Four young adults, members of a self-styled militia group, were dumb enough to think they could take down the federal government, serious enough to spend $87,000 on guns and explosives, and dangerous enough to murder two other young adults suspected of ratting on them.
Nearly every political and social movement has a lunatic fringe. These are they that consider the options and conclude that violent confrontation is the only valid means for affecting change.
Such sentiments are not always wrong. After all, it was the decision to take up arms that birthed our nation. Other movements opted for the passive route and lived to rue their foolish decision.
But before we start stocking up on canned beans and fertilizer, we should consider the four soldiers in Ludowici, George, their orange jumps suits, and whether or not their fight from the fringe was sane logic or sheer lunacy. After all, these guys won't be affecting change anytime soon. If convicted they won't even be allowed to vote. Nor will the two people they are accused of killing; one a 17-year-old girl.
We should also consider the following:
• Are there legitimate options?
When we launch out on a course with our buddies to set the world straight through violence, we should consider the fact that we may be blinded by our inertia; that other, more effective, options are available.
There is no doubt that America is no longer at the crossroads. That turn was taken in 2008 and, sad to say, we went the wrong direction. Pardon me while I extend the analogy, but blowing up the bus is one way to prevent it from heading down the wrong highway. Another is to replace the bus driver with one who knows how to read a road map. And can do U-turns.
• Are these people nuts?
I've never met a cult member who knew he was a cult member and I've never met a lunatic who knew he was nuts. When guys in the barracks, the bar, or at the backyard barbecue begin bantering about taking down a federal building with corn feed and a pick up truck, it may be time to do a little personal evaluation. The question to ask: Are these guys crazy?
I once had a friend who fantasized about killing Obama. While that, alone, may not be particularly unusual, this guy packed an unregistered handgun, openly boasted of his desires to take out the man in the Oval Office, and made efforts to organize a cadre of like-minded individuals.
Fortunately, there are very few individuals who have minds like his and, last I heard, nothing came of his efforts to form a militia, let alone change the world. And, yes, I notified the cops and, no, they did nothing about it.
It's not that I'm opposed to militias or advocate gun registration. Rather, it's the reality that such morons risk hurting themselves and others, then wind up with nothing to show for their efforts than dead bodies and prison terms.
• Then what?
Most militia militants haven't given this much thought.
The militia in Adams County wants to take down the federal government and replace it with a National Socialist empire. Ruby Ridge and Waco remain fresh in their minds. Meanwhile, the militia guys next door in Brown County are upset over Amish cow milk, being jailed for collecting rain water, and the evils of licensing lemonade stands.
Consider a counter factual world in which these groups managed to pull off a successful armed revolt. Then what? Add the hundreds of other militia groups and ask yourself: Which group is going to run the country? The goose-steppers? Or the Amish cow-milk guys?
• There is an invisible empire.
We may think the federal government is staked out at the airport terminal; snapping pictures of potentially terroristic* grandmas and running babies through scanners while the rest of the world is free from their prying eyes. Let's not be so naïve.
The truth is the federal government learned long ago to infiltrate everything from the mob to the Ku Klux Klan. Those who think their little posse is free from federal informers are simply not paying attention.
I once heard that the average militia in America is comprised of three college grads, five high school grads, one high school drop out, and nine people on the government payroll. (The joke is: The easiest way to get a federal job is to join a militia.)
Again, I'm not anti-militia. I'm just noting that the federal spooks are aware they exist and actively infiltrate them.
• They are good at their craft.
Even if a violent overthrow of the government were justified, it would be nigh-near impossible to pull off. They are simply too good at what they do.
By "they" I mean the federal government. Specifically, I refer to the various security agencies whose job it is to keep potentially dangerous groups in check; the New Black Panther Party and the Nation of Islam are, apparently, exceptions. Ron Paul supporters, constitutionalists, and anyone with a NASCAR window sticker are suspect. They are investigating us, not them.
To the snoops and spooks, the Interned is a Godsend; a window into the minds of Americans. The feds can sit afar off and scan zillions of Facebook posts, sniff out potential bad guys through simple search-word technology, then show up on their doorsteps to have a real-life chats. They also scan web sites and blogs, like this one, always on the watch for key phrases like, "killing Obama."
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have seat on the front porch and await the gray Taurus with blue license plates.
* Terroristic is not a real word; it's a neologism.
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