Anti-Christ groups protecting innocent civilians, minutemen arming themselves against the Mexican invasion, Americans provoking treason to save the country; even though these groups sound like superhero vigilantes working to protect their country and are taking patriotism to a new level the reality is that they are not.  In fact, many are guilty of violating Criminal Syndicalism statue that makes it a crime to “advocate the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform” and to assemble a group for such purposes.  With this definition adopted then these do good vigilante groups would be classified as domestic terrorist and their actions or intended actions punishable.

            One of the most recent examples of a group planning to inflict harm in order to protect the greater good would be with the Hutaree group from Michigan.  They operate under this biblical quote; John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.  Their mission statement is: “We believe that one day, as prophecy says, there will be an Anti-Christ. All Christians must know this and prepare, just as Christ commanded…[quotes of scripture]…This clearly states the reason for the training and preparation of the Hutaree.”  They believe Javier Solana, former Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and of the Western European Union, may be the Antichrist.  The Hutaree were arrested in March for plotting to kill policemen then to plant IEDs (Improvised explosive devices) at the funerals in order to kill more police officers.  They believe that the government is housing the anti-Christ and the only way to save the world from him is to take out the entire government from the bottom up.  Not only was the group perpetuating violence but when the media found out about the arrest and the FBI watch on the group, the framing of the Hutaree started to take control of the news.  FOX incorporated the Hutaree leader’s ex-fiancé saying that the men were strong supporters of Ron Paul, even though the Senator had nothing to do with the group nor endorsed them.  Still, FOX went with this angle and made it sound like the Hutaree was Ron Paul’s militia.  Brian William’s NBC Dateline show used framing to their advantage by showing that these radical groups were sprouting up because of the right wing’s complete opposition to anything democratic (aka the Health Care Bill).  With this intentional, immediate use of framing by the major news networks it was difficult to know what the real purpose of the Hutaree was and whether or not they were an actual domestic terrorist group.  As the news died down and arrests were made it was easier to see that even though no charges have been filed in regards to domestic terrorism, the Hutaree fit our definition of what that constitutes. 

            Another new group to pop up out of the shadows that supports and advocates taking justice into their own hands are the “Three Percenters.”  This group was formed over the internet in 2008 and is led by cofounder Mike  Vanderboegh.  They claim that during the American Revolution “the active forces in the field against the King’s tyranny never amounted to more than 3% of the colonists.” Now, they are rallying 3% of the population to oppose government and nurturing a desire within Americans to rebel against the government just like our founding fathers did.  They claim that they represent at least 3% of American gun owners which is somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 million people.  One of the most eye opening factors facing these vigilante groups that are inflicting fear and the threat of harm on people is that they make up a much larger number of people than we think.  Many more Americans than we are comfortable with are part of this new wave of Domestic Terrorism.  This is why now, more than ever, we need to come to a consensus on a universal definition, or else violence will start breaking out and there won’t be any legal grounds to prosecute these groups. 

            One of the most violent groups that potentially falls under this new terrorism definition is the State of Arizona’s Minutemen.  This group is highly dangerous because they are armed and protected under Arizona’s lose gun laws.  It was founded by Chris Simcox.  Its mission is to get legislators to recognize the need to protect the border and enforce existing immigration laws by providing the Border Patrol a service, that is  manning the border and reporting incidents to law enforcement.  These men and women believe they are protecting Arizona from the Mexico invasion and even though they were recently disbanded, they have grown in popularity after the passing of bill sb1070. 

Now, the question is since there is no universal definition of domestic terrorism, what constitutes as domestic terrorism?  Is it death threats and smashed windows or Russian cocktails and real bullets or how about refried bean swastikas smeared on the Capital windows?  According to our definition of terrorism, “premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by subnational groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience”, it qualifies because the illegal immigrants are unarmed and noncombatant.  However, if it is obvious enough that this group could be prosecuted as domestic terrorist, then why haven’t they?  This reverts back to the stigma that people have about the word “terrorism.”  They picture turbans and the Middle East and suicide bombers, no one wants to think a white man in southern Arizona carrying a side arm is a potential terrorist, yet people like that continue to inflict fear and the promise of harm on many people.  The mantra of President Carmen Mercer is, “Locked, Loaded and Ready!”  Even though this attitude is thought to be necessary by some, the fact is that it is terrifying.  These people abuse the second amendment and are put themselves and their peers in danger because of their ignorance and lack of understanding.  Arizonans could turn into domestic terrorists because of their hatred for illegal immigrants and the blame that has been assigned to that group.  The violence is inevitable at this point and with Arizona’s State Legislature passing laws to deregulate gun laws it is only a matter of time until Arizona embodies a ‘shoot or be shot’ mentality. 

            Terrorism takes up the majority of the news on a daily basis, especially since September 11th.  Even though the viewers have the power of the remote and can change the channel at anytime, the reality is that even when they switch the channel, terrorism will still be on.  Terrorism affects people all over the world and in every country, yet Americans have yet to see how increasingly visible domestic terrorism has become.  It is frightening how these revolutionary groups are taking justice into their own hands and it will only get worse as controversial issues come to a head. These groups claim to protect the innocent but are really perpetuating an unnecessary cycle of violence and in the end, violence accomplishes nothing.  It all goes back to ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter,’ these groups are fighting for a freedom they feel American are denied.    

Works Cited

American Civil Liberties Union. (2002, December 6). How the USA Patriot Act Redefines Domestic              Terrorism. Retrieved from http://www.aclu.org/national-security/how-usa-patriot-act-     redefines-domestic-terrorism.

Hutaree. Retrieved from http://www.hutaree.com/.

Jim Gilchrist’s Minute Man Project. (2010). Immigration Headline News. Retrieved from              http://www.minutemanproject.com/.

National Citizens Neighborhood Watch. (2010). Mission. Retrieved from    http://www.minutemanhq.com/hq/.

New York Times. (2010, March 31). Hutaree. Retrieved from             http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/h/hutaree/index.html.

Terrorism and the Press. (2010, April 1). Definition of Terrorism. Retrieved from    http://terrpress.personal.asu.edu/?p=632.

Training in the Raining. (2009, May 29). The Hutaree Channel. [Video File]. Retrieved from             http://www.youtube.com/user/hutaree#p/a/u/1/M-0kSdDZIgM.

United States District Court. Eastern District of Michigan. (2010, March 23). United States of       America vs. David Brian Stonewall. Retrieved from        http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/29/stone.pdf