Friday, April 16, 2010

The militia "threat"

In the months before the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, a new kind of protest movement was just beginning to find its voice in America's heartland.

Militias and "patriot" groups burst into the vanguard of a seething anti-government campaign, fueled by anger over the Clinton administration's push for landmark gun-control legislation and federal officers' aggressive tactics in high-profile standoffs with groups such as the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas.

On April 19, 1995, that anger erupted: Militia sympathizer Timothy McVeigh detonated a 5,000-pound truck bomb in front of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. At that time, it was the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

The controversial militia movement waned in the wake of the bombing, as groups sought to distance themselves from McVeigh. Fifteen years later, though, analysts say the militia movement is back, using some of the same, ominous anti-government rhetoric that preceded the Oklahoma City assault and first raised the specter of a larger domestic terror threat.

The same people who dismiss as "bed-wetters" anyone concerned over the real threat from Middle East terrorists are manufacturing a threat from domestic terrorists for political purposes.

Why don't we keep our eyes on all threats, regardless of who they may have supported in 2008?

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