A Collapse: 8-Civil War/Revolution

Initially Written in 2016

I initially wrote this piece over a year ago and as I got it ready for posting I was continually struck by how eerily prescient this seems to be.  In many ways, civil unrest is the most likely collapse scenario and even harder to predict.  Given the current state of American politics and the sorry choices presented by both major parties this year I fear that this is a real possibility in the near future unless the politurds in Washington show more leadership ability than they have recently.  This post is also hugely long for a blog post.

Some of the following is an excerpt from one of the books I am working on as a follow up to The Simple Survival Smart Book  and some are additions to that.

This post verges on the political and regardless of how hard I try my conclusions and predictions are inevitably colored by my own political beliefs and convictions.  I just wanted to make that clear up front and encourage those that disagree with me to debate where and why they think I am wrong in the comments section.

Note that I am deliberately excluding from the below discussions what I call the conspiracy theory wackos, these are Truthers, Birthers, the AGW crowd, and the rest of the tinfoil hat brigade who can fall on either side of the political spectrum.  Folks that are only dangerous individually and who I personally think suffer from some sort of mental illness because they obviously cannot accept facts, do not understand logic, and therefore have to conjure up boogiemen to satisfy themselves.  These are the same type of people that were condemning housewives as witches in 17th century Salem, MA or denouncing their neighbors to Torquemada’s henchmen in 15th century Spain; they don’t see demons around every corner anymore, instead they see aliens, government agents, or toadies from the Illuminati, Trilateral, Bilderberg, Global Corporations, The food and/or medical industries, Big Pharma, etc. I personally refuse to debate these people as they have an uncanny ability to ignore and even subvert rational thought.

Between the Occupy Wall Street crowd, BLM, Sovereign Citizen types, illegal immigration advocates, far-left anarchists, eco-terror groups, and ethnic/racial grievance mongers, there are plenty of angry folks walking the streets of America and indeed, the Western World.  Many groups with similar points of view exist throughout the Western world (some examples include the PEGIDA protesters and AfD party in Germany, UKIP in the UK, and the Front National in France) .  Groups that believe the current system is broken and see no real way to effect change from within the system even though some are trying.  I find it ironic that so many people at protests wear the Guy Fawkes masks made famous by the movie V for Vendetta because Guy Fawkes was at best a stooge and potential regicide and at worst an unredeemed anarchist depending upon which history you read.  Fawkes sought to change the order of things through violence, it very well could happen again within our lifetime.

Lots of people like tossing around this line from Thomas Jefferson made during the debate on the ratification of the US Constitution: The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”  That line is pretty striking but it is somewhat out of context.  Better context can be gained from knowing what he said before and after uttering that sentence.  In full it is:

We have had 13. states independant 11. years. There has been one rebellion. That comes to one rebellion in a century and a hA.L.F. for each state. What country ever existed a century and a half without a rebellion? And what country can preserve it’s liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms. The remedy is to set them right as to facts, pardon and pacify them. What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is it’s natural manure. Our Convention has been too much impressed by the insurrection of Massachusets: and in the spur of the moment they are setting up a kite to keep the hen yard in order. I hope in god this article will be rectified before the new Constitution is accepted.”(sic)

The rebellion referenced in the quote is Shay’s Rebellion of 1786-1787, which occurred in Massachusetts.  Shay’s Rebellion was started ostensibly because of elites economically and legally oppressing the yeoman farmers of western Massachusetts.  It was not much of a rebellion as far as rebellions go, with less than 10 dead for no result.  It probably affected how strong the Federal government was made when the Constitution was written but even that is debated. What it did though, was set a precedent.

What that means for today is that a spirit of rebellion persists in America.  That spirit has existed throughout American history from the anti-tax Whiskey rebellion of 1791, the states’ rights and slaveholders of the US Civil War, Bootleggers of Prohibition, Ant-Vietnam War Protesters of the 60’s, to the modern movements of Occupy Wall Street, Sovereign Citizen types, illegal immigrant advocates, and ethnic/racial grievance mongers.  It is one of these four groups that will precipitate any Civil War in the US.  My bet for the instigators would be on Occupy Wall Street/Leftist types or Sovereign Citizen types activists.  In either case it will be people on the fringe of either movement that cause a break that sucks more moderate people in.  To clarify, Personally, I fall into the Sovereign Citizen crowd but don’t think conditions are quite bad enough to warrant armed insurrection at this point although that point may indeed be someday reached.

