By John Crump
USA – -(Ammoland.com)- When Shane Bauer, of the very far left wing Mother Jones magazine, quoted from a story I wrote for Ammoland News, “Interview with a III% United Patriots Leader – Mike Morris“, I was intrigued.
It is no secret that I lean right in most things and have written extensively about the Patriot Movement (3%, Oath Keepers, and Militia). Through my research for my upcoming book I learned there are two narratives to the movement beginnings.
The first is that the Patriot movement was the brainchild of Mike Vanderboegh of Sipsey Street Irregulars blog due to what he and others saw as an erosion of freedom. Vanderboegh [now deceased] wanted a return to the ideas of individual liberty and small government. His ideas were very libertarian. He came up with the term 3%’er.
Mike Vanderboegh became the enemy of the left due to his role in exposing the ATF’s Fast and Furious operation which sold guns to the Mexican drug cartels. Soon after the ATF ill fated operation was exposed The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled Vanderboegh an extremist.
This put the fledgling Patriot Movement in the crosshairs, but it also shed light on the Patriot movement existence which caused the membership to exploded.
The second narrative as far as I can tell is not based in reality. It tries to tie the Patriot Movement and 3%’ers to Timothy McVeigh who murdered children and adults alike with a truck bomb in Oklahoma City.
Even though the only connection is that McVeigh and the Patriot movement both think the government went too far at Ruby Ridge and Waco.
That is like saying since Roosevelt and Stalin both didn’t like Hitler, that they both were communist. The argument doesn’t hold water.
The left likes to use these comparisons to control the narrative.
They understand that perception is reality. By demonizing one side you can scare reasonable people off by portraying that side as a bunch of conspiracy theory nut jobs who sit around all day listening to the likes of Alex Jones.
I decided to read through the article and I was shocked at what I read. Mr Bauer was pushing the narrative that the Patriot movement was full of crazy racists who hunt Mexicans for sport. This wasn’t the movement I have been researching.
Could I have been totally wrong? I then remembered who Shane Bauer was and his talent for sensationalizing stories to drive up readership and to drive his narrative.
I decided to get the other side of the story so I called up a local patriot leader I knew from my research and asked if he would sit down with me and go through the article. He agreed as long as it was noted these are just his opinion and are not the opinions of others or III% United Patriots.
I also agreed not to use his real name due to reasons that can not be disclosed in the article. He will be referred to as Swan which is his actual nickname.
Swan is a leader in the same group Mr. Bauer “infiltrated”. Swan gets his name from attending ballets. Swan is anything but what you would expect a Patriot leader to be like. He says that the other guys give him a hard time for that, but he knows it is out of love.
There is two ways to sell a story. One way is the honest way. You find an interesting story and capture the essence of the story while being honest. Hunter S. Thompson and Ben Mezrich are prime examples of this. They tell the story as honestly as possible while capturing the essence of the people and events.
Reporting The Gawker Way
There is a second way. I call this “The Gawker Way”. This is when there isn’t enough meat in your story, or you don’t have the talent to make it interesting honestly so you sensationalize it. This is what Shane Bauer did when he attended the III% United Patriots border operation in Arizona. A few times a year III% United Patriots, or 3UP as they are called, does a border patrol operation along the Arizona border. This time a far left wing pundit decided to “infiltrate” the operation to try to discredit 3UP and the patriot movement as a whole.
Shane Bauer is known for such things as infiltrating the ranks of prison guards. His goal there was to show how sadistic and abusive that the guards could be. It was also to discredit the prison system as a whole. Shane Bauer tries to mimic the likes of, the author of “The Men Who Stare At Goats”, Jon Ronson with one exception. Jon Ronson, who is also left leaning, uses his experiences to shape the narrative. In the end Ronson gets a honest picture of what happened. While Bauer goes into the experience with a predetermined conclusion and will use anything to justify his beliefs.
I let Swan have a couple of days to read Mr. Bauer’s previous works since he never even heard of him. Swan didn’t seem to impressed with Mr. Bauer or his work.
“When you called me about this I started reading Bauer’s stuff. It seems like he wants to be the next Vice. Vice did a story on us and at least it was fair. Don’t get me wrong. It leaned way left, but at least they don’t take to fabricating things. I can’t say for sure, but it does seems like Bauer likes to take things out of context.” Swan said.
This story would be no different from the prison guard story. He starts out his dishonesty in the title of his article where he claims that 3UP is a border militia. The main focus of 3UP is not border operations. Border operations only happens a couple times a year. 3UP is also not a militia. By making that claim it might make a better headline, but also is also a complete fabrication of the truth.
Mr. Bauer goes on to explain how easy it was to become a member of the 3UP “militia”. Almost to the point of gloating. He talks about all he had to do was like a Facebook page and ask to come along on the border op. It was this easy because 3UP is not a militia and there is no secret mission as Swan explains.
“Everything we do is open to the public. We are not some secret society. There is no pledging or prospecting period. We are an open group of like minded individuals who wants to see the restoration of the constitution. We are not worried by so called infiltrators because there is nothing to hide.” said Swan who is a local leader of 3UP. “We have members of police and military among our ranks. We don’t “need” to be infiltrated.”
“Plus 3UP is not a militia. I can not stress that enough. We are not a militia! When we have people who come to us looking for a militia we explain to them in no uncertain terms that we are not a militia. We have people that are members that don’t even own guns. On any given weekend you find us doing fund raisers for charity, helping in disaster recovery, or handing our constitutions. You won’t find us hiding in bunkers waiting to fight the Illuminati. The border operations are a very small part of what we do. About 99% of the members of 3UP have never been on a border op.”
“If we were a border militia what would 3UPVA (III% United Patriots of Virginia) do? Patrol the DC border?” Swan added.
Mr. Bauer also doesn’t hide his disdain for the police in his story. He highlights the fact that the police are actually supportive of 3UP and their border operations. This is one of the only truths in his article. The police are supportive of 3UP border operations. Where Bauer see this as a bad thing since he is supportive of the racist Black Live Matter movement, 3UP takes every opportunity to help law enforcement.
“By focusing on the police support of the operation Bauer tries to tie 3UP to police. You have to remember this guy has bought into the idea of evil police and not the actual truth of the matter. Most of his readers have followed the same line of crap, so by showing the police and 3UP being supportive of each other he can try to say both the police and 3UP are evil racist,” Swan theorized.
“In truth, we have a very cordial relationship with law enforcement. We know how tough the job they have to do is. They swore an oath to uphold the constitution and most take that very seriously. We uphold the same ideas they do. That is part of the idea behind the border ops. It is to take the pressure off of border patrol. We have a very good relationship with the border patrol in fact. We are giving them an extra set of eyes and ears and that is something they need. I don’t think that is a bad idea.” Swan said.
“There are drugs streaming across the border. The cartel violence is streaming across border. There are ranchers who can’t go out on their own properties without being shot at or finding a dead body. This isn’t even going into the people that get abandoned by the “coyotes” and are left to die. There is a lot of bad people out there crossing into the US. If we stop one human trafficking operation I think it is worth doing. All you have to do is read “Wolf Boys” by Dan Slater to see what is happening down there.” Swan continues.
Mr. Bauer story seems to rely on the theory that 3UP is a bunch of loony, racist people running around getting ready for the end of society. He uses the fact that there was an off colored joke as his proof, but nothing could be farther from the truth. In fact 3UP membership is open to every race, religion, gender, or sexual persuasion. Thomas Jefferson said, “All men are created equal”. This is also the founding principle in 3UP.
“III% United Patriots have members of every race. No one has ever been turned away from 3UP due to race. 3UP stands firmly against racism. Americans come in every color.” Swan tells me, “The only colors that matter to us is red, white, and blue. We also will defend people’s right to live life like they want. We are a live and let live type of group”
“This guy is trying to make 3UP into a NAZI like organization. This is beyond fiction. We are the exact opposite of NAZIs. We have worked with gay rights groups for example. We have members of every color. One of the other leaders near me is a female. She won that position by being the best person for the job. In fact she is one of the best leaders we have. Everything in 3UP is based on ability. We don’t care if you are Hindu or Atheist. We don’t care if you are gay or straight. If you have a love for this country and believe in the Constitution we want you ” Swan adds.
Going To Waterboard People WTF?
Mr. Bauer also makes claims such as 3UP is going to waterboard people. Apparently Mr. Bauer doesn’t get sarcasm. When one person was asked about water bottles that person responded with “That is for waterboarding.” This is an obvious joke that I am sure Bauer got, but chose to ignore that in order to sensationalize his story.
I asked Swan about this and he stated, “I can’t believe I even have to respond to this. I would bet my life on the fact that no one has ever gotten waterboarded at any border operations. It was a joke if it happened at all. I am sure Bauer knew it was a joke. I am also sure he took it out of context to strengthen his theory. It is what he does. When we find people stranded in the desert abandoned by the coyotes we give them water because most of the time they were abandoned with no water. It is the human thing to do. It is the right thing to do. Last time I looked that wasn’t waterboarding.”
What about your scary sounding “secret black prison” site?
“3UP also doesn’t have some black prison site. This was another joke Bauer chose not to get. All and all Bauer shows his bias over and over. The whole we eat bacon to keep Muslims away is another stupid thing. No one is trying to keep Muslims away. I had Muslims at my wedding for god’s sake, but that wouldn’t play into his strange and twisted tale, now would it?”
“This is what far left does. They demonize you. If people like Bauer know they can’t compete with your message of liberty, freedom, and peace they try to turn you into something you are not. We aren’t going to let them do that. We will push back. Most people embrace our ideas of personal liberty and equality. That scares the elitist of the left. They know they have to sensationalize stories and demonize us to win, but we aren’t going to let that happen.” Swan said visibly annoyed.
Mr Bauer also does not spare the border patrol. He didn’t seem to like that fact that not only was the border patrol accepting of 3UP’s mission, but they are down right supportive of the border ops. He paints them as racist thieves who act more like criminals than law enforcement. Bauer fails to acknowledge the effort these brave men and women put in to keep us safe.
“Of course he is against the border patrol agents. He wants open borders. He is a true believer of the liberal line. He is going to look for anything that backs up his preconceived notions. It is the echo effect. You hear your own ideas and no one else’s ideas . Their minds so are so closed it isn’t even funny. I wish I could sit down one on one and talk to him. Maybe reason with him, but it really wouldn’t change anything. Some closed minds will always remain closed”, Swan said.
As Swan finished reading the article he smiled and chuckled. I asked him what was funny.
He looked at me with a smile and said “For Mother Jones to run something like this it means we must really be getting them. It means our message is getting out there and we can no longer be ignored. What the left doesn’t realize is that we are everywhere. We exist in every community. We are the poor. We are the rich. White collar, blue collar, it doesn’t matter. We are of every race and every religion. We are immigrants and are native born. We are proud to be American and we are proud to independent and that scares them.”
Swan is a leader in III% United Patriots Of Virginia which can be found at http://www.3upva.com
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. He is the former CEO of Veritas Firearms, LLC and is the co-host of The Patriot News Podcast which can be found at www.blogtalkradio.com/patriotnews. John has written extensively on the patriot movement including 3%’ers, Oath Keepers, and Militias. In addition to the Patriot movement, John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and The Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and is currently working on a book on the history of the patriot movement and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss or at www.crumpy.com.