Analyzing the Ryan Thomas Balch Account of Kenosha

Kenosha was an Alpha Test for the Boogaloo, let’s learn from it before Open Beta

Today we’re going to discuss the perspectives of one of the militia members that arrived on Day Three of the “mostly peaceful” but somewhat arsonist protest in Kenosha Wisconsin last year, learn some lessons from his experiences and from the Rittenhouse trial itself, and compile some pointers about what you probably need to do if someone burns down your community for three days with no police protection.

Boog Background

All throughout 2018 and 2019 there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth about a group of people called the Boogaloos. In truth, the Boogaloos are less an organization and more an idea (sort of like what they said Antifa was) born of internet banter an promulgated by funny memes. In the beginning, the word “boogaloo” referred to discussion forum talk about “Civil War Two, Electric Boogaloo,” an allusion to the sequel to a bad 1980s breakdancing movie. The term promulgated in two parallel internet spaces, the tiny corner of angry white nationalist banter, and the wider band of very non-racist internet nerds who like guns.

I remember the non-racist internet gun nerd version. This diaspora of netizens bought lots of gear in anticipation of anarchy related to a second civil war or similar, joking with each other about the fun and interesting ways they were all probably going to die during it.

I participated. It was hilarious.

At some point, the mainstream media latched onto the term as a way to peddle anxiety-bait outrage porn for pennies on the click, scared everyone of the word, and Facebook censored it. But because nobody in the media or within the halls of Facebook knows of The Streisand Effect, the groups just changed their name to “The Big Igloo” and grew. And when igloos were banned, “The Big Luau,” and grew further. They donned Hawaiian shirts as coded signifiers. The media painted the group as white supremacists to get a few liar clicks, and now it’s mostly snuffed out.

The indoctrinated motivations of this group are important. Most importantly, they didn’t like cops, because cops were ostensibly the force that were going to come to take their guns. They especially didn’t like federal cops. Also importantly, they hated racists, and generally supported the root cause behind Black Lives Matter.

And onto this ideological loom the threads of Covid-19 lockdowns, hoarding, mass gun buying, BLM protests, leftist “direct action,” and rampant media misrepresentation of ground truths in order to drum up clickbait were woven, creating a tapestry called Kenosha.

On the first day of the Kenosha riots, nobody stopped the arsonists and the city burned. On the second day, people without guns tried to stop the arsonists, and those people were beaten to near death and the city continued to burn. On the third day, the Boogs showed up with rifles.

They weren’t there to help the cops. They don’t like cops. They do like BLM. But they don’t like Leftist Direct Action (Antifa) and they don’t like it when people burn buildings down. We’re going to take a deeper dive into this faction dynamic in Part Three, but first, let’s look at a firsthand account from the ground that day, from Ryan Thomas Balch, the anti-racist anti-cop Boog who had loose command and control of the armed private citizens on the ground that day. This account is copy-pasted, his words, with only some minor grammar cleanup.

The Account from The Ground

This is my Official Statement regarding actions that took place on 8/25/2020-8/26/2020 in Kenosha Wisconsin. I’m gonna start with a list of terms and their definition.

·         BLM- a member of or the peaceful protesting contingent.

·         Antifa- a member of or a group of far-left militants that partake in direct action.

·         Agitator- a person or persons who are not affiliated with any defined group. There for the specific purpose of causing destruction and mayhem.

·         Militia- armed private citizens acting as a member of a nonuniformed force.

·         MTH- Militia Held Territory

·         NML- No Man’s Land

·         PHT- Police Held Territory

Yesterday at 6pm I joined a contingent of militia along with two unaligned observers headed to Kenosha Wisconsin to protect citizens, their property and their livelihoods.

After infiltrating in Kenosha we found a group of militia made up mostly of males in their early 20’s and late teens. Realizing that they were undermanned and had no leadership on ground at all. We joined them and I inserted myself into a tactical advisement role. The owners then deputized us to protect his properties. We then were joined by another group of bikers carrying hatchets, ball bats and firearms. After sorting it out, we left them at the southern location, as that was the least likely place for them to meet protesters. (where the first shooting and subsequent exchanges of fire came from.) We then moved to the north location two city blocks to the north, where we took up defensive positions and placed men on the roof.

We were on the demarcation line for MHT and NML. Protesters coming south on Sheridan would encounter us before anyone else thus giving us the ability to set the tone for the interactions between BLM, Antifa and Agitators with Militia. For the first couple of hours things were mostly uneventful aside from Agitators trying to break into and burn down a restaurant. We crossed into NML to stop this and aided by BLM we were able stop that. The same agitators around 30-45 minutes later probed our northern boundary. And we shooed them off by being verbally aggressive.

As the night dragged on we made frequent trips to the southern location, and eventually we found it had been abandoned by the bikers, so I gave the hospital security my phone number and they agreed to inform me if something happened there. When I returned from that trip we were joined by another friend of mine, a Marine Veteran, and maintained our perimeter for the next hour or so.

Around this time is when a KPD Officer approached us, informing us that they were going to be pushing the protesters towards us because we could deal with them. We never agreed to this (as has been cleanly cut out of every video of me explaining this) and were force dto switch to a protect the public stance, including BLM, Antifa, and the public at large. KPD made a conscious decision to abandon the people of Kenosha to people they felt justified in using machines and weapons of war against, and were going to piss them off and drive them at us and let the chips fall where they may.

