Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

The Los Angeles Times

  • Print

There are, in increasingly frightening numbers, cells of angry men in the United States preparing for combat with the U.S. government. They are usually heavily armed, blinded by an intractable hatred, often motivated by religious zeal.

They're not jihadists. They are white, right-wing Americans, nearly all with an obsessive attachment to guns, who may represent a greater danger to the lives of American civilians than international terrorists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking hate groups for 30 years, released its latest report on the growth of these organizations last week. Its findings were, to say the least, alarming. The centre divides its subjects into militias, which are mostly groups of weekend warriors who train for combat against imaginary foes; hate groups, which target minorities; and "patriot" groups, whose beef is with the U.S. government. Patriot groups first began surfacing after the massacre of a bizarre sect by federal agents in Waco, Texas, in the early 1990s. They showed their teeth in 1995, when a patriot adherent blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City.

Since then, the patriot movement has been growing at a blistering pace, especially following the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, according to the report. From just 149 groups in 2008, the number jumped to 512 in 2009 and has been rising sharply since. In 2012, it hit 1,360. Now that Obama is seriously pushing for tougher gun laws, further growth is a near certainty. The result? There's no knowing, but some kind of serious attack is increasingly possible.

Patriot groups are motivated by a host of anti-government attitudes, but their primary focus is guns. They are convinced that the government is out to seize their weapons, even though most legislation is focused on keeping guns out of the hands of criminals or restricting the types of weapons that can be sold. Many are also united by belief in an outlandish one-world government conspiracy theory positing that the United Nations is poised to strip away American property rights and impose socialism on us all.

What can be done to reverse this tide of belligerent ignorance? Not much. The typical patriot acts within his free-speech and 2nd Amendment rights, and in fact most patriot activity consists of venting steam by meeting with like-minded Neanderthals and firing off blog posts threatening civil war. Yet such blather tends to get under the skin of the Timothy McVeighs of the world. These groups should be closely monitored, with resources adequate to the task, even if it means shifting some homeland security money from the hunt for foreign terrorists.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 13, 2013 A11

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Eddie the fat cat has dropped two pounds on diet

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • STDUP ‚Äì Beautiful West End  begins it's summer of bloom with boulevard s, front yards  and even back lane gardens ,  coming alive with flowers , daisies and poppies  dress up a backyard lane on Camden St near Wolseley Ave  KEN GIGLIOTTI  / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS  /  June 26 2012
  • A gosling stares near water at Omands Creek Park-See Bryksa 30 day goose challenge- Day 25– June 21, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you support a proposed ban on tanning beds for youth under 18?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google