40 Violent Incidents and the Right-Wing Rhetoric that Presaged Them
On June 26, 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court embraced the National Rifle Association's contention that the Second Amendment provides individuals with the right to take violent action against our government should it become "tyrannical." The following timeline catalogues incidents of insurrectionist violence (or the promotion of such violence) that have occurred since that decision was issued:
June 26, 2008—The case of District of Columbia v. Heller is decided by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling. The opinion not only endorses the National Rifle Association’s “individual right” interpretation of the Second Amendment; it also affirms that one of the purposes of the right is to “assure the existence of a “citizens’ militia” as a safeguard against tyranny.” The NRA’s amicus brief in the case had argued that “the Second Amendment refers to the utility of an armed population in preventing government tyranny.”
July 27, 2008—Jim Adkisson shoots and kills two people at a progressive church in Knoxville, Tennessee, wounding two. Adkisson calls it “a symbolic killing” because he really “wanted to kill…every Democrat in the Senate & House, the 100 people in Bernard Goldberg's book,” but was unable to gain access to them.
September 18, 2008—Dick Heller, the plaintiff from the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, provides testimony to the D.C. Council regarding firearm-related legislation. Heller’s written, submitted testimony states, in part: "‘We the people,’ armed, are TRULY what the Writers of the Constitution intended for us to be in Art. 1, Sec. 8, para. 15, and that is the CITIZEN MILITIA. If suicide terrorists DO attact our city, ARMED CITIZENS could be the First to counter these hostilities in our individual neighborhoods.”
September 22, 2008—The National Rifle Association launches its GunBanObama website, which predicts that Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, “if elected…would be the most anti-gun president in American history.” The website is part of a $15 million NRA campaign to discredit Obama.
December 9, 2008—FBI teams investigating the murder of white supremacist James Cumming, 29, a resident of Belfast, Maine, find supplies for a crude radiological dispersal dervice and other explosives in his home. Cumming's wife, who shot him to death after being abused by him repeatedly, explains, "His intentions were to construct a dirty bomb and take it to Washington to kill President Obama. He was planning to hide it in the undercarriage of our moter home."
February 5, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts an hour-long special on Fox called “We Surround Them,” a “grassroots effort to wake up our Nation's leaders and let them know what many, if not most, Americans truly believe in and stand for.”
February 20, 2009—FOX commentator Glenn Beck hosts a program that games a 2014 civil war scenario called “The Bubba Effect.” It involves citizen militias in the South and West taking up arms against the U.S. government.
March 3, 2009— FOX commentator Glenn Beck interviews NRA celebrity spokesman Chuck Norris. During the interview, Beck states that, “Somebody asked me this morning, they said, ‘you really believe that there's going to be trouble in the future?’ And I said, ‘if this country starts to spiral out of control and, you know, and Mexico melts down or whatever, if it really starts to spiral out of control, before America allows a country to become a totalitarian country … Americans will, they just, they won't stand for it. There will be parts of the country that will rise up.’ And they said, ‘where's that going to come from?’ And I said, ‘Texas, it's going to come from Texas.’”
March 9, 2009—NRA celebrity spokesman Chuck Norris writes in an editorial published at WorldNetDaily: “How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution?”
March 11, 2009—NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre speaks at the 2009 Conservative Political Action Conference and announces that “Our Founding Fathers understood that the guys with the guns make the rules.”
March 21-22, 2009—Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) states that she wants residents of her state to be “armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people—we the people—are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.”
April 4, 2009—Neo-Nazi Richard Poplawski shoots and kills three police officers responding to a 911 call to his home in Pittsburgh. His friend Edward Perkovic tells reporters that Poplawski feared “the Obama gun ban that’s on its way” and “didn’t like our rights being infringed upon.” Perkovic also commented that Poplawski carried out the shooting because “if anyone tried to take his firearms, he was gonna’ stand by what his forefathers told him to do.”
April 7, 2009—The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis releases an assessment of right wing extremism in the United States. The Department notes that “the economic downturn and the election of the first African American president present unique drivers for rightwing radicalization and recruitment.” Recalling the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh, the Department speculates, “The possible passage of new restrictions on firearms and the return of military veterans facing significant challenges reintegrating into their communities could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violent attacks.”
