As the federal government steps up its surveillance of potential right-wing domestic terrorists, they are finding an alarming number of angry white men with huge stockpiles of weapons. Most recently, Tampa Bay resident Michael Ramos was busted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms with an AK-47 assault rifle, a .45 caliber pistol, a large stockpile of ammunition, tear gas, smoke grenades, and up to six home-made PVC “pipe” bombs filled with shrapnel. The home-made explosives were powerful enough to “kill the neighbors if one of the bombs went off.”
According to his Facebook page, Michael Ramos is a proud member of the “Three Percenter” militia group, which is an offshoot of the Tea Party’s military wing, a group known as the Oath Keepers. He ran a company that manufactures body armor for both law enforcement and civilian “use.” His business partners, Kenneth and Ryan O’Neill, became alarmed when they found the bombs at Ramos’ house. After a confrontation in which Ramos got aggressive, they called the authorities after he refused to dispose of the bombs.
“We really appreciate the fact that someone from the public took the time to call, and alert us that somebody was in possession of pipe bombs. Had one of them gone off, anybody within a fifty foot radius would have either been seriously hurt or killed” said ATF agent David Brown.
It is an extremely worrying sign of just how paranoid the self-styled “militia” groups that emerged in response to the election of President Obama really are. They are a danger to themselves and those around them, and the fact that the bomb-making parts were all purchased legally is similarly disturbing. The militia standoff at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Burns, Oregon, has undoubtedly encouraged these groups. The right-wing media constantly wails about the threat of Islamic terrorism while refusing to acknowledge the potential domestic terrorists that their outrageous rhetoric has created; the real danger to this country comes from angry white men with easy access to guns.