Last weekend, the FBI and the BATF raided several homes in Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio, arresting nine individuals associated with an organization called "Hutaree." According to media reports and the group's web site, Hutaree is a Christian extremist organization, arming and training itself for an eventual war with "the Antichrist, evil Jews, and Muslims."
Federal authorities arrested nine individuals and charged them with seditious conspiracy, attempted use of weapons of mass destruction, teaching the use of explosive materials, and possessing a firearm during a crime of violence. All felonies. If convicted, sentences could extend well beyond the expected lifespan of even the youngest of the accused. The defendants are David Brian Stone, 45, his wife, Tina Stone, 44, his son, Joshua Matthew Stone, 21, of Clayton, Michigan, and his other son, David Brian Stone, Jr., 19, of Adrian, Michigan, Joshua Clough, 28, of Blissfield, Michigan, Michael Meeks, 40 of Manchester, Michigan, Thomas Piatek, 46, of Whiting, Indiana, Kristopher Sickles, 27, of Sandusky, Ohio, and Jacob Ward, 33, of Huron, Ohio.
Hutaree had allegedly been planning to kill an unspecified law enforcement officer and then ambush the funeral procession for that officer in the hopes of killing more officers. The group apparently views law enforcement officers as the "foot soldiers" for the "enemy." According to the US Attorney's office, Hutaree hoped that the attack would spark a full scale war between Christians and the "enemy."
When I saw the video produced by Hutaree, my initial response was to laugh. Ignoring the fact that they were carrying some serious weaponry, I found it hard to take seriously a bunch of yahoos in fatigues running around in the woods. They gave each other cool-sounding names like "Pale Horse" and "Captain Hutaree." They had an elaborate ranking system. Just like a bunch of boys playing army in the backyard. But, then I hearkened back to the Homeland Security Report that drew so much criticism last year which warned against the threat of right-wing militia groups.
Enjoy your 15 minutes, y'all.
I applaud the federal government's preemptive raid.
Although Hutaree and its ilk are fringe elements, I think they represent the cutting edge of the rage that is being expressed by tea-baggers and disaffected Republicans. As Frank Rich pointed out in his column this week, and despite protestations to the contrary, the conservative white minority in this country is vaguely aware that changes in demographics, religion, and social mores have stripped it of its dominant position in the political hierarchy of this country. Irrevocably and forever. I believe that as this recognition becomes more prevalent, those who identify themselves with the conservative white minority will succumb to their fears and drift toward these fringe elements.
This raid will at least give them pause. And note that other "militias" in the Great Lakes area not only distanced themselves from Hutaree but are cooperating with the authorities.
The path back to power for conservatives will require that they build coalitions with other demographics, many of whom they detest. I predict that it will take them a while to gag down that bitter pill. So, until then, enjoy watching them flounder.