April 15, 2009—Daniel Knight Hayden, 52, is arrested by FBI agents after he openly states on Twitter that he is going to turn the upcoming Oklahoma City “Tea Party” into a bloodbath. Two months earlier, Hayden had written online, “The only thing that is keeping the New World Order from destroying this nation is the presence of over 100,000,000 guns in civilian hands. When guns are outlawed, only criminals will have guns. Since we are already criminals in the eyes of the New World Order, and they intend to enslave us all, and to kill those of us who will NOT submit to their slavery, I say to IGNORE gun "laws" and keep your guns (AND ammo) handy.”
April 19, 2009—The Oath Keepers, an anti-government group made up of current and former law enforcement and military personnel, holds its first "muster" in Lexington, Massachusetts, the site of the opening shots of the Revolutionary War. The groups' members pledge to disobey ten different orders that they deem "unconstitutional" and "immoral," the first of which reads, "We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people."
April 25, 2009—Joshua Cartwright, 28, a member of the Florida National Guard, shoots and kills two Okaloosa County sheriff's deputies attempting to arrest him on a domestic abuse charge. Cartwright is killed in an enusing gun battle with police. Cartwright's wife reports that he was "severely disturbed" that Barack Obama had been elected president. Okaloosa County Sheriff Edward Spooner states that Cartrwight was "interested in militia groups and weapons training."
May 2009—Data released by the U.S. Marshals Service indicates that threats to the nation's judges and prosecutors have more than doubled in the past six years, from 592 in 2003 to 1,278 in 2008. Federal officials blame a number of parties, including the "sovereign citizen" movement—an unorganized grouping of tax protesters, white supremacists, and others who don't respect federal authority.
May 21-22, 2009—We The People Chairman Bob Schultz hosts a gathering of 30 "freedom keepers" in Jekyll Island, Georgia. The meeting plays "a key role in launching the current resurgence of militias and the larger anti-government 'Patriot' movement." One of the participants, former Texas militia leader Jon Roland, claims the federal government has "been engaging in warlike activity against the American people."
May 31, 2009—Scott P. Roeder shoots and kills Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider, in the foyer of Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. The FBI lists Roeder as a member of the Montana Freemen, a radical anti-government group. In April 1996, he had been pulled over in Topeka, Kansas, for driving with a homemade license plate. Police found a military-style rifle, ammunition, a blasting cap, a fuse cord, a one-pound can of gunpowder, and two 9-volt batteries in his car.
June 3, 2009—Hal Turner, a New Jersey resident and white supremacist blogger/radio host, is arrested on charges of inciting injury after calling for the deaths of two Connecticut state legislators on his blog because they sponsored a bill that would have transferred financial power in Roman Catholic parishes from priests and bishops to lay members. “While filing a lawsuit is quaint and the 'decent' way to handle things,” he wrote, “we at TRN (Turner Radio Network) believe that being decent to a group of tyrannical scumbags is the wrong approach. It's too soft. Thankfully, the Founding Fathers gave us the tools necessary to resolve tyranny: The Second Amendment. TRN advocates Catholics in Connecticut take up arms and put down this tyranny by force ... If any state attorney, police department or court thinks they're going to get uppity with us about this, I suspect we have enough bullets to put them down, too.”
June 10, 2009—James W. von Brunn, a convicted felon and a “hardcore Neo-Nazi,” walks into the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and shoots and kills a security guard. Von Brunn believed that Western civilization was going to be replaced with a “ONE WORLD ILLUMINATI GOVERNMENT” that would “confiscate private weapons” in order to accomplish its goals.
June 24, 2009—Hal Turner, a New Jersey resident and white supremacist blogger/radio host, is arrested again after calling for the murder of three Republican-appointed jurists on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals who had issued a June 2 decision upholding handgun restrictions in Chicago. Writing on his blog, Turner says, “Let me be the first to say this plainly: these judges deserve to be killed,” and includes photographs, phone numbers, work addresses, and room numbers of the judges, as well as a map of Chicago’s federal courthouse which points out its “anti-truck bomb” pylons.
July 13, 2009—Gilbert Ortez, Jr. kills a police deputy in Chambers County, Texas, with an assault rifle. Police were responding to reports that Ortez or his wife had fired shots at utility workers in the area. Police searching Ortez’s mobile home after a 10-hour standoff find more than 100 explosive devices; Nazi drawings and extremist literature; and several additional firearms.
July 15, 2009—Katherine Crabill, a Republican candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the state’s 99th District makes headlines by calling on Americans to resist the course President Obama has set for the country. Appearing at a “Tea Party” rally, Crabill quotes a 1775 speech by Patrick Henry and then states, “We have a chance to fight this battle at the ballot box before we have to resort to the bullet box. But that's the beauty of our Second Amendment right. I am glad for all of us who enjoy the use of firearms for hunting. But make no mistake. That was not the intent of the Founding Fathers. Our Second Amendment right was to guard against tyranny.” This thought is reinforced on Crabill’s campaign website, where she states the Second Amendment “was clearly intended for self defense as well as, and more specifically, to keep the government on notice of an armed citizenry.”
