Following up on my post last night about the militia raids in Michigan, I see that Dave Niewert, a certified expert in militia culture, has weighed in. He compares the "mainstream" Michigan Militia (which threw these "Christian" militia men under the bus yesterday) to the Washington State militia that he covered:
The WSM was a lot like the Michigan Militia in that it liked to sell itself as a civic-minded group whose main purpose was to defend citizens from government oppression and to perform various civic function. I'll never forget John Pitner, the WSM's "commander," telling reporters outside a meeting hall in Mount Vernon in January 1996 that he and his members had been heavily involved in sandbagging efforts to combat the floods that had hit local rivers the week before.
That was how they behaved when out in public, trying to recruit mainstream conservatives to their cause. Then we discovered that what they were saying in private was quite a different thing altogether.
Pitner and six of his comrades were arrested in July 1996 and hit with a variety of charges, most notably for making pipe bombs. At the trial, it emerged that the FBI had videotaped many of the militiamen's meetings, and so both the trial audience and the jury got to hear Pitner and his cohorts planning various acts of violence, including bombing a local reporter's home and a nearby train tunnel.
That's why that poster I featured of their little family picnic with the kids and the guns is so creepy. If they listen to Fox and Rush, as most of these wingnuts do, they probably even believe that they are mainstream. In fact, they are violent radicals, but that seems to be all the "rage" these days in certain quarters.