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The Washington Independent

Protesting Too Much

My friend Steve Gordon posts Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment, a nine-page

Elisa Mueller
News
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Apr 14, 2009

My friend Steve Gordon posts “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment,” a nine-page Department of Homeland Security document about, well, right-wing extremism.

DHS/I&A assesses that lone wolves and small terrorist cells embracing violent rightwing extremist ideology are the most dangerous domestic terrorism threat in the United States.

“There’s an absence of hard data over just how many people that we’re talking about, here,” huffs Moe Lane, one of many conservative bloggers to attack the report. Indeed, one could read this DHS report and imagine that a deranged 22-year-old man in, let’s say, Pittsburgh, could marinate in eliminationist rhetoric and murder, to pick a number at random, three police officers. And that’s just crazy.

Seriously, though, I struggle to find anything wrong in a close — not a willfully obtuse — reading of the report. I’m nine days out of a huge machine gun show in Kentucky. I know that all of the gun stuff in this report is true. For example:

Open source reporting of wartime ammunition shortages has likely spurred rightwing extremists—as well as law-abiding Americans—to make bulk purchases of ammunition.  These shortages have increased the cost of ammunition, further exacerbating rightwing extremist paranoia and leading to further stockpiling activity.  Both rightwing extremists and law-abiding citizens share a belief that rising crime rates attributed to a slumping economy make the purchase of legitimate firearms a wise move at this time.

I’ve had conversations with people who said all of this, and we have data on increased gun sales.

Michelle Malkin is annoyed by the report.

[It] demonizes the very Americans who will be protesting in the thousands on Wednesday for the nationwide Tax Day Tea Party.

Well, it doesn’t. But what about the Tea Parties? Here’s an ad for PajamasTV’s Tea Party show:

Image has not been found. URL: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3538/3440926404_1eb41f1c5c.jpg?v=0

Here’s the widget from TaxDayTeaParty:

Image has not been found. URL: http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3018/3440115837_0c43b414f6.jpg?v=0

Both promotions suggest that the Tea Parties are the start, or tipping point, of some kind of “revolution.” Do I actually think the protesters want to overthrow the government? No, of course not. But if they want to use this rhetoric, they can’t really be too angry when the government frets about a rising tide of violent government overthrow rhetoric. If the Tea Parties are just a bunch of harmless cosplay nonsense directed at beating Democrats in the 2010 elections, they can say so.

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Elisa Mueller | Elisa Mueller was born in Kansas City, Missouri, to a mother who taught reading and a father who taught film. As a result, she spent an excessive amount of her childhood reading books and watching movies. She went to the University of Kansas for college, where she earned bachelor's degrees in English and journalism. She moved to New York City and worked for Entertainment Weekly magazine for ten years, visiting film sets all over the world.

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