Capping four years of explosive growth sparked by the election of America’s first black president and anger over the economy, the number of conspiracy-minded antigovernment “Patriot” groups reached an all-time high of 1,360 in 2012, while the number of hard-core hate groups remained above 1,000. As President Obama enters his second term with an agenda of gun control and immigration reform, the rage on the right is likely to intensify.
The furious reaction to the Obama administration’s gun control proposals is reminiscent of the anger that greeted the passage of the 1993 Brady Bill and the 1994 ban on assault weapons supported by another relatively liberal Democrat — Bill Clinton. The passage of those bills, along with what was seen by the right as the federal government’s violent suppression of political dissidents at Waco, Texas, and Ruby Ridge, Idaho, in the early 1990s, led to the first wave of the Patriot movement that burst into public consciousness with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The number of Patriot groups in that era peaked in 1996 at 858, more than 500 groups fewer than the number active in 2012.
For many, the election of America’s first black president symbolizes the country’s changing demographics, with the loss of its white majority predicted by 2043. (In 2011, for the first time, non-white births outnumbered the births of white children.) But the backlash to that trend predates Obama’s presidency by many years. Between 2000 and 2010, the number of hate groups rose from 602 to more than 1,000, where the count remains today. Now that comprehensive immigration reform is poised to legitimize and potentially accelerate the country’s demographic change, the backlash to that change may accelerate as well.
While the number of hate groups remained essentially unchanged last year — going from 1,018 in 2011 to 1,007 in 2012 — the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) count of 1,360 Patriot groups in 2012 was up about 7% from the 1,274 active in 2011. And that was only the latest growth spurt in the Patriot movement, which generally believes that the federal government is conspiring to take Americans’ guns and destroy their liberties as it paves the way for a global “one-world government.” From a mere 149 organizations in 2008, the number of Patriot groups shot up to 512 in 2009, jumped again to 824 in 2010, and then skyrocketed to 1,274 in 2011 before hitting their all-time high last year.
Now, in the wake of the mass murder of 26 children and adults at a Connecticut school and the Obama-led gun control efforts that followed, it seems likely that that growth will pick up speed once again.
Here’s some more information on the far right “sovereign citizen” wingnut who murdered two police officers in West Memphis before being shot to death (along with his son). Included is a video clip in which Jerry Kane says:
I don’t want to have to kill anybody. But if they keep messin’ with me, that’s what it’s gonna have to come out. That’s what it’s gonna come down to, is I’m gonna have to kill, and if I have to kill one, then I’m not gonna be able to stop.
(Hat tip: KT.)
New York, NY, May 21, 2010 … A suspect in the shooting deaths of two West Memphis, Arkansas police officers was a member of an extreme anti-government movement, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
Jerry Kane, 44, was part of the sovereign citizen movement – an extreme right-wing movement that believes that virtually all existing government in the United States is illegitimate and which seeks to “restore” an idealized, minimalist government that never actually existed.
Kane was allegedly involved in a May 20 shooting during a traffic stop that left two police officers dead and two seriously wounded. The other suspect in the shooting has been identified as Kane’s teenage son, Joseph Kane. Both suspects were later killed in a second shootout with police.
According to ADL, Kane’s specialty was an arcane sovereign citizen theory called “Redemption,” which provides formulas that claim to be able to extricate people from almost any sort of trouble, from financial debts to traffic tickets. From 2003-2006, a popular “Redemption” tactic was to assert the ability to eliminate people’s mortgages. The tactic picked up again in the wake of the recent housing crisis; Kane’s seminars emphasized this mortgage angle.
A member of the far right sovereign citizen movement (and quack mortgage adviser) and his son were shot to death yesterday in Memphis in a gun battle with police, in which two police officers were also killed: Relatives ID West Memphis suspects.
A background search using the information from the website shows a Jerry Kane, born in Ohio in December of 1964 and most recently associated with addresses mainly in Ohio. The van, which authorities said had Ohio tags, was traced to New Vienna, Ohio, and a church called House of God’s Prayer, according to several sources.
That church’s address is associated with a deceased white supremacist named Harold R. Redfeairn, who the Associated Press reported in 2003 headed a chapter of the Church of Jesus Christ Christian in New Vienna. That church espoused views of the white-supremacist doctrine of Aryan Nations.
A story published by the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., on Redfeairn has the headline, “The Cop-Shooter.” The story said that in 1979, Redfeairn shot 22-year-old Dayton, Ohio, police officer Dave Koenig three times after Koenig had stopped him.