Since I don’t care if I piss off some lefties we will start with them.  Specifically, we will start with

OWS Logo
OWS Logo

Occupy Wall Street, or just OWS.  OWS started in 2011 with protests in New York City against the supposed excesses of investment bank, bankers, and essentially business in general.  From the occupywallstreet.org website about page OWS is defined as: Occupy Wall Street is a people-powered movement that began on September 17, 2011 in Liberty Square in Manhattan’s Financial District, and has spread to over 100 cities in the United States and actions in over 1,500 cities globally. #ows is fighting back against the corrosive power of major banks and multinational corporations over the democratic process, and the role of Wall Street in creating an economic collapse that has caused the greatest recession in generations. The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to fight back against the richest 1% of people that are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.”  OWS advocates love to claim that they represent the voice of the 99% who don’t have the economic power to effect change.  Ironically enough, most OWS protesters were college kids whose parents were putting them through school.  Even the Huffington Post, not considered a bastion of conservative thought called them out on that lie finding that OWS protesters were “overwhelmingly white, highly educated and employed.”  That finding comes from a report prepared by the Joseph F. Murphy Institute for Worker Education and Labor Studies at the City University of New York.[1]  The report itself can be found at this URL: http://sps.cuny.edu/filestore/1/5/7/1_a05051d2117901d/1571_92f562221b8041e.pdf and makes pretty interesting and at times entertaining reading as it is clear that the report authors are unhappy about the results they found from their survey.  I gathered that they expected different results from the ones they got.

The OWS crowd is not the real danger on the left though, that honor goes to the far left anarchists and ecoterrorists/advocates.  These are groups like Anonymous, Earth First!, and the Animal Liberation Front (A.L.F.).  These are groups that are way out there on a limb but believe in their base ideologies with the fervency and faith of the worst religious fanatics in history.  The hard core of these groups have the same asceticism and intensity of religious zealots as well.  They live lives devoted to righting the wrongs that only they can truly perceive.  These fanatics often exist among more moderate groups and since they are unwilling to compromise they have a tendency to lead more moderate groups inexorably down the path to more and more radical acts.  The core of these types of folks end up in fringe groups like those mentioned above.  These are groups that follow the dictates of whatever it is they think there higher calling is.  The danger in such groups is not that they themselves can start a Civil War, but that their actions cause more moderate people to start drawing line that they will not cross and thus narrowing the room for societal compromise.  On their own, Anonymous, Earth First!, A.L.F., and similar groups are problems for law enforcement, it is only when they influence larger groups as they did during the OWS phenomenon that they become dangerous to society at large.

Let’s look at my big three lefty groups Anonymous, Earth First!, and A.L.F..  Anonymous is a very

Guy Fawkes Mask used by Anonymous supporters
Guy Fawkes Mask used by Anonymous supporters

shadowy hacker group that engages in brazen computer attacks against any groups or individuals that attract their ire.  They seem mostly to go after companies that want to protect copyrighted material but in the past several years have branched out into taking more political type targets such as government agencies they feel infringe on information freedom.  Anonymous was prominent in supporting OWS protests as well as supporting rebels in many Arab nations in the “Arab Spring” of 2011.  For a long time anonymous was active in supporting Wikileaks but withdrew their support in 2012 when WIkileaks erected a paywall to access the information they hosted.[2]

The danger with anonymous is that they will get so upset that they execute a cyberattack on some computer controlled infrastructure that causes real physical damage instead of just shutting down a website or causing financial loss.  Once they demonstrate such a capability they become very dangerous and their generally left-leaning politics makes them attractive to other leftists groups who may seek to coordinate attack with them.  The capabilities anonymous brings to any left inspired insurrection make them a force multiplier in military speak but not necessarily a power in their own right.  It is kind of hard to really control anything when all you have is a computer.  It may reduce capabilities to remove machines from the network, but it will not kill us.  Anonymous and their capabilities are probably with a whole other article that would rapidly get very technical on the ubiquity of data, the risks associated with the increasing networking of aspects of basic services, and why groups such as anonymous are potentially so dangerous.