July 31, 2009—On WWJB-AM in Hernando County, Florida, talk radio host Bob Haa takes a call from a listener who mentions ammunition, target practice, and Barack Obama. Haa tells him not to waste his ammunition on targets, to save it for the administration. Haa is later visited by an agent for the Secret Service.
August 3, 2009—After being blamed for the murder of Dr. George Tiller, FOX commentator Glenn Beck cautions his listeners that “just one lunatic like Timothy McVeigh could ruin everything that everyone has worked so hard for.”
August 11, 2009—William Kostric is filmed openly carrying a handgun outside of President Obama's health care reform town hall meeting in New Hampshire. Kostric holds a sign that reads, "IT IS TIME TO WATER THE TREE OF LIBERTY!" a reference to the following Thomas Jefferson quote: "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time, with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
August 17, 2009—Chris Broughton openly carries a handgun and AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle to a health care rally in Phoenix, Arizona. Simultaneously, President Obama addresses a VFW Convention across the street. In a video recorded that day, Broughton states, “What do you think we did in the revolution, in the American Revolution? The British weren't stealing money from us for health care. They weren't taxing us the way they are now back then. And what did we do? We forcefully kicked them out of our country, and we will forcefully resist people imposing their will on us through the strength of the majority with a vote.”
August 25, 2009—During a GOP barbecue in Twin Falls, Idaho, an audience member asks Rex Rammell, a candidate in the 2010 Idaho Republican Primary, a question about "Obama tags" during a discussion about state-issued tags for wolf hunting. Rammell responds, "The Obama tags? We'd buy some of those." In a subsequent press release, he adds, "Anyone who understands the law knows I was just joking, because Idaho has no jurisdiction to issue hunting tags in Washington, D.C."
August 26, 2009—At a secessionist rally on the state capitol steps in Austin, Texas, gubernatorial candidate Debra Medina states that, "We are aware that stepping off into secession may in fact be a bloody war. We are aware. We understand that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots.”
September 9, 2009—With President Barack Obama at the U.S. Capitol to address a joint session of Congress on the subject of health care reform, Joshua Bowman, 28, of Falls Church, Virginia, attempts to drive his Honda Civic into a secure area near the building. U.S. Capitol Police stop him and, searching his vehicle, find a rifle, a shotgun, and 500 rounds of ammunition. He is arrested on weapons charges.
September 25-26, 2009—Kitty Werthmann, a speaker at the “How to Take Back America” Conference in St. Louis, tells her audience, “If we had our guns [during the time of the Nazis’ reign in Germany], we would have fought a bloody battle. So, keep your guns, and buy more guns, and buy ammunition. Take back America. Don’t let them take the country into Socialism. And I refer again, Hitler’s party was National Socialism. And that’s what we are having here right now, which is bordering on Marxism.”
September 28, 2009—Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), the Chairman of the Second Amendment Task Force in the U.S. House of Representatives, calls House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a “domestic enemy of the Constitution” at a health care reform town hall meeting.
September 29, 2009—An editorial at the Newsmax website calls for a military coup to oust President Obama.
September 30, 2009—The Michelangelo Signorile Show, a talk radio program on Sirus, takes a call from “Jim” from Oklahoma, who claims that he and 200 others are meeting weekly to stage a coup against President Obama. Jim says they want to restore their "a right to bear arms" and bring the country back to where it was 400 years ago, before slavery was abolished.
October 18-19, 2009—Reports emerge that the Secret Service has received an unprecedented number of death threats against President Obama. Ronald Kessler's account of presidential security, In the President's Secret Service, states that there has been a 400% increase in such threats in comparison with Obama’s predecessor. Another source of these reports is an August 5, 2009 study by the Congressional Research Service which finds: “The [Secret] Service’s protection mission has increased and become more ‘urgent’ due to the increase in terrorist threats and the expanded arsenal of weapons that terrorists could use in an assassination attempt or attacks on facilities.”
October 21, 2009—John Brek, a 55 year-old Newark Airport security guard, is arrested for making terroristic threats against President Obama. Authorities find 43 firearms while searching his home, including a stolen rifle. Brek, a National Rifle Association member, is also found to be in possession of illegal hollow point bullets.
