This podcast takes you inside the world of the ascendant Patriot Movement. Meet the militia members and far-right activists who are simultaneously preparing to fight the government and become part of it. Nearly a year after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot, this once-shadowy movement has never been more relevant.
The Anti-Government Government
When Idaho Gov. Brad Little left the state in April 2019, his second in command wasted no time asserting her authority as acting governor.Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin gathered members of a prominent militia outside the Idaho capitol and administered an oath similar to one taken by new U.S. troops.This was just the latest move for the far-right, militia-adjacent politician.She led a full-on rebellion against the state's pandemic measures and became a fixture at rallies of the paranoid conspiracy group The John Birch Society. She even sent a Facebook post of encouragement to a militiaman imprisoned for pointing a rifle at federal agents.McGeachin is leading a kind of anti-government government and now she and her allies are making a play to take over.
People's Rights started as a poorly-attended meeting in a drafty Idaho warehouse. But anti-government activist Ammon Bundy has grown his network to more than 30,000 people nationwide, ready to mobilize and fight the government on a moment’s notice — a kind of militia on-demand.
The modern militia movement started, in part, in Lee Miracle’s living room. In 1994, a bunch of guys incensed about the deadly government sieges at Ruby Ridge, Idaho and Waco, Texas gathered there. They talked about what they would do if the government came knocking on their door and agreed, they’d want backup. In this episode, Heath goes to Michigan, where Lee Miracle still runs his Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia nearly 30 years later.
Home In The Grange
The hubbub began on once-sleepy South Whidbey Island, Washington in 2020, and it began in the unlikeliest of places: a local grange hall. A militia group, the Washington III Percent, quietly took over the small, agriculture-centered community center and started shutting everyone else out. Then they took aim at local schools, where students were demanding more inclusion for LGBTQ+ students and students of color.It’s a small but revealing skirmish in the larger culture war militias and other far-right groups have been spearheading: taking aim at local elections that fly far under most people’s radars — like school boards — to reshape their communities in their unyielding right-wing mold.
Three Percent Nicer
Eric Parker went to a ranch in Nevada, pointed his rifle at federal agents, then beat the feds in court. It made him a folk hero in the militia movement. And he’s worked hard to soften the image of his militia. Instead of fighting the government, he’s become an increasingly powerful political force pulling the state GOP even farther right. Now he’s after a new title: state Senator in Idaho.
In episode one, Heath camps out at a militia training with camouflage-clad recruits shooting guns and practicing first-aid deep in the woods. The leader of the group explains why he shows up armed with his guys to tense protests like the deadly showdown in Charlottesville, Va. We shine a light on what’s motivating people in the militia movement and their chilling outlook for the future.
This is an incredibly well done show. Heath Druzin has done such an amazing job engaging with these groups and diving into their ideas and motives. Pace, content, and production are all top notch.
Excellent information on a very important issue
We’ll done and informative. We’ll balanced.
I thought this podcast was very informative and help me to understand the viewpoint of the militia much more. I also felt it was unbiased and presented things in a manner that I wish all news broadcast did! Thanks so much, Heath. I will definitely be listening to more of your podcasts!