Louisville is a city besieged by racial grievances. It is also in the grip of militias and vigilantes who believe they are the last line of defence against mob rule.
That’s a dangerous combination as we saw on the streets overnight.
We arrived at the scene of a shooting minutes after a police officer was wounded by an unknown gunman.
"Officer down! Officer down!" was the cry on police radios all around us.
An hour later we were a mile away when another seven or eight gunshots echoed around us.
It was impossible to identify where the gunfire came from. The sound was distorted by the high-rise urban environment.
It left police officers and National Guardsmen understandably nervous and they cradled their weapons behind jeeps and their patrol cars.
All of this followed the Grand Jury decision not to charge two of the three officers involved in the Breonna Taylor shooting. It ignited instant outrage here.
Robert Moore reported on the decision not to charge two of the officers on Wednesday
One activist we spoke to, Janelle Glymph, told us that she now believed that the only answer is to "burn it down."
She meant not the town but the whole system.
She has lost her faith in reform.
There was also a volatile mix of militias and protesters on the streets.
Businesses and petrol stations are being protected by self-styled vigilantes - all heavily armed.
The police are too stretched to protect buildings and militias have filled the vacuum.
One man told me that he was a Louisville patriot who couldn’t bear to watch his city burn. So he had come out to protect a local petrol station.
Louisville has come to symbolise this perilous moment in America.
It is an immensely proud community.
But somehow it must navigate a powerful movement demanding racial justice, a pandemic, economic distress, and multiple militias who believe that they are all that stands between Kentucky’s largest city and chaos.