Militias Take Aim in Virginia Debunked
by Lewis Loflin
Note from the webmaster: after reader concerns and double checking sources shows that the below article is simply far-left propaganda. Most of the claims don't check out, so the my comments are in RED. I did not write this article and leave it with comments to clarify the record. The simple fact is the vast majority of "patriots" or "militia" or whatever name their leftist' detractors give them are not racists or crazies. I was allowed myself to join their meetings in Tennessee and they had no idea of my positions on the issue or this website. So I write from direct observation on the issue.
Even more disheartening is the slander campaign against conservative Christians by mostly leftist, non-Jewish Jews. This is the name given a Dennis Prager for those Jews that have rejected the Jewish and substituted any number of "isms", then act as secular religious fanatics themselves. Worse real Jews that do believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph they represent this sickness as being Judaism, thus fermenting antisemitism in the process. Their continuing efforts to equate Christians in general with Christian Identity is just utter dishonesty. These non-Jewish Jews revile religious Jews almost as much as Christians.
This nonsense here was put out by Anti-Defamation League circa 1997. This is the kind of propaganda that drove Federal agents to excess during the Clinton presidency. (Randy Weaver and Waco.) The ADL was directly behind much of this unfounded hysteria and should be called to account for it. here I will concentrate on their claims in Virginia. The same non-Jewish Jews (often far-left of center) are behind the ACLU, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ADL, etc. But for all their support of far-left causes, the greatest antisemitism is the political left, as we shall see.
Norman Olson, a regional militia commander in
northern Michigan, has envisioned violence erupting if present
government policies continue. Olson, a Baptist minister who owns a
gun shop, declared: "We're talking about a situation where armed
conflict may be inevitable if the country doesn't turn around."
(Emphasis added.) Most often the central issue of the militants has
been the legality of guns themselves.
Webmaster: the fact is in the almost 20 years this "militia" has been around neither the organization nor Mr. Olsen have never been convicted or been involved in any form of criminal activity. The organization declined in 1990s after Y2K failed to produce anything for either side in the debate.
In fact the Michigan Militia was cleared of all alleged involvement with Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols who acted alone in the Oklahoma City Bombing. In the FBI report Project Megiddo carried out under President Clinton stated just that. The study was named after site of the great end-times battle in the Bible and those groups that attached some significance to 2000 and Y2K.
As far as "militias' go to quote the report "are characterized by factionalism and disunity" and "have adopted a fragmented, leaderless structure..." To further quote, "Clearly, the worst act of domestic terrorism in United States history was perpetrated by merely two individuals: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols." Yet it's odd that two people can be defined as a "militia" while armed street gangs numbering sometimes in the hundreds or even thousands are routinely ignored.
Thus there's no real national "militia" movement even exists in this country and far-left smear organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies any group or individuals as "racists" or "white supremacists" based merely on political beliefs or opposition to far-left causes. The same political groups ignore non-white racist race-based groups such as La Raza (the race in Spanish), the NAACP, etc. but attack any white that stands for the very same thing they do as racist. The claims of "hater," "racist," etc. are used to silence public debate on issues the far left can't win. Their definition of "hater" is not recognized by law enforcement or the FBI.
Clearly, their deeper suspicions and terrors should be of concern: Is their militant cause merely the alleged gun-toting "right" of citizens? -- or is it the "turning around" of the U.S. itself from what the militants see as the "treasonous" direction of the federal government's present policies? What are the policies these people see as "treason?"
Webmaster: Yet when this article was written circa 1997, every prediction the far left made has failed to materialize. The same left-wing groups continue to make excuses for every Muslim terrorist attack, stoning, honor killing, etc. committed by Muslims, but smear thousands of Americans if a single individual misfit gets a parking ticket.
