When President Obama visited Camp Lejeune this morning, you have to wonder if this story was somewhere in the back of his mind:
A federal grand jury indicted a former Camp Lejeune Marine on Wednesday on charges that he threatened the life of Barack Obama, the U.S. Attorney's Office confirmed today.
Kody Brittingham, 20, formerly a lance corporal with 2nd Tank Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, was accused of making threats against Obama while he was president-elect, said Robin Zier, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's office for the eastern district of North Carolina.
Brittingham was arrested by the Jacksonville Police Department on breaking and entering charges in mid-December 2008.
Naval investigators discovered a journal allegedly written by Brittingham in his barracks after his arrest by civilian authorities in December. The journal contained plans on how to kill the president, as well as white supremacist material, a federal law enforcement official said.
This incident is just one of many that are bubbling up across the American landscape right now. The right-wing race haters are not only motivated and out recruiting heavily, they're getting angrier by the day, especially the more Obama successfully advances his agenda. We've been writing about this for awhile now.
CNN's Rick Sanchez had on Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center yesterday to discuss this. The main point revolved around the SPLC's annual report on the State of Hate, written by David Holthouse:
From white power skinheads decrying "President Obongo" at a racist gathering in rural Missouri, to neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klansmen hurling epithets at Latino immigrants from courthouse steps in Oklahoma, to anti-Semitic black separatists calling for death to Jews on bustling street corners in several East Coast cities, hate group activity in the U.S. was disturbing and widespread throughout 2008, as the number of hate groups operating in America continued to rise. Last year, 926 hate groups were active in the U.S., up more than 4% from 888 in 2007. That's more than a 50% increase since 2000, when there were 602 groups.
As in recent years, hate groups were animated by the national immigration debate. But two new forces also drove them in 2008: the worsening recession, and Barack Obama's successful campaign to become the nation's first black president. Officials reported that Obama had received more threats than any other presidential candidate in memory, and several white supremacists were arrested for saying they would assassinate him or allegedly plotting to do so.
At the same time, law enforcement officials reported a marked swelling of the extreme-right "sovereign citizens" movement that wreaked havoc in the 1990s with its "paper terrorism" tactics. Adherents are infamous for filing bogus property liens and orchestrating elaborate financial ripoffs.
The SPLC has an interactive map that lets you see where each of these hate groups is based and just who they are. As usual, California again leads the nation as the state with the most hate groups with 84; Florida is a distant second with 56.
Sanchez and Potok also discussed the recent case of the would-be dirty bomber in Bangor, Maine, whose plans were nipped in the bud when his angry wife shot him to death.
As always, the remarkable thing about these cases is that these would have led the broadcasts at Fox and CNN (not to mention set off weeks' worth of obsessive posts at Michelle Malkin's joint) had the suspect been Muslim, Arab, or otherwise had brown skin.
As I noted previously:
In other words, hate groups are almost certainly going to be exploiting fresh opportunities for recruitment, both ideological and actual. The stage has been set by the past decade's demographic shift, but the Bush Recession will in any event give them a big jug of gasoline for their bonfire. Obama's election will give them a figure upon whom they can focus their hate, and the immigration debate will give them an issue to recruit and organize around.
Eventually, innocent bystanders in the general public will be the ones who pay the price.