Michigan, the home base of the Hutaree militia, has one of the highest concentrations in the nation of militias and other extremist groups that see the federal government as the enemy, says the Christian Science Monitor. Only Texas, with 57 “patriot” groups, outstrips Michigan’s 47, says the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate group activity. Nationwide, the patriot movement has grown dramatically since the election of President Obama. Between 2008 and 2009, the number of such groups increased from 149 to 512, the center says.
The Hutaree was part of this movement. Nine of its members were arrested by federal authorities last weekend and charged with conspiring to “levy war” on the U.S. The arrests point to how the Midwest in particular has become a hotbed for patriot activity. “There are a number of regional factors that, over time and at various moments, helped the militia movement take hold in different parts of the country,” says Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, a think tank in Somerville, Ma. “It certainly has emerged strongly in the upper Midwest.”
Topping the list in the Midwest, Indiana has 21 patriot groups, Illinois has 10, and Wisconsin and Ohio have 13 each, according to SPLC.