After nine radical Hutaree militia members were arrested in Michigan on charges of plotting to kill police officers and “levy war” against the U.S., terrorism experts told the Detroit News that conservative political unrest has fueled resurgence of radical militias, even though their popularity had declined after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. Experts blame the recession and the election of an African-American president with a perceived liberal agenda.
The long debate over health care reform, labeled as a victory for socialists, fueled new conspiracy theories with some old themes that play on political and religious fears. “They see themselves kind of losing control of their country and their religion,” said Jim Corcoran, chairman of the communications department at Simmons College in Boston and an author of books on U.S. militia groups. “This isn’t the face of the America they remember or want.” Carolyn Brown of American University in Washington, D.C., who has done extensive research on the Minutemen and other militia groups, said fundamentalist Christian beliefs are a common trait among such groups. “There’s definitely been a resurgence,” and “you really have to take them seriously,” Brown said. Militias came into the national spotlight in 1995, after the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City.