Most of these people hide behind the Bible or wave flags to cover the simple fact they are religious and racial bigots. According to Kenneth Stern, author of A Force Upon the Plain: The American Militia Movement and the Politics of Hate (Simon and Schuster, 1996):
Christian Patriotism teaches that the United States is the biblical promised land, promised to white/Aryan/Nordic types. It preaches that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are divinely inspired and have to be treated like Scripture. The amendments to the Constitution following the first ten, such as equality under the law, votes for blacks and women, freeing the slaves, et cetera, are seen as "man-made" and a derogation of the "original" or "organic" Constitution.
Borrowing heavily from the political program of the 1970s and 1980s far-right group Posse Comitatus, Christian Patriots frequently file documents announcing that they are "sovereign citizens" with no linkage to the "corporal entity" known as the United States of America, that evil government that elects its senators directly (Seventeenth Amendment) and otherwise pays attention to those troubling post-Bill of Rights amendments. Accused Oklahoma City-bomber Terry Nichols and Militia of Montana leader John Trochmann made such "sovereign citizen" pronouncements.
The Freemen group in its self-proclaimed "Just Us" township in Montana also subscribed to Christian Patriot beliefs. They were not holed up because they simply did not want to pay their taxes. For Christian Patriots, America is promised to the white race, and by opposing and severing connections to an evil government that tolerates equal rights for minorities, white Americans can reclaim their birthright.
Dean Compton, for example, is a California militia leader who said that "The Mayflower Compact was by Christians and for Christians, and when they said 'God Bless America' they didn't mean 'God Bless Gandhi.'" How different is this from Pat Robertson, who said on his "The 700 Club" program, "The Constitution of the United States... is a marvelous document for self-government by Christian people. But the minute you turn the document into the hands of non-Christians and atheistic people they can use it to destroy the very foundation of our society."
The idea that certain Americans have a greater claim on the country's traditions and rights than others becomes more attractive in a time of uncertainty, when people fear that "our" society is under attack. Both the Religious Right and the militias have grown since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Our old, comfortable "evil empire" upon which we could project our worst fears, no longer exists. For those who believe in Christian supremacy and those who believe in white supremacy, the enemy has become internal: the United States government. This shared new enemy has helped create ideological images which empowers both the Religious Right and the far right.
Webmaster: These self-hating leftist phony Jews hide behind charges of antisemitism or racism every time somebody questions their motives. Since Mr. Stern wrote this in 1997 not a single prediction he made has come true. Again as the FBI report shows there's no central leader and organization among so-called "militias" of any type, so nobody speaks for any of them. Yet Mr. Stern insists a few individuals nobody has even heard of speaks for everyone. His great book sells for $1.48 at Amazon. Mr. Stern is a professional agitator.
Who is Kenneth S. Stern? To quote, "A longtime member of the ACLU and veteran of the 1960s Civil Rights ... Kenneth Stern and the AJC The American Jewish Committee (AJC)..." In other words he is another atheist, far-left activist with the ACLU. The ACLU, like the Southern Poverty Law Center are bigoted to the extreme against both Christians and religious Jews alike. While some ignorant Christian fools claim these are Jewish fronts for the anti-Christ, etc., they are simply neo-Marxist, not Jewish. Their activities do cause a backlash against all Jews, sadly to say.
He is director on antisemitism, hate studies and extremism for the American Jewish Committee. (wiki) Also it turns out Mr. Stern writes for the Southern Poverty Law Center to promote their anti-American agenda. He wrote an article in Freedom Writer in October 1996 equating the Christian Coalition with Christian Identity, a racist group. That is in fact false and he gets it from guess who, Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center. He is simply another SPLC propagandist.
They give Christians in general a bad name. What is scary is the Christian Coalition and others have identical ideas but only go at it by legal means.
Webmaster: Finally, the above statement is the only fact they present, if only partially. Christians, believing Jews, Patriots, those of us that believe the Constitution is the law of the land, do follow law and are legal. That is why the ACLU, SPLC, Mr. Stern, etc. resort to distortions and character assassination because their position has no merit. Yes individuals such as Pat Robertson have idiot positions in my opinion, but he doesn't represent most people and he has never broken the law.
