American Morning

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November 16th, 2009
05:50 AM ET

Militias: Patriots or Extremists?

By Jim Acosta

Out in the woods, 30-minutes from the nearest city, the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia meets for training once a month.

Armed with a small arsenal of semi-automatic weapons, the question that crosses your mind at one of these exercises is: training for what?

That depends on who you ask.

Our visit with the militia is the first installment of our three part series on something called "the Patriot movement."

The members of the militia in Michigan would certainly call themselves patriots. The folks at the civil rights organization, the Southern Poverty Law Center prefers to use the word "extremists."

Critics of the modern-day militia point out how some of the members of this movement are highly secretive. For example, we contacted nearly a dozen militias for permission to observe their exercises. The militia in Michigan is the only one that said yes.

Watch: Patriots or Extremists? Video

Still, some of its members would not give us their names. Others wore masks.

Then there are the members' constant fears the Obama administration will eventually take away their gun rights.

Another member told us he thinks the president could be "dangerous for the nation."

In nearly the same breath that member said he hopes the militia's training exercises would give some in Washington "pause."

Not to worry, says the group's leader Lee Miracle. A military veteran and postal worker, yes postal worker, Miracle says he urges respect for the president.

He's out to change the way the world views militia groups. We get an up-close look at his family in part two of our series. A family Miracle refers to as "Lee and Kate plus eight plus a gun rack." That's because they have eight kids and 22 guns in the house. And the kids take part in militia day.

In part three of our series, we go to Las Vegas to go behind the scenes with an organization called "Oathkeepers." It's a group of ex-law enforcement officials and military veterans who say they've sworn an oath to the Constitution, not the president. The president they're referring to, of course, is Mr. Obama.

Share your thoughts with us here at amFIX.

Filed under: Controversy • Patriots or Extremists
soundoff (504 Responses)
  1. edward hawkins

    ignorance – racism – stupidity and bigotry – need i say anything else?

    November 16, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  2. Big Joe Buck

    What I want to know is what law enforcement agency put you up to weed out (in this venue) to present this story with unidentified and possible law enforcement people pretending to be "militias" so as to drum-up some got "intel" for the police to target "extremists" here in America? Your entire story was unsubstantiated and displayed no responsiblity or accountability, and just looked to me to be an exercise in "baiting" people to "out" themselves as "potential militia members' because of your erroneous assumption that the viewer is an idiot and would actually comment truthfully, like in Communist China's "One hundred Flowers Bloom" policy of Chairman Mao, who allowed people to "write freely" what they thought about this or that, and then in a few days, at 3 o'clock in the morning, they were dragged naked through the snow and taken away to the Lao Gai gulag and beaten... It's just appears too transparent to me, and I know that often times the FBI and other agencies have pressured media organizations to "hold" stories or to even make up and plant phoney stories just to see what kind of reaction was received, and what kind of "intel" people would be so stupid to volunteer, in their letter to the editor. CNN must take Americans, and white Americans especially, for fools; you forced Lou Dobbs to resign, and Howie Kurtz on CNN Sunday Morning "Reliable Sources" stated, that with his "birther" position about President Obama, and no one being able to produce a birth certificate, or that his outspoken words about criminals entering American territory through a very pourous border, that somehow expressing his opinion about tougher border controls is somehow "anti-American" and made him a lightning rod for a Latino population (which views him as a "racist") forced your producers and executives to tell him to "tone it down", and that now that Glenn Beck is gone over to FOX, you expect Americans to actually BELIEVE your hogwash stories, or to actually want us to tell you what we really think about your phoney news program! You gotta be kidding!

    November 16, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  3. shane king

    the second ammendment was written in a time when armies and militias had basically the same weapons. how can anyone hope to defend against "smart weapons" armed only with a riffle? AND, in my lifetime, no administration ignored the constitution and civil liberties as boldly as "W". i feel most militias are extreme patriots peppered with some close-minded hate-mongers amongst them

    November 16, 2009 at 9:07 am |
  4. Rebecca DeWitt

    I'm concerned about all forms of extremism that are cropping up in our country and across the world. I really don't understand what's causing people to turn to religious fundamentalism and political extremism. Twenty years ago, the vast majority of Americans were centrist in their outlook. The militia men need to read the American Constitution, because President Obama has adhered to its tenets far more than our previous, right-wing president. I would expect nothing less, since he taught Constitutional Law earlier in his career.

    November 16, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  5. ken

    In my view, the militia groups are true patriots. Although I do not belong to one of these groups, I would not hesitate to fight along beside them if the need would arise to protect our Constitution and our freedoms. And I don't believe RACE has anything to do with this at all. Everybody always wants to play the race card when they don't like something. With all the talk of Muslims and the war of Jihad now a days, I for one feel safer with the militias in the country. Instead of harping on the militia, the true patriots of this country, you should be reporting on all the Muslims in this country who are laying low right now waiting for their call of Holy War on Americans. When that day comes there will be a lot of people that will be very thankful for our Militia groups across our great country.

