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December 3, 2015 0

Bonnie and Clydes Rare—But Not Unheard Of—In Violent Extremism

Syed Farook

Syed Farook

Back­ground infor­ma­tion on Syed Farook and Tash­feen Malik, the mar­ried per­pe­tra­tors of the tragic mass shoot­ing at the Inland Regional Cen­ter in San Bernardino, Cal­i­for­nia, is still sparse, as is clar­ity con­cern­ing the motive behind the vicious attack that left 14 dead and 21 wounded.

How­ever, accord­ing to media reports from the in-progress inves­ti­ga­tion, there is grow­ing con­cern among law enforce­ment offi­cials that the shoot­ings may have had a con­nec­tion to Islamic extrem­ism or that there might have been a mixed extremist/workplace motive behind them.  The FBI has said that it is now treat­ing its inves­ti­ga­tion of the killings as a counter-terrorism investigation.

One thing that is exceed­ingly rare in tra­di­tional work­place shoot­ings is for there to be mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors, as there was in this case.  As one law enforce­ment offi­cial told The New York Times, “You don’t take your wife to a work­place shoot­ing, and espe­cially not as pre­pared as they were.  He could have been rad­i­cal­ized, ready to go with some type of attack, and then had a dis­pute at work and decided to do something.”

Mul­ti­ple per­pe­tra­tors are cer­tainly com­mon in extremist-related crimes, of course, despite the exis­tence of the “lone wolf” phe­nom­e­non.  Women are also fre­quently involved in extremist-related crim­i­nal activ­ity in almost every extrem­ist move­ment in the United States.

How­ever, when one exam­ines recent crim­i­nal cases in the U.S. involv­ing domes­tic Islamic extrem­ists, one finds that female part­ners of male perpetrators—even when them­selves involved in crim­i­nal activities—have not typ­i­cally engaged in vio­lence.  Over­seas, women have some­times taken on more vio­lent roles, includ­ing as sui­cide bombers.

If an Islamic extrem­ist motive is con­firmed in the San Bernardino shoot­ings, the fact of husband-and-wife shoot­ers would be a new wrin­kle in the his­tory of the vio­lent tac­tics of that move­ment in the United States.

Extremist-related vio­lence involv­ing hus­bands and wives—or non-married partners—is actu­ally not unheard of in the United States, but it tends to come from a very dif­fer­ent source:  right-wing extrem­ism.  Though not what one could call a com­mon phe­nom­e­non, such vio­lent “Bon­nie and Clyde” cou­ples do emerge with reg­u­lar­ity from within both the white suprema­cist and anti-government extrem­ist move­ments in the United States.

In fact, right-wing extrem­ism even pro­duced an exam­ple of the exceed­ingly rare phe­nom­e­non of a mar­ried cou­ple both of whom were on death row:  anti-government extrem­ists Linda Lyon Block and George Sib­ley.  In 1993, the two sov­er­eign cit­i­zens non-fatally stabbed Block’s ex-husband, then while on the run mur­dered an Alabama police offi­cer in a shootout.  Both were exe­cuted in the 2000s.

In more recent years, extrem­ist cou­ples have been involved with every­thing from stand­offs with police to hate crimes to ter­ror­ist con­spir­a­cies.  But some of the most shock­ing “Bon­nie and Clyde” inci­dents have involved mul­ti­ple homi­cides com­mit­ted by white suprema­cists and anti-government extremists:

