If, in a vacuum, I told you that a bearded man with his head covered had posted a video on social media calling on his followers to leave their homes with weapons, migrate to a new area, take over government property “as long as necessary” and use violence if confronted by law enforcement, you’d probably assume that I was talking about the latest propaganda video released by Isis, filmed in Iraq or Syria and intended to recruit violent Muslim extremists.
But that exact call was recently issued on Facebook by white rancher Ammon Bundy, the son of Cliven Bundy who also engaged in an armed standoff with law enforcement officials in 2014 and who currently owes the government more than $1m in fees. The younger Bundy’s goal this time was to encourage his fellow American “patriots” to take up arms against the US government in protest of the arson convictions of ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr and his son, Steven.
Since 9/11, more people in America have been killed by rightwing terror attacks than violent jihadists (48 deaths to 45 deaths). America witnessed an “unprecedented rise” in radical rightwing, anti-government groups after the election of President Barack Hussein Obama. Yet, the Department of Homeland Security buried an analyst’s early 2009 warning about the growing threat of rightwing terror groups to focus solely on Muslim extremists, caving to conservative pundits who complained the DHS was demonizing rightwing speech by targeting these groups.