    November 16, 2009 at 9:05 am |
  6. Whitehawk

    Read the Constitution, the Militia is an integral part of this nation's history – and future.
    For those who believe that our "rights" have not slowly been infringed upon don't know the truth, othe than what is spoon-fed to you by the main stream media.
    Do you remember what Woodrow Wilson had said, "Liberty has never come from government. Liberty has always come from the subjects of government. The history ofliberty is the history of resistance."

    To love one's country does not mean that you must love it's government, or even support it's government. It is to the people of this nation that true Patriots stand for; not for corporations, not for lobbying groups, and certainly not for a government that has ballooned out of control.

    An objective study of the past 50 years of this nation would reveal a lot – indeed, it would present the American government in a most revealing, and embarrassing way.

    Do we need a Militia – YES. Should it be well trained – YES. Should it be of the people and for the people – YES. Should it be controlled by the government in any way – NO.

    In the words of Ben Franklin,"Those that would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."
    Sound familiar? This nation has become afraid of it's own shadow. The government has used "feared" to over-come "reason".
    At least we have a Militia to defend the 97% of US citizens that are either too scared, too uniformed, too brainwashed, or just don't care to defend thier rights themselves.
    But, when one believe everything that the government tells them, without bothering to research the facts for themselves, you can expect as much.

    November 16, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  7. Shelby

    This is an extremist group that has been brainwashed just as the Jim
    Jones,David Caregish and followers of such cults. They simply listen
    to harsh rhetoric without understanding what is being said.When they
    finally realized that this is just another hate group bent on destoring this great country of ours, when they try to remove themselves from this cult
    it is too late.AS you think back each of these mention groups and many morelike them end up killing themselves and have not accomplished
    nothing but mass suicide and banished into infamy,I say be careful
    of what you ask for, you might not like what you get.Guns are a danger
    left ind the hands irresponsible people.

    November 16, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  8. Michael

    Allow me to introduce myself,
    I am the current acting XO for the 5th col NW region.
    i have several degrees in business and computer science.
    i work just like you, i pay taxes just like you, i love my wife and kids....just like you. i have read many of the comments post on here and would like to express my opinion on this matter. there are several comments questioning as to our membership, agenda, political motivation for joining/forming militia groups.
    1. yes they are several members "of color". so no we are not racists. we will support and defend any and all citizens of this nation, regardless of color or even religion for that matter.
    2. we have NO intention of over throwing or disrupting the government in as far as they conduit themselves according to the constitution in keeping with the original intentions of the founding fathers intentions
    3. we see ourselves as patriots who wish to protect our nation and fellow citizens from a possible arrogant and out of control government
    4. as far as what "rights" we see that may be in jeopardy;
    a. the right to free speech in that unless something is express that is politically correct or in line with the main stream those individuals are harassed and at times subject to unnecessary use of force and even incarceration.
    b. during Katrina the right the posses firearms by lawful citizens was revoked unconstitutionally by a city police cheif and enforce by military personel
    c. the use of military personnel in a policing role (which has happened other times besides Katrina)
    we are men and women from your neighborhoods. business owners, accountants, lawyers, doctors, even a few busboys. you see us every day. we attend your churches. we belong to bowling leagues...we are everyday people that see a very real threat emanating from the high levels of government and we are prepared to stop them and defend....YOU..if it becomes necessary.

    November 16, 2009 at 9:03 am |
  9. Joyce Jackson

    Wow, I find this very disturbing and frightning as an African American. I charge you in the media to do what Matthew McConneghy did while he was defending Samuel L. Jackson in the movie "A Time To Kill". Close your eyes and visualize these men in these extremist groups as African American. What actions would our law enforcement officials locally and nationally be taking? We know that their would be an all out assault on the group to disarm and disband them. What a bunch of crock and bullcrap when this group talks about the Constitution! When will this country come to it's senses, or does it take more postal shootings,
    Fort Hoods, and the other violence committed with guns! Wake up America and smell the gun powder!!

    November 16, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  10. karen brousseau

    22 guns and eight children in the house? I hope not your everyday patriotic family. Afraid of a man (Obama) who is working to help the voiceless and the powerless? Not to mention those who own small businessess obtain affordable healthcare, and in a short time has made progress in stabilizing this country and the world economy. All -white and multiple gun -toting people dressed in camafloge who are claiming their rights are being threatened? They couldn't hide their ignorance if they tried! Extremist and very scary.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  11. rick

    i see that many are comparing the National Guard to these milita groups. however, a major difference is the National Guard work for the government. they take their orders from the government. they don't stand to fight against the government.

    apples and oranges.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  12. Michael W Kinney

    They are extremists. White, overweight, right wing yokels who watch to much fox television. Funny they spoke of protecting America and their guns, then the reporter is shown how to use an Russian assualt rifle. They are so easily indoctrinated to fear our new president ,simply because he is half black. Patriots? not likely. Real warriors have no need to pretend to be warriors. Wannabee's who never had the guts to sign up and serve their country!

    November 16, 2009 at 8:59 am |
  13. Annie

    Amazing, Obama has been more a friend to gun owners that any president in recent memory, including the Replublicans. The only battle going on is in the heads of these paranoid bigots.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:58 am |
  14. Pam

    The "anti-Obama" militias are a bunch of racist bigots.