- Pat's Big Lie
- Quotes from Pat Robertson
- Pat Attacks Hindus
- Pat Robertson Flunks US History
Webmaster: While we are on the subject of these leftist, self-hating Jews so obsessed with antisemitism by Christians, the American Jewish Committee needs to take a hard look where the antisemitism really is. In a crushing survey of the Democratic Party (better called the socialist democratic party) that 80% of Jews vote for like blind sheep and spend millions to fund (50% of their funding by some claims), almost one-third of Democrats blame Jews for the financial crisis. Yes, in the secular left heavily Jewish-funded Democratic Party almost one-third blame Jews for money whatever woes (classic antisemitism), while only 18% of Republicans. (Survey: Jews are Blamed for Economic Crisis by Hillel Fendel Israel National News 5-7-2009)
Never mind that the people ripped-off by Madoff were mainly Jews, it seems the left is back to it's old antisemitism and now under President Obama it's anti-white racism. Yet the ADL and other far-left phony Jew organizations continue to attack Christians while ignoring blacks, Hispanics, the leftist Democratic Party, and Muslims.
A recent episode in Virginia offers some partial but troubling evidence. Members of a militia group calling itself the Blue Ridge Hunt Club were arrested for possession of illegal weapons. The leader of the group, James Roy Mullins, and three others who were taken into custody, were found to be stockpiling weapons in their homes and storage facilities.
Found on a computer disk in Mullins' home was a draft of the group's newsletter stating that it planned a series of terrorist actions in furtherance of its aims. According to an ATF official. the group intended to further arm itself by raiding the National Guard Armory in Pulaski. Virginia.
VirginiaOn July 27, 1994, James Roy Mullins, a founding member of a militia-like group called The Blue Ridge Hunt Club, was arrested and charged with the possession and sale of a short-barreled rifle and unregistered silencers and with facilitating the unlawful purchase of a firearm. Ultimately, three other members were also charged with firearm offenses. Federal officials said that Mullins had formed the club to arm its members in preparation for war with the government. The cases are pending.
The group, formed earlier in 1994, has had as many as 15 members. They are said to have met three times before Mullins' arrest. While members of the group say that their purpose is to lobby against gun control laws, federal law enforcement officials tell a much different story.
An ATF official who investigated the case said that "Mullins is organizing a group of confederates, to be armed and trained in paramilitary fashion, in preparation for armed conflict with government authorities should firearms legislation become too restrictive." Evidence of such preparation is substantial. In searches of members' homes and storage facilities, federal agents found a stockpile of weapons.
In Mullins' home, agents found 13 guns, several of which had homemade silencers. They also found explosives, hand grenades, fuses and blasting caps in a separate warehouse.
Even pretrial incarceration has not stopped Mullins from threatening violence. While in jail, he wrote a letter to a friend saying that he wanted to borrow a machine gun in order to "take care of unfinished business" with certain prosecution witnesses.
The strongest indications of the group's goals was the draft of a portion of its newsletter found on a computer disk obtained by federal agents. On the disk, Mullins had written:
Hit and run tactics will be our method of fighting... We will destroy targets such as telephone relay centers, bridges, fuel storage tanks, communications towers, radio stations, airports. etc... human targets will be engaged ... when it is beneficial to the cause to eliminate particular individuals who oppose us (troops. police, political figures, snitches, etc.).
An ATF official also said that Mullins was planning to arm the group by burglarizing the National Guard Armory in Pulaski, Virginia.
Webmaster: The above is total nonsense. Here is what really happened as the jury and judge threw out most of the "militia" claims because there was no militia. The government invented it and the issue of government making private ownership of guns illegal is a real issue that is still in the courts today. While heavily biased, the following extracts clear up the issue.
