Jump to content

What A Reporter Learned When He Infiltrated An Arizona Militia Group

Recommended Posts

Along the border between the U.S. and Mexico, armed groups on patrol — mostly men — look for illegal immigrants and drug traffickers. They're not U.S. Border Patrol, but regular people who've decided to take matters into their own hands.

They call themselves militias. Groups such as these have been around for decades, but they exploded in number after Barack Obama was elected president. Today, there are 276 militia groups around the country, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Shane Bauer, a reporter with Mother Jones magazine, went undercover with one of those groups — the Three Percent United Patriots — on one of their operations in southern Arizona.

"They didn't know that I was a journalist," Bauer tells NPR's Kelly McEvers. "I didn't lie to them, but I was just there as another militia member, so they're all being very frank around me."

Interview Highlights

Describe the organization you infiltrated. What is their goal?

What they say to each other is that they are looking for drug cartels. That's also their public statement about what they're doing. ... Some of these guys, when they roll out of the guarded, armed camp, they're really amped up. They're going out at nighttime with night vision, and guys are talking about hunting Mexicans. It feels like going to war. Their stated goal is to find people and report them to the Border Patrol.

Tell us about some of the people you met there — particularly the guy who went by the name Iceman.

A good number of them are military veterans. Some had done multiple tours in Iraq or Afghanistan; there was one sniper who was there. Some of them are just people that lived in the suburbs, kind of working class, mostly white men.

Iceman is a guy from Aurora, Colo., had been in the Marines in Afghanistan. He was struggling to hold jobs, to get good jobs. He had a child who had health problems, seemed generally kind of alienated. And when he left the Marines, he ended up looking for militias to join and he found the Three Percent United Patriots and joined up.

When we're out in the wilds of Arizona, rolling around in a pickup truck, armed to the teeth, he said, "This reminds me of Afghanistan," and he was very frank about it. For him, this was therapy.

So what these militias are doing — is it legal?

That's a big question. They call themselves militias because they're associating themselves with the militias of the time of the Revolutionary War. The modern-day militias see themselves as a defense against the federal government. They believe in a lot of wild conspiracies about the U.N. invading the United States to take away everyone's weapons; the government has concentration camps ready to put patriots in.

But the issue is that the law does not provide for people to organize and train on their own. And a lot of states have laws against militia training, and against paramilitary training, but these laws have never been enforced.

What is their motivation?

This is something I thought about a lot while I was there. ... People have very individualized reasons for doing it that tend to point to some conspiracy, or fear that the federal government has too much power.

But it seemed to me that there was something much deeper than that. Part of that seems to be a kind of sense that they — white men — are losing power, and I think a lot of them are not happy with that.

But I think there's also a sense of just excitement that they get from this. Initially, I was judging them internally for this. But then I realized that, look, in some ways, I'm there for a similar reason. These guys, like myself, are enjoying this kind of excitement, and maybe that's the reason they're there, because they feel that they're out in a kind of Wild West and they're basically re-enacting war again.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mother Jones (magazine)

Mother Jones (abbreviated MoJo) is an American Liberal Progressive Rag magazine that focuses on #fakenews, lies and communist deception.


Shane Bauer

Shane Bauer is an American journalist, best known for his yellow journalism for Mother Jones magazine.





Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Who Viewed the Topic

    13 members have viewed this topic:

Who we are

We are a community of concerned patriots who are not overly confident in the current direction of our society, from the wild political climate to what can be summed up as a lack of morals or a complete void of integrity and pretty much a blatant disregard of respect..... Respect for our past, respect for our future and respect for each other. In order to protect our constitution and life as we know it, we decided to not be the silent majority anymore and pull our selves up by the bootstraps and make the world a better place. This website is to unite people like us, people who want to make a difference ... and do it the right way, Little did we know that in doing so we would create the number one militia community online. Here we are. Enjoy.


We require all members to think before they post. We understand the issues raised on this site may lead to heated debate, but we still require all users to maintain a respectful environment. My Militia website bears no responsibility for the accuracy of anyone's comments and will bear no responsibility or legal liability for any discussion postings. We reserve the right to remove posts without notice, and the right to ban anyone who willfully violates the rules. All content is posted live with no moderation. If you see something that you think shouldn't be here please report it so we can handle it accordingly. Always respect the privacy of others if something is shared with you in a private fashion such as real names, emails or phone numbers. Please keep them private.
  • Create New...

Important Information

Your Privacy Is Important To Us Learn More: Privacy Policy