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And that potential for violence is escalating every day.“Law enforcement agencies in the United States consider anti-government violent extremists, not radicalized Muslims, to be the most severe threat of political violence that they face,” the Triangle Center on Terrorism and Homeland Security reported this past June, based on surveys of 382 law enforcement groups.
The problem is getting worse, although few outside of law enforcement know it.
These Americans thrive on hate and conspiracy theories, many fed to them by politicians and commentators who blithely blather about government concentration camps and impending martial law and plans to seize guns and other dystopian gibberish, apparently unaware there are people listening who don’t know it’s all lies.
These extremists turn to violence—against minorities, non-Christians, abortion providers, government officials—in what they believe is a fight to save America.
The unusual—and often daffy—world view of some right-wing extremists was on daily display during the January armed takeover of federal facilities at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.
Expressing dismay that two ranchers convicted of arson were ordered to serve out the remainder of their mandatory minimum prison sentences, members of various militia groups occupied a building at the wildlife refuge, declaring their willingness to fight the government and, if necessary, die for their cause.
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These people speak of martyrdom, bloodbaths and killings, sentiments that can be heard on any Islamist recruitment video.
And when law enforcement finally took action on January 26 in a mass arrest, one of the militia members, Robert “La Voy” Finicum—who had proclaimed he would rather die than go to jail—was shot dead.
In the months that followed, another man joined the plot.