Just something I found on the web.
How ironic—as I curled up with a New York Times article explaining how violence doesn’t spread as easily as anger—state and federal authorities were still in place at the intersection of Sword Highway and Tomer Road in Michigan’s Dover Township. They were only one arrest away from rounding up the principals of the Hutaree Christian militia.
Meanwhile, Benedict Carey, the author of the Times news analysis piece, “Mad as Hell. And…,” had written, referring to Glen Beck, Fox News, and running the gauntlet of abuse on Capital Hill:
"What is the nature of public anger anyway, and can it be manipulated as easily as that? Is it possible for tough-guy talk to prompt any more than an occasional nasty outburst or can it indeed sustain and amplify anger to the point of organized mayhem?"
Carey’s answer: “Violence doesn’t spread so easily.” Hmm. Maybe Carey is wrong. Maybe for some, the susceptible, for lack of a better word, “the march of toxic populism” to quote fellow Open Salon blogger Stellaa, is a gateway drug.
Maybe the deathers, and the birthers, have launched a collective fussilade that has gone underground—to blossom and fester in paroxysms of hatred. That’s what I found online, looking at the Hutaree Christian Militia and its peer groups.
Funny thing: The militia movement is not at all shy about making an online spectacle of itself. The Hutaree were no exception. They had their own website, hutaree.com (now overrun by Hutaree haters). David Brian Stone, leader of the Hutaree, known within the group as RD, posted in hutaree.com forums under the name RD-Merzonik. We can be certain that it was him by the verisimilitude of his postings and the fact that he maintained a MySpace page, RD-Merzonik, with a photo confirming his identity as David Stone, Sr.
Stone posts a number of Hutaree forum entries that establish his point of view. Here is one exchange, initiated by a would-be militia member from Virginia:
“I live in Virginia, I can't find a local militia. I have a hand gun, which amounts to a water pistol if SHTF really.
I've done a about as much as I can to prepare for myself and my wife on my own, but we need to find like minded people who can teach and train us in our area or start something here with someone who can give us some knowledge. Time is running out.”
“Leave a class of none officer rank [sic for “non-officer rank”], for the un-saved to join, remember these individuals will follow your lead, in both, how you live your life now and how you act in battle, in doing this you open the door for them to get saved and come into the full light of JESUS.
Ask and we will help,, we are in southern Michigan, around 10 miles from the Mich-Oh border. If need be we can try and meet up with you to help you understand our system and assist you in setting yours up.”
There’s more here, including the definition of the group’s name:
Re: What does "HUTAREE" mean?
Posted by: RD-Merzonik ()
Date: February 11, 2009 01:01PM
“HUTAREE; Christian Warrior
As christians we all are a part of the Souls of the Body of Christ, the one true church of Christ. Not any specific man made building or any man controlled organization. This is the belief of the Hutaree soldier, as should the belief of all followers in Christ be.”
Stone, and Hutaree, were well-networked. Hutaree’s MySpace page, before it was taken down at the time of the arrests, boasted many, many friends. Stone’s own page featured friendships with dozens of militias. Just a few of these include:
- Ohio Militia
- Lenawee Militia
- Michigan Militia Corps
- Kitsap County Washington Militia
- 55th Idaho Lightfood
- Eastern Washington Six Three
- WV Militia
- Ohio Defense Corps
These weren’t just shout-out friends, either. The following forum entry shows that Stone knew his militias.
“People in Tennessee that are looking for an excellent group try these guys, www.1sttnrifles.net”
Stone had high standards by the logic of his own universe. You can bet any militia he would personally recommend would be God-fearing, committed, anti-drug, well-armed, and ready to fight.
Hey, Look at Me!
One of the strangest things about Hutaree, and most militias found online, is their reliance on the freedom of free speech. They give their email addresses on forums. (One guy gives his name and address.) They make videos to post on YouTube. They are practically redefining the culture of MySpace, in case you were wondering who was still over there. Here are just a few of the MySpace Hutaree coterie:
- RD – David Brian Stone
- J.R. – David Brian Stone Jr.
- Ruekoten – “Chaplain of the Hutaree Independent Militia”
- “B.B.” – J.R.’s fiancé – (I’ll withhold the name)
- A female family member of Kristopher Sickles – whose tag line from yesterday is “being strong”
Some of these pages are set to private; some are not. A number of them use the Hutaree arm patch insignia:
One member, Brogzen, lets it all hang out on MySpace, writing:
FOR ALL OF YOU WHO WANTS REVENGE AND TO GET BACK AT THEM, WELL I'M STANDING HERE TELLING YOU THAT YOUR CHANCE IS COMING. AND IT IS COMING SOONER THAN YOU THINK.