    Over 100 militias have popped up since President Obama took office...they say they are worried about losing "their America", but this is NOT their America, it is ours.

    They are not "partriotic" or "real Ameicans" but just a bunch of racist slime who have felt it ok to "pop up" because of the GOP and their 100% white party of racial inciters, both during and following the election, beginning with the whacked out palin and her, "He's not like us" comments at ther stump speeches, and followed through by the remainder in her party AND the GOP.

    Interestingly, the militia members, along with republicans in general, all same the same thing, but cannot name one single "right" that has been taken away from them. It's hard to come up with an answer to that when no right has been taken away and their main reason for even saying it is about being raicsts.

    Hey CNN, try sending out a reporter of color the next time you go interview one of these anti-Obama militias, because you won't get the same warm welcome, that's for sure.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:57 am |
  15. Myron

    Its strange to me that the government is only useful those who are afraid of it when it can provide them benefits. Like animals in a cage these militias are set to strike at the urgence of the leader who serves the koolaid. And then they disappear back in to the fabric of America. Ask yourself, how are these so called camps any different than an idealogically based terrorist training camp? They train with their most prized possesions, guns; with people who typically are mentally weak and lack strong independent skills. They tend to believe that their constitutional rights are in jeopardy and so they arm themselves as if they can stop perceived government intrusion. At least terrorist training groups are singular in purpose (destruction of America), however misguided. The militias have a broad crossection of extremists at many levels, including facists, racists, bigots and good ole "christians", of course. They call themselves "patriots", so what does that make the rest of us? It just amazes me that people like this can be so gullible, like lemmings.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:56 am |

    Patriots nor Extremists any group of people that hate another group of people because of their color,way of life or because there not like them, is a hate group, same as KKK so Militia group as well as KKK are nothing but Terrorist and should be treated as such.The United Stated of American needs to act on these groups, the same way we act on Terrorist ,because no matter how you cover it up their all the same,they have the same ideals.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  17. Phil Watson

    To me they look like extremists. I can understand that some people like guns and want ot own one or two but the leader of the group interviewed with 22 guns at home and 8 kids says it all.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  18. Bill Crabill

    You fail to understand that incomplete reporting like this adds to the frustration felt by some in this country regarding Pres Obama, his Administration & Media Bias.
    The report clearly stated that the Obama Administration has not introduced any anti-gun legistration. That is incorrect! Please get your facts straight, you can start by looking at this bill introduced in the house ...."HR 45 Blair Holt Firearm Licensing & Record of Sales Act of 2009"

    November 16, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  19. robert watson

    they are right wing extremist's,something like the tea party protestorsat the town hall meetings.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:54 am |
  20. Fran

    Every time somebody disagrees with this president it`s racist! I am so sick of that one! I don`t care what color he is. He is DESTROYING this country! I am GLAD there are militia groups! I feel better knowing they are all over the United States. Take a good look at what Obama and his congress are trying to do to this country. Out of control spending, putting people in jail for not having insurance (unconstitutional), wanting to pull out of Afghanistan? (what did our men die for?) oh I could go on. Of course other than Fox who tells the TRUTH about what this administration is up to, most people don`t have a clue or don`t care. They will be the first ones screaming when they find out ALL of their rights have been taken away. Wake up AMERICA! GO MILITIAS!

    November 16, 2009 at 8:53 am |
  21. scottdfsimpson

    Shame on you cnn, and not these groups. What groups? You interview what looked like a weekend warrior gun club, and now want to polarise a non-issue with this question. Are they extremists or patriots? I would have have to interview each group and decide case by case. I think cnn is the extremist in this case. Extremely poor reporting. Shock Jock sensationalism may sell comercials, but your not selling me. Why can't I find an american news station that tells me the news? I will keep listening to the BBC, I just hope I don't get a snooty english accent.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:52 am |
  22. Sinista Mace

    Using your logic, any citizen who dissents and is armed is automatically a terrorist, and I'm sure you wouldn't want to label yourself as that simply because you're armed angry and dissenting.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  23. Ryan S

    It is quite reveiling that one ignorant person calls this racism. The Right to Keep and Bear Arms – The Second Ammendment is more infringed than the First Ammendment; why? Are they not equal rights? If you want to understand th militia's fear just look at Pres. Obama's past votes and his choice for AG. Nothing open minded about guns. Remeber if you outlaw guns only outlaws will have guns.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  24. Liz

    Bush did more damage to the constitution with the Patriot Act - it took only months to roll out but will take years to repair. However, these militias are grown-up boy scouts and in a natural disaster setting, I'd want them for protection & help. As long as they are respectful / mindful in exercising their rights, then they are patriots and I encourage it. And I'm a democrat living in the South.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  25. Al Cal

    Paranoia strikes deep. Into your heart it will creap. There's a man with a gun over there telling me I've got to beware.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  26. M. Wright