EF fistEarth First! Is one of those wacky, far out environmentalist groups that get very little play in the media because I suspect that the media or at least most journalists, largely agree with them.  If you want to see their wackiness for yourself Just visit the About page maintained at earthfirst.org.  They engage in random acts of civil disobedience, sabotage, and admittedly terror aimed at attempting to force companies and individuals to respect and treat the earth’s environment as Earth First! thinks it should be treated.  Some of the first actions by Earth First! were tree sit-ins in the Pacific northwest to stop logging, this was followed by tree spiking.  Tree spiking is the act of putting long nails into random trees in logging areas, the hope is that when a logger goes to cut down the spiked tree the chainsaw will catch on the spike  hopefully breaking the saw blade.  Tree spiking has the potential to injure or kill loggers and is a felony in the US.  They have went on committed more acts of sabotage such as vandalism at ski resorts,

One thing about Earth First! is that they are a small group, probably only a few hundred to thousand members in the whole US.  That makes them hard to track and they have also instituted a cell type structure meaning that even if one cell is busted the rest are relatively secure.  Such a structure is a necessity if you are going to go on the kind of crime spree they have.  They have also continued to radicalize since their founding and now spout not just an environmental line but increasingly use anarchist rhetoric about the “man”, corporatism, and the modern system in general.  The continued descent of Earth First! into further radicalism is worrisome because the fit into a wider anarchist subculture that increasingly see humanity itself as a problem and it is not a leap to think they could one day decide to fix the root of the problem, mankind itself.  Even scarier is that most radical environmentalists are not stupid people and they have the skills to cook up some serious stuff if they so desire.   It is entirely conceivable that they could come up with and execute a Daybreak style scenario as John Barnes posits in his Daybreak books that disables modern technology through the use of nano-tech and engineered biologicals.

ALF LogoThe Animal Liberation Front (A.L.F.) is another far left group that engages in illegal, terroristic type activities in pursuit of an agenda.  Their agenda is animal rights and I have often thought of them as the dark side of PETA.  They have an interesting website where all their wackiness is on display for the world to see.  Their mission and objective statements say just about everything anybody needs to know about them:

The ALF Mission Statement: To effectively allocate resources (time and money) to end the “property” status of nonhuman animals.  The Objective of the Mission: To abolish institutionalized animal exploitation because it assumes that animals are property.”

A.L.F. engages in animal rights related terrorist and disruptive activities ranging from vandalizing store windows to releasing animals on farms, breaking into medical research labs, and targeting people working in industries that work with animals in the extreme.  They push the idea that an animal has just as many, if not more rights than does a human being.  These are the meat is murder types who take that position to its logical extreme.  They even have a section on their website where they proudly list all the illegal activities that there members worldwide engage in that they call ALF Actions.  These are not the people who see a pig and think bacon, they see a pig and see a kindred spirit in need of protection and of course they are the only ones who want to provide that protection.

Since the original writing of this post the Black Lives Matter (BLM) crowd has gained increasing visibility. This started as protests against the police shooting in Ferguson, Missouri of a young black man named Michael Brown in August, 2014 in circumstances which were eventually ruled justified by a local grand jury. After Ferguson, the movement gained speed and reach with just about every officer involved shooting involving blacks in the country precipitated at times massive protests. Of note were protests and near riots in NYC and Baltimore in 2015. Most times the shootings have been ruled legitimate uses of force and when they are not the officers are generally charged. That being said, I have been led to wonder at times if the prosecution of policemen for on-duty conduct in the wake of the BLM movement have not been politically motivated. At times the protests have turned violent themselves and police response has been muted due to fears of unfair treatment at the hands of politicians if they use force to quell violent protests.

Personally, I have not managed to wrap my mind around the whole BLM movement. It seems to me that many of the problems in the black community are to a degree self-inflicted. That is not to say that there are not societal and historical reasons for blacks to be underprivileged, there are. It does mean that many, but not all, in the black community have taken the easy way out of their problems by blaming them on others and refusing to take responsibility for fixing it themselves. I particularly blame the so-called leaders of the black community such as Ta-neshi Coates, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton for this. Instead of taking the high road they have traveled down the road of demanding redress instead of fixing problems.