POSTED AT 7:20 PM JAN 24
“B.B.,” David Stone Jr.’s fiancée, has pretty much got a whole family album up on MySpace. She posted the photos, shown below, of David Stone Sr.’s wedding to the woman who would become Tina Mae Stone. The photos reflect Stone’s military identity. The scene in the first photo looks like a bunker. This wedding was quite recent.
David & co-defendant bride Tina Stone with David’s grandson: MySpace
One thing that social networking sites reflect exceedingly well is the spiderweb of one’s network. So why were they so cavalier? Though their eventual defense team will spin it differently, I believe the reason is that they thought they were a lot smarter than the government. They figured they could hide in plain sight.
Hutatree totally overachieved when it came to their videos, at least some which, I believe, were created by Kristopher Sickles, the member from Sandusky, Ohio. The one shown below features elaborate maneuvers with live ammunition, over a large tract of wooded terrain. They are actually pretty good at what they do, if you like choreographed displays of the type of military operations that might be used against an invading force, of, say, a well-armed group of 50 illegal immigrants. My favorite shot is one where the camera operator lies on the ground while the troops jump over the camera—I think the family dog jumped, too.
And the music! A number of Hutaree featurettes feature the music of Lehigh Valley, PA-based band Poker Face. Here is a sampling of their lyrics:
Losing My Mind
Now you know we’ve got our eye on you
So you better do things right
Or we’ll hang you from the highest trees,
While we party thru the night
Freedoms On The Run
Welcome to this New world Circus
Coming to a homeland near you
Jack Boots and Billy clubs are GAY fashion
Marching to Obamas Commie-Fascist nation
IT'S NOT WHAT YOU SAY
Rise up! Rise up! Militias throughout the world
It's time to end The Order's globalist plans.
The Revolution is the only solution
When good government has gone bad
2009 Words by: Dennis Beidler, Brett Griffiths, & Paul Topete
“Or we’ll hang you from the highest trees, / While we party thru the night…” Nice touch, that. You have to wonder where these guys gig. In an “Upcoming Show” entry that was deleted since Tuesday, they invite their fans to join them at a Kentucky machine gun festival in April. They promised this would be a festival where some scenery gets really torn up. On their website they write:
“At the present time, Poker Face has no comment on the situation developing/unfolding with the Hutaree folks.
But given the governments track record against we the free, it makes us suspect
government motives first, not the Hutaree.”
Hutaree was not shy about their identities in the local community according to some. Some local residents described them as thuggish and dangerous, imparting a brown-shirt feel to their identity. "You don't mess with them," one unidentified resident told the Detroit News. To others, they were just regular folks. “They’re your average, nice neighbors,” neighbor Sarah Holtz said, as quoted in The Daily Telegram, of Adrian, Michigan.
Authorities have no priors on Stone, the leader, though one of his exes, Donna Stone, requested and was refused court protection following their divorce, in an appeal that made specific reference to weapons. A tearful Stone, mother of David Stone Jr., recounted, according to the Christian Science Monitor:
“It had not started out like this…It started out as a Christian thing," … "You go to church. You pray. You take care of your family. I think David started to take it a little too far. He dragged a lot of people with him. When he got carried away, when he went from handguns to big guns, I was done."
Gimme That End Times Religion
The Book of Revelations is apparently where is all began for RD. That and the Antichrist. Much has been made of the end times religion behind his cult—and this really is militia-as-cult in many respects. And lest there is any confusion about the centrality of end times thinking to RD and his militia, remember the website tag line: “Preparing for the end time battles to keep the testimony of Jesus Christ alive.” Battling the Antichrist is part and parcel to their credo.
Some suggest that the strong religious line to the motivation of this militia makes it different, but that line—the line of the Christian Republic—goes right through militia main street. The religious component has always been fused to perceived or actual political persecution. Even as far back as Roman times, the Antichrist part of the concept was mutable. The Antichrist was usually the embodiment of evil. Early Christian writers like Tertullian held that the fall of Rome would “make way for the Antichrist” (Wikipedia), and millenarianists have been waiting for, whatever, Him, ever since. You’d be surprised at how many so-called mainstream fundamentalists essentially hold to this view. Or maybe not.