    Exactly what is the diffference between a masked, gun-toting coward in Michigan and a masked, gun-toting coward in Iraq? Oh wait, THERE ISN'T ANY!. Clearly we have a lot of work to do here at home once Al Qaeda is taken care of.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  27. DaJuan Hodge

    I feel that these groups are extreme in their idea of defending the constitution. Citizen raise guns to defend the country under the leadership of our Commander and Chief rather we agree or not. There is a great deal of information that public can't be made privy to due to security measures. So one cannot possibly fathom the reason behind the decisions of our Presidents. Especially during a time of war. Anyone questioning the demonstration of laws in the nation or their region of it, should challenge such through legal and/or lobbying methods.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  28. Patrick

    What concerns me most is that these militia's and other groups cannot articulate what rights have been taken from them, what has been done to threaten the constitution, what way and time do they want the US to go back to and why. I think that CNN and other news organizations spend too much time reporting these things as cute little quips, when they are questions that need to be asked and answered. This sort of thinking is what endangers us. When people make unfounded statements, and others march to it as though it was true, then they become dangerous and could lead to our country being torn apart. The only threat to the constitution that I can remember was the patriot act which republicans and democrats passed. This is the result of fear and irrational thinking. Please focus on why these people think as they do. I think it will be very telling.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  29. Howard McFann

    These so-called "patriots" are really extremist gun crazy nuts just looking for someone on whom to vent their pent up frustrations. To think that Obama or any President can "take away our freedoms" is dumb thinking. Our country has survived because of our checks and balances, no one leader can exert that much power. I wonder at the political affiliation of these guys and gals. I'll bet they're related to the Tea Party bunch.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  30. John C.

    Not only do I not think these people are patriots, I think they are racist gun-nut idiots who use "being concerned about the Constitution" as a euphamism for being worried about a black president who is challenging their warped litlle world views just a little too much for comfort. Where were these "concerned patriots" when the Bush Administration was actually walking on the Constitution in the name of "homeland security"? You said yourself that they couldn't explain how their Constitutional rights were being infringed. Not only do I think they are going too far, I think CNN is going too far by giving voice by giving voice to this idiocy. And, as always, doing so with the bare minimum of fact checking....

    November 16, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  31. Patrick Pettengill

    Good morning,

    I think these people have the right to form militia's and by doing so, have just confirmed that their constitutional rights are NOT being taken away. How ironic that they think that it is Obama who 'could be dangerous for the country' and fear that the Constitution is 'slipping away'; instead of the former Vice President who regularly shredded the Constitution and created his own shadow government. May I suggest that these people go and visit the US Constitution Center in Philadelphia and spend a day realizing how this great country works instead of listening to talk radio for their knowledge base.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  32. Kalani

    I Think its a little of both.You have to go off of how people present themselves. these were groups made up of members from the same race probably sam social-economic backround and probably the same state(South Carolina,Kentucky lol,Kansas,Mississippi) back country .they are also rolling around in the woods much like the terrorist over seas do when there training for the latest attack. The pesident is doing more than any other president has done as far as travel in the first year.and whites like they always are are the only ones to have a problem with people and like always create the problems even though they cant identify the ones they have(Like never....Maybe because the dont know never...Iraq,Aghganistan,Korea,Vietnam) you all really sometimes need to take a step back and chill because nobody in this world is really feeling you. we have militia groups over here for our president while they have al queda and the chinese army to keep whites in line.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  33. Warren

    To answer your question about our children, not enough time nor space is available to answer that question. What you have to ask yourself is "Does the goverment give the people power, or do the people give government power?" The answer could be given by any of our founding fathers. When the people rely on the government for security, we lose our freedom (our God given rights). It was Thomas Jefferson who siad that where security exists, freedom and liberty do not. Keep that in mind when you are thinking about whether "I" as an American know what's best for me, or if the government knows what's best for me........YOUTUBE Fall of the Republic.........

    November 16, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  34. john schwantes

    In todays political climate, anyone who believes in our constitutional freedoms (patriotism) would be labeled an "extremist".

    November 16, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  35. Sinista Mace

    With all due respect, LEGAL MILITIAS formed under the excercise of the second amendment, are not terrorist simply because they disagree with the direction the President is leading the country. To make comments such as that are extremely shortsighted and even masochistic seeing as how in the event that you choose to dissent, for any issue, you automatically place yourself in a self-described category of 'terrorist'.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  36. Dee Byrd

    You should have asked why so many of them are overweight.

    In case of emergency they will need to be in good shape physically.These guys would probably have heart attacks trying to get out of their own way.

    When they violate the law,we'll see how tough they are when they wake up in a cell somewhere with a 6 foot 5 inch,290 lb roommate.

    Silly little boys playing Army.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  37. Gary Finney

    They are true patriots. Yes, the government is slowly taking away our rights. But I will NEVER give up my guns. My assault rifle is for my protection, and this is a right. If it comes down to the govt turning on us, then yes I will fight against them.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  38. Scott H in Wisconsin

    I'm amazed at these people who let "their" president spy on them (and lie about it), approve torture, freeze Habeas Corpus and lead us into a war using 9/11 as a reason even though Irag had nothing to do with it. Where was their great concern for the Constitution then? I"m pretty sure Cheney would've used the Constitution for toilet paper if he had the chance!