A Fledgling Militia: The Blue Ridge Hunt Club Versus the BATFCopyright 1996 by Mark Pitcavage Last Modified June 17, 1996. The following are extracts from a biased report. This was posted at the ADL that had to retract many of their absurd claims.
Introduction: Close to the heart of the militia movement is a strongly-rooted fear that the federal government intends to confiscate the weapons belonging to American citizens. That fear and loathing is most often directed at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. But when militia and BATF clash, it's not always clear exactly who is causing what... The Blue Ridge Hunt Club Versus the BATF
They were coming to take away his guns. This James Roy Mullins believed with all his heart. The signs were all there, to anyone clear-headed enough to look for them. Despite the Second Amendment with its apparently clear mandate, gun ownership had already been entangled in a confusing and confining welter of federal regulations that surrounded the buying and selling of firearms. Laws on the books for years already prohibited the possession of certain types of guns.
Now new laws sought to limit the asserted right to bear arms, laws that would prohibit "assault weapons"--though what defined a weapon as an "assault weapon" was an incoherent mass of attributes--and would impose a waiting period on weapons purchases, as if a mugger or burglar would be so kind as to come back next week, after you had armed yourself. The federal agency that lurked behind all these liberty-stealing laws was the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which waited like a spider at the center of the web of gun laws, waiting for some unsuspecting gun owner or gun dealer to touch a tripwire by breaking a regulation. Then it would pounce.
But recently the ATF had not even been waiting for victims to enter the web. In 1992 it had tried to coerce a small, privacy-loving man named Randy Weaver into becoming an informer on some suspected gun runners, using as a club the threat of prosecution for a sawed-off shotgun that they had convinced Weaver to make for them. When Weaver refused, they set into action a chain of events that combined with incompetence to result in the death of a federal marshal and of Weaver's wife and son.
Then, in 1993, cowboy-like ATF agents in Texas launched a disastrous raid on a compound belonging to a religious cult called the Branch Davidians which turned into a deadly firefight. A long siege followed, which ended in mass suicide as authorities used tanks and gas to force the cultists out, and the desperate Davidians set fire to the building. The Davidians had not been bothering anybody; they had just been gun owners. Who would be next? How long before the tendrils of the ATF might reach out for a small-town Virginia gun dealer like James Mullins?
Mullins worried about such things in the fall of 1993, and gave voice to his fears, trying to shake the complacency of those around him. Certainly Pulaski, Virginia, a town deep in the woods whose inhabitants worked for a nearby automobile manufacturing plant, was a place where people tended to be sympathetic to the rights of firearms owners.
They hunted, they shot targets, and they tended to be suspicious of too much government. But Mullins took it a step further. At the Star Barber Shop, at Christian Coalition meetings, while distributing fliers and brochures, or in letters to the editor of the local newspaper, the 40 year old factory worker was determined to wake up the people to the dangers that faced them.
Some people listened approvingly; others ignored him. His efforts might have backfired, though; even in conservative Pulaski, many residents came to view him as an extremist. "I don't think Mullins [speaks] for any majority of citizens in this town," said Pulaski resident and NRA member Nick Glenn. "I don't think any of us would agree with him." Few people were willing to go so far as to say the ATF was unconstitutional; few people seemed eager to go as far as Mullins did.
The Hunt Club never got a chance to change anybody's mind. Instead, it was the authorities who took action. In late July 1994, in a scene taken from the nightmares of the members of the Hunt Club, the ATF struck suddenly, in conjunction with the Virginia State Police and the Pulaski Police Department, arresting James Mullins and Paul Peterson, charging the pair with various weapons violations. Pulaski, ordinarily a quiet town, was stunned. Some people denounced Mullins as an extremist; a few tentatively raised their voices in support for him. "I never did see no guns," said one neighbor. "He seemed like a real nice person." But when authorities revealed the contents of a computer disk found in Mullins' home, in which he outlined plans to raid National Guard armories, many were shocked.
