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Paramilitary Extremism

Paramilitary extremism is on the rise in the United States. The movement is fueled by unbridled hatred and suspicion of the federal government, particularly the ATF (the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms). Although spawned by traditional white supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations, the recent spate of fringe extremist groups have proven to be more militant, subversive, and violence-prone than their predecessors.

Militia groups consider themselves part of a patriot movement in the United States and envision themselves as citizen activists. According to one militia founder, "Those who will rescue the Constitution are an underground army of men who have semiautomatics cached in barrels in the woods . . . men whom society now views as 'outcast,' 'strange' or 'erratic primitives'" (Weiss, 1995, p. 49). Some extremists, incensed at what they consider treason by the U.S. government, renounce their citizenship and rescind their drivers' licenses, Social Security cards, birth certificates, hunting licenses, and automobile license plates. (Suspected Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh was stopped by the police because the car he drove had no license plates.)

Militia group members tend to be fundamentalists, adhering to a literal interpretation of the Constitution. They regard their right to bear arms and their right to privacy as sacred. Government intrusion into their lives is deeply resented. Government corruption is a call to arms. Frequently, resentment against the government starts with some small, personal hurt (e.g., an investigation of back taxes) which prompts the individual to seek comfort in the shared experiences of others. The average militia member craves an ordered society based on traditional governmental values and feels powerless to restore that order: "[They] are undone by an excess of expectation and a dearth of imagination, by the failure of their co...

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Paramilitary Extremism. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 14:42, March 18, 2019, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1681218.html