We on the other hand had other plans. We quickly setup an aid station in the building we were protecting. Kyle did most of that. We started leaving MHT and going into NML to retrieve wounded BLM and Antifa members providing them with first aid and helping them get to the hospital. We escorted groups of BLM past KPD Snatch and Grab teams. All the while letting everyone know that we were there for them. To protect, to aid and to offer a bit of comfort. All the while having tense exchanges with agitators who were dead set on destroying the town and causing serious bodily harm to innocents. Notable of which was the bald guy in the red shirt. If you were between him and something he could destroy he’d threaten you, he’d verbally assault you, he’d bluff charge you with something in his hand. He was in fact not being very cash money.

Agitators attacked us with homemade chemical weapons and with things taken off of police. We never once responded with violence, lethal or otherwise. The protesters went back and forth with KPD several times up and down Sheridan. When KPD saw we were running an aid station they gassed us. So bad in fact that I required medical care. As Kyle escorted me into the aid station they tossed us water and mockingly said they appreciated what we were doing. After that they’d pushed the protesters pass the intersection with the gas station. Kyle, my Marine friend, and myself walked passed the police and started looking for injuries to treat. I got accosted by an agitator and got separated from them during this. Unable to locate them I started back to the north building and got stopped by the cops. That’s when the shooting started.

Upon hearing the shots I ran towards the gunfire moving to cover. To my left I spotted my friend rendering aid to the guy shot in the arm. I ran over made sure he had it and ran to the guy who was shot in the chest. He had unfortunately already passed. I helped load his body and effects into the MRAP when shooting erupted again. To the south so I ran south to the southern location upon arrival the area was being shot up from a building to the west. I also had picked up a cameraman and two armed Antifa on the way there upon seeing armed individuals the shooting stopped. Until the police surrounded the building. It was a chaotic situation and no one knew how many shooters there were or why. But aside from a few individuals the different factions on the ground came together to at least try to handle the situation. I’m under the impression that there were two. But only one actually shot anyone.

At this point things settled down we gave a couple of statements to freelance media. Had a great conversation with BLM about the police creating the situation and then we left. In closing, last night’s situation was a terrible event. One that’s being twisted to further divide the people. I’ve seen my own words and actions being twisted so much that they don’t reflect reality. 20 seconds of several minute long conversations being put forth as gospel. I put this together to get my version of the night out there. To clear the air. It is my belief that we only faced one monster out there that night. The Government. it sought to agitate, and create a situation where this would happen. I’m seeing people refer to this as the start of some “civil war” in certain communities. I don’t know about that but it’s even clearer to me after the fact that we need to unite under a common cause and stop letting them trick us into killing one another and destroying one another’s lives. Together we’re far stronger than we are divided.


First and foremost, there were five factions on the ground that day according to the Balch account, not two. Cops, BLM, Antifa, Agitators, Militia. Here’s an alliance grid to explain the dynamics according to the account above.

BLM worked with the Militia at times to prevent the agitators and Antifa from burning things. The Militia worked with BLM to provide aid and medical assistance in their clashes with the cops. The cops intentionally pushed the protesters into the Militia area and said “you deal with them,” which should not have been their responsibility. This choice by the police during this protest has not been covered by any media I’ve seen and is at least indirectly responsible for the mayhem that ensued, per Balch’s account.

By his account the relationship between BLM and the Militia was quite good. By his account, the problems flowed not from the peaceful BLM supporters, but from the alliance between Antifa and the unaligned agitators, and from the police. By his account even the Militia and Antifa worked together once the situation got out of hand. By his account, he blames the cops for all of it.

Is this account accurate? I don’t know. All eyewitness accounts are colored by the information they see and process, and by the body of indoctrinations they’ve accumulated since youth. But it seems to fit the facts, and important things can be learned from it.

Suggestions from the Peanut Gallery

If you’re stuck defending your town from arsonists, the first thing to do is identify all the factions, establish clear lines of communication with each of them, and try to figure out where the alliances are, because you can’t make presumptions.

Friend of HWFO Erin Smith has reported that in Portland and similar west coast areas, Antifa and BLM are deeply aligned and coordinated, with Antifa intentionally using peaceful BLM protesters as human shields to provoke police responses they can capture on film, much like the approach of Hamas in Palestine. I’ve heard tell of the exact opposite from my protest class friends in Atlanta, where BLM organizers got so sick of young white Antifa kids showing up late and breaking things that they started filming them and giving the data over to the cops. Kenosha, by the Balch account, was a kind of a middle ground. Future protests may have different factional alignments entirely, or entirely different groups involved.

Most people are good people, but a few people are horrible people. If things go sideways, don’t be shy to look for the good people in a cross faction.

Bug out if the government intentionally causes problems. The Militia element in Kenosha was never supposed to be the crowd control for a riot exacerbated by the police. They are not trained in crowd control. Tactically, keep your objectives direct, simple, coordinated, and move in groups. The biggest mistake Kyle made in all the retrospective analyses I’ve read, was separating himself from the group.

Film everything. Swap your NODS for Go Pros.


Buy the author a beer