I’m not going to defend these geniuses (because you can’t) and their crazy, I’ve-seen-one-too-many-action-films plan to attempt to kidnap the Michigan Governor, but there are some pieces of tactical wisdom that this tale brings out, along with some truths from the Ultimate Tactical Handbook.
First, let me say that I don’t advocate or condone any illegal activity. The problem lies with folks talking about hypotheticals and drawing you into something that you THOUGHT was a hypothetical discussion, right up until the FBI tosses a flash-bang into your living room.
My friend Rob (robsays.net) frequently mentions the martial art of Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu, or the art of avoiding situations but not hanging around with idiots or in places where idiots congregate. That actually would have prevented all of these people being charged. That brings me to our first truth:
The mouths of fools are their undoing,
And their lips are a snare to their very lives.
This entire situation began with people talking big and running their mouths about “What I Would Do” at an event, and it got overheard by an FBI Confidential Human Source.
If someone attempts to engage you in a such a crazy conversation, don’t even entertain it. Simply nodding or laughing politely at their dumb proposition could be interpreted as going along with it, and can land your name on a law enforcement report. Unequivocally reject their statement, “No, I don’t want to hear your plan and I don’t want any part of it”. WALK AWAY from these people. IMMEDIATELY.
When you read the indictment, you’ll see that these discussions occurred at events where people into preparedness might have been; a shooting range, a Second Amendment Rally, an Open The State Rally. Guard your tongue and don’t engage people (no matter how well you know them) who espouse extreme ideas.
Also in the indictment, you’ll read that while they only relied on data from 2 Confidential Human Sources (informants) and 2 undercover agents, there were several other Confidential Human Sources inside these groups. I’ve mentioned before that militia groups and preparedness groups are a favorite institutional target of federal law enforcement, despite a lack of any evidence that they are dangerous. That bring us to another point:
Keeping a close watch on Him,
They sent spies, who pretended to be sincere.
They hoped to catch Jesus in something he said,
So that they might hand Him over to the power and authority of the Governor.
Federal law enforcement lives and breathes through “Source Operations”, or informants. It’s their lifeblood. The indictments here indicate that at least 4 informants were inside a small group of people. Let that sink in.
I’ve long held that the White Supremacy movement in America is 14 actual White Supremacist guys living in Idaho and about 1,400 federal agents and informants trying to convince them to take criminal action.
I know, all of you are thinking, “But I’m not doing anything illegal”. No, you aren’t, but there is still no reason to ever put yourself in a situation where a Confidential Human Source can put your name on their report or in a recording. Mere presence during a stupid conversation is enough, so make sure that your disagreement with the premise of any stupid conversation is loud and vocal.
So many of us meet some eccentric personalities in our preparedness community, and we smile and nod our heads at their silly rantings. If you read this indictment from Michigan, that appears to be where all of this started. Read all the way through and you’ll see that merely NOT saying anything isn’t enough. Several of the people arrested failed to answer a fishing expedition for interest from one of the informants, but that wasn’t enough. An unequivocal NO is what you need to say, loudly and publicly.
Again, Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu is your best defense. I’ve mentioned before that joining a militia or calling your assistance group a militia automatically puts you on the law enforcement radar. Arguing about how wrong that is doesn’t help; we have to live in the reality as it is, not as it should be or how we want it to be.
This week’s very public arrests will make this situation worse.
That being said, if you find yourself in a situation where someone brings one of these situations up, we feel awkward about rejecting them. We usually say how impossible it would be, or how expensive it would be. When someone then suddenly presents a funding source, or a viable plan for their crazy scheme, run away from that person immediately. Reject their idea and cut ALL ties.
As we can see by the indictment this week, the Confidential Sources were provided over $20,000 for expenses to further the scheme. Now, I know none of us are interested in illegal activity, but if an acquaintance suddenly has a large bankroll to do stupid things and buy things for you, don’t accept. Run the other way.
I genuinely believe that most of these people honestly thought that they were having a hypothetical conversation and training just for fun. Even if only 3 or 4 people take active steps, but you all meet regularly, you’re a part of it. Read the indictment, that’s what it truly sounds like. It sounds to me like the CHS’s provided the ideas and cash, to buy explosives and gear from the undercover agents, which is a tactic the FBI has used for decades. Anyone who didn’t specifically say no, was rounded up.
We’ve all sat around and had conversations, especially in this current environment, about our government, and our leaders. It’s sad to have to say this, but you MUST be careful of what you say, even among friends. The federal government is looking to find people in the preparedness/militia community, rightly or wrongly, who are interested in going farther than talk, and you could get caught up in a dumb situation.
Social media is another place to guard your words. Putting out comments about government figures can later be used against you. Be smart and level headed. I know, too, that my militia friends and acquaintances love to post their training photos, but they really should understand the risk they take in doing so.
The indictment mentions that they monitored encrypted chats, because an informant was part of the chat. Now, I use encrypted email for my client’s security, because we discuss confidential business issues. But I’d never be a part of an encrypted group chat, unless I KNEW that the purpose was 100% lawful and would withstand scrutiny.
I’ve had people ask to have an encrypted chat with me on a one-on-one basis, and I have had those conversations, but it’s always about a one-on-one issue and someone I know and trust, and about entirely legal, but sensitive issues (an occupational hazard, unfortunately). I honestly can’t imagine a situation in which I’d accept a request for a secure chat with someone I don’t know, and neither should you. Also, if that one friend (you know who I’m talking about, we all have one), asks everyone join an encrypted chat, say no.
To recap, in our current environment, it’s easy to fall into discussions with people about the government, government figures, or public figures. Even the most best-intentioned of us can find themselves in an uncomfortable discussion that we want no part in. In our current state of affairs, you can’t afford to be polite; you must reject any discussion about taking illegal action immediately, unequivocally, and publicly, for your own protection.
Avoid fools and spies, by practicing Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu.