March 25, 1996: Montana Freemen Start 81-Day Standoff with the FBI

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A Brief History   

On March 25, 1996, a “Christian Patriot” group called the Montana Freemen began an 81-day standoff with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).  How exactly a group that does not recognize the government of the United States or any local or state government for that matter is considered patriotic, we are not sure.

Digging Deeper

These so-called Freemen were based outside of Jordan, Montana, on a farm they had unofficially named “Justus Township.” (Get it?  Wordplay at work.)  Engaged in an ongoing campaign of fraud that included writing bad checks, printing counterfeit legal documents and the like, the Freemen were just ripping off their neighbors, more or less.  When their farm began to be foreclosed on, the group refused to be evicted and even made their own “court order” to execute the judge (the real judge) who had ordered the eviction.

With the debacles at Ruby Ridge and Waco still fresh, the Federal agents were reluctant to allow the incident to develop into another bloodbath as it was believed that the Freemen were heavily armed after they  had attempted to buy $1.4 million worth of arms and ammunition with a fake check in 1995.  So, instead they negotiated, and the Freeman eventually agreed to surrender.

Meanwhile, there are still members roaming around as free men (Hey!), still spewing their convoluted logic about how they should not pay taxes or follow the laws of the various levels of government.  Often armed with quite real-looking legal documents to justify their scams, these scofflaws use bluster to bamboozle police and other authorities into believing they have some sort of legal standing.  They do not, but in my experience as a police officer, these people seem to really believe they are above the laws governing the rest of us.

Government authorities have called these “homegrown terrorists” the greatest danger to America, with groups such as various militias and racist organizations along the Freemen model representing a larger threat than radical Islamists.  Of course, “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” and vice versa. 

What do you think about the Militia and Freemen movements?

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