Eco-Terrorists/Militia Terrorists: Is There A Difference?

by lizard

I’m not proud that part of me would rather see an individual who threatened me get shot and killed by law enforcement instead of captured and processed in our judicial system. It’s an ugly but honest feeling, and it got me thinking a bit about the role of violence in opposing our current political structure.

I recently read a powerful interview with Arundhati Roy that looks at her new book, Broken Republic; three essays that stem from three weeks she spent with Moaist rebels in India.

A.Roy has been getting some heat for her “sympathies” with a group that is using violent tactics to resist being displaced from their land. Here is a key part of the interview (the obnoxious “I” speaking throughout is Stephen Moss)

I want to talk more about Mary Roy – and eventually we do – but there’s one important point to clear up first. Guerrillas use violence, generally directed against the police and army, but sometimes causing injury and death to civilians caught in the crossfire. Does she condemn that violence? “I don’t condemn it any more,” she says. “If you’re an adivasi [tribal Indian] living in a forest village and 800 CRP [Central Reserve Police] come and surround your village and start burning it, what are you supposed to do? Are you supposed to go on hunger strike? Can the hungry go on a hunger strike? Non-violence is a piece of theatre. You need an audience. What can you do when you have no audience? People have the right to resist annihilation.”

Her critics label her a Maoist sympathiser. Is she? “I am a Maoist sympathiser,” she says. “I’m not a Maoist ideologue, because the communist movements in history have been just as destructive as capitalism. But right now, when the assault is on, I feel they are very much part of the resistance that I support.”

Arundhati Roy has long been a fierce voice in the anti-globalization movement. And within that movement, there are a wide array of groups and therefore a wide array of opinions on the role of violence. In a lot of ways, that conversation depends on how dire a person or group perceives our current global state as a species facing planetary limitations on resources.

Groups like the Earth Liberation Front believe direct action should include targeted destruction, whether symbolic (torching SUV’s) or territorial (torching a ski resort).

These actions have of course marginalized groups like the ELF, partly because the nuance that this strain of decentralized resistance targets only property (not people) is not an easy thing to articulate. Especially when one operates with the understanding that the human species is a major factor in what will be cataclysmic climate change that will render large population centers uninhabitable, and the forces that oppose you simply deny that reality, and possess the financial resources to make their message stick.

I wonder what David Burgert is doing right now. He’s prepared, authorities say, but not to worry, the FBI has now joined this Montana manhunt.

And I wonder why he was released in the first place. Who made that decision? Who was his probation officer? I mean, it must have taken a little bit of time to prepare to play Rambo in Lolo, right?

If David was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder, like it says here:

Burgert served time in the Federal Bureau of Prisons on weapons charges before being released on probation. Prior to his sentencing, he was diagnosed with paranoid personality disorder.

then I would really like to know how the decision was made to release him. Lots of questions, for sure, but I don’t get paid to go out and ask them, like some people do.

What this latest act of violence indicates, at least to me, is that the violence from the right wing fringe consistently focuses on targeting people, people who are perceived as morally-dire threats to the sanctity of their dogmatically held beliefs. But again, this whole conversation depends on how dire a person or group perceives our current global state is. Some factions on the far right have decided to cross the threshold and openly declare insurrection. They believe in divine laws and perceive the UN and US government as conspirators in demonic collusion to bring about a level of subjugation that justifies targeting even those who are merely complicit in the system.

Anyway, I’m not the praying kind of reptile, but I’m thinking about the families of the people involved in bringing this guy safely in or dead if it comes to that.

And I really hope it doesn’t come to that, because this guy has a family too, and friends, in fact friends popping up at comment threads, and if David is killed, with the FBI involved, the potential to radicalize/stir-up the sovereigns only increases.

And that’s not good.

  1. Pogue Mahone

    The one thing here that has NOT been reported as far as I can tell is just WHY the cops were harrassing this guy? What did he do? And why did the cops feel the need to stop the guy? To me, it looks like harrassment at this point. I want to know what the guy was supposed to be doing wrong the necessitated a stop. My guess is that they provoked this incident. That’s wrong on many levels, and although I’m not sympathetic with rightwing nuts, they have rights too.

    • appalachianfreedom

      “Last week, Burgert was stopped by the Montana Highway Patrol for a moving violation. He told patrolmen then ‘he wasn’t going to be taken down like last time’ and that ‘it would take a SWAT team’ to bring him in, Missoula County Under sheriff Mike Dominick said.”

