Timothy McVeigh: The Oklahoma City Bomber

Militias and McVeigh
FAQs About Militias
Extremist Chat on the Internet
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Frequently Asked Questions About Militias

1. Was Timothy McVeigh connected to the militia movement?

No, he was not. He was not really connected to any particular movement. On the "hate" side, he obviously loved "The Turner Diaries" by William Pierce and read The Spotlight, the publication of the extremist and anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby. On the "anti-government" side, he attended a couple of militia meetings and half-heartedly attempted to start a militia group in Arizona, which came to nothing. He never really joined anything, either as a card-carrying member or even an explicit endorsement. This is also one reason why there was little support for McVeigh, simply because no one viewed him as one of "their own."

2. What are the most active militia groups today?

The Kentucky State Militia is one of the most active militia groups. Other active groups include the Ohio Unorganized Militia Assistance and Advisory Committee, the two factions of the Michigan Militia, the Texas Unified Field Forces, the California High Desert Militia.

3. How many militia groups are there?

ADL does not track the number of militia groups. It does not give a particularly good measurement of activity, both because a "group" could be three people or a hundred, and because on the extreme right, extremists are constantly forming and breaking apart groups. It is also difficult to judge what constitutes a group. If the Michigan Militia has supporters in every county, is that one group, or one group for each county? These issues make tracking the number of militia groups extremely difficult.

4. How many people are in the militia movement in the United States?

It is impossible to arrive at anything other than a rough estimate, and that is probably somewhere under 10,000, with a larger number of sympathizers.

5. How many people are in the whole extreme right-wing fringe?

Again, this is difficult to gauge. There could be as many as 200,000 hardcore members and up to one million sympathizers, to some degree.

6. Why are some white supremacists supporting Timothy McVeigh?

Those who do seem to see him as some sort of "white Aryan warrior" or lone wolf who was not afraid to stand up and take action.

7. Are militia groups dangerous?

From its beginnings, a large amount of criminal activity has been associated with the militia movement. A number of members have been arrested on weapons, explosives, or conspiracy charges, among others. These arrests continue to the current day. So physically the movement remains dangerous, although obviously no one can be painted as a would-be terrorist simply because they belong to a militia group.

There are dangers other than direct physical dangers, of course. The militia movement is a very anti-government movement which advocates taking the law (and a very particular vision of the law, at that) into its own hands. It is not only heavily armed, but it preaches an extreme anti-government rhetoric filled with wild conspiracy theories. In addition, although the main emphasis of the militia movement is anti-government in nature, a number of people in the movement are also white supremacists and/or anti-Semites (esp. Christian Identity), and this is obviously an area of concern.

8. What is the future of the militia movement?

The militia movement, though less numerous and active than half a decade ago, does not seem to be in danger of actually disappearing anytime soon. Some future tragedy or incident could act as a rallying cry for the militia movement, just as the standoffs at Ruby Ridge and Waco helped form the movement in the first place.

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