    What has President Obama done do earn their mistrust? Take actions to save us from another Depression? Try to get health care to people? I guess listening to other's opinions and respecting their right to those opinions is terrifying to these groups.

    The extreme right is more dangerous with their blind following of any right wing leader no matter what the policy.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  39. Mr Vic

    C,mon we all know the answer to that but the media cannot say it so I will. They are extremist who look at our president as a threat because he is african american plain and simple. Do you see any minorities in any of these so called militias? They see anyone that is not white as a threat to them and their country especially if they are in a position of power!

    November 16, 2009 at 8:48 am |
  40. Susan

    I am positive that these people are racists. They cannot explain what constitutional rights they are losing, but they state that they are anyway.
    Yet for the previous eight years their phones were tapped and had no privacy online, at their doctor's offices or in their mail. Their children were going to be called to a draft at any moment so Bush would have enough troops to invade two countries, one for absolutely no reason at all. I don't recall all the outrage then. These folks cannot accept that they have a black man for President. It is plain and simple.
    These people are the ones who are dangerous. Of course they are going to appear somewhat normal on camera. But as Mr. Acosta stated after his piece aired, one of these "militia" members invited him into his home. They have something like eight kids. His most prized possession was his gun rack. They have about 22 guns in their home?
    Do you still want to believe these people are "normal?" Normal people have much better things to do with their time.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  41. Juvette Hawkins-Williams

    Please do your reasearch before trying to defend your constitutional rights. President Obama was a Professor of Constitutional Law. I truly believe he knows The Constitution!!! No Excuse for Violence.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  42. Jodu K

    As long as they are responsible, I'm fine with it. The question here is, why are so many people questioning the environment Obama's creating. It seems people from both parties are realizing, that Obama and his reps have lost the U.S.image of a tough, strong, value driven country. He is more worried about his popularity, rather than calling thngs how they are and doing what's right.(Ft.Hood is a terrorist act) He's more like a young punk with power, rather than a President What a shame.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:47 am |
  43. Mr. Rob

    These individuals are extremists, not very bright ones, because it's like a person saying, that because I have 40 bibles, that my religious rights can't be violated.
    Extremists are people gathered for reasons of a selfish matter, and only add negatively to any situation.
    Instead of the same old camouflage and country mannerism, a true milita should be respectably dressed and non- suspicious, then maybe their views will be listened to without – bias.
    If the world comes to an end, ... does any man know, how many guns you will need to stop the world from ending?... please don't answer that, .... if you tried to ....your an extremist.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  44. Crystal Stockton

    Patriots do not have to be extremists, just as muslims don't have to be suicide bombers.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  45. Kelly

    I am glad that the constitution protects the rights of all Americans, even extremists motivated by fear and propaganda who are playing GI Joe in the woods to give themselves the feeling of security they feel they need. I just wonder what the founding fathers who developed the constitutiuon had in mind. Do you think they, in their wildiest dreams, could have imagined 2009?

    November 16, 2009 at 8:46 am |
  46. Sinista Mace

    Because our volunteer military has been corrupted by GI- Bill bribes and wars of false pretense, the natural born citizen is gravitating towards what they believe to be a trustworthy army. As citizens, every one of us is a soldier, and as soldiers, every soldier is a citizen. It is our duty to protect the Constitution in the event of invasion from foreign entities, or in the event of government tyranny, and also to protect our property and families. Hence the second amendment. President Obama should be aware that in the event of States sovereignty being circumvented by the lending of Federal dollars and the declaration of martial law during a state of federally declared emergency (and the legislation and enforcement of Federal Laws thereof) , the constitutionally legal militias of the sovereign states of the United States of America will exercise The second amendment right to bear arms against government tyranny or foreign invasion.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  47. El Laurence

    I think the majority are patriots; there are of course the exception in any group. The majority of people are scared when they see/hear each day what our politicians are doing to our country...
    We have lost the right to teach/pray certain religions in schools, however we can teach/pray the koran and accept middle east prayer.
    We have lost the right to have a national language. We have lost the right to celebrate Christmas in public when the majorit;y clearly want Christmas. We have lost the right to privacy. We have lost the right to government 'by the people'.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:45 am |
  48. LYRXSCZ101

    I'm pretty sure these guys are the good guys and are only here to resemble the real patriots for a real cause. That cause is freedom. We are against anyone that will try and is trying to take that away from us. Even if it is the Government.

    God Bless this Nation The United States of America.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  49. Jean-Louis

    These dangerous extremists are nothing more than hostile, angry racists with guns. Substitute the camouflaged masks for hooded sheets, close your eyes and listen to the broadcast. For the reporter to describe these thugs, dopes and goons as “friendly and hospitable” is moronic and insulting to viewers.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:44 am |
  50. steve in SE PA

    Yes I am afraid of constitutional rights disappearing.
    The ""open"" Obama are hiding behind door, the will not list the sheltered phone co. The patriot ACT. What a farce, the loss of constitutional right.
    Obama and his Czars which have no oversight by congress,
    I have 6 'semi-auto 22lr pistols and 15k round of ammo (got got to buy when available for price). I shoot 5K rounds a year in 'bullseye'!!! Am I a nut, or just cost conscious??

    If I do not have medical insurance I will be fined!!! I now am paying 6K dollars for medical and it will go UP!

    November 16, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  51. K

    With all of the CZARS that Obama has setup and the way he is getting friendly with countries that hate us, along with the takeover of PUBLIC companies, I wander what he is up to. If compaines like Ford, GM, etc. are PUBLIC companies, WHY is the goverment taking control? Could this be the first step taking away rights?

    November 16, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  52. Drew

    These are good American Patriots with their Chinese machine guns. Get the irony? Hey! Pay attention, as Jim Acosta mentioned, Obama hasn't proposed any new gun control laws. President Obama and the democrat s are NOT socialists, any more than Bush and the republicans were fascists.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  53. Bernadette Loesch

    Extremists plain and simple. These milita people have very misplaced fears and they are taking up weaponry to bolster their ego and status amoungst their peers. I would almost feel sorry for their misplaced sense of justice if it weren't so forceful and angry in nature.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:43 am |
  54. nina

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!Constitutional Rights are being infringed.... yet they can't mention one right that has been taken away.

    Please the problem here is clearly illiteracy and by that i do not mean just getting a Univertsity Degree as clearly these day just going to school does not make you a literate.

    i think they are just looking for recreational activities to keep busy as unemployment is so high. If only they can remain in their own backyards!!!

    November 16, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  55. luis z

    They are both, a little extremist because most of them do not understand the complexity of the government and very patriotic because they are willing to defend the flag and the constitution no matter what.
    This is what makes them more patriotic than extremist and they feel that they should be prepared for anything or in other words "better safe than sorry".

    November 16, 2009 at 8:42 am |
  56. Holly Greenfield

    Where were these "patriots" when the Bush administration was violating the 4th Amendment with the Patriot Act and warrantless wiretapping? Where were they while that administration violated the 5th and 6th Amendments by detaining American citizens for months (or even years) without due process?

    November 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  57. Donald Wheatley

    These are just good Americans feeling so threatend by this administrations policys that they want to protect all of our rights.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  58. publius

    After the Democrats lost the house and senate and a couple of presidential elections because of their gun-prohibitionist ways, they have learned their lseesn, at least for now.

    None of these laws did the slichtest bit of good anyway. So, paradoxicaly, the Obama dminstration has actually been good to the lock and load crowd in their rush to prove to the "left-necks" (moderate to progrssive gun owners) that they have reformed their antigun ways.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  59. Steve

    These extremist believe most people are stupid and blind and that they can cover up their real motivations and bigoted hatred. They hide behind guns and wrap themselves in the flag and constitution. But they are all about white power and hate for others. I will be watching CNN Breaking News when they report on the murder and killings in that guy family with more guns than kids. It always happens when you combine ignorant people and weapons. We reap what we sow!

    November 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  60. allen may

    Yes these militia's are necessary. And yes we have been losing our rights ever since the passage of the "Patriot Act " They must have pondered along time on that name,because it is anything but !

    November 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  61. Cindy

    Clearly this militia groups are wholly unpatriotic. They are white power extremists and they are extremely angry that President Obama is leading this country. None of their constitutional rights have been affected, so it's obvious that there only problem is that a black man is leading this country now. Consider what would happen if all black militia groups started popping up everywhere. I am 99.9% sure that most white people would be quick to call them dangerous and extremist and would find any reason to shut them down.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  62. Richard

    These are radical brain washed fanatics who listen to Glenn Beck. The Repubs. count on firing up these mostly uneducated people to support their party. If they only new how pathetic they appeared they would go back to their trailers.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  63. Brian

    I think these militia that are cropping up are patriots...sadly with little education and who are easily led down the wrong path. The fears that are being stirred by the extremeist of the right wing and that are persuading these people is what this nation should be afraid of.

    I have friends who were always reasonable people who have lost all sense of reality because all they listen to is Fox "news". When you ask them why they are so afraid of this administration, they have no answer that isn't directly out of Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity or Limbaugh's handbook! That is scary!

    November 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  64. Rick from Ct

    We need to stop playing this is not about any rights you can change the white sheets but we all know that they are the KLAN but we're gonna play around until blacks, spanish and Jews are being killed I mean really
    are we gonna act like this isn't whats happening here?

    November 16, 2009 at 8:41 am |
  65. don de coste

    I think these guys are nothing but a bunch of armed good old boys, that have nothing on their minds except getting to fire weapons and dress up , when the know deep down inside the real military is busy fighting terrorists, they are busy fighting their own goverment , they are a sad looking bunch indeed, I wonder if they have white hoods with their uniforms!!

