Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Perfect Storm of Idiocy

Sure it’s just a coincidence.

Last August a report was issued by the Southern Policy Law Center,Return of the Militias,” warning of an alarming resurgence of the militia groups of the 1990s. “All it's lacking is a spark,” reported one law enforcement agency. “I think it's only a matter of time before you see threats and violence.”

Back in August the SPLC supplemented its report with an article calling right-wing militias the number-one domestic threat. According to the SPLC, the militia movement “is steeped in paranoia and infused with a boiling rage against President Obama”:
“The Department of Homeland Security has recently warned that right-wing extremists such as these militias currently pose the No. 1 threat of domestic terrorism.” (“Right-Wing Militias Currently the #1 Domestic Terror Threat”).
Except there haven’t been any threats and violence from militia groups that I’ve heard, or nothing that’s big enough to surface to national attention. (Nothing, say, comparable to Fort Hood, or even comparable to the shootout with Imam Abdullah).

And Janet Napolitano ended up having to apologize to military veterans for the unfortunate wording in her Homeland Security report that the SPLC relied so much on.

Then last summer the media tried, tried hard, to portray millions of tea-party goers as unhinged homicidal mobs, except all that video of chipper church groups picking up their own litter kept clashing with the Jaws soundtrack.

And yet here it is late November and the AP is tossing the militia story out there again, with no additional material to explain what makes it news again. (“Militia movements rise up nationwide”).

Today's AP story repeats that, since Obama's election, there’s been a resurgence of militia activity by white guys who can’t process having a black man in charge.
At least 50 new right-wing militia groups have been identified by the Montgomery, Ala.-based Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization.

There is a violent edge to this movement. Lone wolves and small groups who are "embracing violent right-wing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat," according to the Southern Poverty Law Center report.
And you know what shocking details we end up with to illustrate this? A where-is-he-now story about an over-the-hill Norm Olson, the former Michigan Militia guy who's now moved to Alaska, He doesn't come across sounding like the center of any "Perfect Storm" of militia violence. He gets along with his new neighbors. His property isn't a "compound." Olson says he's 63 and too old for grunting through the woods. "I'm a flag waver. That's really all I am today."

Is Olson supposed to scare us? If I lived in his town I'd call him up and see if he minded bringing in our mail while we're away.

I ask you: Is this story really being re-launched now, with all the recycled, discredited exaggerations abouting boiling-hot racist right-wing extremist gun nuts, just to divert readers from the real threat of domestic Islamic terrorism?

Do they think we're that stupid? Really?

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