Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Timeline of Militia Murders, Plots, and Assorted Other Violent Crimes




(this is a living post, which will be updated regularly)


As I write this, I am preparing my family to observe Memorial Day, which is only two days away.  We are hanging our American flags and getting ready to enjoy an extra day off of work and school.  It is a long weekend to reflect on the values of America and the lives lost by our soldiers in defending America's interests.  I've had a number of family members, living and deceased, who have served in various wars and, in two cases, continue to serve.  Luckily, none have died in combat.

But as we consider our patriotism, think for a moment about those who espouse a more violent interpretation of what it means to be patriotic.  In particular, so-called "citizen militias."  They like to pass themselves off as average citizens who are concerned with helping to protect their communities.  In reality they are gun nuts who, if you visit their websites, are insurrectionist anti-government types who stockpile weapons, play soldier in the woods, and often have racist views, hiding their extremist views behind a radical interpretation of the Second Amendment and glorification of a slanted interpretation of Revolutionary War history.  It is an insurrectionist philosophy which the NRA actively supports.  Sadly, these philosophies attract people who are violent and sometimes terroristic, often with tragic consequences. 

As example: unhappy at being labeled a "fanatic," one militia member recently commented on a blog post about the threat of militias:
"The vast majority are hard-working family folks who live quietly and make the country work and who view their weapons as the last defense line against predatory criminals -- petty freelancers who steal your property and life or the real experts in the theft of property and liberty, the Leviathan federal government. The strategic fact is that we practitioners of the "insurrectionist" theory of the Founders are well-armed beyond any ability of the federal government to disarm, even if they were stupid enough to try. Since the numbers of firearms in private hands continues to skyrocket, even in the middle of a semi-depression, you would do well to remember such inconvenient truths when discussing what should be done with "militia fanatics" like me and my friends."

Sounds like an insurrectionist threat to me!  He made the point of the author quite nicely.

And there has been a recent surge in the number of militias and similar groups in the United States.  From an MSNBC report:

The election of President Barack Obama in 2008 triggered an explosion in the number of militias and so-called patriot groups in the United States, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported in its annual tally of such anti-government organizations.
There were 149 militias and patriot groups when Obama took office, compared to more than 1,200 today — an increase of 755 percent, the nonprofit civil rights organization reported.
"The increase has just been astounding," said Mark Potok, editor-in-chief of the SPLC report. "The reality is that many of these groups are becoming more and more fearful that Barack Obama will win the re-election. You can see the anger rising along with that fear."

The SPLC defines the "patriot" movement as made up of conspiracy-minded individuals who see the federal government as their primary enemy. The movement includes paramilitary militias as well as groups of "sovereign citizens," who believe they are not subject to federal or state laws, nor obligated to pay federal taxes, according to SPLC.

In many countries, such paramilitary groups are rightly outlawed as potential insurgent groups.  There is no good reason for allowing them to exist. 
Below I present a timeline, in reverse chronological order, of murders, anti-government plots, and other violent crimes committed by militia members and, sometimes, entire militia units. 

Similar timelines of militia activities and insurrectionism can be found HERE and HERE.

This timeline will be a "living" report, updated as much as possible.

8/27/12  Ludowici, Georgia:  Four army soldiers based at Fort Stewart, associated with a small militia group they called F.E.A.R., short for Forever Enduring Always Ready, were arrested.  They "plotted to take over Fort Stewart by seizing its ammunition control point and talked of bombing the Forsyth Park fountain in nearby Savannah, she said. In Washington state, she added, the group plotted to bomb a dam and poison the state's apple crop. Ultimately, prosecutors said, the militia's goal was to overthrow the government and assassinate the president."  They funded the purchase of $87K-worth of semi-auto assault rifles and explosive materials with the insurance money from the suspicious death of the pregnant  wife of one of the accused.  The group is also accused of murdering former soldier Michael Roark and his 17-year old girlfriend out of fear of having their plot exposed.

