The Need For Enemies

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    Just before the fall of the Berlin Wall, a close aide to Mikhail Gorbachev said something that showed a prescient understanding of Americans. “We are going to do the worst thing to you,” he said, “we’re going to deprive you of an enemy.”

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    Over 20 years later, a powerful buffoon in the Senate opens hearings to investigate “homegrown Islamic terrorism.” Meanwhile, the ‘sole remaining superpower’ sits on the sidelines rather than help the Libyan people provide the final blow to the biggest blockhead in the wall of Arab tyranny.

    Both Muammar Gaddafi and Peter King, the illustrious Republican senator from New York, are detached from reality. Though King hasn’t said, “I am America,” as Gaddafi has proclaimed, “I am Libya,” he is acting like he is speaking for the country by opening such blatantly prejudicial and scapegoating hearings in the most powerful body in the United States.

    Homegrown terrorism is something I know a little about, having had a brush with the crazies from my home state of Michigan who underwrote the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

    The plot was hatched in the ‘Thumb’ of Michigan, which was the most extreme militia state in the United States at that time. Timothy McVeigh and others conspired to blow up the Murrah Federal Building at the Nichols’ farm, a few miles from my family’s cottage on Saginaw Bay.

    In the fall before McVeigh lit the fuse in a rental truck filled with explosives in Oklahoma City and walked away, I was visiting the insular peninsula of Michigan. It was the beginning of hunting season, and that year the crazies really came out of the woodwork.

    When visiting, I make it a practice to walk or run the three-mile loop through Tobico Marsh sanctuary on Saginaw Bay, which is adjacent to the family cottage and a major migratory bird flyway in the region. Many schools make regular fieldtrips to the protected area, and one morning I came across dozens of elementary school kids with their teachers.

    The next morning was the beginning of deer hunting season. Thinking that at least this small sanctuary along the bay was safe from the predations of gun-toting yahoos, I set out for my walk. I stopped for a few minutes at the lagoon to observe the many species of ducks and geese that were resting and feeding on their way south.

    On the backside of the preserve, just a few hundred meters from where I had seen the klatch of kids the morning before, stood a camouflaged hunter, armed with a high-powered rifle and scope. Astounded, I said, ‘This is a preserve, you can’t hunt in here.’

    With that remark I fell into his trap. Gathering his venom, he menacingly replied, “You see this tree I’m leaning against? It marks the boundary of the preserve.” He then went on to spew the usual bile about his Second Amendment Rights.

    Needless to say, I didn’t want to rile up this idiot any further, so I politely, though not deferentially, pointed out that I’d seen schoolchildren in the sanctuary the morning before, and that an errant shot could have tragic consequences. That only inflamed him further, so I starting walking away. As I did, I looked him in the eye and said, ‘You may be right about the boundaries and your rights, but you’re in the wrong.’

    Exposed for two hundred meters to his rifle, I could feel every nerve in my back and neck as I walked down the path.

    The reaction of family members and other relatives to the incident was a lesson in how not standing up to extremists gives them sanctuary to proliferate. My father disappointingly said, “You don’t pick a fight with a skunk.” And my closest cousin’s wife took me aside (not a good sign), and whispered, “something strange is going on in this area, and no one wants to talk about it.”

    The following spring Timothy McVeigh, supposedly acting without the knowledge and support of other Second Amendment extremists (with the exception of Terry Nichols), blew up the Murrah Building, killing 168 people.

    That was genuine ‘homegrown terrorism’ by all-American boys (McVeigh and Nichols served together in Gulf War I). President Obama, continuing to think and act as though he’s above it all, now sits on the sidelines as senators turn up the heat on Muslim Americans for “not being cooperative enough in the fight against Islamic terrorism.”

    The media initially reported that ‘Islamic extremists’ had carried out the attack in Oklahoma City. That charge had to wait for the horror of 9.11, during which, fittingly, Bush Junior continued reading nursery rhymes.

    The climate in America is much more combustible now than it was in the mid-90’s, with xenophobic Americans marching against mosques, and senators holding hearings to ferret out non-cooperative Muslims.

    We need to remind ourselves: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good people do nothing.”

    Martin LeFevre



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