The recent insurrection at the Bundy Ranch in Nevada could be a prelude to more – and more deadly – acts of defiance. That’s becoming frighteningly clear as we receive news of a young couple staging a bloody revolution of their own, an episode that has claimed the lives of two police officers and a Walmart shopper.
I’m sure you know the story by now. Jerad and Amanda Miller walked into a CiCi’s pizza place in Las Vegas last weekend and fatally shot two police officers who were eating lunch. Then shouting that this was a revolution, they went into the Walmart next door and gunned down a man named Joseph Wilcox, a man they had never met and had no reason to want dead.
I know these young people must have been crazy. I know they’re part of a minority, a “lunatic fringe,” etc. etc. And I know they’re no longer a threat. Amanda Miller killed her husband and then herself as the climax to their bloody spree.
But there are others like them out there.
And these crazies are susceptible to the rhetoric that’s spewing from the militant right and from opportunistic media outlets like Fox News and conservative talk radio. You’ll surely remember the Oklahoma City bombing and that 59-year-old guy who walked into a Tennessee church one Sunday back in 2008 and shot up the congregation. He left two dead and several others wounded because, he proclaimed, he hated “liberals.”
And there have been other similar incidents through the years.
I suppose there haven’t been enough of these tragedies to spur government action. Or it may be that the right-wing revolutionaries have such powerful allies behind the scenes that the feds must tread carefully. Or the authorities might be reluctant to provide the movement with more martyrs like those at Ruby Ridge and Waco.
It may be, too, that a black president must be extra careful dealing with white-supremacist rebels.
I have no idea. All I know is that the radical right gets away with murder in America. Literally.
The ideologues and opportunists who incite right-wing violence are never prosecuted – even when their toxic message results in tragedy. The gun-wielding militia members who faced down federal agents at the Bundy ranch still face no charges. Cliven Bundy’s cattle still graze on federal land.
Bundy supporters refuse to leave the area. Armed militia members roam nearby neighborhoods, and the movement has tried (admittedly with little success) to organize mass protests at the ranch and in Washington DC.
When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid criticized the militants, he received death threats and has had to increase his security.
It’s no wonder that right-wing crazies like the Millers are becoming emboldened and are acting out their fantasies. They perceive the federal government as weak and on the run. They really believe, as the Millers proclaimed, that their revolution is about to begin.
Pray that they are wrong.