November 2009—Billboard is erected on I-70 in Lafayette County, Missouri, that promotes "a citizens guide to REVOLUTION." It urges Missourians to "LIVE FREE OR DIE" and "PREPARE FOR WAR" with a corrupt government. The billboard is highlighted at the Lafayette County Republicans website.
November 11-22, 2009—More than 100 delegates from across the country attend a "Continental Congress" hosted by We The People. Attendees include Neo-Confederate secessionists, "Common Law Court" enthusiasts, adherents of the "Sovereign Citizens" movement, militia backers, and other radicals. Planned at an earlier May meeting in Jekyll Island, the Congress issues a document entitled the "Articles of Freedom" which declares that the federal government "now threatens our Life, Liberty and Property through usurpations of the Constitution."
December 23, 2009—Warren "Gator" Taylor takes three people hostage at a federal post office in Wytheville, Virginia. He is armed with four guns, including a .40-caliber Glock pistol, despite a criminal record that includes convictions for lewd and lascivious beheavior with a 13 year-old and attempted second-degree murder (Taylor shot his ex-wife three times in a parking lot in 1993). Taylor fires at least three rounds before the stand-off ends, including one at the station's fleeing postmaster. One of Taylor's hostages reports that he was angry about taxes and "the government taking over the right to bear arms."
January 2010—A group of nearly 200 "extremely concerned citizens" in Ravalli County, Montana, demand that local elected officials fill out a "questionnaire" pledging to form a local militia, prohibit mandatory vaccinations, allow citizens to bear any type of firearms they choose (including fully automatic machine guns), and require federal government employees to get written approval before approaching "any Citizen" in the county. The questionnaire is organized in part by Celebrating Conservatism, a group with direct ties to the militia movement.
January 2, 2010—More than 300 people attend a rally in Alamogordo, New Mexico, organized by the local Otero Tea Party Patriots and Second Amendment Task Force. The purpose of the rally is to protest health care reform, and many of the rally's participants openly carry handguns and/or rifles. One attendee states that his handgun is a “very open threat” to the “socialist communists” in the Obama Administration. “The government fears the people, and a disarmed people are slaves,” he says. “Political power comes from the barrel of a gun ... They’re pushing us to our limits.”
January 12, 2010—Mark Campano of Cuyhaoga Falls, Ohio, pleads not guilty to charges of possessing destructive devices not registered with the federal government. Law enforcement are called to Campano's apartment in November 2009 after he accidentally detonates a pipe bomb and loses parts of two fingers. They find 30 pipe bombs, 17 rifles and handguns, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the dwelling. Campano's next-door neighbor states, "He was always trying to get me and another neighbor to listen to anti-government tapes and watch anti-government videos ... He was some kind of radical, and he didn't believe in the government."
January 12, 2010—Charles Allan Dyer, 29, a former Marine with ties to Tea Parties and far-right-wing organizations like Oath Keepers, is arrested at his home on charges of raping a 7 year old-girl. Sheriff's deputies find several firearms inside Dyer's home and a Colt M-203 40mm grenade launcher, which was stolen from a military base in Fort Irwin, California, in 2006. Dyer had been an organizer of militia groups in Oklahoma and told one interviewer, "I'm going to use my training and become one of those domestic terrorists that you're so afraid of from the [Department of Homeland Security (DHS)] reports." In another video, Dyer states, "With DHS blatantly calling patriots, veterans, and constitutionalists a threat, all that I have to say is you’re damn right we're a threat. We're a threat to anyone that endangers our rights and the Constitution of this republic."
February 9, 2010—Gregory Girard of Manchester, Massachusetts, is arrested for weapons charges after police find 20 firearms, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and explosive devices in his home. Girard's wife says that her husband recently told her, "Don't talk to people, shoot them instead." In a January 30 post at a popular website affiliated with the Tea Party movement, Girard stated: "We have been in a state of war and state of emergency of some time for decades uninterupted ... The entire body of these War Powers and 'continuity of gov't' plans render our concept of a Constitutional Republic to be little more than thin veil of civility and justice layered over a monsterous, diabolic dictatorship that would break out of political cage but for Americans vigorously exercising their 2nd Amendment rights ... As it stands today at start of 2010, there is never a time that our gov't would find itself without some excuse, no matter how perverse, as the justification for unleashing their murderous 'War Powers' monster upon the public, in an attempt to subject us to tyranny."