As for the potential for violence, BLM protests have shown again and again that they can and do turn violent. So far, it has been formless violence, rioting, looting, and such, but the potential for organized violence is there. What makes that potential worse are the racial and anti-government elements of the BLM rhetoric. Essentially, the BLM movement is anti-white and anti-government and if it does turn violent in an organized manner there is a potential for large portions of many American cities to become very dangerous places indeed and it is next to impossible to predict an exact even that will set them off.

That does it for the most radical groups on the left, but what about radicals on the right?  They exist as well.  Groups such as the OWS, Earth First!, and ALF are just the radical fringe on the left of the political spectrum.  It is that radical fringe that will drag the moderates into a Civil War though.  Just remember, John Brown was a radical abolitionist who decided the political system was not working fast enough and took matters into his own hands.  The raid on Harpers Ferry in 1859 was not the spark that started the civil war, but his actions caused the hardline slave-owners to determine that they would not compromise in the debate about the right to own slaves and it was this hardening of opinion that eventually led to secession and Civil War in 1861.  Just because radical groups are small does not mean they cannot have effects all out of proportion to the size of the group, especially if they pick an issue that many feel can be galvanizing.

That was just a taste of the types of groups on the radical left.  The left has no monopoly on radicalism though, there are plenty of radicals on the right side of the political spectrum as well and in some ways they are potentially even more dangerous.  While plenty of people might get upset about over-logging, CO2 emissions, water pollution, and animal testing, not many are upset enough to go to war over these issues.  That is not the case with some of the issues on the right.  There are plenty of people willing to go to war because they feel their freedoms and liberties are violated on a regular basis and that is a feeling that is just getting stronger as the Government and voting public ignore these concerns.  Some of these concerns even cross political boundaries such as that of the militarization of local police.  The main issues that motivate and galvanize the political right however, are mainly political with a dash of cultural/ethical/moral thrown in. These are issues such as government spending, government infringement on Constitutional liberties and freedoms, welfare spending, religious exclusion, parental rights, gay marriage, and of course the atom bomb of wedge issues; abortion.   There is a smidgen of racism on the right in American politics but it is on the fringe of the right and disowned by the vastly overwhelming majority of conservatives and so should rightly be ignored but commentators on the left never is an opportunity to claim the right is full of racist bigots.

This section is probably going to raise a few people’s hackles if you have gotten this far in reading, but an objective appraisal means that even those of us on the right have to acknowledge there are some strange types on the conservative bench also.  I won’t even pretend that I understand the motivation of some groups, be they left or right so wherever I can I will use their own words as examples.  The radicals on the right, and they are there, although contrary to the media they are not everywhere.  The common target for left-wing media ire is the TEA Party, which is anything but radical.  The TEA Party is all about government accountability and fiscal restraint although to hear the media and left talk they are a bunch of revolutionaries foaming at the mouth to tear the system down and rebuild a pre-civil war slave state while simultaneously deporting or expelling everybody not of European stock in the country.  What the TEA Party really wants is for government to get out of citizens daily lives and let them go about living how they choose so long as they do not hurt others.  It really is that simple.  That means lower taxes, less bureaucracy, and less regulation of everything from business to what flag you fly in front of your house.

the-tea-party-political-party-2There is a fringe of nominal TEA Party adherents that in my opinion use the TEA Party as a convenient label.  These are the Sovereign Citizen types and Ron Paul libertarians that think just about any government is too much and it almost appears as if they manufacture grievance out of thin air.  Some of these guys are just as volatile as any A.L.F. member or Eartfirster! And just as liable to violence.

It is important to note that most rightist extremists generally don’t organize themselves in groups the way the lefty’s do.  Most are just ideological movements or a shared philosophy among individuals that exchange information through newsletters, websites, and magazines.  There are probably not leaders for any of them that everyone listens too although there are some that come close. Some of the right extremist groups are the Sovereign Citizen/Posse Comitatus Movement, Christian Identity,, Oathkeepers/III%, and of course that perennial bugbear of the left, the Militia Movement.

