Clio Chang at The New Republic:
In a video posted on Facebook on March 27 by Kyle Chapman, the camera pans across what can only be described as a DIY armory: baseball helmet, ski goggles, shin guards, face mask, wooden shield, flag pole. “The benefit of the baseball helmet is that you have holes where the ears are,” Chapman tells his viewers. “This allows you to hear what’s going on around you.” The helmet is emblazoned with a decal reading molon labe (“come and take them”), the Second Amendment rallying cry borrowed from ancient Sparta. Chapman also recommends going to Home Depot, where one can find a wooden table top for just $25 to fashion into a homemade buckler.
Chapman made the video in response to a barrage of inquiries into his riot gear, which was on full display when he fought anti-fascist protesters (sometimes collectively referred to as Antifa) at the University of California, Berkeley, in early March. Before then, he had been a relative unknown. A 41-year-old commercial diver living in the Bay Area, Chapman told the New Republic that he “doesn’t really care for social media or the internet.” But on March 4, a video of Chapman breaking a wooden sign post over the head of an Antifa activist went viral, quickly launching him to fame as the subject of a new alt-right meme: “Based Stickman.”