We can count it as lucky that the tiny armies of anti-government extremists infesting our society are not populated by intellectual giants. Their knuckleheaded plots against government officials and police seem to be easily unraveled, like the recent scheme hatched by a group of right-wing militia members to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.
But even fools can get lucky, especially fools with big guns and bomb-making materials. Such was the case back in 1995, when two anti-government terrorists blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 innocent citizens and injuring 680 others.
Michigan’s governor was saved by the diligence of the FBI. She, however, is not the only official who has gained the animus of ill-informed, well-armed characters who fancy themselves to be revolutionary patriots. In Washington, both Gov. Jay Inslee and Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan are recipients of constant threats.
Some of the more public threats to Durkan have come from extremists on the left who are something of a mirror-image of their counterparts on the right, though less well-armed. However, the mayor’s spokesperson, Kelsey Nyland, has told the Times that, “Many of the threats the mayor receives align with surges in anti-government sentiment and right-wing extremism. When the president (Donald Trump) increases his hateful rhetoric and focuses on the City of Seattle and Mayor Durkan specifically, we immediately see an uptick in hateful messages to the mayor, some of which end up being deemed credible threats by the police department.”
It certainly does not help that the self-proclaimed “stable genius” in the White House refuses to convincingly denounce right-wing militants and, instead, offers them not-so-veiled encouragement. These people with their Confederate flags, swastikas and lunatic conspiracy theories are a growing menace. And, as warped and ignorant as their understanding of politics and history may be, sooner or later they are going to fumble their way into doing serious harm.
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