Where else do we find Jerry Kane on the web? Why, at Glenn Beck’s “9/12 Project” website, of course: Two exceptional nights with Jerry Kane! - successes surrounding Foreclosure & Credit Card Debt along with several interesting technologies! - The 9/12 Project (New York, NY) - Meetup.com. (Hat tip: KT.)
In other violent wingnut news today, a female census resister in Yuba City was shot to death by police when she pointed a shotgun at them and ignored orders to put it down: Woman shot, killed in Yuba City home.
A woman was shot by two police officers late Thursday in south Yuba City after she approached them with a shotgun and refused to put down her weapon, according to a department press release.
Victoria Helen Roger-Vasselin, 67, was shot by two Yuba City officers and pronounced dead at the scene.
Police were called to the 700 block of Mariner Loop after a U.S. Census worker was confronted by residents who pointed a firearm at the worker and said they would not answer any questions.
When officers arrived, a man identified as Lionel Patterson, 51, answered the door armed with a handgun. As the officers dealt with him, Roger-Vasselin approached with a shotgun and ignored the officers’ orders to put down the weapon. She advanced and continued to point the shotgun at the officers in a threatening manner, at which point the officers fired their service weapons.
(Hat tip: Shiplord Kirel.)
UPDATE at 5/21/10 12:22:34 pm:
Here’s Jerry Kane’s crackpot website (the password is “makeme”): Jerry Kane | Mortgage Fraud |How to Prevent Foreclosure. He was also a big fan of Alex Jones, of course; check under “Favorite Talkshoes.”
UPDATE at 5/21/10 12:25:38 pm:
Last month, you may remember, CNN commentator and CEO of Redstate.com Erick Erickson advocated brandishing shotguns at census takers: Erick Erickson Threatens Any Census Taker with Wife’s Shotgun.
Here’s a disturbing report on the rise of the “Patriot” movement, with profiles of 36 of the leaders of this far right antigovernment lunacy, including World Nut Daily’s head loon Joseph Farah, Alex Jones, Glenn Beck, and John Birch Society leader John McManus — all of whom are welcome in today’s right wing: Meet the ‘Patriots’.
(Hat tip: Thanos.)
Last night Chris Matthews interviewed the founder of the disturbing “Oath Keepers” movement, a group of self-styled patriots who spout militia rhetoric and conspiracy theories, and prepare for armed revolution — against the Obama administration. Also on the show: Southern Poverty Law Center spokesman Mark Potok, who notes the similarity of the Oath Keepers’ rhetoric with the rhetoric of the “Patriot” movement. Hardball:Oath-keepers, paranoid patriots?
Oath Keepers: Very Bad Craziness
The Las Vegas Review Journal’s Alan Maimon reports on the rise of a very disturbing movement fueled by conspiracy theories and anti-government bad craziness: READY TO REVOLT: Oath Keepers pledges to prevent dictatorship in United States.
Launched in March by Las Vegan Stewart Rhodes, Oath Keepers bills itself as a nonpartisan group of current and retired law enforcement and military personnel who vow to fulfill their oaths to the Constitution.
More specifically, the group’s members, which number in the thousands, pledge to disobey orders they deem unlawful, including directives to disarm the American people and to blockade American cities. By refusing the latter order, the Oath Keepers hope to prevent cities from becoming “giant concentration camps,” a scenario the 44-year-old Rhodes says he can envision happening in the coming years.
It’s a Cold War-era nightmare vision with a major twist: The occupying forces in this imagined future are American, not Soviet.
“The whole point of Oath Keepers is to stop a dictatorship from ever happening here,” Rhodes, a former Army paratrooper and Yale-trained lawyer, said in an interview with the Review-Journal. “My focus is on the guys with the guns, because they can’t do it without them.
”We say if the American people decide it’s time for a revolution, we’ll fight with you.“
That type of rhetoric has caught the attention of groups that track extremist activity in the United States.
In a July report titled ”Return of the Militias,“ the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center singled out Oath Keepers as ”a particularly worrisome example of the Patriot revival.“
The Patriot movement, so named because its adherents believe the federal government has stepped on the constitutional ideals of the American Revolution, gained traction in the 1990s and has been closely linked to anti-government militia and white supremacist movements.
The movement is blamed for spawning Timothy McVeigh, who bombed a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995, killing 168 people.
”I’m not accusing Stewart Rhodes or any member of his group of being Timothy McVeigh or a future Timothy McVeigh,“ law center spokesman Mark Potok said. ”But these kinds of conspiracy theories are what drive a small number of people to criminal violence. … What’s troubling about Oath Keepers is the idea that men and women armed and ordered to protect the public in this country are clearly being drawn into a world of false conspiracy theory.“
And the reader comments for this article are almost unbelievable. The right wing seems to be losing all touch with reality, and it’s headed to a very bad place.