I’ve got to get something off my chest: I genuinely don’t understand the people on my Facebook feed who are condemning the young woman who punched out a Nazi at the Peterborough rally yesterday. There’s been a lot of hand-wringing and talk about slippery slopes and “violence never solves anything” and I do not understand it.

Or maybe I do understand it: If you feel that way, you’re refusing to acknowledge the real problem. Because the real problem is frightening. The real problem requires real, solid action. The real problem is not that punching a Nazi looks bad on the TV, or that it’s “poor tactics”, or that violence begets violence.

The real problem is that we have Nazis in our midst and people don’t want to admit the danger that represents.

That is not hyperbole: This morning, Kevin Goudreau, the swaztika-tattooed scumbag who called yesterday’s “anti-immigrant” (read: anti-non-white) rally, tweeted “Now that we’ve diagnosed Peterborough’s leftist disease, exposed to the shagrin (sic) of many parents and grandparents.phase 2 is the cure.check.”

His response to the outpouring of community solidarity and love was to propose “the cure” for “leftism.”

He means death, in case you still want to wear your blinders.

He means curing leftism by killing those he sees as leftists. He just threatened to kill everybody at that rally yesterday, and a lot more people besides.

Because that is what Nazis do: They kill. If you don’t fit into their vision of a perfect world, you will die. That is also not hyperbole. They killed around fifteen million people they didn’t like the last time they took over a major industrialized country. Another fifty million or so died trying to stop them. The death and destruction laid at the feet of the Nazis and their allies is so vast we don’t even have accurate numbers, but even the most conservative estimates say that approximately 3% of our species died in that war. Fifteen million of those deaths were in the Holocaust, our name for the industrial murder or millions of Jews, LGBTQ people, disabled people, political opponents of the Nazis, and a dozen other “undesirable” classifications, years of suffering, grief and horror that we literally cannot imagine. And I do mean literally: the mind actually recoils from those images, those realities.

And these modern Nazis look at that death and horror and they see something good. They want in on that.

The Canadian Nationalist Front, Boudreau’s fascist political party, states that it seeks “a return to Canada’s original predominantly white-European makeup.” They are vague on how that would be accomplished, but even the most cursory thought about their intent reveals the only way it possibly could be accomplished: Eliminating everyone who isn’t “white.” That means mass deportations and concentration camps and death squads. That means gas chambers and ovens and mass graves. Here. In Canada.

Think about that, really think about what that means. And do not dismiss it as “unlikely” or “impossible.” Nothing is impossible: it happened before and one of the things that allowed it to happen is that good people dismissed the possibility until it was too late.

These Nazis want to kill me. They want to kill my wife. They want to kill my family and my friends and almost everybody I care about, because of their ethnicity, or their religion, or just because of their politics. They would — right now, today, this crisp autumn morning — they would drag me and mine out of our home and shoot us in the street if they could get away with it. Their self-styled leader just said so on Twitter.

So I don’t understand how people can wring their hands and make excuses about false equivalency and about slippery slopes and condemning anti-fascist violence. There is no equivalency between fascist threats and defending ourselves, because we are already the bottom of the slope: There are Nazis openly walking our streets and threatening our families. And that fact that they can do so with impunity tells me that “leaving it to the police or the courts” is not an option.

Violence begets violence? So be it. I woke up this morning and found that a monster named Kevin threatened to kill everyone I care about, and he did it not with anger but with a self-satisfied smirk. It’s something he’s been saying for years. And yes, that should frighten you, because it sure as hell frightens me. But we cannot allow ourselves to be controlled by our fear.

Open your eyes. Know your enemy. Then fight him and fight to win… because losing to these scum means horror beyond imagination.