The morning of April 19, 1993, I drove from Waco to Brownwood to fetch my 88-year-old mother. She had decided it was time to enter the Eastern Star Home in Arlington – a grand institution that since has closed.
As we were putting her last items in the car, her neighbor called us to see the Waco explosions on television. We watched as the Davidian’s Christian sect compound went up in flames. It began when a search warrant was refused by David Koresh on Feb. 28, which was followed by a 51-day standoff at the Branch Davidian compound at Mount Carmel, nine miles east-northeast of Waco. Patience had run out for those in charge, and violence and death came on April 19, 1993.
Timothy McVeigh was said to have visited the standoff once. Two years later, McVeigh, an American militia movement sympathizer, took the law into his hands and had his revenge against the American government.
McVeigh’s Oklahoma City bombing occurred on April 19, 1995, and destroyed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City. His choice of date was not a coincidence.
Plans have been announced for a Second Amendment march in Washington, D.C., which is being sponsored and coordinated by the organization “Second Amendment March.” The date decided upon is next Monday, April 19.
The publicity says this gathering is being held to defend the Constitution of our nation. The group supports the peaceful carrying of arms where allowed by law, and it specifically does not condone carrying guns in places – like Washington, D.C. – where laws prohibit having them in public.
But obeying the law is not always the message. What we once called “fringe groups” are increasingly coming out from under rocks and dark places to reveal their misguided patriotism and ignorance of the Constitution and what the real America is all about.
The Michigan Militia has been observed for years because of how they practice war games and declare their hatred for American laws and society. The crack-down on them the end of March was encouraging, but it’s far from the end of such groups.
We may laugh at the antics of the Republic of Texas militia or The Oath Keepers agenda or the Modern Minutemen’s violent anti-government rhetoric. (Example: “Our federal tax system is, in short, utterly impossible, utterly unjust and completely counterproductive, [it] reeks with injustice and is fundamentally un-American... it has earned a rebellion and it’s time we rebelled.”)
That reminds us of the late President Reagan’s off-hand remark, “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem.” And his 1980s witty remark that the nine most terrifying words in the English language are: “I am from the government and I’m here to help you.” This dry wit phase has found a home with serious anti-
government groups, parties and even some legislators. Such words are not a joke to them.
The director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, Mark Potok, has said his staff has documented “a steady, not dramatic,” growth of extremist groups – from 602 in 2000 to 926 in 2008, an increase that should wake up fellow Americans.
The Department of Homeland Security and FBI report was published April 7 detailing how the resurgence of extremists is evolving into a major threat to society and civil discourse.
One question… Why have the organizers of a day to give honor and praise for the Second Amendment chosen a date so full of tragedy and death? Why Monday, April 19?
Britt Towery is a former missionary, freelance writer and published author of “Carey Daniel’s China Jewell, story of the Gal from Buffalo Gap.” His columns are published in the Bulletin on Fridays. He welcomes reader feedback at email@example.com. Other columns are available on his Web site, www.britt-towery