Sovereign_Citizen_Movement_LogoSovereign Citizen/Posse Comitatus Movement first as that ideology probably has the largest number of adherents of any group on the right.  I am sure we all remember the standoff at the Cliven Bundy Ranch in Nevada in the April of 2014.  The facts in the case were ignored by both sides in the media storm that followed the BLM’s admittedly heavy handed tactics to get his cattle off of Federal land.  Here is a succinct summary from the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an article about an accident that occurred 2 days after the stand off ended: “The rancher’s federal grazing permit was canceled 20 years ago after Bundy stopped paying his grazing fees in a dispute over the BLM’s new range restrictions meant to protect the desert tortoise. The land since has been closed to grazing, but Bundy kept his livestock on the range, and the government kept assessing fees and penalties that now exceed $1 million.”  Bundy has espoused some views that fit into both the Sovereign Citizen/Posse Comitatus Movement repertoire.  Of course there was also, and more recently, the takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the winter of 2015/2016 in whivh one of Bundy’s sons was onvolved and was resolved for the most part without violence except for the police killing of Robert Finicum, which predictably immediately gave rise to cries of murder although I am not certain even yet that the full facts have come out or will ever come out.

Bundy StandoffWhat is a Sovereign Citizen?  At root, a Sovereign Citizen is someone who rejects the authority of the federal government specifically, and most state governments as well.  A Sovereign Citizen believes they are sovereign in and unto themselves and thus beholden to no earthly law.  Forbes did a really good piece exploring what Sovereign Citizenship is a few years ago.  At root the Sovereign Citizen movement is an anti-authority and especially anti-tax movement.  Sovereign Citizens don’t often get violent, what they do instead is clog up the courts with petty and frivolous lawsuits, engage in tax fraud, money counterfeiting, wacky diplomatic immunity cases, and such.  Most Sovereign Citizens engage in what I like to call lawfare.  That is they attempt to use the laws of the US in ways they were not supposed to be used and often in direct contradiction to the text of the law itself.  They engage in some creative interpretation of the law and case precedent.  You know you have stumbled across a Sovereign Citizen website when they throw in a citation to some obscure precedent from state, local, or federal law just about every other line.  Check out this explanation of Sovereign Citizenship at civil-liberties.com for an example.  While I normally disparage the Southern Policy Law Center as a bunch of liberal hacks, they did put together a very good special issue detailing Sovereign Citizens and the methods and beliefs they hold.

Sovereign Citizens are zealots and they have a tendency to get violent when confronted by police.  Hell, it has happened again recently.  A Sovereign Citizen was shot in Alabama on 30 December, 2014 while struggling with police after refusing to show ID when trying to turn in a stray to an animal shelter.  That being said, there is no one central leader or even group of leaders of the Sovereign Citizen movement.  It is a potpourri of individuals and some groups that share a basic set of beliefs.  The Sovereign Citizen can be scary and dangerous as an individual but they pose no more than an individual threat.  What they could do though is multiply any collapse by seizing the opportunity to make their rants real and contribute to the chaos around them.

Another movement associated with the political right is the Christian Identity movement.  I say they are associated with the right but no true conservative will have anything to do with them.  It is a fringe movement that like other fringe movements attracts the hopeless and helpless in search of meaning who have found it nowhere else.  Christian Identity is one such group.  The movement is essentially a racist perversion of Christian beliefs.  From the Kingdom Identity church of Arkansas’ website they self-describe as “Politically Incorrect Christian Identity outreach ministry to God’s chosen race (true Israel, the White, European peoples.”  How that can be any clearer I don’t have a clue.  The FBI produced an informative fact sheet about the Christian Identity movement in 1999 that is still available on their archives page.conquer1

There have been some Christian Identity attacks or incidents in the past but virtually all were racially motivated.  The Christian Identity movement is more ideological and about its adherents finding salvation than it is apocalyptic.  I can see them taking advantage of a collapse but not acting to begin one.  In fact, the odiousness of their beliefs to the vast majority of people would rapidly make them outcasts in a collapse situation.  When the SHTF what matters is trustworthiness and usefulness to the group, not the color of a person’s skin.  Christian Identity types are out there but are not a threat unless you are the wrong ethnicity and they catch you in a dark alley one night.

