There's a reason why we've been talking about it. It's something we should really take seriously.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has just released a new report, War in the West, detailing why. When Jerad & Amanda Miller opened fire at a CiCi's Pizza and a Walmart in the Northeast Las Vegas Valley last month, we knew it didn't come from nowhere. When they proclaimed their murderous rampage the "start of the revolution", we could sense exactly where this came from.
In April, Cliven Bundy declared his "Range War" against federal law. And once he declared war, he summoned "Patriot Movement"/"sovereign citizens" from across the nation to help him fight this "Range War". Yet when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) warned of the dangers of the escalating armed conflict in & around Bunkerville, plenty of politicians & pundits (especially those of the "TEA" tinged variety) condemned Senator Reid for his "poor choice of words".
While "TEA" flavored politicians and pundits were attacking Senator Reid for refusing to mince words, Jerad & Amanda Miller wanted to spread the #BundyRanch "revolution" elsewhere. They shared the same extreme anti-government ideology as the Bundy family. Yet unlike the Bundys, the Millers weren't afraid of spreading the "revolution" into Las Vegas. So they walked into a pizza place and opened fire on 2 Metro Police Officers.
They weren't alone in their "revolutionary" fervor. Even before #BundyRanch dominated cable TV in April, radical right militia groups were on the rise. The "Patriot Movement" has roots going all the way back to resistance to post Civil War Reconstruction in the 1870s. The "Posse Comitatus" movement sprang from the ashes of that resistance nearly 100 years later, after the contemporary civil rights movement scored key legislative and judicial victories. And in 1995, this movement seemed to reach its pinnacle when Timothy McVeigh and his "Patriot" cohorts bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City.
But after the onset of "The Great Recession" and the first election of President Obama in 2008, the "Patriot Movement" and other anti-government militia groups made a major comeback. And while the "Patriot Movement" has "rebranded" itself in recent years, it hasn't actually strayed from its xenophobic roots.
Just take a look at the current revitalization of the anti-immigrant militia movement. They're trying to take advantage of the Central American refugee crisis and claim this "invasion" is grounds for "war". Last week, Jim Gilchrist called for the revival of the very Minutemen Project that spawned the likes of Shawna Forde & JT Ready. And now, several "Patriot Movement" leaders are calling for armed patrols of the US-Mexico Border.
While their "call to arms" in South Texas has gone mostly unheeded as of late, this may only be the calm before the storm. After all, it looked like #BundyRanch quieted down in late April. Many didn't realize the "Range War" was only the beginning.
When a number of G-O-TEA politicians and media personalities rallied around Cliven Bundy and his "Range War", they either didn't realize or didn't care to acknowledge that they were endorsing something awfully frightening. And when the Bundy family decided to bring these "Patriot Movement" acolytes into Southern Nevada, they didn't care to think about the danger they were importing here and the extreme ideology of violence they were embracing.
Like Pandora, they have opened this box full of evil. That's the reason why we continue to talk about it. This is something we must take seriously.