Seems they didn’t back away far enough.
According to the AP:
Militia groups with gripes against the government are regrouping across the country and could grow rapidly, according to an organization that tracks such trends.The stress of a poor economy and a liberal administration led by a black president are among the causes for the recent rise, the report from the Southern Poverty Law Center says. Conspiracy theories about a secret Mexican plan to reclaim the Southwest are also growing amid the public debate about illegal immigration.
Bart McEntire, a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, told SPLC researchers that this is the most growth he’s seen in more than a decade.
While anti-government sentiment has been on the rise over the last two years, there aren’t as many threats and violent acts at this point as there were in the 1990s, according to the report. That movement bore the likes of Timothy McVeigh, who in 1995 blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City and killed 168 people.
“White supremacists and militias are more violent and thus more likely to conduct mass-casualty attacks on the scale of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing,” the threat projection said.
Yeah. Because everyone who believes in free association, the Second Amendment, and small government is a racist bigot who wants to blow up innocent people.
Certainly some militant groups are racist or have violent aims. Neo-Nazis come to mind, and some Ku Klux Klan groups, but saying that such groups represent the “right-wing” or all militias is like saying the Earth Liberation Front represents the “left-wing” or all environmental groups.
See how this works? First, you bring up the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that is important in tracking actual hate groups and fighting discrimination to show that this is an important issue for minorities. Then bring in the BATFE to give it the weight of government intelligence and law enforcement. Next, bring up Ruby Ridge and the Branch Davidians to show that opposition to government policy is based upon affinity with strange extremists and supposed anti-social hermits. Finally, mention that Timothy McVeigh joined a militia group to make the inference that all militias just want to blow up innocent government works and their children.
Instead of a frank discussion of militia groups, this article makes rash generalizations. There is no independent research, just what the reporter was spoon-fed by the SPLC and BATFE. There is mention of Edward Koernke, a pro-militia activist, but no indication that the reporter even tried to contact the man. It even mentions the man’s father, who was also a militia activist, had altercations with the law (in order to discredit him). Later, the article references what it calls “lone-wolf” actions, and only makes passing reference to the fact that these “lone-wolf” acts haven’t been connected to any militia group.
This article is not an information piece. It’s a propaganda piece intended to engender prejudice against white, libertarian/conservative-leaning rural Americans with lots of innuendo and inference but very little actual evidence.
As a libertarian-leaning conservative American living in the South, who owns firearms and believes that the Obama Administration is overstepping its authority and sending this country in the wrong direction, I am enraged by this article, by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. By the inferences of this article, I am a likely to be a domestic terrorist and sociopath who believes in white supremacy and has no regard for human life. My beliefs on the role of government and my ownership of firearms do not make me a domestic terrorist or a racist.
Asserting that all militia groups are racist in nature and anti-government (as opposed to promoting limited government) and likely to be terrorists is no different than claiming all Muslims are terrorists: Take a group, take a few examples from that group, and assign to the entire group the attributes of those few.
There’s a word for that: Prejudice.
And the SPLC is guilty of just that.
Cross-posted at Seeking Liberty.