According to conservative politicians, the US Department of Justice and the FBI are being utilised as tools of the Democrats to keep political opposition in check. There may be some justification for this belief, one of their complaints—of angry parents being defined as potential terrorists—appears genuine.
Many conservative leaning parents are anti-Wokeism or anti-Critical Race Theory but are also owners of large collections of guns. With guns being constitutionally legal and, as recent events prove, so dangerous, it’s easy to understand how one side of the political arena finds their demeanour threatening while another finds it acceptable.
Whatever liberal minded people might think, some parents don’t want their kids exposed to ideals they find offensive; they are genuinely and, it can be argued, justifiably threatened. Threatened people sometimes react aggressively and indeed, some have carried out aggressive action. But domestic terrorist is not a label for them. They aren’t terrorists, they are frightened parents looking for better solutions.
US Domestic Violent Extremism however, is indeed, a big problem. America leads the world in ownership of private guns, with over 120 firearms per 100 people. Very few countries have made gun ownership part of their constitution but Mexico and Guatemala have and even there, there are only 12 guns per 100 people.
About half of the citizens of the USA believe firearms aren’t the problem, the real problem is people who carry them. According to them, the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is to have good guys with more, or bigger guns. The National Rifle Association (NRA), according to an Al-Jazeera report, has fooled the US public into believing guns make them safer. Whether that’s true or not, depends very much on who holds the gun.
The Second Amendment is unlikely to change so, for the time being, people in America are entitled to carry guns and they are entitled to form disciplined militia.
Two impediments prevent any changes to this Amendment: one is huge amounts of lobbying money from gun supporting organisations such as the NRA; the other is where the aforementioned Republican Report might be wrong: Patriot groups.
In the opinion of many experts, these are, and ought to be considered, the “greatest threat to National Security”. There’s nothing wrong with being a patriot, every country has them but patriots come in several guises from flag wavers to government usurpers and everything in between.
Donald Trump famously asked one of these groups, the Proud boys, to “stand down and stand by.” The Proud Boys are designated as a terrorist group in New Zealand and Canada. Other patriot groups include the Three Percenters, also a terrorist group in Canada, and the Oath Keepers, not designated as terrorists anywhere but described by the Anti-Defamation League as anti-government extremists.
All three of these groups will, if their websites are to be believed, fight to the death to keep their guns and all three, Oath Keepers, Three Percenters, and the Proud Boys had people involved in, and now convicted of, offences during the US Capitol, Jan 6th events.
What’s amazing to anyone who doesn’t understand the intricacies of US law and its Constitution, is that despite members of each of them being convicted of sedition, none of them are registered as terrorists in the USA, and, and although all are labelled extremists, they are legally allowed to apply for charitable tax-deductible status. Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, have actually done so.
The only one of the three not designated terrorists anywhere, the Oath Keepers claim to be “Defenders of the Constitution.” While some call them White Supremacists, they claim otherwise. Their website states they restrict membership to people who have no history of discrimination, violence or hatred towards any person based on colour, race and creed, thus, it appears, validating this claim.
However, that claim falls apart when their interviews and public statements are reviewed. The Southern Poverty Law Centre, an organisation specialising in compiling information on inequitable justice have an Oath Keepers file which tells a very different story; they are assertively Anti-China, they think Joe Biden is an “illegitimate usurper and Chinese Agent”, they further believe there is a Marxist conspiracy theory to flood the country with illegal immigrants, and are expecting a “wave of Islamic terrorist attacks”. So, if White Supremacists is not a label we can apply to them, American Supremacist certainly is.
Evidence in support of the claim that they are extremists was heard in July 2022. Former Oath Keepers spokesman, Jason Van Tatenhove, testified to a Congressional hearing that there was, in his mind, a genuine attempt at an armed revolution on Jan 6th. While this might not have surprised many people, there is more that probably will surprise.
Not only has the Oath Keepers’ founder, Stewart Rhodes, been convicted of seditious conspiracy in relation to the Jan 6th events but, according to an analysis by the Organised Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, more than 300 paid members, and likely hundreds more, work in departments that fall under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security, including one member who described himself as a 20 year veteran of the Secret Service who had “worked security for two presidents.” Could it be any worse?
It could! A leak of 38,000 member names was analysed and, as reported by CBS News, it contained 370 members of current law enforcement agencies and over 100 serving military members. One of the Jan 6th charged people, retired US Navy Lieutenant-Commander Thomas Caldwell, who claims no relationship with the Oath Keepers, but was, according to court evidence, meeting them the evening prior to storming the Capitol, not only held a Top-Secret security clearance but worked for the FBI as a “section chief”.
This information begs the question: how deep and how dangerous to society is extreme patriotism when it is so common it has infiltrated the very law enforcement agencies that are being tasked to investigate it?
America sends military around the globe searching for perceived threats to national security but admits, the real threat they face is inside their own borders. Instead of looking for enemies outside, the US needs to clean its own front yard, look over its own shoulder, deep into its registered charities, security and intelligence departments. Its demons are much closer to home.
Cover Image Credit: By thievingjoker is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.
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