Southern Poverty Law Center Issues Warning About Militias

Published: August 13, 2009

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is warning law enforcement agencies that right-wing militias are appearing in large numbers around the country and that the current climate could lead to threats and violence.

In the 1990s, SPLC issued a similar warning to then-Attorney General Janet Reno six months before the Oklahoma City federal building was bombed. The attack killed 168 people.

Highlights of the report include:

  • Militiamen, white supremacists, anti-Semites, nativists, tax protesters and a range of other activists of the radical right are cross-pollinating and may even be coalescing.
  • Authorities around the country are reporting a worrying uptick in Patriot activities and propaganda
  • Militia conspiracy theories are making the rounds again, this time accompanied by theories about secret Mexican plans to “reconquer” the American Southwest.
  • One law enforcement agency has found 50 new militia training groups – one of them made up of present and former police officers and soldiers.
  • Sales of guns and ammunition have skyrocketed amid fears of new gun control laws, much as they did in the 1990s when the antigovernment “Patriot” movement was in its heyday.

The SPLC report says that today’s conditions don’t contain the “white hot fury” present in the last decade but that the escalation of activity and rhetoric pose a renewed threat.

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