Due to the recent arrests of militia members in the Midwest, I find it necessary to comment on these events. For those who expect me to talk about how the militia movement is the single most dangerous threat to everyday Americans, sorry, I plan to be rational. There are many out there who have gone on a tear about how these “right wing extremists” are sprouting up all over the country, saying that the election of a non-white president is fueling the rise of these groups, pointing to a racist element, and in the process indicting the entire right side of the spectrum. I do not deny the fact that lately there have been a number of individuals who have lashed out against the government, some because they felt betrayed by the government, some that are clearly anti-government, some racist, and some that believe in world-wide conspiracy theories, but the truth is that there is no single common factor between these people… other than some anger against someone or something. Looking at the history of US, people from socialists to anarchists to fascists to just plain old crazies have made threats against the US government for centuries. Some have actually carried out attacks, some have been stopped and arrested, while most have just fizzled and died off.
Let’s take a good look at the Hutaree Christian militia group, which had 9 members arrested by the FBI. Some facts first: they sprung up during the Bush administration, it seems probably in 2007. Wikipedia notes that the group started in 2008, yet looking at their youtube.com account, one sees that the “hutaree” account joined youtube on Dec. 31, 2006. In fact, their first video posting of a training exercise was on March 31, 2007. Don’t trust Wikipedia, guys. Because of this, we can scratch off the election of Obama as the reason behind the organizing of this group.
Second, they are a self-described “Christian” survivalist group that is preparing for the arrival of the antichrist and not part of the larger militia movement in the United States such as the Michigan Militia. Prior to the arrest of Hutaree members, militia groups had rejected them and tried to keep their distance because of the central religious component of this group. So we see that they are not part of some larger movement in the US, just a relatively isolated phenomenon. Third, they were infiltrated by the FBI. This final fact proves the most crucial to understanding the threat that this group posed.
They are accused seditious conspiracy and attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction for their alleged plot to kill police officers. The weapons of mass destruction were just home-made bombs and their seditious conspiracy was that they allegedly planned to wage war against the US government. The FBI seems to have recorded conversations of their plot… but there lies the rub. It seems that they did not have a specific plot, it also seems that they had no clue as to how to make bombs, in fact, the group had to be helped by the undercover FBI agent so that their explosives would be more effective. Their “bombs” were made from cardboard and had no shrapnel, just some explosive material. So the whole “weapons of mass destruction” thing seems a bit exaggerated. Here’s a video from CNN that shows that these guys were pretty incompetent:
It seems that without direct assistance from the FBI, the Hutaree would still be playing with guns out in the forests and making improvised fireworks. Now, that they discussed some terrible things is without a doubt true, there are recordings that they did talk about killing others. For that fact and since they had access to weapons, the FBI did their job in taking these guys down. There was potential, however limited, and planning, however limited, to commit crimes. I think that all Americans should denounce the use of violence as a political tool. I know I do and I know that all of my conservative friends do too. This event shows how important this dedication to our country, our core principles, and our freedom is. Those who wish to kill, for political motives, fellow Americans are not patriots… nor are they in the least Christian.
What this event does not show is that there is a widespread far-right violent movement out there conspiring to destroy the government… but this has not stopped the mainstream media from painting the right as extremists. From the Dept of Homeland Security report that characterized right-leaning people and veterans as potential terrorists to the near-constant demonization of the Tea Party movement, the mainstream media outlets and the government have been waging ideological war on the right. Imagine yourself a member of the right, in case you are not, or someone who attends Tea Party rallies where the call is for limited government and common sense, not for taking up arms against the state, not for killing anyone, not for hating anyone, not for racism of any form, and then when you turn on the television or pick up a newspaper, you see that the mainstream media has associated you with terrorism, with racism, with hatred, when in fact you only care about the future state of this great country. This would make anyone mad. This is why I sometimes take time out in my writings to make the clear distinction between your common everyday liberal American and the extreme leftists that I tend to criticize. I know that Joe six-pack liberals believe in many of the things that I believe in, we simply differ on what we think the best path is, on whether the government knows best or whether the government should let us make our own decisions and our own mistakes (in a nutshell). The mainstream media does not make this distinction most of the time. Take, for example, this article by Eugene Robinson, who writes for major newspapers and appears on television, where he links the Hutaree to conservatives. He writes “the vitriolic, anti-government hate speech that is spewed on talk radio every day – and, quite regularly, at Tea Party rallies – is calibrated not to inform but to incite.” There they go again. Without a clear example, with a blanket statement like this, the Left weaves a fantasy of how the “far right” incites violence. Yet nowhere in the Tea Party movement do you hear that people take up arms, go to the forests, and prepare for the antichrist. If we did hear this, it would be playing on loop on CNN and MSNBC for weeks. This has not happened.
This attempt at discrediting conservatives and libertarians does not stop or start with Robinson, it is a broad based attack that is delivered through shocking headlines designed to capture the attention of an increasing ADD (ADHD?) American public. From opinion articles on CNN to Keith Olbermann painting conservative bloggers as sympathizers of the Hutaree to Rachel Maddow talking about the connection between Republicans and “far right terrorists” to Paul Krugman in a New York Times article accusing Republicans of hinting at violence and being unreasonable and irrational, the list of how the mainstream media is painting conservatives as lunatics and terrorists is exhaustive.
I say that these people stop smearing and start presenting all of the sides of the issues. Every time that there is a shooting incident in the US or some militia movement I hear the media go on the offensive against anyone who believes in limited government or the Second Amendment. Every time one person says something negative about the president or the left they are smeared as racists, extremists, or morons. If politics has become polarized in this country it is because one group is painted as extremist while the other is upheld as the model of refined intellectualism.
While the Hutaree story was circulating and fears of homegrown terrorism were being whipped up, people were dying all over the country due to gang shootings, drug-related violence, and terrorists detonated bombs on subways in Russia. People are dying while the media sensationalizes and smears. This is a disgusting practice and it needs to end… until then the American public will continue to be victims of a skewed presentation of reality.