The one where we talk about Donald Trump's curious choice of location for a campaign rally, and whether the fact that it's the 30th anniversary of the Waco standoff means anything to him.
Here are some of the sources and articles we used to create this episode:
Waco became synonymous with the worst failings of the federal government and has been used to push anti-government conspiracy theories for years. Though the Waco compound was home to a specific sect of religious extremists, elements of the tragedy resonate in today's times: gun ownership vs. gun regulation, rural independence vs. Washington bureaucracy.
And some experts say that's likely exactly why the city was chosen for a Trump rally.
"Waco is hugely symbolic on the far right," said Heidi Beirich, co-founder of the Global Project Against Hate and Extremism. "There's not really another place in the U.S. that you could pick that would tap into these deep veins of anti-government hatred – Christian nationalist skepticism of the government – and I find it hard to believe that Trump doesn't know that Waco represents all of these things."
During the stand-off between federal agents and the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas in 1993, people gathered on a hill roughly three miles away to see what was happening at the compound. One of those drawn to Waco was a 24-year-old Army veteran named Timothy McVeigh.
The list also included more overt resistance narratives. It initially featured The Turner Diaries by William Luther Pierce (it has since been removed with no explanation given). The Turner Diaries is a novel about a clandestine movement of white men who use racialized terrorism and nuclear warfare to “take back” the United States from Jewish “usurpers” and what Pierce portrays as the mindless, sex-crazed Black and Latino men who act as their enforcers. Pierce was the leader of the militant white supremacist organization National Alliance and his novel inspired neo-Nazi terror group The Order, which was responsible for murdering talk radio host Alan Berg in 1984. Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh evangelized the book, traveling to gun shows to sell it (and its sequel, Hunter) to like-minded people; his bombing attack on the Murrah Building closely resembled a similar act described in detail in Pierce’s text. Investigators found portions of it in his getaway car. Germany’s National Socialist Underground (NSU), which murdered 10 people and injured others in a years-long terror campaign against a mostly Turkish immigrant population, also took inspiration from The Turner Diaries: NSU member Uwe Mundlos translated several chapters of the book into German and a digital copy was found on a hard drive in an apartment Mundlos and his two primary accomplices had rented while underground
Meanwhile, authorities are continuing to investigate a potential motive for the shooting in addition to Shiffer’s possible ties to extremist groups, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation said. Shiffer’s name is used on several social media platforms by an individual who spoke about being at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, and urging a “call to arms” after the FBI executed a search warrant at former president Donald Trump’s Florida estate on Monday.
On Truth Social, a site started by Trump, an account with Shiffer’s name published a post after the FBI search at Mar-a-Lago telling others to “get whatever you need to be ready for combat.” On Thursday at 9:30 a.m., he wrote another post that seemed to indicate he was writing after attempting to enter the FBI building.
“Well, I thought I had a way through bullet proof glass, and I didn’t,” he wrote. “If you don’t hear from me, it is true I tried attacking the F.B.I., and it’ll mean either I was taken off the internet, the F.B.I. got me, or they sent the regular cops.”
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Thanks for listening,
Jay and Griff