Written by Nolan Alisago (News Writer)
Fourteen men, encouraged by the words of President Trump, have been arrested and charged in a plot to violently overthrow two state governments. The men had intended to kidnap and murder both the Governor of Virginia and Michigan until the plot was foiled by FBI informants.
The men involved in the plot are members or associates of two private militia groups, the Wolverine Watchman and the Michigan III%ers. Private militia’s are explicitly illegal in every state. The supreme court has interpreted the section of the second amendment guaranteeing the right to form a militia to mean only national and state militia’s, and thus every state has individually created laws outlawing private militias. The illegal militia groups the men belonged to were outraged over Covid-19 restrictions the governors had made in their states, and wished to act as vigilante judges and executioners. They wanted to punish the governors for a false belief that they had made constitutional violations that warranted death. The men have been charged with a collection of twenty federal charges, ranging from gang membership to conspiracy to commit kidnapping. One of the men who had been charged with suspicion of material support in an act of terrorism for using night vision goggles to surveil the Michigan Governor’s home, has been released on a $10,000 dollar bail (despite the Michigan atorney general requesting a $1,000,000 bail). On top of their kidnapping plot, they also had plans to storm the capital and harm government officials. This would have been the second time the men had taken guns to the capital as they had been a part of the group that had previously marched on the Michigan capital in the early days of quarantine, something the president commended at the time. The group of men had been training to not only kidnap the governor, but fight in the “Boogaloo,” a fanciful belief that a second racially motivated civil war would happen after this November’s election. While members not involved in the plot claim the militia’s are libertarian spaces and are not white supremacist, it appears the groups are atleast sympathetic enough for the spaces to become breeding grounds for such beliefs.
The connection between right wing terrorists and the president has been a looming cloud on the Trump administration since the Charlottesville rally in 2017. The president’s violent rhetoric and failure to produce a clear condemnation of white supremacy without contradiction, dog whistles, deflecting, or minimizing has often been a source of confidence for these types of terrorists. Joe Biden has taken to blaming the president for the terrorist plot after the president tweeted “Liberate Michigan” and said that “She [Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer] wants to be a tyrant.” The president has been widely admonished for his behavior surrounding white supremacist and right wing terrorist groups, but he continues to deny any responsibility in bolstering their behavior. With the FBI saying that right wing militias pose a significant threat to this year’s election, combined with the president refusing to say whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power, the aftermath of a Biden victory could lead to spikes in terrorist attacks by militia groups. The president has repeatedly tried to sew doubt in the legitimacy and security of the election, behavior the had previously led to voter intimidation by rightwing forces. Now, that doubt is contributing to many avenues for a potential red victory in a contested election. While rebuplican strategists continue to push through Amy Conner Barret so that they may have a super majority to solve election disputes, right wing militias have taken to more direct and outright violent methods. Officials worry the plot in Michigan is only the beginning of the chaos to come from this election.
President Donald Trump hasn’t been the only one receiving criticism for their rhetoric. The media has received a fair amount of heat for their characterization of the groups as well. Many argue that despite wanting to commit acts of terrorism, the groups are not widely labeled terrorist, claiming this is because the groups are white. While private militia organizations conspire to commit acts of terror, they receive little if any federal condemnation, with the president focusing instead on fear mongering over the decentralized ideologues of Antifa. As the threat of right wing terror becomes ever more prominent with the potential ambiguity in November’s immediate election results, a fierce condemnation by the president of compulsive violent right wing groups could mean saving lives.