This past week right wing hate groups were brought to the forefront of media attention when 9 members of the christian militia, Hutaree, were arrested and indicted of plotting to kill a Michigan police officer, and then bomb the funeral procession in an attempt to kill as many police officers as possible.
To them the federal government is the embodiment of the anti-christ, any and all government officials the foot-soldiers of the new evil world order. These guys are grade A crazy, but unfortunately they are not alone.
The SPLC is careful to make this distinction about “patriot” groups:
“Patriot groups define themselves as opposed to the “New World Order,” engage in groundless conspiracy theorizing, or advocate or adhere to extreme antigovernment doctrines. Listing here does not imply that the groups themselves advocate or engage in violence or other criminal activities, or are racist.”
I also want to make the distinction that these groups, these militias, are perfectly legal under the 2nd amendment to the constitution:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
So we have some data here. Right wing groups have grown drastically since 2008. The SPLC has also kept track of 73 instances of violent crimes, often including murder, committed by people connected to such right-wing groups since 1995 when Timothy McVeigh slaughtered 168 people in the Oklahoma City Federal building.
What could be the reason for the jump from 2008 to 2009? The SPLC believes that it might be linked to the election of a liberal black man. I’m inclined to agree since they point out that the number of active groups declined during the presidency of conservative George W. Bush; but this is not proof of cause and effect.
Secondly, why right wing hate groups? Where are the left wing hate groups? I did some looking around, and they are much harder to find than right wing hate groups. The nearest I could find was the Weather Underground, but they fell apart after 1973. Some might also claim that organizations like Greenpeace and PETA are left wing hate groups, but I would argue that they are not the same thing. Sure they have members that sometimes commit crimes like vandalism and destruction of property, but we don’t see Greenpeace or PETA creating organization wide plans to murder people that we find in right-wing groups.
I would think that the reason right-wing groups tend to be more violent is because they are often made up of angry white men with extreme religious and political views, whereas left wing groups are made up of angry tree-hugging hippies.