8/16/12  LaPlace, Louisiana:  A group of four white supremacists, associated with the racist Posse Comitatus militia group which doesn't recognize federal authority, were involved in a shooting that killed two sheriff's deputies and wounded two others.  They had initially shot at an off-duty deputy, then shot and killed the other two who were looking for them, ambushing them with multiple weapons, including an assault rifle.  The group had already been under investigation for making terrorist threats and selling marijuana.


5/8/12  Orlando, Florida:  Ten white supremecists in a "militia-style" paramilitary group, including the leader, Marcus Faella and his wife Patti Faella, were arrested for plotting to start a race war, including creating a disturbance at Orlando city hall, illegally concealing weapons in protest signs, and making the toxin ricin.  If they created a "race war", they wanted to "kill jews, immigrants, and other minorities."  They trained on a 10-acre property of the Faellas' with assault weapons and ghillie suits until an informant was endangered, at which point the FBI moved in and arrested them.


5/2/12  Gilbert, Arizona:  J.T. Ready, a popular Arizona militia leader who led "border patrols" with fellow militia in a group called the Ready Rangers, shot and killed four people, including a toddler, before committing suicide.  The motive is unclear, but he was armed with a shotgun and multiple handguns, as well as a bulletproof vest.  J.T. Ready was popular for his border patrols, and was an ardent neo-Nazi, as a member of the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi group.  Ready also had previous domestic assault arrests.  Despite all of his previous racist and violent behavior, he nonetheless was running for sheriff of Pinal County, Arizona, and had ties to local politics as a Republican precinct committee person and as a speaker at Tea Party rallies.  His militia pals vowed to continue Ready's "border patrol" activities


1/27/12    Reno, Nevada:  Edwin Green was turned in by a 14-year old relative for being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Turns out he had an underground bunker containing sixteen firearms.  Green is believed to be a hitman for an Arizona militia, and has a prior arrest for domestic violence.


11/2/11   Toccoa, Georgia:  Four senior men, Frederick Thomas, Emory Dan Roberts, Ray H. Adams, and Samuel J. Crump, who were members of a Georgia militia group, plotted to destroy government buildings, assassinate government officials, produce and disperse ricin (a deadly toxin), and acquire illegal firearms and silencers.  The group was infiltrated by the FBI and arrested.  The accused had ties to militia groups called the Oathkeepers and the Three Percenters.


7/4/11  Wagener, South Carolina:  Kenneth Lee Myers claimed to have trained with a militia in Michigan.  He had a small armory of weapons, including military-style assault rifles and handguns, as well as night-vision goggles and a Kevlar vest.  He had a history of violent behavior.  Over the July 4 weekend, he used a shotgun to murder four people, including his wife, her twin sister, their mother, and his ex-girlfriend.  When police responded, he fired at them and a chase ensued, eventually ending in his suicide with the same gun.


6/12/11  Lolo, Montana:  David Burgert, leader member of a previous militia called Project 7, who had been imprisoned due to plotting attacks on local government and then having a standoff with arresting officers, got out of prison and once again stockpiled weapons and survivalist goods in the woods.  He then fired at law enforcement who had tried to pull him over for a driving infraction.  A chase ensued, but he escaped into the woods.  A manhunt took place, but he is still at large.