February 13, 2010—An unidentified speaker at an event organized by the Lewis and Clark Tea Party Patriots in Asotin County, Washington, tells the audience, "How many of you have watched the movie "Lonesome Dove"? What happened to Jake when he ran with the wrong crowd? He got hung. And that's what I want to do with [Democratic U.S. Senator] Patty Murray."
February 18, 2010—Joseph Stack of Austin, Texas, flies a single-engine plane into an office building containing nearly 200 IRS employees, killing one and wounding 13. In a suicide note, Stack lays out his grievances with the federal tax agency, stating, "The law 'requires' a signature on the bottom of a tax filing; yet no one can say truthfully that they understand what they are signing; if that's not 'duress' than what is. If this is not the measure of a totalitarian regime, nothing is ... Violence not only is the answer, it is the only answer."
February 19, 2010—Johnny Logan, Jr. of Louisville, Kentucky, is arrested and charged with making threats against the president after his poem titled "The Sniper" is found on the website NaziSpace/NewSaxon.org by the U.S. Secret Service. The poem reads, in part: "As the tyrant enters his cross hairs the breath he takes is deep. His focus is square on the target as he begins to release. A patriot for his people he knows this shot will cost his life. But for his race and their existence it is a small sacrifice. The bullet that he has chambered is one of the purest pride. And the inspiration on the casing reads DIE negro DIE. He breathes out as he pulls the trigger releasing all his hate. And a smile appears upon his face as he seals that monkey's fate. The bullet screams toward its mark bringing with it death. And where there was once a face there is nothing left. Two blood covered agents stare in horror and dismay. Looking down toward the ground where their president now lay."
February 2010—Pvt. 1st Class Lee Pary, an active duty soldier at Fort Drum and member of Oath Keepers, tells a reporter that he and five fellow service members at the Army base are preparing to take on the U.S. government when it declares martial law, and will turn their guns on their fellow soldiers should it become necessary. "I know their tactics," says Pray. "I know how they...work their convoys—if we attack this vehicle, what the others will do ... If the government continues to ignore us, and forces us to engage, I'm willing to fight to the death."
March 2010—The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announces that 2009 saw a dramatic increase in the number of new anti-government "Patriot" groups in the United States. Specifically, the number of Patriot groups jumped from 149 (including 42 militias) to 512 (127 of them militias) in 2009—a 244% jump.
March 2, 2010—FOX News commentator Bill O'Reilly, speaking about the McDonald v. Chicago case before the Supreme Court, declares that plaintiff Otis McDonald's inability to own a handgun in Chicago amounts to "tyranny." Predicting that four justices on the Court will side with the city of Chicago, O'Reilly states, "It's interesting that in America today the far Left that wants the government to call the shots, not the folks. In the past, Right-Wing extremists like Hitler and Mussolini were in the forefront of state control. But with the exception of Burma, today's totalitarians are primarily on the Left."
March 4, 2010—John Patrick Bedell, a California resident, travels to Arlington, Virginia, and opens fire on police officers at the entrance to the Pentagon. Bedell is armed with two semiautomatic firearms and "many [ammunition] magazines." Bedell injures two officers before he is killed by return fire. Reports reveals Bedell to be a Truther who believed that the U.S. government had been taken over by a criminal organization in a 1963 coup. In an Internet posting, he writes, "This organization, like so many murderous governments throughout history, would see the sacrifice of thousands of its citizens, in an event such as the September 11 attacks, as a small cost in order to perpetuate its barbaric control."
March 19-22, 2010—During consideration of health care reform legislation by the U.S. House of Representatives, vandals attack Democratic offices in Pleasant Ridge, Ohio; Wichita, Kansas; Tuscon, Arizona; Niagra Falls, New York; and Rochester, New York. Mike Vanderboegh, the former leader of f the Alabama Constitutional Militia, takes credit for the violence after posting a blog on March 19 that states, "If we break the windows of hundreds, thousands, of Democratic party headquarters across this country, we might just make up enough of them to make defending ourselves at the muzzle of a rifle unnecessary." Several Democratic members receive death threats, including Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who is told snipers will "kill the children of the members who voted YES"; Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI), who receives a message saying, "You're dead; we know where you live; we'll get you"; and Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO), whose staffer is told by a caller, "Better hope I don't run into you in a dark alley with a knife, a club or a gun." House Minority Leader John Boehner, speaking about Rep. Steve Driehaus (D-OH), says he "may be a dead man."
March 21, 2010—As the U.S. House of Representatives enters a final round of debate over a controversial health care reform bill, Conservative blogger Solomon "Solly" Forrell calls for the assassination of President Barack Obama on his Twitter account. In two separate postings, Forrel writes, "ASSASSINATION! America, we survived the #Assassinations of #Lincoln & #Kennedy. We'll surely get over a bullet 2 #BarackObama's head! ... The next #American with a #Clear #Shot should drop #Obama like a bad habit."