At its core lies the impulse for the godless oppressors to be punished. This where religious and political—or military—revenge intersect. The system denoted by the Antichrist is that of the New World Order—a throwback to the 90s, ZOG and all. The flag of the United Nations is burned in the finale of the promotional video supplied here. So the Antichrist is a figurehead. Some, like raptureready think the Antichrist will arise from the European Union. To others, let’s be frank, it is apparently Obama.
Carey, in his Times article, talks about “lone-wolf violence” and the rarity of such acts. He speaks of the “typical, peaceable citizen” getting a little too worked up. But the truest believers of the militia movement are neither peaceable, typical, nor rational. It is the assumption of rationality that sets Carey on the wrong track. He cites Kathleen Blee, a sociologist at the University of Pittsburgh, who describes harder core racist ideologues and then concludes, “but many of them never do anything at all about it.”
And that is true. But there is a lot of distance between the lone wolf and the “many” that Blee refers to. That vacuum is filled in part with the disenfranchised patriots of the American militia movement. The accelerant behind their increasing mobilization? White Despair. Lose your job, lose your population, lose your perceived racial dominance—you become a cog in a system that doesn’t seem to need your rural mindset or your welding skills anymore. You live in a rotted-out trailer. You have fantasies of a return to a much, much, earlier time—the “Colonial Christian Republic” of the Hutaree. All this, and you are part of the growth in the patriot militias, noted by the Southern Poverty Law Center as growing at a rate of 244 percent.
In surfing the outer fringes of the gun belt, I have encountered a related but different mindset than the one I encountered researching the Open Carry movement. Those guys (mostly guys) worshipped the totem of the Second Amendment. You would think they majored in Constitutional Law. But their crazier elements tend to stand out as gateway figures to the militia world. Here are some of the militias' preoccupations I encountered online:
- Incredibly detailed Obama birther conspiracies
- New World Order paranoias
- Anti-Semitic rhetoric
- Anti-immigration mania
- Bizarre, detailed accounts of FEMA concentration camp plans
- Racialist theories colored by racism
- “Death-panel thinking’ about health care reform
- Survivalist methodologies
- End-time thinking
- Christian nation fantasies
- Anti-government takeover screeds
The rules of engagement for political discourse do not generally allow for pundits to ascribe psychopathology to the other side. But if we allow a layman’s definition of psychopathology as “a pathological deviation from normal or efficient behavior” (Dictionary.com), I would not be surprised to see certain comparisons made by social psychologists. Some of this thinking is by no means new. The Branch Davidians and Timothy McVeigh covered broad swaths of it. But it is certainly back, renewed in virulence and amplified a thousandfold by the web.
As I see it, what is most important to understanding of the thinking behind militias is that these themes occur on a continuum that extends from Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the Tea Partiers, straight to the hearts of die-hard and, seemingly, ready-to-die militia converts. Think of it as a rainbow of hatred.
That said, I do not believe that most of the militias plan any sort of overt violence. That would seem to be a no-brainer. Rather, they are about symbolic violence. They will continue to run their furtive maneuvers and upload their videos. Perhaps they would like to provoke the government into a mis-step that might justify some bloody, glorified stand-off somewhere. But I think they want more than anything to intimidate their opposition on Main Street, in the government, and in the media. This is their true goal as a coherent movement--intimidation. Because, they reckon, if they can intimidate the opposition back to, well, the colonial era, I guess, then more extreme methods won’t be necessary. Remember, none of this is rational.
They don’t recognize that the future has already condemned them to minority status. To some, many, really, that is intolerable—and they are floundering for some moment of transcendence in which their fantasies are made real, and tangible, and they are once again, as in some other age, the white, muscled, principled, manhood of America.
What do I see? Brown shirts.
Charged in the indictment are:
David Brian Stone (RD) of Clayton, Mich.
David Brian Stone Jr. (Junior) of Adrian (the son of David Brian Stone)
Joshua Matthew Stone (Josh) of Clayton (the son of David Brian Stone)
Tina Mae Stone of Clayton (the wife of David Brian Stone)
Joshua John Clough (Azzurlin) of Blissfield
Michael David Meeks (Mikey) of Manchester Township
Thomas William Piatek of Whiting, Ind.
Kristopher T. Sickles (Pale Horse) of Sandusky, Ohio
Jacob J. Ward (Jake) of Huron, Ohio
* * *
Postscript: They were on Facebook, too. From an online article in the Detroit Free Press.