Rich Tucker

You should be very afraid.

No, not of Islamic extremists plotting to kill their fellow Americans. After all, “At this point, there is no information to indicate Major Nidal Malik Hasan had any co-conspirators or was part of a broader terrorist plot,” the FBI announced almost immediately after Hasan allegedly opened fire at Fort Hood. That must be the federal version of, “move along, nothing to see here, folks.”

And you certainly shouldn’t fear a rapacious and steadily growing federal government. No. Your biggest concern should apparently be…the right-wing militia movement.

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“The truth is, is that these groups are popping up like mushrooms after a spring rain,” Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center told CNN reporter Jim Acosta. The network recently aired a long series of reports on the militia movement.

The series included images of supposed extremists pledging -- hold on to your hat for this one -- allegiance to the American flag. It also featured men, women and, yes, children, learning how to handle firearms.

“Well, any time we get a Democratic president in the office, people become concerned, including myself, and we get a resurgence out here,” one member told Acosta. He “didn’t want to give his last name,” Acosta explained, over “worries the government will eventually take away his gun rights.”

Well, the last thing anyone wants these days is to catch Uncle Sam’s eye. Liberal civil-liberties attorney Harvey Silverglate estimates the average American now commits three felonies every day without even knowing it (hence the title of his recent book, “Three Felonies a Day”).

Examples abound. A 12-year-old in Georgia spent two days in jail for bringing a Boy Scout knife to school. A Texas man was sent to prison for selling orchids. An Alaska man was detained by federal agents for failing to properly label a UPS package. In today’s overcriminalized society, if the feds decide to charge you with a crime, they’ll find something to pin on you.

Still, the militia members seem more giving than fearful. “They’re prepared to teach anyone, even this reporter, how to fire a semiautomatic weapon like this Russian assault rifle,” Acosta reported over video of himself shooting. If these people were zealots plotting to overthrow the government, would they really be so friendly with a reporter and his camera crew? It sounds as if they’re gun-lovers who simply want to teach others how to use weapons.


Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for Townhall.com.