I am personally ambiguous about the Oathkeepers/III%. I am not sure whether they are seditious and harmless, misguided, or just plain silly. First off, who and what are the Oathkeepers/III%? They have a website at http://www.Oathkeepers/III%.org. The short version of who they are is: “Military, Veterans, and peace officers who will honor their oaths to defend the Constitution, will NOT “just follow orders,” will stand for liberty, and will save the Republic, so help us God. Our motto is: “Not on Our Watch!”” They further have a list of 10 orders that people who identify as Oathkeepers/III% will refuse to obey. The list is below.

  1. We will NOT obey orders to disarm the American people.
  2. We will NOT obey orders to conduct warrantless searches of the American people
  3. We will NOT obey orders to detain American citizens as “unlawful enemy combatants” or to subject them to military tribunal.
  4. We will NOT obey orders to impose martial law or a “state of emergency” on a state.
  5. We will NOT obey orders to invade and subjugate any state that asserts its sovereignty.
  6. We will NOT obey any order to blockade American cities, thus turning them into giant concentration camps.
  7. We will NOT obey any order to force American citizens into any form of detention camps under any pretext.
  8. We will NOT obey orders to assist or support the use of any foreign troops on U.S. soil against the American people to “keep the peace” or to “maintain control.”
  9. We will NOT obey any orders to confiscate the property of the American people, including food and other essential supplies.
  10. We will NOT obey any orders which infringe on the right of the people to free speech, to peaceably assemble, and to petition their government for a redress of grievances.

OathKeepersTheir list of illegal orders is actually pretty good and pretty much covers all the bases. Now here is what gets me about the Oathkeepers/III% and why I have problems with them. I am not sure about police but I know that the Oath of Enlistment in the armed forces according to Title 10 U.S. Code § 502 specifically requires only that lawful orders be followed making the Oathkeepers/III% promise at a minimum redundant and at best borderline seditious.

I guess my biggest problem with the Oathkeepers/III% is the tinfoil hat paranoia of its proponents. As if they think LEOs, military, and vets are unthinking sheep that would gladly mow down fellow citizens if ordered to just as easily as SS thugs rounded up and murdered Jews in World War II. As a vet myself I take personal offense at the notion that the groups or type of person the Oathkeepers/III% are targeted at are considered so base and ignorant that they must be reminded their job is to protect civilians, not murder them. Not only are we so stupid, they are encouraging us to take an additional oath affirming what we have already sworn.

My last and biggest problem is the rebellious nature of the whole Oathkeepers/III% project. The whole point of the oath seems to be to incite rebellion amongst the military and police. The entirety of the concept behind the Oathkeepers/III% is that our local and national leaders are deceitful, spiteful, viscous, and vengeful despots just looking for an excuse to really bring the hammer down and enact their tyrannical fantasies on an unsuspecting, compliant, and stupid public. If that is the case then no number of people swearing an oath that there is bridge too far can save the Republic. As to whether Oathkeepers/III% are a potential fifth column or an expression of freedom, I think that is up to the individual.

One thing is clear, people who take Oathkeepers/III% pledge probably violate their oaths of service when they put conditions on that service, many of which are explicit or implicit in the very oath they swore upon their enlistment or commissioning.

militia-movementFinally, we come to the last group/groups, the Militia Movement.  Anyone alive and politically aware in the 90’s remembers the outpouring of angst about the Militia Movement.  This was especially true after the 1995 OKC bombing by Timothy McVeigh.  The rise of the movement was a result of the incidents at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas in the early 90’s.  In neither incident were the Feds entirely at fault for what happened.  The Feds made some stupid decisions but there was plenty of stupidity to go around on both sides.

Simplified, at Ruby Ridge, Idaho Randy Weaver was not a saint, he was wanted for federal firearms violations and his son reacted violently to the US Marshal’s that came to arrest him.  This caused a stand-off that led to a sniper opening fire on the cabin where Weaver and the rest of his family were holed up.  The Feds were too quick to use deadly force, but so were Weaver and his family.

