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The 24-page report released this month by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) entitled, “The Second Wave: Return of the Militia” is sweeping in its indictment.
In it, police officers, soldiers, veterans, tax defiers, Patriots, tea party members, right-wing militias, “birthers” and sovereign citizen proponents are all said to exhibit elements of a resurging anti-government movement that reached its zenith in the mid-1990′s and spiraled out of control with violence and domestic terrorism.
A number of national and local citizens groups are called out in the report — the National Rifle Association, Minutemen, Oath Keepers — as well as mainstream conservative politicians and media personalities — U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus (R – Ala.), Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Fox News host Glenn Beck, CNN’s Lou Dobbs, MSNBC commentator and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan — as evidence of this growing domestic threat.
Add to the list former Graham County, Arizona sheriff Richard Mack, dubbed a “long-time militia hero” by SPLC. The son of an FBI Agent, Mack has long been a crusader for freedom and individual rights.
As a twenty-year law enforcement official, Mack served on the thin, blue line that protects a civilized society from lawlessness. But the controversial SPLC report casts a shadow over Mack’s views and questions his role in the resurgence of the militia movement and violent “right-wing extremism.”
“Something you’ll never hear from me, that is to advocate violence in any matter,” Mack said during an exclusive interview with Big 3 News. “I never have, and as I said, my record in law enforcement is very clear. I’ve never, ever, in twenty years of law enforcement, slugged or beat up another person.”
Mack has challenged the founder of SPLC, Morris Dees, to an open debate to discuss the characterizations made in the report.
“I don’t believe he would ever do it,” Mack said. ” I don’t believe he could afford to be exposed as the liar that he is.”
Mack went to college with the intent of becoming an FBI agent like his father, but life had other opportunities for him. He worked his way though college and hired on in March 1979 as a full-time police officer in Utah. In 1988, he returned to his home state of Arizona and ran for sheriff.
“I was miraculously elected, I ran a very strong campaign on constitutional principles,” Mack said. “The people of the county elected me, and in 1992 I was re-elected.”
His biggest victory may not have been political but rather in the courts.
In 1994, Mack joined six other sheriffs in bringing a successful lawsuit before the United States Supreme Court challenging aspects of the Clinton Administration Brady Bill.
“The Brady Bill forced, it compelled, the county sheriff to work for the federal government for free,” Mack explained. “But the worst thing of it was it forced us to participate in a federal gun control scheme that I knew was unconstitutional. And I wasn’t going to violate my oath of office for Bill Clinton, Sarah Brady or anybody else.”
On June 27, 1997, the Supreme Court ruled that the Brady Bill, in part, was unconstitutional and that Congress had exceeded their authority.
Mack believes this judicial victory and his views on the 2nd Amendment are the motivation behind the attacks on him by SPLC.
“If you look up the word militia in the dictionary, it means citizen volunteers,” Mack said. “The militia was the same militia as mentioned in the 2nd Amendment, that Paul Revere called out to get their guns, to defend us against the tyrant King George III. The 2nd Amendment was written to prevent a reoccurrence of that kind of tyranny. If it ever happened again, the people, or the militia, would be armed to defend our nation against tyrants.”
Watch and listen to our exclusive 5-part interview with Sheriff Richard Mack below:
Editor’s note: Complete coverage of the Southern Poverty Law Center report, with additional interviews from parties named in the report, will be forthcoming in a future featured article.
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