It wasn't surprising when Alaska militia leader Francis "Schafer" Cox was arrested for plotting to kidnap or kill police officers and judges. Nor was it surprising to see that Cox's influence extended to Congressional Republicans. Extremist anti-government loons make up both the militia movement and the GOP Congressional Delegation these days (not to mention a few man-bites-dog, Blue Dogs), so sadly we've come to the point in our politics where we actually have a Congressional sponsor of an Alaskan Timothy McVeigh.
To be sure, Alaska Congressman Don Young, an NRA board member, signed Cox's "Letter of Declaration" that spelled out Cox's radical agenda for violent insurrection against the US government. It included the typical right-wing hatred for law-enforcement officers who put themselves in harm's way to protect us (in this case, a plot to kill police officers and judges) that is the bread & butter of the National Rifle Association and its far-right travelers in the militia, open carry, and other "movements" these days.
This all has led David Neiwert, who has literally written the book on this subject (3 books to be exact), as well as receiving the National Press Club Award for Distinguished Online Journalism in 2000, for a domestic-terrorism series he produced for MSNBC.com, to ask an apropos question: "Does Rep. Don Young need to repeat his oath to the Constitution"? If you think he should, as Neiwert seems to conclude and makes a whole lot of sense to me, then luckily for Young, he has somewhere to take his penitence.
The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence has put together a petition calling Young and NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre to renounce calls for the violent overthrow of the United States government:
To be delivered to: Wayne LaPierre, CEO of the National Rifle Association and Rep. Don Young AK-1
"Rep. Don Young of Alaska, a member of the NRA's board, recently signed a "Letter of Declaration" calling for insurrection against the US government. We call on him to immediately re-swear his oath to our Constitution and repudiate the letter. Further, we call on the NRA's Wayne LaPierre to publicly repudiate the letter and Young's signing of it."
On March 10, 2011, five members of the Second Amendment Task Force/Alaska Peacemakers Militia were arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder and kidnapping. The group, led by Francis "Schaeffer" Cox, 27, had stockpiled firearms and munitions and was planning to kill multiple Alaska State Troopers and a federal judge. Cox had previously stated that "our government is sliding into tyranny, a police state" and boasted that law enforcement authorities "know we've got 'em outmanned and outgunned."
Unfortunately, it was all too clear that Francis "Schaeffer" Cox would progress to violence. As the Southern Poverty Law Center reported:
Cox, who self-identifies as a "sovereign citizen," believes that the government has no authority over him or his fellow self-declared sovereigns. Made up of an estimated 300,000 participants, the sprawling sovereign citizens subculture advocates the idea that the sovereigns themselves -- not judges, juries, law enforcement or elected officials -- get to decide which laws to obey and which to ignore. Most don't think they should have to pay taxes.
Sovereign citizens have long targeted judges and law enforcement officers Just this past May 20, two law enforcement officers were killed and two others were wounded by a father-son pair of sovereign citizens in West Memphis, Ark. In 1995 in Ohio, a sovereign named Michael Hill pulled a gun on an officer during a traffic stop. Hill was killed. In 1997, New Hampshire extremist Carl Drega shot dead two officers and two civilians, and wounded another three officers before being killed himself. In that same year in Idaho, when brothers Doug and Craig Broderick were pulled over for failing to signal, they killed one officer and wounded another before being killed themselves in a violent gun battle.
This type of extremism, sadly, is an ever-present aspect of our political culture. It's time for the NRA to stop playing footsie with domestic terrorists, America-haters and those who would kill cops and judges, just to pad their bottom line and keep LaPierre's salary from falling below $1.28 million per year.
There is simply no medium ground on aiding and abetting domestic terrorists. To quote George W. Bush, whose words actually ring true every once in a long while, Rep. Young and Mr. LaPierre, "either you are with us or you are with the terrorists."