      Also, he is at large wearing a fanny pack…

      • Pogue Mahone

        Wearing a fannypack is a crime?? Holy crap! That means every femi dude in Montana is a suspect!! The thing that really, really bothers me is that for the life of me I can’t find even ONE reason why the fuzz needed to stop this guy! And THAT is a big problem with me! Sure, he’s nuts. Sure, he’s spent time in the pen. And sure, he might pose a danger to law enforcement. BUT NONE THAT IS A CRIME!

        I don’t like the idea of Unconstitutional “checks” by the cops of ANY kind. That’s crap. So now, they’re gonna make a martyr out of a guy wearin’ a fanny pack. Gee, I feel so much safer already. Ever been assaulted with a fanny pack? I have, and it ain’t pretty!

        • Personally I agree that everyone with a fannypack should be hunted by the FBI. What do you think about that, Dad?

          • Pogue Mahone

            I agree sonny. Look, Hoover was known to wear a tutu during his encounters with other dudes. (true story for you youngsters who don’t know history very well) But he did NOT approve of fanny packs for his Gmen! I say that the wearing of the fanny pack IS the ultimate subervise act! You don’t see no tea party REAL men wearin’em, do ya? It’s anti-American.

        • jack ruby

          I think his auto had been reported by somebody as being parked for multiple days in a day use only area. The cops went to check it out and thats when the confrontation occurred and then he bolted. He also refused to open his fanny pack without a warrant as it was sovereign.

          • Pogue Mahone

            Once again the story changes. It’s as if the coppers are making things up as the go. One shot fired, or was it two, maybe three? He was driving wildly. Now, he parked too long. He didn’t try to evade the cops, in fact, he drove slowly through town waving to people. This entire incident does not pass the smell test. Here’s an idea. Leave the guy alone. Maybe he’ll go home and then the cops can cite him for wearing a fanny pack in public. It beats the crap outta murderin’ he dude. And yet again we make the front pages of the New York City newspapers for our wild desperado terrorists! (who wear fanny packs!)

            Sorry, but there AIN’T enough offense here for cop induced capital punishment. If they can do it to THIS guy, they can do it to ANY of us, especially us enviros! We’ve all been branded as terrorists by the rightwing for a long time. This poor pathetic dude is a patsy. And I don’t like that. I seriously hope the cops don’t murder him. Randy Weaver, Branch Davidian all over again!

            • jack ruby

              I dont think the story changed there were two seperate encounters with the cops. The 1st time he was just pulled over for a moving violation and thats when he said he wouldnt be taken down. The 2nd time, as I understand it, was completely seperate and they were simply checking up on a report of someone likely camping or abandoning a care at a day use area. Im not saying the cops dont lie or that they might be better off just letting this guy go for now and picking him up later, but this guy is not exactly one to have the benefit of the doubt.. A normal person would simply talk to the cops and move along if they were told to move their car from the day use spot or whatever encounter he had. Not pull a gun…fire a couple rounds…and take off. As you said before…aside from his bizarre political beliefs..he does show signs of and has been diagnosed with mental illness. He should not be murdered by the cops but he is a danger to society.

            • Pogue Mahone

              Jack, you’re quite wrong. Go on the sites that brings up. There are at LEAST ten different accounts of what’s going on. I have tried to follow this story for the git go, and it has changed repeatedly. Bottom line, the guy does NOT need to be murdered regardless of what he’s supposedly done. The cops have apparently tried this guy before the fact, and now, have decided that he must die. I’m just not buying it.

              I don’t know the guy. Maybe I wouldn’t like him. Maybe I’d have to kill him before he killed me some day. But I’m just sayin’ that there are MUCH better ways to handle things than provoke a fight over nuthin’ with a guy, and then, when that guy fights against an illegal arrest, to kill him. I’m sick of this sh*t. The cops can take a day off and go fishin’. There’s no harm done.

              HEY, we’re all black now! We’re back to the days when the cops killed black dudes for the helluva it. Indians too. It’s creeping fascism and a police state. This unfortunate dude is a patsy. Sad, very sad.

              I just hope that the guy live long enough to tell HIS side of the story. At this point, it will be simply a murder by the police. A person does INDEED have the right to resist an illegal arrest.

              • jack ruby

                OK I looked at the stories, I didnt get through all of them but the only story I saw was that they pulled up to him at the day use spot to do a welfare check and he sped off. The police pursued him..he pulled his car over and took a couple shots and then started driving up into the boonies and they backed off. What were the different versions you heard? Assuming this version is somewhat accurate there is no illegal stop or seizure and no illegal arrest. If you speed off when the cops come up to talk to you you can expect to be pursued. You can also expect to be pursued even harder and with deadly force when you pull off the road and shoot at them.