3/11/11  Fairbanks, Alaska:   Schaeffer Cox, and four other militia members, were arrested for conspiracy to murder law enforcement officers and for weapons charges.  Cox is founder of the Alaska Peacemakers Militia, member of the Second Amendment Task Force militia, and a champion of the so-called Sovereign Citizen Movement.  In March, 2010, he was arrested for failing to reveal he had a concealed weapon.  One month later he was arrested for assaulting his wife.  In March, 2011, Cox was charged with conspiracy to possess unregistered silencers and destructive devices, possession of an unregistered destructive device, possession of an unregistered silencer, possession of an unregistered machine gun, and other related charges.  Later that year, the FBI recorded conversations and revealed a plot by Cox and his fellow militia members to commit police murders in retaliation for the weapons charges, but the FBI recordings were determined to be unconstitutional and charges for the alleged plot were dropped.  He is currently still facing the weapons charges.  Despite his "sovereign citizen" and militia ties, and history of breaking the law, Cox is also tied to local Alaskan politics, having run for state representative in 2008, being a friend of Alaskan politician Joe Miller, and acquiring the signature of U.S. Representative Don Young on a declaration to abolish the U.S. government if they disagreed with government gun regulations.  HERE is an article on the recent court case, trying Cox and two others associated with the plot.  In June of 2012, Cox and fellow militia member Lonnie Vernon were found guilty of conspiracy to commit murder and various weapons offenses.  Another militia member, Coleman Barney, was found guilty of weapons charges.  Vernon and his wife later also plead guilty, in August of 2012, for conspiring to kill U.S. District Court Judge Ralph Beistline and IRS officer Janice Stowell in 2011 in retaliation for ruling the couple owed more than $165,000 in back taxes.
The Vernons admitted to buying a gun, silencer and hand grenades, and having a map to the federal judge’s home.


9/13/10  Ingham County, Michigan:  Police stop Richard Scott McLeod, 48, for a traffic violation in Webberville, Michigan, and upon searching his vehicle, discover bumper stickers quoting Adolf Hitler, a picture of President Barack Obama, a loaded handgun, a bullet-proof vest, and bomb-making materials. McLeod is arrested and charged with illegally carrying a concealed weapon and unlawful possession of body armor. McLeod tells officers that he is a member of the Michigan Militia. The group denies any relationship with McLeod.  Also found in his possession was black powder and bomb-making literature.


 
3/28/10  Michigan, Ohio, Indiana:  Nine members of the Michigan-based South Michigan Milita, also known as the Hutaree, an extremist Christian paramilitary sect who think that law enforcement are the "antichrist," were arrested for plotting to murder police, then follow up by murdering more who attended the expected funerals with explosives.  On March 28, 2012, a judge found the government's conspiracy case against the members based on their protected free speech to be baseless. Only a few weapons charges remain.  Three of the Hutaree members had their 60-plus guns returned to them after being acquitted, including shotguns, rifles, assault rifles, bulletproof vests, helmets, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.


1/12/10  Duncan, Oklahoma:  Charles Allan Dyer, a member of the American Patriot militia, and also known by the pseudonym "July4Patriot," was arrested and sentenced for raping a 6-year old girl.  During the investigation, detectives found a stolen military grenade launcher in Dyer's home.  He went on the run before being captured, and had made threats against law enforcement.


5/30/09  Arivaca, Arizona:  Shawna Forde, leader of the Minuteman American Defense "border patrol" militia, and accomplices, Jason Eugene "Gunny" Bush and Albert Robert Gaxiola, raid the home of a Latino family and opened fire, killing Raul "Junior" Flores, wounding his wife, Gina Maria Gonzales, and killing their 9-year old daughter, Brisenia Flores.  Forde had previously been a leader in another militia, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, until being expelled.  Prior to the shooting, Forde had a long history of violent and illegal behavior.


5/31/09  Wichita, Kansas:  Scott P. Roeder, member of the Freemen militia, shoots and kills Dr. George Tiller because of the doctor's late-term abortion surgeries.  He had previously tried to vandalize abortion clinics and protested at clinics.  In April 1996, Roeder was arrested in Topeka after Shawnee County sheriff's deputies stopped him for not having a proper license plate and found bomb-making materials in his car.  In his car, officers said they found ammunition, a blasting cap, a fuse cord, a one-pound can of gunpowder and two 9-volt batteries, with one connected to a switch that could have been used to trigger a bomb.


