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Militant and Weaponized: America’s Patriot Militia Groups

The following videos provide some insight into the rise of patriot militia groups in America over the past few years. These videos are listed in chronological order. The list will be updated as new videos are discovered. This is a reference document that intends to be informational without offering commentary. A variety of sources are used for the videos.

Deutsche Welle (26 Aug 2020)

“Black Lives Matter and the counter-protest by ‘patriot’ militia groups” — Two people were shot dead and several others injured in Kenosha, Wisconsin as anti-racism demonstrators gathered for a third night. Footage posted online showed what appeared to be a civilian armed with a rifle, firing shots when he tripped, after being chased by demonstrators. Armed militia-like groups are increasingly adding a new layer of tension to public protests in the United States. In some cases, right-wing activists – openly carrying weapons – have been patrolling anti-racism demonstrations with the blessing of local law enforcement. So what is the aim of such groups? DW met with members of one militia known as “American Wolf.”

Good Morning America (16 Aug 2020)

“Armed militia groups face off against counter-protesters in Georgia” — Police and the National Guard moved in to break up the crowds as protesters continue to take to the streets over issues of race and social justice.

VICE News (6 Aug 2020)

“The Making of a Boogaloo Boi” — Five months ago, Mike Dunn was organizing against gun control. Now, he’s donned a Hawaiian shirt and is a rising star in an insurgent, anti-government movement.

VICE News (9 Jul 2020)

“Are the Boogaloo Bois a National Security Threat?” — Boogaloo is code for a violent uprising or civil war. It’s not exactly a formalized group but more of an ideology that’s pulled in hard-line libertarians, anti-government extremists, online sh*tposters, and some white nationalists. They reject the notion that they’re racist and have tried to position themselves as allies to Black Lives Matter due to their shared opposition to law enforcement.

VICE News (12 Nov 2018)

“Guns For God: The Church of the AR-15” — In February 2018, a small church in Pennsylvania gained international attention when they held a blessing ceremony with AR-15’s just two weeks after the Parkland School shooting triggered mass gun reform debates across the US. But where did this small fringe sect of Christianity come from and why are they now taking up arms for God? In this episode of Believers, host Charlet Duboc meets Pastor Sean Moon and the believers of the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, a church that has origins in Korea, is based in the US, and has been accused of being a cult to understand why they believe they need guns to build God’s Kingdom on Earth.

Fox 9 News KMSP-TV (10 Nov 2017)

“Minnesota militia group says they’re ready for ‘civil war'” — Minnesota’s militia groups are active, but their movements are almost never seen by the general public. The United Patriots of Minnesota 3% say they are ready for “civil war.”

VICE News (18 Oct 2017)

“Inside America’s Largest Right Wing Militia” — In the backwoods of Georgia, a controversial, right-wing, “anti-terror” militia group gathers once a month to complete field training exercises under the command of Chris Hill—a.k.a Blood Agent. This militia group, called the Georgia III% Security Force, is part of the Three Percenter movement, which is inspired by the unfounded claim that only three percent of colonists fought against the British in the American Revolution. VICE joins Hill and the Georgia III% Security Force during one of their monthly gatherings to see how they prepare themselves to “defend the Constitution from all enemies foreign and domestic” and see what they’ll do to protect their guns.

PBS NewsHour (19 Apr 2017)

“Why armed militia groups are surging across the nation” — Today signifies 22 years since the Oklahoma City bombing, an attack carried out by Timothy McVeigh that left 168 dead. McVeigh sympathized with armed right-wing militia groups, which at the time, were surging in membership. But armed militias have long been active on the fringes of American society and continue to rise today. Special correspondent P.J. Tobia reports.

Journeyman Pictures (28 Oct 2016)

“Arizona’s Veteran Militias are Backing Trump” — Borderline Trump: In a town in rural Arizona, armed men patrol the streets on the look out for trouble. These are the ‘Veterans on Patrol’ – a local militia set up to enforce the law and prepare for any national emergency.

VICE News (16 May 2016)

“Inside the Michigan Militia” — In 2008, the first black president was elected in the United States and the worst financial crisis in almost a century brought the world’s economy to its knees. Since then, a form of domestic terror has been on the rise in America and abroad. But it’s not the kind of terror we’re used to hearing about. Militia groups and neo-nationalists here and around the world have been growing bolder, more popular and more powerful. VICE’s Ben Makuch investigates the origins of these militia groups and explores the driving force behind the militia movement today. In order to do so, he travels to the place where it all began: the Michigan State militias.

VIDE News (2 Nov 2012)

“One of America’s Most Notorious Militias” — We interviewed the founder of the notorious Michigan Militia to find out about its ties with Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bombing and more. Norman Olson is the founder of the Michigan Militia, the most famous/notorious/we-think-maybe-oldest? group of the early-90s citizens’ militia movement. If you’re too young to remember, that was this thing where guys in camouflage got together to train with their guns and guys with cameras pretended they were scary and racist. The movement hit a speed bump when it got blamed for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and Norm Olson didn’t do much good for his own group when he tried to pass the blame to the Japanese—an idea which, if you subscribe to certain theories concerning the earlier sarin-gas attack on the Tokyo subway and the responsible doomsday cult’s alleged connections to the Japanese Imperial Family, makes a limited sort of sense, but otherwise sounds like the craziest of all possible answers. With faith already shaken in his leadership, Norm then hitched the Militia’s wagon to fears over that Y2K thing and by February 2000 the group was essentially defunct. However, as you may have heard from the Southern Poverty Law Center or one of the hundreds of press outlets who reprinted their press release as a “story,” right-wing militia activity is back on the upswing. And never one to look a media jizz-rush in the mouth, Norm and his old compatriot Ray Southwell are using the momentum to try and get a new militia started on Alaska’s Kenai peninsula. So far it’s been going kind of rough, but that didn’t stop Norm and Ray from inviting us in for coffee and a quick flip through his big, yarn-bound book of Militia Mem’ries. Come join us, as we televize the nostalgialution…

By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson is a freelance writer and tech consultant in Iowa City. He is also the founder and Director of the ResourcesForLife.com website. Learn more at AboutGregJohnson.com

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