Members of the Hunt Club, all fearing they might be the next to be picked up, kept their heads low. The one exception, to no one's particular surprise, was the firebrand William Stump, who spoke out against the arrest of Mullins and Peterson to anyone who cared to listen. "This is just an effort by the ATF to discredit a movement that has become a little too effective," he cried. In early August he held a rally to demonstrate support for the two Hunt Club members; about 30 people attended.
Stump had nothing but contempt for the weakhearted members of the club. "Nobody else, none of his other friends, would do it," Stump said of the rally. "Everybody wants to run away when something like this happens." But just a few days later, the ATF arrested Stump as well. Later still, they arrested Hunt Club member Dennis Frith, and a gun dealer who didn't belong to the club, Paul L. Greene. Altogether five people were charged with 36 violations of federal firearms law.
Once arrested, Stump was defiant and Peterson despondent. But Mullins was furious. Arrested not for his political views, but on strict firearms charges of possessing and selling unregistered silencers and a short-barreled rifle, and of helping in the unlawful purchase of a firearm, he sat and stewed in the Roanoke City Jail. His fury was directed not at the ATF, but at the person he became increasingly convinced had acted as an informant to the feds. The betrayal was all the worse because it seemed to have come from someone Mullins trusted implicitly: Raeford Nelson Thompson.
Mullins' suspicions were correct. All along, Thompson had been working as a government informant. Disturbed by Mullins' increasingly radical diatribes, as well as by the knowledge that Mullins' was working on illegal silencers and weapons, Thompson approached a friend in law enforcement, who connected him with the ATF. "Any time a man looks you dead in the eye and not even batting an eye says he plans to kill people, I take him dead serious," Thompson explained. "I'm glad we got this stopped before it got off the ground. Some of these guys were trained by the U.S. Military and did know how to do things what I consider terrorist tactics."
Thompson became an informant for the ATF; a rare thing to begin with, since most ATF informants are people with the threat of charges held against them. Thompson wore a wire to Hunt Club meetings, got money from the ATF to buy weapons illegally from Mullins and Peterson, took a convicted felon to Peterson to purchase weapons from the gun-dealer, and in other ways gathered information on the group and its activities. The ATF accumulated many hours of recorded conversations thanks to Thompson.
In a rage, Mullins wrote to a friend in North Carolina to whom he had sent an illegal machine gun, suggesting that he would have to borrow that "Christmas gift" in order to take care of "unfinished business." Alarmed, the North Carolinian, who had in any case destroyed the machine gun, turned the note over to the authorities, and it served only to cause Mullins to be held without bond.
After the Christmas gift episode, though, Mullins seemed to deflate a little; perhaps his attorney finally convinced him of the seriousness of the charges against him, perhaps it was simply spending months in jail that calmed him down. But by February 1995, Mullins was willing to plead guilty to seven of the sixteen counts against him. "I knew the consequences. I went ahead and took my chances," he admitted. "So I'll take the punishment, even though I disagree with the law."
By the end of February, Mullins and his lawyer had arranged a plea bargain which recommended a five year sentence in return for pleading guilty to seven counts, dealing with the unregistered silencers, a pistol Mullins bought from Peterson for a third party as a "straw purchase,"conspiracy to commit firearm violations, and making and possessing a machine gun.
Also pleading guilty was Paul Peterson, who realized that he had somehow inserted himself into a very serious mess indeed, and began cooperating with authorities almost as soon as he was arrested. Peterson pleaded guilty to conspiracy, to selling guns in violation of state law, to aiding and abetting in making a false statement by falsifying gun purchase records, and to knowingly selling a shotgun to a convicted felon. Because he so fully cooperated, even testifying at the other's trials, when he was sentenced, considerably later, he received only three years' probation (four months under house arrest) and community service as a punishment.
