I once worked at a small computer consulting firm in the Midwest in the mid 90’s. We had recently hired a new programmer. He had arranged for a week of unpaid vacation to start about a week after he started. In casual conversation he mentioned that he would be attending a church boot camp for a week. He also started ranting about Waco and Ruby Ridge.
The rest of us sort of looked at each other with expressions of WTF? Church boot camp? What the hell kind of a church has a boot camp? Do they wear camouflage uniforms and have an obstacle course? Do they plan to overthrow the government? And from his description of the event, I don’t think it was this type of church boot camp.
Well this was the 90’s in the middle of the militia craze. The crazies had abandoned their conspiracies of satanic baby killers and had joined militias to be “patriots”. Now days these same idiots have joined the Minutemen and have crazy ideas about drug crazed immigrants. Have you noticed, it always seems to be the same people who join these types of fads? Whatever the crazy conspiracy du jour is, they’ll buy it.
Well, a couple of weeks after our strange employee came back from the church boot camp, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols bombed the Federal Building in Oklahoma City. We worked in a Federal building ourselves and suddenly we had the US Marshals guarding our building and doing bomb searches three times a day. Suddenly, church boot camp guy, seemed a lot scarier. We had to tell our site manager, who then decided to call the FBI and the Attorney General’s office. They supposedly checked the church boot camp guy out and he was okay, if a little strange.
But while they were checking him out, we were on edge around him. I discovered a magazine article with the top ten conspiracy theories in it. It became our checklist of crazy things this guy would say. We managed to get everything checked off on the list. Things like black helicopters, UN takeover nonsense, Masonic threats, etc. If it was some sort of right-wing conspiracy, this guy believed it. I guess if one is rationally challenged enough to believe in a conspiracy theory, one conspiracy is as good as another.
Or perhaps he was playing a very, very, good joke on us. Check out I Infiltrate a Right-Wing Protest Group for a good joke on these guys. Perhaps this is the best way to lessen the threat of these groups. But I don’t have the balls (literally or figuratively). They’re too violent and crazy. But that was how the Klan was brought down. Their secret codes were broadcast on a children’s radio show and made fun of.