Undercover With a Border Militia

[I bought a rifle and went off to fight tyranny. protect the Constitution, and “catch fucking beaners.” A first-hand look at America’s resurgent para military movement.

The founder of the militia group I joined says its membership “exploded” after the Ferguson protests.

Most meals are prepared with bacon grease or pork, to keep would-be Muslim infiltrators at bay.


Ghost says America’s sense of history has gone down an “Orwellian memory hole.” Who remembers Randy Weaver anymore? Ghost was 25 years old in 1991, when Weaver, a member of the white supremacist Christian Identity movement who’d been charged with selling sawed-off shotguns, holed up with his family in their cabin in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, for 18 months. A shootout ensued, and a federal deputy and Weaver’s 13-year-old son were killed. During the 10-day siegethat followed, an FBI sniper killed Weaver’s wife as she held their baby. Ghost is convinced that Weaver’s real crime was distrusting the government.

The movement is bound together by a shared disdain for the federal government, but individual members’ motivations for joining can vary widely. “We all have different reasons to be here,” Captain Clyde Massengale of the Californ­ia State Militia’s Delta Company told the new recruits at my first training. “Some might believe what is happening is something biblical right now. Some might believe it’s the New World Order. Some might believe the New World Order is making what is happening follow the Bible. Who the fuck knows? Who the fuck cares?” Come what may, the militia would be ready. When shit hit the fan, it would have a secret, fortified bugout location where we could bring our families. A new community might someday need to be built there. Massengale said that under his command, life in the bugout would be modeled after ancient Rome. Active, patched members of the California State Militia would be considered citizens, while lapsed members and outsiders would not….]

Read the full story here | Shane Bauer for MOTHER JONES

Hisatsinom 4 | Four Corners



Black Mass

[12 miles off the Libyan coast. As the rescuers approached, they found overloaded wooden vessels and rafts that evoked scenes of the slave trade.

Hundreds of African migrants were crammed into boats headed for Italy. More than two dozen people were dead in one boat alone, asphyxiated from the crush aboard. In other boats, bodies were splayed on the floorboards, forcing survivors to clamber over the corpses of their fellow voyagers.]




Hierarchy of Death | Terrorism, Guns, “Freedom”, and Framing the Narrative of Normalization

[… did you hear about Jacob Hall? Or Justice Burroughs? Or Rodriquez Ferguson? Did you hear about Solomon Jordan Smith, Savier Jones and Melanie Martinez? Did you hear about the 18-month-old in Georgia who was shot in the head? Police aren’t sure if he did it himself or if it was his brother, who is 3 years old.

That’s a snapshot from the week Jacob died, seven average days in America. For the record, Jacob, at 6, was the oldest of those victims.]

Full article here | Leonard Pitts Jr. for Miami Herald


En Recuerdo De… | The Disappearing Art of Southwestern Cemeteries

Perhaps it sounds like a topical, culturally-specific, even inconsequential element of post-modernity. However, it may also seem like another element of departing from an era when we used to care for, invest time and ceremony, and honor our dead.

[Some of the gravestones are crumbling. Some are illegible. All are imperfect. The camposantos, or Mexican cemeteries of the Southwest, get a close look in En Recuerdo de, Bruce F. Jordan’s collection of black-and-white photographs. Jordan documents a fading culture of cemetery craftsmanship, traveling through Texas, New Mexico and southern Colorado to capture the spirit of the old Mexican graveyards. Within the pages of En Recuerdo de, which means “in memory of,” Jordan wonders about the lives of the deceased and their families. 

The book draws links between the homogenization of cultures and the way this shift is expressed in the concept of the afterlife. Increasingly, Jordan writes, the once deeply personal cemeteries with their hand-hewn gravestones are becoming “characterless granite.” The photos, dark and full of shadows, highlight the drama of graveyards. The few light-colored objects — statues of the Virgin Mary, flowers, a pair of children’s shoes — stand out sharply, an offering from the living in memory of the dead.]

Full story | High Country News


From En Recuerdo de by permission of the University of Nebraska Press; © 2014 Bruce F. Jordan

The Art of Illegal Cattle Grazing, Defaced Petroglyphs and Ditch-digging

After Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada in 2014, the BLM stayed out of the area for two years. After returning in June, they found vandalized petroglyphs and 22 miles of illegal irrigation trenching built through the desert, bringing the issue of protecting Gold Butte as a national monument to the forefront.


butte-2 butte

Poor Women’s Moody Blues

The dark truth behind the Jeff Davis 8 case, still unsolved, of eight sex workers murdered in the Bayou

According to Brown’s book, what the evidence started pointing to was not a serial killer evading capture but a steady escalation of blatant misconduct by law enforcement. There were allegations that officers had sex with the women who later became Jeff Davis 8 victims, and the task force was, Brown writes, “a near case study in conflict of interest.” There was also evidence in the Jeff Davis 8 cases – including the truck where one of the victims had her throat slashed – that was seemingly tampered with or was removed from the parish entirely. A prison nurse and a sergeant who had tried to voice some of their concerns were subsequently fired from their jobs. And most compelling, Brown writes, “is that most if not all of the Jeff Davis 8…witnessed other murders. Indeed, women who provided information on the first few cases wound up victims themselves.”

Full story | Rolling Stone