right-wing, anti-immigration, anti-women’s rights, and white power.
This group of alt rights don’t look like the others. They aren’t old white men from the Klu Klux Klan. They aren’t survivalists in army fatigues. There are no red-neck tattoos and cigars out of the corner of their mouths.
No, these men are clean cut and smooth talking. Their platform for influence usually begins at university. They wear suits. They use legal and scientific jargon to justify the unjustifiable. Most of all, they are capitalising on the ‘identity’ crisis of the 21st century to fight for the rights of white people.
At school, Fields was “a very bright kid but very misguided and disillusioned”, a former teacher Derek Weimer, who taught Fields at Pandall K Cooper High School, told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
His look resembles the ‘Hitler Youth’. He has the same undercut haircut, the same unapologetic stare in his mugshot. He reminds us of what we should have learned with the last US presidential election, and before that Brexit: it’s time to stop thinking we can identify someone from the alt-right just by looking at them.