                Like I said I agree maybe there are or were better ways to handle it but based on this guys track record im going to go ahead and give the sheriffs office the benefit of the doubt on how this went down initially. They probably just wanted to bring him into the copshop and give him a nice haircut and dry shave to make him presentable to the judge.

              • Pogue Mahone

                Sorry, but you were born yesterday, Jack. I like you, but you’re terribly naive. I’m done. But I will tell you this in parting, I have seen MANY examples of cops shooting and murdering innocent people for nothing, even right here in GF. They shot one guy who stole a loaf of bread. True story. Very similar to this fiasco. And for the record, my good friend, Susan Overfield, has here court case coming up soon in which she supposedly resisted arrest. She was accosted by a plainclothes cop at a public meeting who did NOT identify himself as a cop, and he roughed her up real good. She fought back and was cited, which of course lost in court. Now, the city’s gonna have to pay a tidy some. It happens all the time, Jack. You need to get out more, my friend. Cops are NOT your friends. I’ll let you know how it goes, for I will be in attendance. Cops canNOT do whatever they want. They should have left this guy alone. And once he’s dead, we’ll simply have the cop side. It’s just not worth it, killing a dude for wanting to be left alone. Is it in the new fascist America? Not for me.

  2. lizard19

    what you may be forgetting or ignoring, Pogue, is this guy was on FEDERAL probation. so no, the cops shouldn’t just leave him alone, they should be making sure he is complying with the conditions of his release. that’s what felons who are released before the full duration of their sentence have to put up with.

    i’m not a big fan of the FBI, or the creeping fascism this country is currently experiencing, but David espousing his violent sovereign citizen bullshit is dangerous, and my personal interaction with this guy leads me to the judgement that he’s a live wire capable of hurting innocent people.

    BUT, having the feds participate in this manhunt, if it leads to David being gunned down, will only stir up more trouble. like i said, this guy has friends, and seeking revenge will on perpetuate more violence.

    • Pogue Mahone

      I hear you. But I have been reading everything that’s out there in the media about this event. And that’s exactly what it is, a media event. Once a person is labeled, it’s easy to kill them. It’s always been that way. Zips, gooks, slopeheads, “terrorists”, etc. Dehumanize your target and they just BECOME targets who are attempting to kill our “heroes”. The media is doing its part to portray this guy as a dangerous, psychotic terrorist.

      But I have seen nothing that this guy has done that requires death by cop. Maybe I’ve seen way TOO many rightwing congressmen label any evniro as a terrorist. It’s an easy step to go from the label to the grave. God I hope that they don’t murder this guy, but I know they will. They’ve got too much invested now. Like I say, the cop that shot the guy here in GF for a loaf of bread was soon back on duty. And really, is a freakin’ loaf of bread worth murderin’ the guy? Why didn’t they just let him go??
      If you harrass a man long enough, he just might get pissed off. Sounds like what the dink cop did in this case. He might just have an unnecessary murder on his conscience to live with.

  3. jack ruby

    Big Larr once again I dont think that cops walk on water and I dont think the guy should be killed. Lots of cops are crooked but they do have an actual and necessary job to do in our society that some of them are competent at doing. Im not speaking about any of yours or my own personal experiences but in this case the cops are just doing their job by checking out a car that has been parked for days at a day use area and local residents are calling about it. They are also just doing their job in pursuing when the guy speeds away at the site of them. I dont think cops can do ‘whatever they want’ but it doesnt seem like in this case they’ve done anything illegal to me (at least not yet). Considering the guy is a felon my assumption would be he isnt allowed to possess firearms, he had some in the car, and thats why he split when the cops showed up. Maybe even yelled “THEY DREW FIRST BLOOD NOT ME” as he sped away.

    Sooner or later this guy was going to find trouble. Maybe it didnt go down like that and maybe the cops are lying but it seems way more far fetched to believe there is this big conspiracy by the cops to cornhole this guy when you consider his past. I sincerely hope he doesn’t wind up dead and ends up in an institution where he can receive the mental help he obviously needs. .

  4. lizard19

    They’re calling off the immediate search, trail gone cold. Our new sheriff is in the middle of his first major test.

    • Pogue Mahone

      Actually, I think that they’re calling it off because it’s pretty much bullsh*t. And they DON’T want another Ruby Ridge or Waco. I actually talked to a couple of LE dudes today, and even THEY thought the entire thing was bullsh*t. They described it as a “make it up as you go” operation. This is LAW ENFORECEMENT cops talking here. It’s bogus. And I think that everyone EXCEPT the newspapers knows it. Let the guy go. He’s done nothing wrong. Do NOT “welfare check” a guy who doesn’t WANT to be welfared checked! It’s that simple.

