Dead to reason: Las Vegas killings are American fanaticism at work

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Jerad and Amanda Miller, the young married couple who killed two police officers at a Nevada pizzeria and a customer at a nearby Wal-Mart last Sunday, were disturbed even by the standards of the American militia movement. When they were cornered by the police, the Millers took their own lives rather than answer to a criminal justice system and state authority they considered illegitimate.

The Millers’ descent into homicidal anarchy was predictable given the heat of their rhetoric. They weren’t shy about naming the things they hated: the federal government, people of other races, anyone who disagreed with their interpretation of the world.

Radio host Alex Jones was their spiritual guide into a universe where paranoid fever dreams and conspiracies are real. Mr. Jones has since called the Millers’ rampage a “false flag” operation staged by the government. There are other paranoid listeners who no doubt believe it.

The Millers were early supporters of deadbeat cattle rancher Cliven Bundy’s protest against the government. Jerad Miller was interviewed by TV reporters during the confrontation between the rancher and the government last month. Even then, he was itching for a fight that he believed would be apocalyptic.

It is a testament to how over-the-top Jerad Miller was that the Bundy family allegedly banished him and his wife from the ranch because they were “too radical.” How radical could they have been on a ranch full of armed anti-government protesters ready to fight local and federal law enforcement officials to the death?

The fringes of the American radical right-wing are full of characters like Jerad and Amanda Miller, two deeply cynical and ignorant gun fetishists who believed the government exists only to enslave them and confiscate the guns and property of every free American.

The couple shouted to terrified Wal-Mart shoppers that they were harbingers of a revolution. They were flattering themselves. The only revolution they might herald is a revolution by ordinary Americans determined to defy the National Rifle Association and keep guns out of the hands of people like the Millers in the future.

 

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