Militias are back

… according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

… according to this fairly scary report from the Southern Poverty Law Center. Scariest fact: that DHS report about right-wing extremist activity seems to have been leaked by a federal law enforcement officer sympathetic to the militia cause.

I thought it was a blunder for the Clinton Administration not to mobilize public opinion against the armed-and-dangerous part of the far right in the wake of Oklahoma City, and not to act vigorously against the harassment of federal officials by the “sagebrush rebels.” After Oklahoma City, the President should have gone on TV and asked citizens to put out American flags to demonstrate their support for Constitutional government and their opposition to violence. And he should have ordered federal law enforcement to crack down on the militias, the posse comitatus, and the anti-Castro terrorists in South Florida.

There have already been string of deadly incidents, though fortunately nothing yet on the Oklahoma City scale, and there are loud echoes of militia ideology in the teabagger/health care town hall protests and the birther movement. It seems to me that the time to start making a major fuss – starting with Congressional hearings – is now.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.