Dangerous Response To Administration Gun Proposals:“Tactical” Training Company Underscore Risk Of Domestic Terrorism
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, January 14, 2013, 07:51 AM EST
“If it goes one inch further, I’m going to start killing people.”
That is how James Yeager, chief executive officer of two paramilitary equipment and training companies, reacted to the Obama administration’s plans to draft gun control legislation in the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings.
According to Tom Diaz, an author on the gun industry and a former congressional terrorism staffer, Yeager’s words – aired in a widely distributed YouTube video -- amounted to “a reckless and incendiary incitement to domestic terrorism.”
Up to 100,000 people regularly watch Yeager’s YouTube channel. His words, Diaz said, seemed calculated to appeal to disgruntled anti-government radicals willing to interpret them as a call to violent action.
“This is precisely the kind of incendiary language, the type of spark, that could ignite domestic terrorism,” Diaz said. “One of the things counterterrorism experts worry about is ‘leaderless resistance,’ or lone wolf terrorism, which relies on signals of precisely this type to trigger shootings and bombings.”
In the video, Yeager urged what he called “patriots” to get ready for armed conflict – a rhetorical line used for decades by anti-government agitators including Louis Beam, the godfather of the radical right’s “leaderless resistance” credo, and Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber. In this worldview, laid out most notoriously in the white supremacist fantasy novel The Turner Diaries, the government is the enemy and any hint of gun control is a form of tyranny that can only be met with armed resistance.
“One of the great myths of gun extremists in the United States is that they need military-style guns to ‘fight back,’ not only against a tyrannical government, but against people and social trends that they perceive as threatening,” Diaz said.
Yeager has since put out a second video standing by his message.
Diaz pointed out that Yeager’s case illustrates potentially dangerous relationships within the vast homeland security industrial complex. Yeager’s companies, Tactical Response Inc. and Tactical Response Gear Inc., are the sorts of suppliers who have benefited from the homeland security boom. Yeager also claims to have been involved in “protective security details” on Iraq.
“More than $2.5 trillion has been spent by federal and local governments on homeland security since September 11, 2001, supposedly to protect against exactly the kind of violence that Yeager seems to be advocating,” Diaz said. “Yeager apparently benefits commercially from the homeland security craze, which makes him foolish at best in his reckless and incendiary incitement to domestic terrorism.”