      • lizard19

        he’s done nothing wrong? are you fucking kidding me? he shot at cops. so either you don’t think shooting at cops is wrong, or you think law enforcement is just making it up.

        but hey, keep defending this guy, Larry. poor little David Burgert just wants to be left alone. it’s all the fault of the cops for doing their job. and anyway they deserve to get shot at because cops are all a bunch of lying fascists, right?

        • Pogue Mahone

          How do you KNOW he shot at the cops? WHY did he shoot at the cops? Does a person have a right to resist an illegal arrest? Search and seizure? I think they do. And come to think of it, so did the Founding Fathers. Me, personally, I’m gettin’ REAL tired of illegal search and seizures and arrests. Come to the trial here in GF on Oct. 24 and learn something. It might be worth your time.

          And yes, we are turning rapidly into a police state. GF cops last week ticketed HUNDREDS at their little train sting here in town. Maybe you heard about it. Saftey checks, train stings, welfare checks, and on and on and on. Baring people from public places. “Protest zones” or so called “free speech zones”? Where HAVE you been?!

          Some of you folks that CLAIM to be such activists I have to wonder about. You’ve NEVER really been bullied by the cops? Never been arrested? Well then, you haven’t done much. The abuses are rampant. It’s time to reign the cops in. Sorry, but “securtiy” does NOT trump freedom in my book. Cowards make very poor free citizens in America. And you’re right. I think that most cops are now fascist thugs. Not all, but most, especially the young ones. They have NO sense of history and lawful dissent.

          p.s. The cops in GF routinely stifle free speech here at city council meetings by ejecting folks whom the council doesn’t want to hear. Get out more, dude. It’s all over the place. Sheesh. And YOU think you live in a democracy.

          • mr benson

            Uh, nope, I don’t actually care why he shot at the cops. Shooting at cops is a bad thing. Ask the family of the Highway Patrolman killed at Three Forks.

            You’re as big a whack job as he is, Environmental Ranger Mahone.

          • lizard19

            you are really beginning to sound like an idiot, Larry. what makes you think this guy was resisting an “illegal” arrest. and what makes you think that justifies Burgert using potentially deadly force? you really think the cops just fabricated that they were shot at?

            Some of you folks that CLAIM to be such activists I have to wonder about. You’ve NEVER really been bullied by the cops? Never been arrested? Well then, you haven’t done much.

            so the only way to be a credible activist in your mind is to do something to provoke law enforcement? that’s just stupid.

            Larry, i thought you despised wingnuts, but now you not only sound like one, you are defending this asshole and his alleged attempt to kill police officers.

            what have you done, Larry, in your esteemed activism, to cause the police to come down on you? do you show up to public meetings armed like the teabaggers you mock at moogirl’s? is that what REAL activists do? please, enlighten me.

    • Oh, they’re looking for him. No point in giving him the show he and his supporters want. Look at Pogue – he already has him as some sort of victim of circumstance.

      His stupidity will catch him up, eventually….just as it precipitated all this.

  5. JC

    Well, if the guy had a gun, he violated the terms of his sentencing, and probation requirements. That’s all the probable cause the police needed to go after him. That sentence had some time knocked off it in resentencing a while back, but he’s still on federal and state parole. Which also gives cops the right to check on him and detain him if they think he’s violating the terms of his probation.

    • Pogue Mahone

      Yes but, there was NO probable cause. That has NOT been mentioned in any of the articles. Driving wildly, running a stop sign, welfare check, staying too long in one place, etc., and on and on. The story is constantly changing, ever evolving So, which is it? Look, I don’t like bad guys any more than the next guy, but we really don’t need any more Randy Weaver type situations. Sure, the guy did some time. Now, don’t provoke him for no reason at all.

      And for the above, here is just ONE example of police outta control. The civil suit brought in this particular case is coming up in October. I will be in attendance to possibly testify on behalf of my friend Susan Overfield.

      • JC

        Larry, Im not going to ague with you about this. When you are on probation, police don’t need probable cause to check on you. The probable cause for a check basically is granted by conditions of the release from prison. This goes for anybody who is on probation. Any probationer is fair game for “welfare check” if that indeed what it was, or just a probationer compliance or status check.

        Look, I’m aware of all the controversy surrounding these sorts of cases, and the general failings of our police state–having been the recipient of police and investigative abuses myself.

        But trying to justify Burgert’s activities after being approached initially up Lolo Creek on an over zealous police state ignores the reality of his–and every other probationer’s–having relinquished certain freedoms and rights in order to be released from prison.

