Skip to main content

Amateur Hour in an Open Carry State

It seems we in Michigan have just narrowly averted a “civil war leading to societal collapse.”

The idiots who are now looking at life in prison had this cool idea. Dude, let’s kidnap the governor, haul her off to Wisconsin somewhere, and put her on trial for treason.  

We may never know how far these guys were prepared to go, or what crimes the governor is supposed to have committed — probably something about masks. What we do know is that they took it far enough to be swept up by the FBI, and their futures are now on hold indefinitely.

Our Attorney General, Dana Nessel, is pissed off. She found herself on The Rachel Maddow Show for the second time in a week, having just busted Jacob Wohl on a variety of fraud charges stemming from a heinous scheme to scare Black people out of voting by mail. She was already busy.

But this time she was there to tell us about the Wolverine Watchmen, one of the self-styled “militias” that attract the very best people to our open carry state. Nessel has no shortage of statutes she can indict on, and I’m guessing she’ll go for all of them.

The Watchmen are boys with toys. Like much of their subculture, they like to shoot things and pretend they’re real soldiers.

Some actually have military training, while others just play too much Call of Duty. Some have camo fatigues that clash with those Boogaloo-boy Hawaiian shirts. Some post videos where they practice speed-loading assault rifles. As a group, they give testosterone a bad name.

They hang out with like-minded souls on social media, where they bitch about the government and the crushing burden of being white in America.

They fantasize about civil insurrection, complete with live ammunition and civilian casualties. Their fantasies tend to follow well-worn movie cliches. A few dedicated freedom fighters launch a few well-timed “liberation” operations. This somehow awakens the previously complacent population to the tyranny of a government that denies their god-given right to share viruses freely. That population, now duly awakened, spontaneously rises up and does something — it’s not clear exactly what. But it’s loud.

And when it’s all over, everyone celebrates their new life in “a society that followed the US Bill of Rights and where they could be self-sufficient.”

These deft intellectual underpinnings aside, you have to wonder about the wisdom of sharing such fantasies on a public platform, even an encrypted one. Does it not occur to them that their few thousand “friends” are bound to include a smattering of feds? Do they not grasp that what they’re discussing is real crimes that carry real punishments?

I’m guessing a sort of herd mentality sets in, as it tends to do on social media — especially if drugs and hormones are involved. Talk gets looser. Guys get ideas. They start getting specific. They brag about weapons they might or might not own, or can maybe borrow from their uncle. One guy knows another guy whose cousin rigged explosives in Kandahar.

They talk about who they hate, who they’d like to “cap,” and how it would feel to actually do it. They know for fact that this is totally justifiable on constitutional grounds, and the many legal scholars in the group are quick to agree.

One thing leads to another. They have long nursed an unhealthy obsession with our governor, Gretchen Whitmer, who scolds them about social distancing, disses the president, and, as I’ve previously written, brings out the worst in their prolonged adolescence.

Next thing you know they’re planning her abduction. They surveil her summer house. They hold secret meetings in a Grand Rapids suburb, where they confiscate all cellphones. They pull up a carpet to reveal a trapdoor leading to the cellar, where they conduct lively discussions that run afoul of multiple state and federal conspiracy laws.

We know this, because every word is recorded, thanks to a robust law enforcement presence at most of these meetings.

Between the undercover guys and the confidential informants, the FBI could have run the entire operation themselves — if they’d been interested in kidnapping a governor. Instead, they busted these bozos well short of the target date, seizing a boatload of evidence that will have prosecutors rolling their eyes and trying hard not to laugh. And these guys won’t be hiring top-of-the-line defense lawyers, either.

Which is my way of saying we got lucky this time. These guys aren’t ISIS, Mossad, or even a B-list drug cartel. If they’d been a real terrorist cell, they wouldn’t just be taking cell phones at the door. They’d have real security with real accountability. No social media presence. No meeting in person. All information on a need-to-know basis. And the FBI would have no hint of their existence.

“Militia” is just a stupid word for white terrorist wannabes. These guys are amateurs. They aren’t recruiting suicide bombers. They aren’t executing informers. They aren’t insisting that new members kill someone before they’re accepted. They aren’t lusting for an afterlife in paradise.

One of these days, the real pros could show up, and it won’t be pretty. But these guys are just rebels without a clue. And now they get to sit out their lives, two or three to a cell, where they’ll fit right in with their peer group. 

As revolutionaries go, they’re mostly just revolting.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Because Things Just Aren’t Scary Enough

There’s been considerable buzz in the last week around an op-ed column in the Washington Post that purports to scare the shit out of you, but is a must-read nonetheless. It was written by Robert Kagan, an establishment policy expert, long associated with Republican administrations. Now divorced from the GOP, he has become an outspoken never-Trumper. The piece is both a dead-on analysis of our current moment in history and a dire warning for the very near future. While I don’t subscribe to all its assumptions, I find its basic premise disturbingly plausible, maybe even likely. The essay envisions a dystopian nightmare enveloping the 2024 presidential election, the culmination of a constitutional crisis that is clearly already in motion. As things stand now, Kagan says, the groundwork is almost in place for Trump to steal that election. Kagan insists that Trump will indeed be the candidate, that he will challenge the results if they don’t fall his way, and that this time he has

I’d Rather Not Be So Partisan

Since moving to my modest suburb outside Detroit, my interest in local politics has been marginal. I personally don’t have much skin in the game — no school-age children, no business interests to advocate for, no history in the community. I’m generally content to pay my taxes and enjoy the benefits of living in a relatively well-run town. Even so, as a citizen I feel responsible for knowing something about the people who run things. So while I don’t follow the workings of the city council, I do pay attention when its members are running for office, which happens in off-year elections every two years.  So this is the year, and, as expected, the front yards are abloom with lawn signs. I get to vote for three of the six candidates. The unspoken rule is that the election process is kept strictly non-partisan, so these candidates do not publicly divulge their party affiliations. Which almost makes sense. After all, the upkeep of our roads, sewers, power lines and other infrastructur

Inflation and the Supply Chain are Joined at the Hip

Back in the early eighties, inflation was on everyone’s mind. Prices on everything had been going up since the Vietnam War, and the country was caught in a vicious spiral of people and businesses getting rocked by higher prices, expecting them to go even higher, and raising prices in anticipation of them going still higher. Rinse and repeat. The expectation of higher prices drove prices higher. It was an eye-opening experience. The candy bar that cost a dime when I was a kid was suddenly 75 cents. My first mortgage carried a 12-percent interest rate adjustable every year, which meant it could’ve escalated to 18 percent in six years, a terrifying prospect. Luckily, interest rates peaked before that could happen, and the so-called Great Inflation of the seventies and eighties finally subsided. But ever since that time, big business has been obsessively paranoid about anything that smacks of inflation. Inflation cuts into their precious purchasing power. It degrades the value of t