You Say You Want a Revolution?

As a great debate raged in the United States over whether or not the Taliban should be classified as a “terrorist organization,” Jarad and Amanda Miller walked into a pizzeria in Las Vegas and murdered two policemen who were having lunch. They went on to kill a third bystander and then to kill themselves before the police arrived.

The Millers had long been associated with the anti-government fringe. They apparently attempted to join the supporters who gathered two months ago at the Cliven Bundy ranch in Nevada, fully armed and ready to take on the Bureau of Land Management. Just one week ago, Jarad Miller wrote this on his Facebook wall:

“We can hope for peace. We must, however, prepare for war. We face an enemy that is not only well funded, but who believe they fight for freedom and justice. Those of us who know the truth and dare speak it, know that the enemy we face are indeed our brothers. Even though they share the same masters as we all do. They fail to recognize the chains that bind them. To stop this oppression, I fear, can only be accomplished with bloodshed.”–Jarad Miller, one week before killing two police officers and one bystander in Las Vegas

So, yeah, there is some connection between his political beliefs and the fact that he murdered three people in cold blood.

We used to monitor exactly these kinds of activities. However, in 2009, the Department, under pressure from Congress, dismantled its domestic terrorism unit after its leader, Daryl Johnson, wrote a report on the activity of right-wing, anti-government extremists that was leaked to the press.

The report caused conservative pundits and politicians to accuse the administration of persecuting patriotic Americans instead of going after Muslim terrorists who constituted the only real threat to the United States.

These militia groups, abetted by gun-rights activists, have sold the country on a completely ahistorical and constitutionally incoherent reading of the Second Amendment.
Michael Austin
Johnson, a conservative Republican, ended up under the bus, as he describes in his recent book. And now, instead of monitoring people like Jarad and Amanda Miller as domestic terrorist threats, we celebrate their patriotism. Real security threats wear turbans and have long beards, you see.

There are a lot of appropriate responses to yesterday’s shooting in Nevada, but surprise is not one of them. People like Jarad and Amanda Miller have been telling us for years that the government has become tyrannical and that it is the duty of true patriots to overthrow it.

These militia groups, abetted by gun-rights activists, have sold the country on a completely ahistorical and constitutionally incoherent reading of the Second Amendment as a right to take up arms against the government. They have announced their intentions as clearly as any terrorist group ever has.

So we don’t get to be surprised that some of them have started to do the sorts of things that they have been saying all along needed to be done. And those who have fanned the flame of this extreme anti-government rhetoric — for ratings, for political gain, or for their own entertainment while sitting in their parents’ basement trolling the Internet — bear some of the blame.

This is what the revolution they have been calling for looks like. It is ugly, cruel, and pointless. And there is no reason to believe it will not happen again.