        To me–and most other people–Burgert violated the terms of his probation by fleeing from a police officer. And again if he had possessed (or has come into possession of) a weapon.

        • Pogue Mahone

          All true. My even bigger concern though is how the press took off and ran at full speed with all KINDS of unproven allegations and accusations against this man. There is a much bigger issue here of concern to me. I don’t like how easily a peron is demonized, tried, and his approaching murder justified as reasonable in the press! That is real scary. The cheering for law enforcement to murder this man is amazing and very, very disconcerting.

          I myself have been labeled in the press as a terrorist many times. I’m not. But lets face it. There really MIGHT come a time when enviros like myself will have to do more than simply protest environmental crimes against humanity. I don’t like that fact, but that’s the way it is. And shooting at cops it the LAST thing I would ever want to do. But yes, violence is sometimes justified to prevent an environmental holocaust. I have publicly stated that many times, including before the Legislature.

          But should I ever have to be in a situation like Burget’s, the press will surely do the same to me. Anyone who objects to or criticizes the govrernment is fair game. Burget never killed anyone, and I very seriously doubt that he was planning to. He had issues with elected officials, and made some dumb comments. He should not be murdered for that. To me, it’s like the Nazis hunting down an escaped prisoner. Hundreds of guys, helicopters and dogs after a guy for “driving wildly”, or whichever of the many reasons given for the stop. Now, after the fact, they found some weapons supposedly. But knowing the cops as well as I do, I question even this. If the man is eventually murdered, his side of the story dies with him. I’m sorry, but if the guy had REALLY wanted to waste a cop, I’m sure he could have done better than this. He supposedly drove slowly through town and waved at the folks standing on the street after shooting at the cops. I’m sorry. Doesn’t compute. This man is probably my sworn enemy who would attack me for being an enviro, but I do not want him to hunted down and murdered. One man a militia does not make. He’ll show up some day, and he’ll probably stay very legal until then.

          Peace to all. Thanks for the discussion. I’ll let you know how Susan Overfield’s civil case goes. Unfortunately, a much better video of the cop throwing Susan around has been taken off the web. But just imagine a big, fat, HUGE cop in plainclothes grabbing a hundred pound woman with fibromyalgia, yanking her off her feet, and then running with Susan in tow and dragging her violently from the room. Then, upon getting her alone in the hall, throwing her face first into the wall. Never ONCE identitying himself as a cop. Not impressed yet? Guess you had to be there. Guess you had to be Susan.

      • jack ruby

        If he cant help himself but to speed off wildly and start firing his guns like yosemite sam just because the police lawfully approach his car thats on him not the police. They dont need ‘probably cause’ to pull up on a vehicle parked in a day use rest area for multiple days to see if everything is alright. People do freaky things in rest areas. You dont need a warrant to pull into the place and check things out regardless of whether the guy was on probation or not. We dont even have enough information to derermine it but there isnt even anything that indicates the cops knew who he was, knew his probation status, tried to detain him or do anything else…from what we know he simply sped off (hence the ‘driving wildly’ part). There is absolutely nothing to show the cops were intentionally trying to provoke him because of who he is or anything else. If he cant help but be ‘provoked’ by a cop who by all indications seems to simply be doing his job then tough shit. He doesnt get special rules just because he is a mentally deranged right wing nut.

    • Pogue Mahone

      And for those who’ve never seen police brutality and an illegal arrest, watch the following. A fat dude from the audience jumps up and grabs Susan by the arm, never identifying himself as a plainclothes cop hidden the the audience. Susan’s boyfriend jumps up, breaks his hold, then the chief of police jumps in and the boyfriend dumps him on his butt. In the meantime, Susan is DRAGGED violently from the room and thrown face first into the all in the hall, STILL never knowing just who is doing this to her.

      So, folks, it’s NOT theory, dudes. It happens all the time. I myself have had the cops lie right to the court about an arrest. It’s nothing new.

      And for you women reading this, understand that Susan is a very fragile woman in ill health. She is incapable of defending herself in any way with force. She uses her formidable intellect as you can see on the tape. Now, you women out there, put YOURSELF in Susan’s position. What would YOU do?

  6. Pogue Mahone

    Who are the real outlaws? Who are the real terrorists? If I could, I be at the tar sands with a .50 cal with armor piercing incendiary ammo takin’ out every piece of machinery in site. And then retreating back in the woods for the night. I can’t believe that the folks living near there aren’t doing the same. It’s war, and the cops are on the side of the industry corporate fascists.

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