7/22/04  Douglas, AZ:  The FBI raided a compound of the Ranch Rescue "border patrol" militia as part of an effort to arrest its leader, Casey James Nethercott, for refusing to pull over for federal agents looking for illegal weapons.  Nethercott's militia bodyguard, Kalen Robert Riddle, was shot and wounded during the standoff.


7/09/03  Fremont, Michigan:  Scott Allen Woodring, member of the Michigan Militia, killed a Michigan State Police officer, Kevin Marshall, during a standoff which started when they tried to arrest him for criminal sexual misconduct.  One week later, Woodring was shot dead by other Michigan State Police officers.  They had located him during the manhunt, and shot him after he turned on them with an assault rifle.


2002  Flathead County, Montana:  A militia group called Project 7, led by David Bugert, stockpiled huge amounts of ammunition, weapons, and homemade bombs and plotted to kidnap and assassinate local officials, go to war with the National Guard and somehow overthrow the government.  Local law enforcement found out and had a standoff with the militia group, eventually arresting them.  Bugert was found manning a mounted machine gun.  After Bugert got out of prison in 2011, he once again shot at law enforcement then fled into the woods and is still at large.


7/10/97  Killeen, Texas:  Bradley Glover and members of the Southern Kansas Regional Militia were arrested for planning and almost carrying out an attack on Fort Hood Army Base, possessing illegal firearms, and conducted reconnaissance missions on other military bases, including Holloman Air Force Base at Alamagordo, New Mexico.


11/9/96  Wheeling, West Virginia:  Seven men of the Mountaineer Militia were indicted for a conspiracy to bomb the FBI center in Clarksburg and two other federal targets.  Floyd ''Ray'' Looker, commander of the Mountaineer Militia, and six others were charged with conspiracy to manufacture explosives, transport explosives across state lines and place them near the FBI center. 


7/2/96  Phoenix, Arizona:  12 members of an Arizona paramilitary militia unit, the Viper Militia, were arrested, accused of plotting to destroy federal offices and the Phoenix police station.  The group plotted for two years to destroy several federal buildings there, including one that houses the office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the FBI. The group also planned to destroy buildings that contained offices of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the Internal Revenue Service and the Arizona National Guard, along with the police headquarters.  Besides being charged with conspiracy, members of the group were charged with illegally possessing four automatic rifles and chemicals that can be used to make bombs, including ammonium nitrate.


4/19/95  Oklahoma City, Oklahoma:  Timothy McVeigh bombs the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, with assistance by Terry Nichols and Michael and Lori Fortier.  Motivated by his hatred of the federal government and angered by what he perceived as its mishandling of the Waco Siege (1993) and the Ruby Ridge incident (1992), McVeigh timed his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege at Waco.  Both McVeigh and Nichols were strong adherents of the modern militia movement, survivalists, and ardently anti-gun control.  The Murrah building had been previously targeted in October 1983 by white supremacist group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord, including founder James Ellison and Richard Snell. The group had plotted to park "a van or trailer in front of the Federal Building and blow it up with rockets detonated by a timer."[29] After Snell's appeal for murdering two people in unrelated cases was denied, he was executed the same day as the Murrah bombing.[30]


10/7/94  Hillsdale County, Michigan:  Paul Darland, member of the Michigan Militia, kills a bodyguard and fellow militia member William Gleason for militia leader Mark Koernke.  After a long manhunt, he was arrested at a strip club on June 15, 2000.  He was convicted of the murder on February 13, 2001.


1984  The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord member Richard Wayne Snell, was arrested for killing an African-American police officer. Snell was later tied to the killing of a Jewish gun store owner in 1981, obtaining and using the very same gun, the serial number of which had been removed by the CSA armorer, Kent Yates, who himself was arrested on Friday, July 13, 1984, on an outstanding warrant out of New Mexico for firearms violations in Farmington. He was later also charged and convicted of weapons manufacture and modification for the CSA.

 
1983 The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord member William Thomas accompanying members Richard Wayne Snell and Steven Scott attempted to dynamite a natural gas pipeline, without success.