The self-identified leader of the Ohio Militia, a conspiracy-minded “Patriot” group, released a video earlier this week calling for 1 million heavily armed antigovernment demonstrators to march on Washington, D.C., this coming July 4.
“We need to do something,” he said. “We need to make a dent.”
Identifying himself as “Pale Horse,” apparently a reference to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and speaking through a creepy voice distorter, the Ohio militiaman detailed his brazen vision: “A peaceful demonstration of at least a million — hey, if we can get 10 million, even better — but at least one million armed militia men marching on Washington. A peaceful demonstration. No shooting, no one gets hurt. Just a demonstration. The only difference from any typical demonstration is we will all be armed.”
The Ohio Militia website contains apocalyptic language and imagery, along with references to various 9/11 and “North American Union” conspiracy theories. Videos show men said to be Ohio Militia members engaged in small-unit, live-fire combat training. One video is titled “America’s Wake Up Call: Buy Guns.” A different video slideshow depicts assault weapons, mushroom clouds, George Bush, Satan, Osama bin Laden and lots of men in camouflage on maneuvers. It’s set to “Goofy’s Concern,” a song by Butthole Surfers, a psychedelic rock band from Austin, Texas, that includes these lyrics: “I don’t give a fuck about the FBI! I don’t give a fuck about the CIA! I don’t give a fuck about LSD! I don’t give a fuck about anything!”
That video concludes with a message to the Michigan Militia, one of the largest and oldest militia groups in the country: “Thanks for letting us train at Camp Stasa with you guys.”
It isn’t clear that the Ohio Militia is capable of bringing a busload of protesters to Washington, let alone a million or more. But Pale Horse’s call for a gathering of gun-toting militia forces in the nation’s capital brings to mind a similar infamous call to arms issued in 1994 by Patriot movement attorney, filmmaker and conspiracy theorist Linda Thompson. Thompson — who once told the editor of this blog about being personally and repeatedly followed by black helicopters, shot at by mysterious attackers, and having a beloved dog zapped by a secret government ray gun — was probably best known for producing the pseudo-documentary “Waco: The Big Lie,” which alleged a government mass murder in the 1993 standoff in Texas. Although the video was widely circulated, its claims were soon debunked.
Proclaiming herself “Acting Adjutant General” of the “Unorganized Militia of the United States,” Thompson announced that her armed march would take place on Sept. 19, 1994. She said her unorganized army would demand the repeal of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Brady Bill, a gun control measure. U.S. senators and congressmen who refused to accede would be arrested, tried for treason and, if necessary, executed by firing squad or hanging, she said.
Thompson’s plan was almost universally denounced by right-wing groups, including most of the militias that were then appearing all over the country, who accused her of attempting to lead them on a suicide mission. Many in the movement suspected that Thompson was an agent provocateur working for the government.
Response to Pale Horse’s suggestion for a more “peaceful” display of force remains to be seen.