Armed Groups, White Supremacy, And Donald Trump: How Dangerous Can 2024 Become? – OpEd
Under the Second Amendment, every citizen of the United States has the right to purchase and keep arms for their safety and, if necessary, to defend themselves. A militia deemed essential to the security of a (free) State is also permitted by this amendment. Militia groups, now Trump’s personal army, have maneuvered a lot on this law.
Armed groups, mostly having far-right ideologies, have become prominent in the public and political atmosphere in recent years; more precisely, since the early 1990s and the conflicts between the federal and local forces and militias in the Ruby Ridge and Waco areas, these militias have been able to provoke and recruit more citizens through widespread advertising and media propaganda.
These armed groups spread conspiratorial ideas, such as the necessity of a powerful minority inside the government that pursues its own interests against the will of the people, and the need to make another revolution in the United States referred to as the Second Civil War. They have been able to create waves in the community and social media. Members of such groups believe that in order to bring about change, one should not wait for it, but must take action to make it happen as soon as possible, even by using force. That’s why in 1995 one of these extremists, Timothy McVeigh, performed one of the deadliest domestic terrorist attacks in the United States in Oklahoma, killing 168 people and injuring more than 680.
Interestingly, in contrast with the common understanding, the number of terrorist acts of far-right origin and their collaborators over the past twenty-five years has been significantly higher than various types of terrorist acts committed by other groups and ideologies. Furthermore, the scope of these attacks is not limited to a handful of southern or midwestern states but also includes more than forty states. In other words, the threat of these militant groups has become so critical against national security that the Federal government has been forced to classify them under high-risk terrorist threats, alongside ISIS.
The arms industry and their protector National Rifle Association, despite having huge turnover and substantial job creation, has created many problems, including the spread of violence, rising numbers of homicides, and the formation of militant groups. Although these dangerous types of armed groups are outlawed under the local regulations of all states, they continue to exist by resorting to the Second Amendment and the right to revolt against an authoritarian ruler.
These groups believe in the need to replace the existing order and government with another which is founded on the basis of superiority and the majority of the whites. This purpose has driven them to actively engage in public concerns and conflicts, especially during crises, and recruit more people by taking advantage of the mass disappointment and distrust in the government. For instance, during the Covid-19 crisis, which has so far taken more than 800,000 American lives, the far-right blamed Jews and Muslim immigrants and called for their expulsion from the United States. In addition, the leaders of these groups encouraged their affected members to attend public gatherings and instructed them to infect the police, Jews and Muslims.
More concerns arise from the practical exercises of these militant groups against the government and government forces. In this line, conflicts like the attack on Capitol Hill and the capture of Congress, under the guidance and through the implicit support of Donald Trump, are a warning of their immediate danger to the country and national security. Some of these groups involved in the Capitol Hill insurrection or the Charlottesville conflict, such as the Oathkeepers, claim to be the true guardians of the Constitution. They argue that since the American Revolution only three percent of Americans revolted against British rule, only three percent of Americans are necessary and capable to overthrow the pluralist government.
These groups justify their violent actions by claiming that they must also defend themselves against leftists and globalists close to the Democrat Party. Interestingly, the number of followers of only one of these groups has reached more than 550 thousand people, which is a very large number for an illegal militia group.
This potential and this base of support can easily tempt any opportunistic politician, at the top of the list Donald Trump, to turn them into his own personal infantry by abusing and manipulating the beliefs of these people. They are also effective tools for questioning and challenging the legitimacy of the liberal democratic system, through practicing abuse of the democratic freedoms of the United States of America.
In addition to the problems created by these radical armed groups, the unprecedented growth of arms sales in the United States, which has reached its highest level this year, is another serious alarm. Although not everyone who buys a gun is necessarily a fan or member of a militant group, having a large number of guns in the hands of citizens can greatly increase the likelihood of organized malevolent or terrorist activities.
US political and security outlook is far more worrying than what is pictured in the mainstream media; especially since the political atmosphere of the United States has become more polarized than ever before in American history, and this will lead extremist groups on both sides to resort to violent approaches.
Due to the stalemate in the bipartisan system, large groups of citizens feel that the government is no longer capable of meeting their demands, who are also ironically armed; they will seek a third way. This third way in the current situation is no one but Trump. Thus, by expressing his desire and possibility of running as a presidential candidate in the 2024 US presidential election, he will surely plan waves of demonstrations, disobedience, and street riots.
*Kevin Roberts is a student of International Studies at University of Connecticut