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Finally, in June 2013, with the conspirators hard at work on their ghastly weapon, armed FBI agents swooped in, storming a warehouse in Schaghticoke and arresting them. Clearly, these were not the typical “Islamic terrorists” described in the boogeyman stories of American politicians who exploit fear for votes.

Glendon Crawford, the industrial mechanic who conceived the plan, has all the panache of a Macy’s shoe salesman; Eric Feight, a software engineer who helped build the device, looks like a less impish version of Kurt Vonnegut.

Inside a storefront Chinese restaurant in upstate New York, neon light from a multicolored window sign glowed on the face of an extremist plotting mass murder.

He had been seeking backing for his attack and, at this small establishment in Scotia, was meeting with a man who had agreed to take part in his scheme to build a radiation device, a weapon of mass destruction that would slowly and painfully kill anyone who walked near it.“Everything with respiration would be dead by morning,’’ the man who devised the attack told his confederate in tortured English.

The purported accomplice at Ming’s Flavor restaurant in June 2012 was an FBI informant, and the discussion had been recorded.

In the months that followed, another man joined the plot.

Expressing dismay that two ranchers convicted of arson were ordered to serve out the remainder of their mandatory minimum prison sentences, members of various militia groups occupied a building at the wildlife refuge, declaring their willingness to fight the government and, if necessary, die for their cause.

And the day after the first arrests of the Malheur occupiers, a New Hampshire man who told an FBI informant he was part of a group that wanted to bring back “the original Constitution,” and had as much as 0,000 on hand for explosives and rockets, was taken into custody after he illegally purchased hand grenades. And what makes them believe Americans have to engage in armed combat with their own government rather than vote, kill their fellow citizens rather than tolerate differences, blow up buildings rather than just get a job?The problem is getting worse, although few outside of law enforcement know it.Multiple confidential sources notified the FBI last year that militia members have been conducting surveillance on Muslim schools, community centers and mosques in nine states for what one informant described as “operational purposes.” Informants also notified federal law enforcement that Mississippi militia extremists discussed kidnapping and beheading a Muslim, then posting a video of the decapitation on the Internet.In that time, according to New America, a Washington think tank, Islamists launched nine attacks that murdered 45, while the right-wing extremists struck 18 times, leaving 48 dead.These Americans thrive on hate and conspiracy theories, many fed to them by politicians and commentators who blithely blather about government concentration camps and impending martial law and plans to seize guns and other dystopian gibberish, apparently unaware there are people listening who don’t know it’s all lies.

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