March 21, 2010—Russell Laing, 52, is charged with aggravated assault and making terroristic threats after a four-hour standoff with police at his home in McCandless, Pennsylvania. Officers were responding to a 911 call after Laing called a friend and said he couldn't walk. When police responded to the call, Laing pointed an assault rifle at them and cocked the weapon. After Laing was arrested, officers recovered approximately 150 guns and 15,000 rounds of ammunition from Laing's one-bedroom apartment. "I can't explain it. In my 40 years, I've not seen that type of collection," said McCandless Police Chief Gary Anderson.
March 23, 2010—After Mike Troxel of the Lynchburg Tea Party and Nigel Coleman of the Danville Tea Party post the home address of the brother of Rep. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and urge supporters to "drop by," someone deliberately cuts a propane gas line at the house. Rep. Perriello is targeted by the Tea Party activists because of his vote in favor of health care reform. Perriello's brother and his wife have four children under the age of eight.
March 25, 2010—Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who voted for health care reform legislation, receives a package containing white powder and an angry letter telling him to "drop dead ."
March 26, 2010—Rep. Vic Snyder (D-AR), who voted for health care reform legislation, receives a letter stating, "It is apparent that it will take a few assassinations to stop Obamacare. Militia central has selected you for assassination. If we cannot stalk and find you in Washington, D.C., we will get you in Little Rock."
March 26, 2010—NRA Board Member Ted Nugent makes the following comment on FOX News' "Your World" program: “I’m the expert on the health care bill because I kill pigs and a just shot a monster big pig here in Texas and seeing as how this is a pig bill created by pig bureaucrats to help out American pigs … We gotta’ kill the pig.”
March 29, 2010—A Northeast Philadelphia man, Norman Leboon, is charged with threatening the life of Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA). Leboon, 38, is arrested by the FBI after posting a YouTube video in which he referred to Cantor's family and threatened,"bulllets...will be placed in your heads." Leboon made hundreds of YouTube videos with anti-government themes, and threatened others, including President Barack Obama, the Democratic Leadership in Congress, and the Pope. Leboon has a long history of mental illness, but was able to obtain a concealed handgun permit in Pennsylvania, which alarmed his family.
March 29, 2010—Nine members of the MIchigan-based "Hutaree" Christian militia are arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy and attempting to deploy weapons of mass destruction. The group had allegedly plotted to kill a law enforcement officer and then detonate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) during the officer's funeral procession. The group targeted federal officials, members of the law enforcement "brotherhood" and other participants in the "New World Order."
March 30, 2010—Dozens of sitting governors receive letters from an extremist anti-government group called the Guardians of the Free Republics. The letters demand that the governors leave office within three days or "they will be removed" from office. A page on the group's website entitled "Rationale" reads, "For those who are concerned about opening the door to satanic forces, permit me to reassure you. The Guardian Elders deliberated with great sobriety the wisdom of sitting on our hands while the march to World War III continues."
April 1, 2010—CNN commentator Erick Erickson, questioning the legality of the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), makes the following comment on WMAC-AM radio: “We have become, or are becoming, enslaved by the government ... I dare ‘em to try to come throw me in jail. I dare ‘em to. [I’ll] pull out my wife’s shotgun and see how that little ACS twerp likes being scared at the door. They’re not going on my property.”
April 1-20, 2010—Walter Fitzpatrick, a member of American Grand Jury (AGJ), attempts to effect a citizen's arrest on grand jury foreman Gary Pettway at the Monroe County courthouse in Madisonville, Tennessee, and is arrested. Nineteen days later, on the day that Fitzpatrick is scheduled to face trial, Oath Keepers member Darren Huff is pulled over by Tennessee state troopers as he attempts to drive to the courthouse to arrest county officials he calls "domestic enemies of the United States engaged in treason." Huff is armed with a Colt-45 handgun and an AK-47 assault rifle with 300-400 rounds of ammunition. He is indicted on federal charges of traveling in interstate commerce with intent to incite a riot and transporting in commerce a firearm in furtherance of a civil disorder.
April 6, 2010—Authorities charge Charles Alan Wilson of Selah, Washington, with threatening a federal official after Wilson makes several phone calls to the office of Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). Wilson, a concealed handgun permit holder in Washington, was angry about Sen. Murray's vote for health care reform legislation and told her she had "a target on her back." He also told Murray, "Since you are going to put my life at risk, and some bureaucrat is going to determine my health care, your life is at risk, dear ... I hope somebody puts a...bullet between your...eyes."