A militia is the only delegated law enforcement officers to the Congress." Mullins seemed to agree, suggesting that "it was more or less a fellowship thing, with military overtones, militia overtones." But on April 19, 1995, right-wing extremists blew up the Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City, killing and wounding hundreds of people and shocking every American who thought that terrorism was the province of Middle Eastern fanatics. Hunt Club members were as shocked as everybody else, although they quickly put the standard spin on the event--that the federal government had bombed its own building. "I believe that anybody who blows up a building where they know there are women and children ought to be prosecuted, whether they are United States officers or not," William Stump said.
But when media attention focused on the supposed militia ties of suspects Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, thus thrusting the whole movement into a spotlight of intense media scrutiny, Stump soon realized that it was a bad thing to be associated with a militia. As jury selection for his trial began in late April, Stump took his six-week old son (two of his four children were born during his extended legal battles) Jeb Stuart Stump and displayed him to the courtroom, shouting that ATF agents were saying that Stump wanted babies killed.
In August, Dennis Frith pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate firearm laws, possessing an unregistered silencer, and making false statements on firearm records. Frith, said his lawyer, "was anything but a militia member--just a good old country boy." Frith was sentenced to four months of house arrest, 200 hours of community service, and was fined $5,000.
Paul Greene, however, would not plead guilty; in his opinion, he had not done anything wrong. The 23-year old Virginia Tech student and gun dealer was not a member of the Blue Ridge Hunt Club, and all he had done was to sell part of a damaged rifle to Peterson, who gave it to Mullins. Mullins had later changed the weapon into a machine gun (the one he sent to North Carolina). Judge Kiser dismissed two of the charges against Greene; the dealer was found innocent of the remaining four.
When the trial began, the third week of September 1995, Stump continued his courtroom theatrics, charging that "the very existence of this court in the Commonwealth of Virginia is in violation of the Constitution." He filed lawsuits against Judge Kiser, as well as Don Wolthuis and Scott Fairburn. Kiser exhibited considerable patience in dealing with the self-righteous constitutionalist. As his own lawyer, Stump was at best amateurish (he did have a court-appointed attorney to advise him, but he did his own questioning), but Stump focused like a laser beam on the weak point in the prosecution's case: Raeford Nelson Thompson.
As news first leaked out that Thompson had informed on the Blue Ridge Hunt Club, many people congratulated him for taking a stand against words and actions that would have disturbed most people. And afterwards, with threats made against his life (he eventually got permission to carry a concealed weapon for his own protection), he almost seemed a martyr.
But the more one looked at Thompson, the more one had to question exactly how much the informant had informed on, and how much the informant had instigated. After all, Thompson was not merely a member of the Blue Ridge Hunt Club, he was its vice-president. He had helped find members; he had even introduced Stump to James Mullins. Under cross-examination, Thompson acknowledged that he had only met Stump a month before he became an informant--not, as he had earlier testified, six months before. Stump was able to claim that Thompson lured him into the Hunt Club after the vice-president was aware of its illegal activities.
ATF agents testified that they had carefully schooled Thompson on avoiding entrapping the members of the Hunt Club, but Thompson had encouraged club members at their second meeting to fire silenced weapons, the mere handling of which would be breaking the law. And the ATF itself seemed far too energetic in their undercover operations. Would Hunt Club members have ever sold a weapon to a convicted felon had not an informant brought the felon in and arranged the deal? Should Hunt Club members who had merely taken a few target shots with a gun equipped with a homemade silencer have been considered as culpable as the person who manufactured the silencer?
Stump introduced other doubts as well. One Hunt Club member suggested that Thompson told the club how to make fertilizer bombs. Stump himself argued that "it was only when Thompson began taking an active role," that any talk of raiding National Guard Armories surfaced. The constitutionalist freely admitted handling the silencers, and acknowledged that he knew Mullins was making them illegally. "But it never occurred to me," he explained, "[that] by holding it, I could be charged."