The short version of Waco.  David Koresh was a cult leader, his cult was located in a compound just outside Waco.  The cult was a millennial doomsday cult that broke off from the Seventh Day Adventists known as the Branch Davidians.  The group was involved in both legal and illegal activities to include gunrunning and selling guns t gun shows.  It was the gun running that got the ATF interested in the group.  In February, 1993 the ATF attempted to serve a search warrant the Waco compound, they were fired upon by cult members as they approached the door.  The ATF tried to storm the compound but were driven off.  The fighting on this first day was caught on video by a local news station and broadcast live.  After the firefight at the compound the Feds laid siege to the compound.  The siege ended 50 days later when the whole complex burned to the ground, apparently set afire by smoke grenades used as the feds attempted to assault the compound again.  In the aftermath, 76 cult members including David Koresh, the cult leader and 21 children died in the fire.

Those were two of the defining moments that inspired the militia’s of the 90’s, I could not even begin to tell you what they are today.  Fact is that militias are on the rise again.  Whether you buy the line from the left that a black president, illegal immigration, economic downturn, and a huge racist component are to blame is irrelevant.  What is a militia and what is the general goal of such groups.?

Most, if not all, militia groups claim legitimacy because of colonial and evolutionary war concepts of the militia being every able-bodied male in the population.  They claim further legitimacy based on Title 10 U.S. Code § 311, which is the militia law.  It states that:

 “(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are—

(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia.”

That is all fine as far as it goes and there is actually nothing wrong with belonging to a militia.

The issue comes when it gets down to ideology.  Nobody gets involved in a militia because they see no threat and need something to do on the weekends.  Many folks feel the country is not going in the right direction and think the Federal Government is out to stomp on their rights and grind them into pieces in the process.  How else do you explain all the talk about FEMA camps, Impending Martial Law, Chemtrails, Truthers, Population Control, Birthers, the North American Union, New World Order, Bilderberg, Trilateral, you name it.  There are plenty of conspiracy theories out there so pick your poison.  Militia ideology comes in many shapes, forms and sizes from constitutional militia, racist based (black & white supremacists), state sovereignty, states’ rights, Christian Patriots, and more.  All share a common belief that something is not right with the USA and the way it is currently run.  The overwhelming majority just get together and train on military tactics and weapons, share books and videos, and generally reinforce each other’s beliefs.

Concept sketch of the Citadel, a militia based community currently being planned for construction in Idaho
Concept sketch of the Citadel, a militia based community currently being planned for construction in Idaho

What do militias do?  They generally meet and engage in military training and plan for contingencies in which they think they will be needed.  This defines most communal prepper groups as well as far as government is concerned.  Some groups even go so far as to build compounds and camps in remote locations to use as secure locations should the need arise.  What is of most concern to law enforcement is that militias also have a tendency to stockpile large caches of weapons and sometimes illegal explosives.  They represent a challenge to government authority, which is their whole purpose after all.  The danger from such groups is that they will start to think change is not happening soon enough and then seek to kick start or implement the change they desire by themselves using the training and skills they have developed in their meetings to instigate something.

Mostly, I consider that the likelihood of Civil War/Revolution hangs on governmental actions and the average person’s reaction to them.  It will take a goodly percentage, likely between 30%-50% of the population being outraged enough to do something to make the prospect of Civil War/Revolution viable.  That will take a lot of pushing in the decadent state of modern American society.  I just don’t see the political class being stupid enough to pass some grand gesture type of infringement on rights to provoke such a reaction.  In all probability, they will continue as they have throughout the history of the Republic and nickel and dime chip away at rights and liberties until we wake up one day and realize we have none and w further do not have the means to fight back and restore our lost liberty.  They might even be slick enough to convince people that such loss of liberty is in their best interest.  That is how the USA Patriot Act got passed in the wake of 9/11 after all.  Good despots convince people that oppression is good for them, just look at history.

Now that I have all of that covered, mostly very briefly, what do I see the likelihood of a new Civil War/Revolution being?  ? I actually do think the chances of Civil War/Revolution have risen in the year since I initially wrote this. I do however; see the various avenues that it could begin multiplying.  Here are my cloudy crystal ball predictions.

Short-term-the next 5 years – roughly 1% chance of a Civil War/Revolution occurring

Medium-term-in 5-15 years – roughly 3% chance of a Civil War/Revolution occurring, this changes greatly depending on who wins the election this fall and how radical they are once they get into office.

Long-term-more than 15 years from now – roughly 10% chance of a Civil War/Revolution occurring