April 7, 2010—Gregory Lee Giusti, 48, of San Francisco, California, is arrested for making threatening phone calls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Giusti allegedly called Pelosi dozens of times, recited her home address, and told her that if she wanted to see it again, she should drop her support for health care reform legislation. Giusti had a "history of mental health problems" and his mother indicated he was influenced by "Fox News and all of those that are really radical."
April 7, 2010—Brody James Whitaker, 37, is apprehended and arrested on charges including two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing, and attempting to elude. The charges stem from an incident on March 25, 2010 in which police attempted to pull Whitaker over for a traffic violation on I-75 in Sumter County, Florida. Whitaker led officers on a high-speed chase, fired shots at them from a 9mm handgun, and escaped capture. During his arraignment hearing, Whitaker questions the authority of the judge and states, "I am a sovereign. I am not an American citizen."
April 10, 2010—At a "Second Amendment March" organized by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, Martha Dean, the Republican-endorsed candidate for Attorney General in Connecticut, tells those in attendance, "If government is legitimate and truly is the voice of the people, it need never fear the people themselves when they’re armed. Only a government that uses secrecy and force to impose improper laws [to] which the people do not consent need fear the wrath of its law-abiding citizens at the ballot box or, ultimately, with arms … Our right of free speech and to back it up with arms if necessary if our government becomes tyrannical and unjust as King George’s was to the colonists are the most essential of the rights we as Americans have ... I will oppose all efforts to create nonsensical distinctions that are nowhere supported by our constitutions between different types of firearms. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that the government gets the effective firearms and the people the ineffective ones. Nowhere in our Constitution does it say that the government gets the modern firearms and the citizens only get the antiquated ones."
April 13, 2010—Reports surface that state Sen. Randy Brogdon (R-OK) and Rep. Charles Key (R-OK) have met with Oklahoma Tea Party groups to discuss the formation of a new "volunteer militia" to defend against what they see as improprer federal infringements on state sovereignty. Brogdon states that the Founding Fathers "were not referring to a turkey shoot or a quail hunt. They really weren't even talking about us having the ability to protect ourselves against each other. The Second Amendment deals directly with the right of an individual to keep and bear arms to protect themselves from an overreaching federal government." One Tea Party leader involved in these meetings, J.W. Berry of the Tulsa-based OKforTea group, has called for the Militia to "launch a thousand guerrilla attacks on the plans that these people have to ruin us and our country."
April 19, 2010—Pro-gun activists conduct two rallies in the Washington, D.C. area to demonstrate their opposition to an "oppressive, totalitarian government." Among the featured speakers at the events are current and former militia leaders and others with ties to extreme, anti-government groups. The choice of date is significant, as April 19 marks the anniversary of the first shots being fired in the American Revolution at the Battle of Lexington/Concord, the fiery conclusion to the 1993 siege at Waco, and the 1995 bombing of the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City by Timothy McVeigh. At the "Second Amendment March" in the District of Columbia, Larry Pratt, the Executive Director of Gun Owners of America, states, "We're in a war. The other side knows they are at war, because they started it. They are coming for our freedom, for our money, for our kids, for our property. They are coming for everything because they are a bunch of Socialists." Mike Vanderboegh, who made national headlines after taking credit for several instances of vandalism at Democratic offices following votes on health care reform legislation, is the featured speaker at a rally in Fort Hunt National Park in Virginia, where he tells attendees, "Whenever the legislators endeavor to take away and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any further obedience ... This is what the other side doesn’t understand! We are doing backing up! Done! Not one more inch."
May 4, 2010—A questioner at a Heritage Foundation event asks speaker Rep. Eric Cantor the question, "In light of what Obama has done to leave us vulnerable, to cut defense spending, to make us vulnerable to outside enemies, and to slight our allies ... What would he have to do differently to be defined as a domestic enemy?" After smiling and stating that "no one thinks that the president is a domestic enemy," Cantor is booed by several members of the audience.
May 6, 2010—Dr. Christina Jeffrey, a Republican candidate in South Carolina's 4th Congressional District, posts a YouTube video where she holds an AK-47 assault rifle and tells viewers, "Why do we have the Second Amendment? The Second Amendment ensures all of our other rights ... The Second Amendment was placed in the Constitution, plainly, to ensure that our limited government stayed limited and that we would be able to enforce those limitations if need be ... We are a sovereign people. A sovereign people is an armed people."
