Story by Tyese Williams. Photo from poloticalforums.com.
MARCH 22, 2017: In America, today fear, anger, and gun culture have mixed into a dangerous combination. This has led to the rise of more militia groups in the U.S who claim they want to “defend the homeland” from terrorists. These militias are mainly made up of former veterans from both Vietnam and Afghanistan, as well as civilian recruits who feel betrayed by the government. Recruits cite issues like the Flint Water Crisis as a reason that they feel the government doesn’t work.
These groups are choosing their enemies from a bigoted and severely misguided standpoint. This includes, but is not limited to Muslims, refugees, and immigrants. They have also openly opposed the government especially its relationships with foreign nations in the UN. They feel that the countries in NATO, for example, are costing hard working taxpayers money because the U.S. is essentially defending them, as opposed to the NATO partners investing in their own militaries. They oppose gun control and are supporters of “stand your ground” laws, as well as open carry laws, which is evident when you see them showing off their magnums and assault rifles in public. The fact that lax gun control laws make it possible for militias to have easy access to military-grade weaponry like AR-15s, AK-47s is unfathomable. Some even have cannons (ain’t nothing like a colonial throwback), and they like to show them off. Militia members have even stated that in order to defend their rights they will resist the government if mass confiscations of weapons ever happened.
The thing is, we don’t need militias. They are outdated and they were on the decline after the Oklahoma City bomber Timothy Mcveigh was proven to be a member of the Michigan Militia after the April 19th, 1999 bombing. In fact, they are more of a domestic terrorist threat than anything else. The biggest reasons for their comeback are 9/11, opposition to the United Nations, Obama’s election and Donald Trump. Trump’s campaign played a major role in instilling a sense of hope for these militias. An FBI report has shown that since 2015 there have been 276 new militia groups created, and in 2013 a report showed that there were 330 right wing attacks against U.S citizens between 2002 and 2011.
Representative Keith Ellison of Minnesota has been the main opponent of these militias. He tried to get President Obama and the Department of Homeland Security to reopen the Extremism and Radicalization branch. This branch used to monitor and handle domestic terror threats from extremists, and “patriots” taking the law into their own hands. The thing is, Ellison didn’t succeed in reopening this branch because the Republicans who control Congress don’t see these groups as a terror threat. In fact, they’re more concerned with ISIS and other overseas terror groups.
The Police Executive Forum indicated in a survey that militias and with antigovernment sentiment are one of the top three terror threats in the U.S. 2016’s standoff with the Bundy family in Oregon on Federal property and the lack of action by the Federal government, is a clear example as to why this needs to be handled.
Whatever the case may be, and however you see it, militias pose a threat in many ways. They claim to be protecting American rights. What do you think?
Only time will tell how far this will go before this turns into something extremely violent. Let’s just hope that Congress will take action in time to stop this.
Tyese Williams a senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy.