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When I heard about Friday’s hostage standoff at Hillary’s New Hampshire campaign headquarters, my first thought was “Here we go again.” There just seems to be something about the Clinton’s that draw out the loonies. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest that the mentally ill “Leeland Eisenberg” was a Conservative (Eisenberg filed an “illegal search” complaint when NH police started leaving warning fliers *in* unlocked cars), he was admittedly suffering from mental illness and the very reason for his siege Friday was to discuss the need to include “mental” heathcare to Clinton’s proposed National Healthcare program. He eventually released all his hostages and peacefully surrendered. The “bomb” he claimed to be wearing was nothing more than road flairs and duct tape.

Eisenberg surrenders
Leeland Eisenberg surrenders

 

But just the sight of the standoff in NH brought back a flood of memories of all those Right-wing nutjobs that seemed to haunt the Clinton Presidency for eight years. People have short memories, but Republicans not only have short memories, they have greatly distorted and highly selective ones as well. Back during the Bill Clinton presidency, a number of Conservative wackos crawled out of the woodwork:

Militias:

One category that immediately came to mind was the wellspring of militia groups that kept holing themselves up in the remote backwoods someplace and denouncing the government.

There was the deluded “Republic of Texas” militia group that took two hostages and holed themselves up in a bunker, radioed for help from other militias across the U.S. via shortwave and their website, and fended off State police, demanding the release of one of their arrested members claiming Texas had seceded from the the U.S. and no longer had jurisdiction over them. The week-long standoff ended when the Texas Rangers stormed their compound, killing one member in the process and arresting several of its leaders:

RoT leader Rick McLaren
RoT leader Rick McLaren

 

Less funny but every bit as stupid, The Montana “Freemen” militia declared their 960 acre ranch a sovereign territory (the “Justus Township”) over which the U.S. government had no authority. The dozens of members of The Freeman, including its two leaders, were guilty of rampant check fraud and threatening to kill a local judge. The 80 day standoff ended with the 16 members surrendering to authorities.

The Montana Freemen
Leader of The Montana Freemen

 

It should come as no surprise that a great many of these people with a shaky hold on reality were also deeply religious, often citing Biblical Prophecy as the justification for their behavior.

The very epitome of where Conservative fanaticism met Religious fanaticism was the Branch Davidian’s in Waco… a religious cult that stockpiled an armory to prepare for the looming government-led Apocalypse, which newly appointed Attorney General Janet Reno foolishly handed them on a silver platter. The leader of the cult, Vernon Howell who renamed himself “David Koresh” based upon the Book of Revelation, was wanted by State Police for transporting and selling guns across state lines without a license. Selling weapons at gun shows was the Davidian’s primary means of income. After tracking Howell’s movements for months, the government laid siege to their “compound” after members opened fire on BATF agents (“Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms”) that came to their door to arrest Howell.

A 51 day standoff followed that included flooding the compound with klieg lights, air raid sirens and nonstop blaring rock music. To the End Timers holed up inside, it truly must have felt like The Apocalypse. Rather than surrender to “The Devil” that was persecuting them, the religious cult set their fragile woodframed compound ablaze and burned to death as armored police vehicles stormed the compound once their patience ran out.

Davidian Compound fire - 1993
Fire destroys the Branch Davidian compound – Waco 1993

 

Lone Gunmen:

…which led fellow anti-government anarchist Tim Mcveigh to blow up the Oklahoma Federal Building (home of the local ATF headquarters) in the most deadly act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history before 9/11. McVeigh cited the Waco siege as well as an earlier siege at “Ruby Ridge” as justification for his private war on the Federal Government.

Then there was the suicidal man that crashed a stolen Cessna into the side of the White House. No reason for his targeting the White House was ever given, though family claimed the pilot, a 38 year old truck driver, held no particular grudge against the Clinton’s. But keep in mind that he “cut his engine” and glided into the side of the White House to avoid detection, ensuring that he would impact the building without being shot down first. He was “targeting” the building and consciously “evading detection”… suggesting this was “a man on a mission”.

Oh, and let’s not forget the guy that opened fire on the White House with a shotgun before being tackled by the Secret Service. The fact that the Chinese made semi-automatic SKS rifle used by the gunman had been banned from importation by the Clinton Administration five months earlier likely played a role in the gunmen’s motivation for spraying the White House with bullets through the fence.

There was “The Unabomber“, a former college professor that had been sending out letter bombs for over a decade to people he believed to be using science to harm civilization. After lying low for years, The Unabomber reemerged after Clinton took office, even getting his lengthy “Manifesto” published in the Washington Post and New York Times (part of an FBI sting operation, in hopes that someone might recognize the writing and turn him in).

The 1996 Olympic games in Atlanta gave us the Centennial Park bomber… a “Pro Life” extremist wanted for the bombing of two abortion clinics. This particular “Pro-Life” nutcase left a backpack full of nails and explosives in the middle of a crowd that killed one woman when it detonated. One thing these anti-abortion Conservatives hypocrites have made clear: “Pro Lifebegins at conception and ends at birth.

The Olympic Park bomber evaded capture for years, using his Survivalist skills to live alone in the woods, though evidence suggests he received support from like-minded locals that likely knew of his whereabouts, but never told police.

Epilogue:

There is just something about Democrats… the Clinton’s in particular… that just draws out the most fanatical whack-jobs in this country. But consider the explanations for why they did what they did: they all believed the Federal government was violating people’s rights. They believed the government was run by a bunch of Godless headonists that threatened the very future of the United States. Their most cited proof of this was Bill Clinton’s crackdown on gun ownership, implementing greater restrictions, waiting periods, and bans on certain types of weapons and accessories altogether.

Certainly, you caught the irony. The inconsistency in their support for the Conservative Republican agenda vs their inexplicable loathing of anything “Clinton”. Despite all the violations of personal rights and freedoms violated by this White House, the wiretaps, bold-faced lying to the American people, staged/fake news, the indictments and prosecution of a half dozen people with access to the President, the exposing of a covert CIA agent investigating Iraq and Iran’s WMD programs, unrestrained spending, anemic economic growth, plummeting value of the dollar, skyrocketing price of oil, an over-extended military trapped in a war of choice, and an admitted former alcoholic with a drug problem as Commander-in-Chief who failed to prevent a terrorist attack he was warned of in advance and then failed to catch the man that did it… all dismissed because the Bush Administration was smart enough to let them keep their guns, decry abortion (without actually doing anything about it), quote the Bible in everything they do, and evoke 9/11 every time someone questions their policies.

Compound” was a word we heard a lot of in the ’90s. “Militia group” was another one. The militia groups all shared several things in common: they were all white males, typically rural and uneducated, and all held a visceral distrust that the Federal Government was going to invade their privacy and take their rights away… namely, their Right to Bear Arms. No militia group ever cut themselves off from civilization and threatened the Federal Government over illegal searches & wiretaps, violating their right to free speech or over voter disenfranchisement.

(Which all reminds me of how Truckers threatened to go on strike on February 22, 2000 when the price of diesel hit $1.49 a gallon… but that’s a rant for another day.) Lord knows, I’m probably on some Terrorism Watch List by now thanks to all the Google searches I conducted over the past few days researching this column.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Conservativism is a “Mental Disorder”

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