The militia movement engages in paramilitary training aimed at protecting citizens from this feared impending government crackdown. Militia groups often engage in firearm and field training, maintain an internal hierarchical command structure, are obsessed with guns and the Second Amendment, and are often opposed to immigration. Notable groups have included the Wolverine Watchman, Ohio Defense Force; Hutaree Militia, Oath Keepers, Minutemen American Defense, Militia of Montana and various Three Percenter-affiliated groups. The Wolverine Watchman were charged in connection to the 2020 plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Both Oath Keepers and Three Percenter group members have been arrested for charges relating to the Jan. 6 insurrection. Three Percenter groups adhere to the dubious historical claim that only 3% of American colonists fought against the British during the War of Independence.
The first thing we need to understand is how we got into this mess. We're in this mess because politicians were so focused on the politics of what they said, they ignored the reality around them - the burgeoning problems in the housing sector, the changes in immigration; they ignored the emerging problems in health care, and in our budgets. We got into this mess because the political advantage for career politicians was to talk about problems, not roll up their sleeves and work together to bring solutions.
And I'd like to ask you also about immigration. The High Court is looking into executive action on immigration, as you know. And I understand the sensitivity of it; you don't want to be prejudicial. But I'm curious, are you where you thought you'd be in immigration reform? And what would you say to family members who say: "Listen, we did it the right way, we've waited our turn in line. How do these other guys get to skip the line, if you will?"
Even as many young Puerto Rican leaders focused their efforts on expanding educational opportunity and civil rights in the United States, others continued the Nationalist struggle. The detention of the Puerto Rican Nationalists responsible for the 1950 attack on Truman (one of the two assailants was killed) and for the 1954 attack on Congress remained a powerful symbol for Nationalists. Some radical factions of the Puerto Rican independence struggle embraced increasingly violent tactics, and persisted through the 1970s and 1980s. Most prominent among these was a group called the Armed Forces of National Liberation (FALN), which claimed responsibility for over one hundred bombings in several U.S. cities between 1974 and 1983 that resulted in five deaths and $3 million in damage. A less contentious but high-profile action, by a group formed to lobby for the release of Puerto Rican political prisoners in the United States, was the mounting of the Puerto Rican flag on the crown of the Statue of Liberty in 1977. The symbolic power of the Puerto Rican flag adorning this icon of American inclusion won the support of many Puerto Ricans, even those who did not endorse the Nationalist cause. As more members of armed nationalist groups went to prison or went into hiding throughout the 1980s, campaigns to sever the political relationship between the island and the United States by force dwindled.
The outbreak retreated in the spring, and pharmaceutical labs, flush with federal dollars, released new, cutting-edge vaccines. By late spring, Americans were getting vaccinated by the millions. The virus looked like it could be defeated. But many Americans, variously swayed by conspiracy theories peddled on social media or simply politically radicalized into associating vaccinations with anti-Trump politics, refused them. By late summer, barely a majority of those eligible for vaccines were fully vaccinated. And so the pandemic continued on. More contagious strains spread and the virus continued churning through the population, sending the unvaccinated to hospitals and to early deaths. 2b1af7f3a8