The pandemic, coupled with Black Lives Matter protests, and incendiary rhetoric from President Trump, has riled up anti-government militias across the US, most evident in the recent foiled plot by militia groups in Michigan, to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Anti-government movements emerged in the 1990's, in response to the government's deadly siege at Ruby Ridge, the Waco standoff with the Branch Davidians, former President Bill Clinton's passage of NAFTA, and two new gun control laws, one of which banned assault weapons. The FBI took these groups more seriously after anti-government extremist Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in 1995, that killed 168 people, including 19 children.
It used to be hard for people with extreme ideologies to find one another. Now, groups across the country are networking, posting hate speech, and planning events on Facebook. Hate speech goes against Facebook policy but the posts are rarely removed.
- Amy Cooter is a senior lecturer in Sociology at Vanderbilt University (@AmyCooter)
- Andrew Marantz is a staff writer for The New Yorker. He writes about technology, social media, and the alt-right. He’s the author of Antisocial: Online Extremists, Techno-Utopians, and the Hijacking of the American Conversation (@andrewmarantz)
- Mark Pitcavage is a historian and senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism. Prior to joining ADL in 2000, Dr. Pitcavage trained law enforcement officers on domestic terrorism in a Justice Department anti-terrorism program created after the Oklahoma City bombing. (@egavactip)
Colin McEnroe and Cat Pastor contributed to this show.