  • Jerad and Amanda Miller, a young mar­ried cou­ple who adhered to the anti-government ide­ol­ogy of the mili­tia move­ment, tar­geted two Las Vegas police offi­cers for assas­si­na­tion in June 2014, killing them at a pizza restau­rant as they ate their Sun­day lunch.  The cou­ple crossed the street to a Wal-mart in antic­i­pa­tion of a final shootout with first respon­ders, where Amanda killed an armed civil­ian try­ing to stop them.  As they had intended, they did both die dur­ing a shootout with law enforce­ment at the store, with a wounded Amanda killing her­self after Jerad was shot.
  • Jeremy and Chris­tine Moody, white suprema­cists from Union County, South Car­olina, killed a nearby mar­ried cou­ple in July 2013 in a par­tic­u­larly grisly dou­ble homi­cide in which both vic­tims were shot and stabbed.  The Moodys had tar­geted the vic­tim because they wanted to kill a reg­is­tered sex offender and found the male victim’s name and address on the Inter­net.  They killed his wife because she had mar­ried a sex offender.  Both pleaded guilty to mur­der in 2014, receiv­ing life sen­tences with no parole, but were unre­pen­tant, with Chris­tine Moody call­ing the day of the mur­ders “the best day of my life.”
  • Holly Grigsby and David Ped­er­sen, a white suprema­cist cou­ple from Ore­gon, embarked upon a multi-state mur­der spree in 2011 that totaled four killed before police could find and stop them.  The pair trav­eled to Wash­ing­ton to mur­der Pederson’s father and step­mother, each killing one vic­tim, then killed a young man in Ore­gon to steal his car and because they thought he might be Jew­ish.  They killed an African-American man in north­ern Cal­i­for­nia in another car­jack­ing attempt, though they did not end up tak­ing the vehi­cle, then were finally appre­hended by the Cal­i­for­nia High­way Patrol.  Grigsby told the arrest­ing offi­cers that they were to Sacra­mento to “kill more Jews” when they were stopped.  Both pleaded guilty to a vari­ety of crimes and received life sentences.

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June 9, 2014 2

“Dawn of a New Day”: Las Vegas Shooter’s Final Message

The most recent entry on Jerad Miller’s Face­book, left on Sat­ur­day, June 7, is chill­ing: “The dawn of a new day. May all of our com­ing sac­ri­fices be worth it.”jerad-amanda-miller

Jerad Miller, along with his wife Amanda, are the two sus­pects who com­mit­ted sui­cide in a Las Vegas Wal­mart on Sun­day, after allegedly fatally shoot­ing two Las Vegas police offi­cers in a nearby restau­rant and a third per­son at the Wal­mart itself.

Based on their Inter­net writ­ings, Jerad and Amanda Miller were both right-wing anti-government extrem­ists of the “Patriot” move­ment vari­ety, believ­ing in all the com­mon militia-type con­spir­acy the­o­ries about the “New World Order,” includ­ing con­cen­tra­tion camps for Amer­i­cans, com­ing mar­tial law, and chem­trails, among others.

Some of Jerad’s post­ings in the months before the Las Vegas inci­dent seem to reflect a grow­ing rad­i­cal­iza­tion. In March, Jerad declared that he had “com­pro­mised enough” and that he was “pre­pared to die” for his con­vic­tions about free­dom and tyranny. “The day of your judg­ment will come,” he wrote, “not from my hand, for you will make me a martyr…Come for me, free me from your slav­ery. Give me the death a hero deserves. Help wake the masses to your cor­rup­tion and trea­son. I f*****g dare you!”

In April, Jerad Miller trav­elled to the scene of the Cliven Bundy stand­off, hop­ing that it “could be the next Waco and start of [the] rev­o­lu­tion.”   In early May, Miller claimed that “there is no greater cause to die for than lib­erty” and that he would will­ingly do so. “Death, in a sense is free­dom from tyranny,” he posted. Miller claimed that he and his wife “will not sub­mit to fas­cist rule” and “are will­ing to sac­ri­fice everything.”

Amanda Miller also had anti-government and con­spir­a­to­r­ial beliefs. “Every day I real­ize how more and more peo­ple are asleep and only a few of us are awake,” she wrote in 2012. “The gov­ern­ment is try­ing to take away our rights…only the few of us are will­ing to fight back.” Miller stated that she was “proud to be awake to see what[‘]s really going on.”

The anger that the Millers felt at the gov­ern­ment and police may have increased in 2013, when Jerad Miller had to serve a period of home con­fine­ment fol­low­ing a crim­i­nal inci­dent appar­ently involv­ing mar­i­juana. “Here I am,” he wrote about the con­fine­ment, “because the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tions of Amer­i­cans were a bunch of spine­less zom­bies.” Hope­fully, he wrote, “we can achieve free­dom with­out killing the older gen­er­a­tions off. It may come to that.”

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