    November 16, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  66. Steve

    If these people are concerned about the constitution, look no further then the last administration. The Patriot Act, Dept of Homeland Security
    Chaney trying to rewrite the Constitution to give the President powers he does not have. This is no more then " we don't trust a black man or any other minority in the white house. Racism is alive and well and lives in America.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  67. mark reed

    why don't you investigate the people who hate americans and teach their followers to kill americans..the militia groups are standing up for american rights. they don't want to kill americans they want to protect america.. where is the story that tells about the people who really hate america.. the radical muslims...are you afraid you might hurt their feelings..? their right here in america, too. using our constitutional rights to teach hatred and to try and destroy us...and you guys are worried about patriotic americans...fools

    November 16, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  68. Jack Padilla

    Patriots or extremist, I would say neither. For no apparent reason they are afraid of a black president. people seem to be afraid of the new, the differen. or maybe they just want to belong to a group. There is allot of insecurity out there, both finamcially, and emotionally.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  69. vince carcel

    I feel all Americans should arm them self's this government boarders on treason,every company and foreign country has more say than we do because they bribe our official through lobbyist's and leave us holding the bag when the crap hit's the fan. It's not just the president it's the senate and congress

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  70. rick


    there is a difference between protesting with signs versus protesting with guns.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  71. faith carey

    I know some of these militia members. Most of them haven't read the consitution.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  72. tyler

    I think these people are racist, Obama has done nothing to take there gun rights or any other rights away. These people are just uncultured poorly educated folks who fear people who don't look like them.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  73. Corwin7

    Typical ignorant knee-jerk reactionary rednecks...Rant and rave about how their constitutional rights are being violated but if you ask them they can't even name which or how. Ironically, these are the people that no doubt voted for the previous administration that shredded the constitution at will, probably twice. God it must be easy to represent these people in can tell them ANYTHING and they just believe it even in spite of widespread media coverage of the subject matter. Sort of makes me sick to have to admit that this is "Joe Sixpack".

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  74. Drew J

    Neo-conservative propaganda??? That's just the ignorance of the viewer watching cnn or any other channel. Myself, being in the military, for 8 yrs have been interviewed by the media a number of times and although it wasn't turned negative in my case. It still wasn't the whole story, i've seen my sentences cut and pasted in to different segments. Don't allow the media to make decisions for you. They never tell the whole story, they just turn it in to what they think will get the best ratings from their viewers. The news these days is filled with such BS, don't be lazy. Do your own research before you think race is a major factor in cases like this. In the end the president is just the puppet head for the party anyway. The party's to blame, not necessarily the president himself.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  75. stephen carl hoglund

    These groups are extremists, perhaps laughable extremists. They generally tragic fat white guys who are clearly racist! Do a visual next time you see a program such as this! They fear President Obama for some strange reason, one of which is a fear of losing their right to keep and bear Arms. Take it from thi Red-Neck Liberal, I would NEVER allow anyone to take away my two high powered bolt action 410 shotguns! Seriously, no one of note is remotely interested in taking away that right!

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  76. Larry Litchfield

    They should be carefully watched.
    A potential assassin may be among them.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  77. david conner

    they are patriots with some extreme beliefs and concerns. I wish Obama would go and eat some bar b que with them and they would see that he is more on there side than they think. I here he's a pretty good shot too.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:39 am |
  78. William

    I cannot see how anyone can believe that the people who have joined many of these militias are patriots. First off, none of them can say what Constitutional rights they are losing (due to the fact that no one is losing any of their rights), They also cannot say why they are fearful of our government, outside of soundbites (usually "Socialism, communist, marxist). And all of them continue to say they are going to have their weapons taken away (when no law or executive order has ever been suggested at any time).

    People who complain about what's going on in Washington most times forget that they are the ones who have voted our Senators & Congressmen (and women) into office. The members of militias should worry more about exercising their civil right by voting instead of playing soldier because of a specious claim of 'the government is coming for me & my guns'.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  79. rick

    Al Gagne,

    you said, "They are prepared to protect and defend the Constitution if the Shadow Government, which is being created by Obama, is activated."

    obviously, you did not know that the shadow government was in place well before Abraham Lincoln became president. the idea of a shadow government goes even further back than that.

    Various news organizations ran a report on the "shadow government" established by Bush in the wake of Sept 11th. to imply that it's being created by Obama is really just to place blame.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  80. Jim Hight

    These people are threats to American security, similar to domestic terrorists. Their concern with socialism is unfounded. I wonder if they were concerned when Bush began spying on Americans at will? When the Patriot Act stripped many individual rights? Are these actions justified since they are security related to these right-wing ideologues?

    The actions of such extremists as Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, Jim Dement, and Glenn Beck fuel these domestic terrorists. One of them in the report was concerned about losing his "gun rights." When has President Obama ever said that gun rights are threatened? They need to do some research into the facts instead of relying on the lies from the right-wing nutcases as Palin, Limbaugh, and Beck. They might discover that things are not as bad as they first thought.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:38 am |
  81. Sherree from MO

    Its hard to say if they're patriots or not. Maybe in the strictest sense, but I don't think they're the most reasonable people. I don't think the Obama administration is stripping away our rights any more than the Bush administration did – with its warrantless wiretapping (also overstepping Constitutional rights, without even bothering to pass a law before doing it). Notice that these groups weren't popping up over that. I think this shows they have some inherent biases against President Obama. Maybe its just political, but maybe its something more...

