Peril from ‘Patriots’

Los Angeles Times, March 8, 2013

There are, in increasingly frightening numbers, cells of angry men in the United States preparing for combat with the U.S. government. They are usually heavily armed, blinded by an intractable hatred, often motivated by religious zeal.

They’re not jihadists. They are white, right-wing Americans, nearly all with an obsessive attachment to guns, who may represent a greater danger to the lives of American civilians than international terrorists.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, which has been tracking hate groups for 30 years, released its latest report on the growth of these organizations this week. Its findings were, to say the least, alarming. The center divides its subjects into militias, which are mostly groups of weekend warriors who train for combat against imaginary foes; hate groups, which target minorities; and “patriot” groups, whose beef is with the U.S. government. {snip}

Since then, the patriot movement has been growing at a blistering pace, especially following the election of President Obama in 2008, according to the report. From just 149 groups in 2008, the number jumped to 512 in 2009 and has been rising sharply since. In 2012, it hit 1,360. {snip}

Patriot groups are motivated by a host of anti-government attitudes, but their primary focus is guns. {snip}

{snip} These groups should be closely monitored, with resources adequate to the task, even if it means shifting some homeland security money from the hunt for foreign terrorists.

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