A social trend can lie dormant for years, gradually expand and then suddenly explode as if following a hidden exponential growth curve. Revolutions work this way, and so do religious cults. Most of the time the curve is nipped in its early phase, but not always. It isn’t a good idea to assume a fringe movement will always remain fringe.
This brings us to the topic of right-wing militias, people who carry assault rifles, study military tactics, go target-shooting in the woods and live in an end-times epistemological bubble. They’ve been around for decades, occasionally getting in the news, and gradually getting more numerous and influential. Read this recent report in the New York Times, which documents the mainstreaming of armed freelancers aligned with the Michigan Republican Party, and ask yourself whether we are approaching an inflection point.