To understand deadly violence, domestic terrorism and murder at the hands of a right-wing nut job in America today, one needs to understand the source of inspiration. Sad to say, I wasn’t just a prepubescent teen in the eighties assisting the extreme right-wing in their fight to save America with the “truth.” I was being prepped to kill and die to save America when the time was right.
When I first heard of Timothy McVeigh’s horrible act of extreme right-wing domestic terrorism and the 168 people he murdered (all Americans) in 1995, I wasn’t surprised at all. In fact, I wasn’t shocked or horrified. I was rather numb about the whole thing. I had a strong feeling it was the work of an extreme right-wing terrorist who blew up most of the Alfred P Murrah building in Oklahoma City before the news on television told us it was.
When the recent Austin, TX bomber, Mark Anthony Conditt, began killing people in Texas with his homemade bombs earlier this year, he was screaming out trying to make a difference. His despair and frustrations with this country and society led him to believe that he had to do something to make a difference.
When the 29-year-old white man, Travis Reinking, a member of the Sovereign Citizens, went into a Waffle House restaurant with an AR-15 earlier this week and killed four non-whites, I wasn’t surprised that he was also a right-wing nut job.
One could write numerous books and I could continue with more examples and more stories of another hundred or so white American males like me who have murdered thousands of fellow Americans in their own nonsensical act of “patriotism” to save America from the impending threat of tyranny. The common thread that all these white American males have other than being white American males is that they all love America, the Constitution, Jesus Christ and they all believed that they had to do something to make America great again.
Robert Welch, the original founder of the extreme right-wing John Birch Society (also founded by Fred Koch) in his Blue Book (the Bible of the John Birch Society and most right-wing extremists in America), stepped away from his right-wing rhetoric of “less government, more responsibility, and – with God’s help – a better world,” (John Birch Society motto) to a call to action. “This is a world-wide battle, the first in history, between light and darkness; between freedom and slavery; between the spirit of Christianity and the spirit of anti-Christ for the souls and bodies of men…. Let’s win it even with our lives, if the time comes when we must.” In a cult-like fashion, he adds these lines comparing the fight against commies to Jesus’ fight to make men holy. “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me: as He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free, while god is marching on.”
So, when the John Birch Society says, “truth” is their only weapon in fighting the Communist Conspiracy, that’s not the case since their founder also preached militant efforts. Robert Welch clearly suggested in the Blue Book that I should “give up my life if the time comes when we must” to keep America free. For over sixty-five years now, the John Birch Society has been preaching that the horrors of communist enslavement are at our doorsteps. How was I supposed to know when the time had come when I was a young white teen? Have all the murders in America committed by right-wing extremists happened because the time had come for the murderers to make America great again? The answer is yes.
The John Birch Society is the invisible culprit who has been encouraging deadly right-wing extremist violence in America since 1958. Even today, those who are aware of the John Birch Society think of it as a bunch of old conservative cranks who want to “Get us Out of the U.N.” among other things. They’re regarded as a political organization representing the right-wing extreme fringe of America. They’re oftentimes not regarded as a militia-type organization although, clearly, their founder and dead leader had no problem with extreme political violence in America. He encouraged it.
One evening in late 1989, I was driving around in the mostly black Hilltop Neighborhood of Tacoma, WA with a 9mm handgun my dad (a former chapter leader of the John Birch Society) gave me sitting in the passenger seat of my Ford Bronco II. I wasn’t going anywhere in particular. I was just driving around headed nowhere and I was angry. The gun was loaded, and the safety was off.
With everything I was ever taught by my dad and from growing up in the John Birch Society and spending my free time at gun shows and reading “Soldier of Fortune,” having a gun enabled my rage and fueled my paranoia. I could have done something right then and there to make America a “better place.” A gun in my possession with the extreme right-wing brainwashing I received as a teenager only made matters worse.
I’ve been on the verge of killing other Americans to “make America great again” and I’m ashamed and embarrassed that I was in that position. I wanted to make America great again that night and I really wanted to make my dad proud of me. In my eyes back then, I failed America and I failed my dad.
To say that the Timothy McVeigh’s and every other right-wing maniac in America with a bomb or a gun wasn’t inspired by Robert Welch and the John Birch Society is inaccurate. More likely than not, most acts of right-wing terrorism in America are inspired by the extremism in Welch’s revolutionary Blue Book which ultimately laid the groundwork for fear, paranoia and right-wing extremist violence in America.
McVeigh was six months older than me, but his mind had been lost permanently to the fringes of the extreme right. His anger and paranoia were fueled by a few of his chosen adult peers. Sadly, McVeigh lost his mental balance after reading The Turner Diaries, an insane novel by William Pierce who was also a member of the John Birch Society and the leader of the American Nazi movement. We had a copy of The Turner Diaries in our house when I was living there.
McVeigh didn’t experience brainwashing about the evils of the Communist Conspiracy growing up like I did. McVeigh’s parents didn’t push or encourage him to read this book or others. He did this on his own as a young adult. He made a choice and his parents were horrified about what he did. My dad thinks McVeigh is an American hero. He told me so.
I’m not suggesting that the John Birch Society as an entity advocates to its membership that they should go blow up federal office buildings or assassinate left-wing celebrities or liberal politicians (although they certainly celebrate and enjoy their deaths).
What I’m stating is that with any extremist hate organization feeding hate propaganda constantly, it’s inevitable that some followers or members are likely to feel the urge to pick up a machine gun or a rental truck loaded with a ton of ammonium nitrate and with “God’s help if the time comes when we must,” attempt to make this place a “better world.”
Frightening as it sounds now, bombing a federal office building had at one time made a lot of sense to me. McVeigh killed all those people to wake America up from the horrors and atrocities committed by the federal government against our own citizens – specifically to “correct the abuse of power” by federal agents against American citizens in the Ruby Ridge and Waco incidents. I used to think this way. Collateral damage is understood and acceptable when at war.
Most if not all home-grown domestic terrorists proclaim themselves to be patriotic Americans and God-fearing Christians who love Jesus. They are more than willing to kill government employees, politicians, celebrities, school kids, non-white people, Jews or anyone who gets in the way simply to “wake us all up” to the supposed horrors committed by our federal government and of course, ultimately, Satan. The “time has come” for many of them.
Like McVeigh, they justify their actions by pointing to the Waco and Ruby Ridge incidents. They believe that if they don’t strike soon, it will all be too late. They believe that it’s their patriotic duty to kill anyone who stands in the way of their version of America. I know this kind of thinking to be true. I used to believe the same thing when I was raised to be a right-wing terrorist.
Sections from this article are from the book Hate or Be Hated by JG Daniel (2016).