Stump turned the closing arguments over to his court-appointed lawyer, but in his own rough way, he had more than made his point. How much of the criminality of the Blue Ridge Hunt Club was due to the free-willed actions of its members, and how much of it was the result of an over-eager informer and an over-aggressive ATF? Had the ATF wanted to prosecute these home-grown militia members so much that it clouded their judgment?
When the jury returned its verdict, on September 22, 1995, it agreed that he had possessed the illegal silencers--after all, Stump himself admitted it--but found that he had not conspired with others to break gun laws. One juror told reporters that he believed Stump had been entrapped, saying of Thompson, "Their main witness, I just didn't believe him."
Finally, in late February, 1996, the time for sentencing arrived, more than two years after James Mullins conceived of forming the Blue Ridge Hunt Club that Stump joined. And to the surprise of many, Judge Kiser announced that he planned to go easy on the constitutionalist and would give him a sentence even lighter than the two to three year sentence that sentencing guidelines suggested. The judge stated that he was "uncomfortable" with Raeford Nelson Thompson's aggressive investigation, observing that "Thompson became a major player in organizing meetings and contacts among the alleged conspirators."
Prosecutors were given a chance to respond, before Kiser issued a sentence. And while all through the arrests and trial they had maintained that the Blue Ridge Hunt Club members were being prosecuted not for their political extremism but for explicit weapons violations, the response of attorney Don Wolthuis seemed to suggest otherwise. Although Stump shouldn't be punished because of his beliefs, he said, he should receive a prison sentence so that people in the militia movement would not feel justified in thinking that the federal courts had no power over them. "The failure to impose the sentence required by law," Wolthuis said, "is to publicly pronounce that Stump is immune from punishment because the court lacks not the power, but the will." Wolthuis seemed to want to serve a lesson to the entire militia movement by a harsh sentence on Stump.
Kiser didn't buy it. He sentenced the militiaman to only two months in jail and two more months under house arrest, repudiating the arguments of the government attorneys. "I do not believe beliefs should be an element for aggravating punishment," Kiser said. "Nothing I can say will deter him from what he believes." Not surprisingly, William Stump himself repudiated even that sentence, announcing that he planned to appeal, and attempting to serve more lawsuits on people. "I'm paying for the crushing and burning of those children at Waco," Stump explained to reporters. "That is why I brought the charges against the president for the murders there."
Stump was freed pending his appeal, but the outcome, successful or unsuccessful, will be an anti-climax. Kiser and the jury brought the proceedings to a real close when they all gave notice that they rejected the contentions of the government.
Was the government wrong? Was the militia right? Clearly, the answer lies with the person in whose mind the Blue Ridge Hunt Club was born, James Roy Mullins. Mullins had openly and provably violated federal firearms laws in 1993. Raeford Thompson, with presumably all the conscientiousness in the world, turned this information over to the ATF.
Certainly at that point the authorities could have arrested Mullins, charged him with federal firearms violations, and the matter would have been over. The Blue Ridge Hunt Club would never have been formed, no other members would ever have handled silencers. Quite possibly people like Paul Peterson would not have committed further firearms violations; indeed, the arrest of Mullins might have been a lesson to them all.
Instead, the ATF and Thompson launched an "undercover" investigation, during which the Blue Ridge Hunt Club was formed, recordings and even airplanes were used, and Thompson himself proved to be rather too enthusiastic in encouraging members of the club to commit crimes. The result was several years of legal activity that resulted in light sentences or acquittals for every person except Mullins, who presumably would have been imprisoned even without all the undercover activity, simply for making the silencers and machine gun.
No "lessons" were taught the militia; indeed, the activities of the Blue Ridge Hunt Club hardly caused a blip in any national news, overshadowed by far greater activities such as Oklahoma City. Mullins in prison said that he would do it all over again, while certainly Stump was unrepentant.
The federal authorities did more than make a mountain out of a molehill; they made a militia out of Mullins. If they had stuck to arresting and prosecuting James Mullins, they would have been on safer ground all around. Instead, hamhanded efforts simply gave extremists some ammunition of their own.
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