    November 16, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  82. Tom

    My huge issue is that Bush came in and started stepping into everyone's privacy and personal freedoms. Attempting to pass marriage laws, the patriot act, etc.; however, just because a rumor about gun rights and/or socialism (socialism by the definition of a high school dropout), they're gathering?

    Where were they when I was being patted down at the airport before they realized there were metal buttons in my jeans? Or perhaps while our country was invading the privacy of millions of Americans for no reason at all other than "they can?" I label extremists just because our last president gained more ground in taking away our rights than Obama has even considered.

    These people lack any merit until they figure out who really took our rights away. Obama should repeal the Patriot Act, but of course, these groups would still stay around.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  83. Brent

    These "people" are extremists. Where were they during the previous administration? It is very interesting that they can't comment of what they are so "afraid of". They clearly have some issues and I find it amusing you don't find any people of colour in their ranks.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  84. Bill

    Patriots. The federal government is gradually taking away our freedoms, and Obama has kicked it into overdrive. The 10th Amendment has been flushed down the toilet. I respect these citizens and will join them if it come to that point.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  85. David

    While there may be some extremists in these groups, I believe that at their heart they are love America and love the Constitution. I think they echo the feelings of many in America, including myself, who feel the Federal Government is getting much too involved in our lives. God Bless America and President Obama.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  86. Steve

    Nut bags is about the only word that can be used to describe such groups. They have their right to assemble and I am not going to take away their right to do so but they claim that Obama is taking away freedoms yet they fail to look at their last WHITE leader who took away more freedoms from Americans that any President. Bush used fear & 911 to make people believe we needed to lose our freedoms so he could protect us. Now the conservative movement looks at a black President who happens to have a name that scares people and once again they want to bring fear to Americans. Look at these groups and you will find no minorities involved in them, this isn't American ideology, this is fear & ignorance. These are people who don't even understand what Socialism is. Their definition is skewed by their ignorance. It is really a shame that this country is so ignorant. But it is also not a surprise to me.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  87. Joanne

    Hum ?? From Canada ... these look alot like terrorist training camps. Extremely disturbing to say the least.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:37 am |
  88. aubrey

    Patriots yes, extremists no.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  89. Dwayne

    RACISTS!!!! How dare they say they are afraid of Pres Obama. Why? Oh yeah, he's not WHITE. It sickens me to my stomach that we still tolerate racism in this country of any kind. You know what else is astounding about these radical people? If they came into a hospital I'd have provide the best care to them as anyone else – despite their racist ways. Amazing how important a black man becomes when its necessary to save these idiots lives.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  90. cf

    Simply put, a bunch of poorly educated, dangerously ignorant people looking for any excuse to justify behaving irresponsibly. Any excuse to carry a gun. Ya, we get like guns...get over it and smarten up.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  91. John

    Militias are clearly extremeist and enemies of the government. The militias which were shown are a dangerous as Timothy McVeigh or David Coresh. It is time for Homeland Security and DAF to take action against them and their extremist, national threat.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  92. wise


    November 16, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  93. kenneth Thompson

    People in this country are scared of what this Administration is doing.....go to Gun shows and see all the ammo being purchased.....Look at the success of Glenn Beck !......People just want their country back.....just watch the next election....Militias are just patriots. Amen.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  94. Miss Trina

    I'd be willing to bet if these so-called "malitia groups" were comprised of Arab Americans, or Muslim Americans there wouldn't be a major discussion about their "rights to form." They would be seen as terrorist cells and would be eliminated...much in the same way the Black Panther Party, and other non-white cells were. Real talk.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  95. Mike in Alaska

    I think the radical anti-Obama thugs you interviewed are conspiracy nuts and I find it comical that many of them were too afraid to show their faces.

    I wouldn't trust them as far as I can throw them, and I find it appalling that you (John) referred to them as "perfectly normal".

    They are TIN FOIL hats.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:36 am |
  96. Charles Thompson

    After watching reports on these militia groups, I believe they are right wing.extremely racist groups. How many of these groups have non white members? These are the knid of people who support nuts like Sarah Palin and Dick Cheney. You should stop legitimizing these right wing nuts.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  97. Joe

    These people are just scared. Change brings insecurity brings fear. Training helps them feel better and more in control. Most are probably nothing to worry about.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  98. Justin

    The simple fact that they couldn't explain which of their constitutional rights were in danger shows a reactionary mentality. All fury and anger with no though behind it.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:35 am |
  99. Caron

    Hmmm....Sorry I hope the the second amendment is repealed. A year ago Nov in CA, my rights as a human being were taken away because of my lifestyle. I have been reduced to a second class citizen. Maybe when more rights are taken away, then people will understand that discrimination in any form is wrong.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:34 am |
  100. Tim Brown

    My question to militia participants would be, “Show me substantive evidence of the government coming in to take your rights away?” You’re running around in the woods with an assault rifle, speaking your mind on national television, on the internet, freely debating your political view whenever and wherever you care to do it.

    November 16, 2009 at 8:34 am |
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