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NAT’L – OPINION – Paramilitary movement: Welcome to the militia

We have all seen them before – armed, military-like figures like those showing up at the state capitol building this past spring to protest the pandemic lockdown in the state, or in broadcast coverage of Black Lives Matter protests or counter-protests. Their numbers – both formal and informal –  have vacillated over the years, often a bi-product of current day events. Today, these paramilitary organizations are on the rise again. Welcome to the militia movement. Militia members who belong to paramilitary organizations formed originally as part of a far-right patriot movement that is traditionally anti-government. Members believe the Constitution gives them legal authority to act under both federal and state laws and the Second Amendment – to take back the country as they see fit. And many members are prepared to act if they think their beliefs are infringed upon. They believe the Constitution gives them that authority – even though experts say they have no more legal right than any other citizen. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the militia movement is a relatively new right-wing extremist movement consisting of armed paramilitary groups, both formal and informal, with an anti-governmental, conspiracy-oriented ideology. Militia groups began to form across the country not long after the deadly stand-off at Waco, Texas, in 1993, and by the spring of 1995, they had spread to almost every state in the United States. “The patriot movement of militias really began and grew in the ’90s, in the Clinton administration, as a reaction to the things the Democrats were talking about, especially gun control. There was a surge of anti-government people, and a number of things helped fuel their growth, notably the FBI shoot out in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and then the FBI raid of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas,” said professor Peter Trumbore, chairman of the political science department at Oakland University.  [full article]

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