Militias and many other Second Amendment advocates have long argued that their primary desire to own firearms – often, many of them – is rooted in a need to protect themselves and their families from a tyrannical federal government, or to discourage the government from becoming tyrannical in the first place.
But with the mayor of a major U.S. city warning that “tyranny and dictatorship” have already arrived on the streets – in the shape of unidentified federal troops using questionable tactics – militia groups appear reluctant to throw their lot in with protesters. In fact, many have been supporting government action to suppress peaceful demonstrators.
Certainly the scenes in Portland have alarmed civil liberties groups: Heavily armed and camouflaged federal officers, wearing no name tags or other insignia, are on the streets of Portland, Oregon, and have teargassed and arrested seemingly peaceful protesters with little or no provocation. President Donald Trump has said similar forces are coming to other cities – many run by Democrats.
As a scholar of the U.S. domestic militia movement, I have seen in recent months a new divide emerging in these groups.Read More