Name Dropping Gets You Nowhere

CannonIn my final post about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “Rightwing Extremism” assessment, I made reference to something that was quoted in the report, and I want to make a few clarifications.

At the bottom of page five, the assessment reads,

Many rightwing extremist groups perceive recent gun control legislation as a threat to their right to bear arms and in response have increased weapons and ammunition stockpiling, as well as renewed participation in paramilitary training exercises. Such activity, combined with a heightened level of extremist paranoia, has the potential to facilitate criminal activity and violence.

  • During the 1990s, rightwing extremist hostility toward government was fueled by the implementation of restrictive gun laws—such as the Brady Law that established a 5-day waiting period prior to purchasing a handgun and the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act that limited the sale of various types of assault rifles—and federal law enforcement’s handling of the confrontations at Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

In short, the government wants you to think that the threat of recent gun control legislation will push many “rightwing extremists” over the edge creating a heightened level of extremist paranoia, weapon stockpiling, and hostility toward the goverment. They go a step further in their attempt to instill fear by referencing the confrontations at Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge, Idaho.

Many people remember the events that occurred at Waco but few people I have spoken too remember much about Ruby Ridge. Those who do remember it, usually can’t remember why they do, but they know something bad happened there.

Let’s take a look at the history of events which occurred at Ruby Ridge in August of 1992 and try to ascertain why our government would still be referencing the events there, 17 years after it happened.

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Twenty-Seven Potential Acts Of Violence

Blue GrosbeakWhen we think about the implications of Homeland Security, it’s important to remember that Americans are not the enemy.

As I wrap up my three-part series about the U.S. Department of Homeland Security “assessment” on Rightwing Extremism (PDF), I want to point out several more references included in the report, and touch on some thoughts about the release of this report.

Let’s refresh our memory.

The title of the assessment is “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment”. The targets of the assessment are radical and extremist groups as well as “groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration”, and the government believes some of our fine men and women of the military could be extremists, or even potential terrorists. All of these items are mentioned before the end of page 3. It’s a nine page report.

Page three wraps up by blaming the current economic crisis and the election of Barack Obama as the catalysts for creating more extremist thoughts in our country.

Page four makes it clear that most statements by rightwing extremists have been rhetorical since the election and have stopped short of violent action. The assessment warns us (vaguely) that there were two incidents before the election, but law enforcement interceded. Isn’t it funny they can point to specifics like the shooting in Pittsburgh on April 4th and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, but when it comes to supporting their “imposition of fear”, they can’t state any specifics?

Apparently, the government feels that the “perceived government infringement on civil liberties” leads to domestic rightwing terrorists lashing out. Of course they have to cite an increase in violent acts targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers, banks, and infrastructure sectors, yet, if you remember correctly in the paragraph above this one, they also stated that there has been no violent action.

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A Constitutional Conundrum

I’m sure, by now, many of you are familiar with the preamble of the U.S. Constitution. For those of you who may not live in America, or those who simply may not remember it, let’s refresh our memories.

We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

We the people… A simple three word phrase (yes Mr. Biden, just three) that defines the very foundation of the laws and principles our country was founded on. The United States of America is the people. It was founded of the people, by the people, for the people. Without the people, there would be no United States.

Our Constitution is a living, breathing document which sets forth the guidelines by which all of our subsequent laws are based. We know who writes the laws, who passes the laws, and who interprets the laws, but exactly who has standing to uphold our Constitution? Is that a power limited to the courts, our Congress, or our President? Shouldn’t we, the people, have the right to question the constitutionality of a matter? Apparently not.

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