May 15, 2010—At the National Rifle Association's annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, 2012 Republican presidential nominee hopeful Newt Gingrich tells the audience, "The Second Amendment is not in defense of hunting. It is not in defense of target shooting. It is not in defense of collecting. The Second Amendment is in defense of freedom from the State." He goes on to make the following reference to Thomas Jefferson's "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants" quote: "Anybody who's historically honest has to admit [the Founding Fathers] understood the right to bear arms because they routinely carried arms. These were tough people in a tough time in a tough country doing tough things and the idea that they would allow some D.C. city government or some Washington federal bureaucrat to get between them and their Constitutional rights, they would have said in Jefferson's terms was the legitimate justification for a political revolution in every generation which was what Jefferson thought was inevitable to clean out the corruption, the arrogance, and the obsolenscence that government would invariably have."
May 15, 2010—Referring to a controversial new anti-immigration law in Arizona, FOX News personality Glenn Beck tells the 2010 NRA Convention, "Let's talk a minute about a 'well-regulated militia' and why you might need one because the government isn't doing their job. Let's meet people in Texas, Arizona and California."
May 20, 2010—Jerry Kane, Jr., 45, and his son Joseph Kane, 16, fatally shoot two Arkansas police officers with AK-47 assault rifles during a routine traffic stop on Interstate 40 in West Memphis. The Kanes are killed during an exchange of gunfire with police in a Walmart parking lot 90 minutes later. Jerry Kane, an Ohio resident and anti-government activist, had a long history with police and had recently spent three days in jail for driving with an expired license plate and no seat belt. Kane considered himself a "sovereign citizen" and ran a business that centered on debt-avoidance scams.
May 27, 2010—The Washington Times publishes an editorial claiming that a United Nations treaty seeking to curb the international, illicit trade in smalls arms "would necessarily lead to confication of personal firearms" in the United States. The editorial goes on to say, "Not all insurgencies are bad. As U.S. history shows, one way to get rid of a despotic regime is to rise up against it. That threat is why authoritarian regimes such as Syria, Cuba, Rwanda, Vietnam, Zimbabwe, and Sierra Leone endorse gun control ... Governments are a bigger threat to most people than their neighbors."
May 30, 2010—Sharron Angle, a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator in Nevada, tells the Reno Gazette-Journal that a recent increase in gun sales nationwide "tells me that the nation is arming. What are they arming for if it isn't that they are so distrustful of government? They're afraid they'll have to fight for their liberty in more Second Amendment kinds of ways." These comments echo ones made by Angle in January, when she told conservative radio show talk host Lars Larson, "You know, our Founding Fathers, they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact Thomas Jefferson said it's good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that's not where we're going, but, you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies and saying my goodness what can we do to turn this country around? I'll tell you the first thing we need to do is take [U.S. Senator from Nevada] Harry Reid out."
May 31, 2010—Oath Keeper Rex Nichols, a candidate for sheriff in Montana's Lincoln County, makes reference to federal agents' standoffs at Ruby Ridge in 1992 and Waco in 1993 and promises to keep them out of the county if elected. "I am going to take my deputies and stand in the middle of the road and tell them to get the hell out," says Nichols. "And if they want a war, they got it."
June 2010—Rick Barber, a Tea Party candidate seeking the Republican nomination in Alabama's Second Congressional District, runs a campaign ad in which he dicusses contemporary political issues with America's Founding Fathers. After Barber states "I would impeach him" and rails about the "progressive income tax," the Internal Revenue Service, and health care reform, a Founding Father replies, "Gather your armies." Several Founding Fathers are depicted as being armed with pistols.
June 9, 2010—Addressing the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress, FOX commentator Glenn Beck says, "Shoot me in the head if you try to change our government—I will stand against you. And so will millions of others." Beck also compares American Progressives to Osama bin Laden and claims "they want to overthrow our entire system of government."
June 27, 2010—Rick Barber, a Tea Party candidate seeking the Republican nomination in Alabama's Second Congressional District, runs a campaign ad in which he compares taxation and "the tyrannical health care bill" to slavery and the extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany. "We live in perilous times ... We are all becoming slaves to our government," Barber warns. The "army of voters" depicted in the ad includes individuals who are openly armed with guns. In a follow-up editorial in the Washington Post, Barber makes reference to "the possibility of evil conducted on a grand scale" and states, "Totalitarianism doesn't come all at once ... The road to serfdom is a long one, but I fear that we are well