MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., March 24, 2015 – The HBO show “Vice” recently aired a segment called “We the people,” chronicling the growth of the so-called “patriot militias” and other so-called “sovereign” groups.
The implications of the interviews with militia leaders, an official of the Southern Poverty Law Center and an official from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are chilling.
The segment began with an interview of a militia leader who described how the growth of militias has been triggered by their conviction that the Obama administration wants to take away their gun rights.
Read also: Gun rights hanging in the balance?
This particular militia is named the “Three percent united patriots,” a reference to the percentage of the people who took up arms against the British in the American Revolution.
In their message, they say the attack on gun rights is the first step in the imposition of a tyrannical government.
The segment showed a training exercise in which a group moves like a military unit to take a hill. The members of the group and the reporter that accompanied them moved through a field and at times fired their weapons, mimicking a real military attack. In fact, the reporter disclosed that the instructor and many of the militia members are former military.
The militia leader explains that “… we train for the day we hope never comes….”
The clear implication is that the group is training to up take arms against the United States of America. The militia leader also says casually that there are many people in the country with similar beliefs and there are “millions of us out there.”
The main medium for the diffusion of their ideas is conservative talk radio. However, they also rely on social media and the web to make sure their converts are always fed their message. In a radio show in Colorado, the broadcaster and the leaders of the three percenters discus how the opening of the borders and the relocation of undocumented immigrants to red states is a plot to undermine the conservative vote.
They also name the EPA and Obamacare as parts of the plot. They state that their main aim is to restore this country to “real constitutional government.”
A spokesman for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that tracks hate groups claimed that since the election of Obama, the right wing militias have grown by 800 percent. He mentioned that these groups are enamored with weapons and gun fighting and we ignore them at our peril.
An interview with Daryl Johnson, an official of DHS, corroborated that so-called “sovereign citizens” and “patriot militias” may be a threat as great as or greater than ISIS.
This is not very far fetched. The confrontation between Cliven Bundy, a cattle rancher, and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Clark County, Nevada, in April 2014 makes it real.
The BLM and supporting law enforcement confiscated cattle that had been grazing on federal land without permit and or paying fees. Several protesters that tried to interfere were arrested and dispersed with dogs and stun guns. After a video of the melee was uploaded to the web, hundreds of militia members traveled to the site to defend Bundy.
After a confrontation in which each heavily armed party took battling positions, the BLM backed down and, in the words of an ex-Marine in charge of the Bundy ranch security, “they tuck tail and run too….” [sic].
This emboldened the anti-government movement. In one case, Jerad and Amanda Miller killed two police officers in Las Vegas and wrapped them in the “Don’t thread on me” flag.
The couple stood with others in the defense of Bundy in Clark County.
This is not an isolated incident. The segment revealed several other similar incidents.
Daryl Johnson of DHS clearly said that this taking of arms against the federal government will have dire consequences for many years.
Some have already written that this episode was just an example of civil disobedience and that the left is exaggerating its impact.
For those of us who have lived in countries where right-wing paramilitary killer squads operated, this appears eerily familiar. Most of these death squads formed because they believed their central government would not or could not protect them. These same death squads killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Even supporters of Bundy must reluctantly agree that private citizens using weapons to defend unlawful activities and forcing federal authorities to withdraw is scary. What if the cause did not resonate with these supporters?
Can you picture the same confrontation between law enforcement and a group of African-Americans, Latinos or Muslims?
The patriot militias and other so called Sovereign Citizens have already declared war on the US and fired the first salvo.
Should we be worried?”
Mario Salazar, the 21st Century Pacifist, knows when an armed confrontation is almost ready to take place as it did in Clark County. He is in Twitter (@chibcharus), Google+ and Facebook (Mario Salazar).