This morning, I found this opinion piece by Erroll Southers in my local newspaper. It sent up little flashes in my memory of a blog post written back in April 2009 by my former friend Richard, the narcissist. A little bit of research–including re-reading Richard’s blog post–confirmed my memory. No, I won’t link to Richard’s post, because it uses his real name, and I will not identify him here on my website.
Another homegrown attack involving an American killing other Americans. This comes at a time when police officers are being killed, government properties occupied, and immigrants threatened. And the response is predictable. We are fixated on a foreign threat instead of the diverse ideologies breathing life into their adherents, and we ignore the fact that American citizens have committed 80 percent of the terrorist attacks in the U.S. since 9/11.
…Research and reports on anti-government movements have documented trends and forecast events. However, they have been all but ignored and even rebuffed.
In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reported that white supremacist and violent anti-government groups, leveraging the real estate environment, unemployment and the election of the first African American president, could create a fertile recruiting environment for right-wing extremists and even result in confrontations between such groups and government authorities similar to those in the past. Amid an aggressive political attack on the report from the right, the DHS report was withdrawn.
Richard saw the DHS report referred to here by Southers (which you can find here), and took offense at it. He complained that “This is a crime against Liberty, my friends. The Statists are seizing control while we watch Liberty get strangled in the name of National Security. ”
To quote his exact arguments would mean quoting the entire blog post, which is two paragraphs; not only would that violate copyright, but make it easily searchable through Google. But basically, he complained that because he and some family/friends didn’t vote for Obama, or are returning vets, they are considered racists/extremists and being watched. That he is now on a watchlist because of blogging against the government.
I just read over the report, and Richard’s post sounds like a huge spurt of paranoia. What I see there is nothing like the way he characterized it. The report was not stigmatizing all vets or all people who voted against Obama or disagree with the government. Click on it and you’ll see what it’s really about: radical extremism, which has already led to terrorist acts.
But should Richard have been concerned about being on a watchlist? I’m sure the government was not aware his tiny blog, with only 8 posts ever, even existed.
But the report does refer to the same kinds of conspiracy theories I heard from both Richard and his friend “Chris” during the late ’00s: anti-government fears of race wars and cataclysmic economic collapse.
Richard once warned me on the phone that white supremacists were planning a race war if Obama was elected. (Was this supposed to frighten me into voting Republican?)
Chris warned me of a coming economic collapse; he even went to New Hampshire to join an anti-government group and live off the grid. Chris believed in aliens and secret groups controlling all governments. I first heard of militia groups and conspiracies about our government setting up new concentration camps, from him.
Richard also hated gun restrictions and Social Services.
The DHS report also speaks of stockpiling weapons; I’m not aware of Richard doing this, but I do recall wondering if he would eventually hole up in the woods with an arsenal.
And yes, Chris is the friend who soon replaced me as Richard’s bestie, taking up all his free time, causing all sorts of jealousy in me. I guess I was just too liberal and statist for Richard’s taste.
As I read over the report and the warnings it gives about right-wing extremism being fertile ground for home-grown terrorism, and remember events of the years since 2009, I see that IT WAS RIGHT.
But because of pushback from the right (and, I saw in one of the linked articles, Democrats too), the report was withdrawn and not used.
Richard took offense at the report, but we have seen it borne out in recent times–including just last week in Orlando. As Southers writes,
Among other elements, the DHS report described the Sovereign Citizens, a movement based on conspiratorial beliefs about the legitimacy of the founding of the United States. The report contained valuable law enforcement training information useful for officer safety.
Unfortunately, the report never reached West Memphis, where Arkansas officers Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans were killed by sovereigns during a traffic stop.
And now we have lone-wolf shooters influenced by ISIS–which encourages lone wolves to help their fight–terrorizing the land while Congress refuses to pass more restrictive gun laws. Yet more “moments of silence” with nothing done to stop the rise in shootings. And people saying that common-sense restrictions on automatics/semi-automatics are restrictions on our constitutional liberties, while–get this–it’s legal to buy 50-caliber weapons which SHOOT PLANES OUT OF THE SKY!
Little could we know that a man born on Long Island would enter a nightclub in Orlando and come close to matching the domestic terror death toll for an entire year in one night.
As we continue to focus on the threat of ISIL and its alleged nexus to immigration and concern regarding returning foreign fighters, perhaps recent events would suggest otherwise. The cold hard truth is that America has a homegrown terrorism problem, and holding up a mirror to our country offers a sobering notion of who tomorrow’s suspects may be. Without data, you are just another person with an opinion.
Would Richard himself be a terrorist? I doubt it. I also don’t know if he still is into right-wing extremism, which included anarchy and anti-police rhetoric. But reading this opinion piece in the paper this morning is yet another reminder of why I’m far better off without this narcissist in my life.
PS: Kudos to Congressional Democrats, first the Senate and now the House, taking protest measures to force votes on gun control. Even if the measures fail yet again, at least they’re making Congress vote rather than just another “moment of silence” and ineffective prayers! They are my heroes! 😀