Sorry for the length, but I didn't have time to write a short blog.

Friday, March 8, 2013

A Scary Fear

Refuse to live in fear. Spreading fears is the foundation of propaganda.


I have a favor to ask.  Those of you who post the "fear" type of memes, statements and other propaganda put out by several organizations, please stop.  Consider what you are doing.  The fear mongering really needs to stop because there are people who really do live a life of fear that there are black helicopters and drones waiting to crush any opposition.  They believe in the armies of bad guys waiting for them to let their guard down no matter how much reason there may be in less extreme voices.

And it's getting worse...

A truly scary statistic is the rise of the number of hate and extreme groups that are now in existence. We are not talking extreme external terrorists but the homegrown kind.  They are not just groups like neo-Nazis, the Klan, and skin heads but also paramilitary, neo-Confederates, black separatists,  border vigilantes and a host of anti-government groups.  The Southern Poverty Law Center has since the early 70's kept track of these groups.  They currently believe that there are now 1,018 such groups across the country.  That number is growing.

According to the Center these numbers have increased by 69 percent since 2001. The surge they attribute to a number of factors, all driven by fear.  They are afraid of the ailing economy.  They are afraid of foreign terrorists. They are afraid of the first African-American President. They are afraid of the growing number of non-white citizens and immigrants.  They are afraid because  public figures and media figures are using their fears to legitimize their own platforms.

Why do we need to worry? Because to continue spreading these memes and fear statements like calling the President names or personally attacking one group or person because the point of view is different is adding fuel to this fear.  The last time there was a rise in the numbers of these groups was in the 90's.  What caused these number to drop suddenly? A single act.

Two of these folks living in fear of the changes during that time were named Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols, and they would kill 168 and injure 680 others in 1995 by bombing the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. It was, before September 11, the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil.   They were driven by fear of the government. They along with a friend who would later testify against them, Michael Fortier, fed on each others fears.  They opposed all gun control and shared an interest in survivalism.  Two events seem to be the spark: The Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas and Ruby Ridge.  Shortly before the event, the Southern Poverty Law Center sent a letter warning of the rise these extremist groups and the possible danger.

The Center has again sent such a warning out.  It is scary that since the waning of these groups following the 1995 bombing in Oklahoma that they have increased in such numbers.  The dissemination of fear has got to stop because of one simple idea...there is more than likely another Tim McVeigh waiting in the wings.  Don't believe me?  The rise of such groups went from 149 in 2008 to an all time high of 1274 in 2011. An increase of 755 percent in just three years.  Consider these years for a moment.  The first African American President.  The rise of the neo-conservatives as a power and the extremist media.  The fire of fear was fed.  Change is always hard and often feared by many.

In 2009, a leaked FBI report details the events leading to the death of  James Cummings who was shot by his wife in Belfast, Maine. Cummings, a white supremacist, was upset about the election of Barrack Obama.  Driven by his fear, he had begun to build a dirty bomb which he planned to set off near the White House.  He had even experimented with taking banned substances through check points and would take his wife and daughter with him as cover. Scarier still is the dirty bomb was very nearly complete and would have probably been functional.

In 2004,  there is the case of William Krar and Judith Bruey in Noonday, Texas who had assembled enough chemicals to create a cyanide gas bomb that would kill everyone in a small civic center. Authorities also discovered nearly half a million rounds of ammunition, sixty pipe bombs, machine guns, remote controlled bombs disguised as briefcases, and pamphlets on how to make cyanide bombs as well as anti-Semitic, anti-Black, and anti-government books.  While the target  is unknown, it is clear Krar had plans having also been caught sending fake identifications to a New Jersey militia group. Krar's problems were not new. He had been arrested in 1985 for impersonating a law enforcement officer.

The point is there are these folks roaming around, and while most are not likely to act, with the rise in groups there becomes more and more a feeling of support for the extreme view point.  All I am asking is that we try to moderate what we post.  A match to fear will only spawn more fear.