Georgia Militia Plot Reflects Growing Antigovernment 'Patriot' Movement

Four members of an unnamed North Georgia militia planned to attack cities including Atlanta with deadly ricin, bomb federal buildings and murder law enforcement officials and others, according to charges leveled yesterday.

The alleged plot comes in the context of an antigovernment “Patriot” movement that has been growing explosively since 2008. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s annual count of extremist groups shows that the number of Patriot groups rose from 149 in 2008 to 512 in 2009 to 824 in 2010.

The number of militia groups – typically armed groups that engage in military-style training – has risen from 42 in 2008 to 330 in 2010. See a state-by-state list of active militia groups.

There have been approximately 100 domestic terrorist plots from the radical right since April 19, 1995, when Timothy McVeigh, another militia enthusiast, murdered 168 people in an Oklahoma federal building.