Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Hutaree Go for the Brass Ring

On Sunday, I wrote about the Hutaree, a Christian extremist militia that had been raided by the FBI.  At the time I wrote, we already knew that this group, which is headquartered in my "neck of the woods" was allegedly crazy and violent, and I wrote about how "out there" had become "right here."  Yesterday's court appearances added yet another layer.  It turns out they were, allegedly, plotting to kill a police officer, then wait for the funeral and use IEDs against the funeral procession.

This takes this story to a whole different level.  Those of you who read the Quarterback regularly know that death in the line of duty is one of the "big five."  These are the incidents that get a whole separate class to learn about when you're going through CISM training.  These are the ones you want your very best responders.  (The other four, in case you were wondering, are suicide of a colleague, mass disaster, multiple critical incidents in rapid succession and long delay between incident and response.) 

Death in the line of duty is an emotionally messy situation for cops and their families.  It brings up all kinds of issues around blame and anger, personal identification with the victim, fear for your own safety, and many more, all in an organizational culture that does not encourage people to talk to each other or to professionals about their feelings.  Add to this the already high suicide rate among law enforcement and the fact that all of these people are armed, and it's pretty complicated.

But this situation doesn't just contemplate a line of duty death.  It then, had it been successful, adds the attack on the funeral procession.  That means, effectively, that these folks were plotting serial line of duty deaths for police officers and their loved ones.  Imagine how messy that could have been.

For me, there's another complicating factor.  While I don't spend a whole lot of time in law enforcement funeral processions, you may recall that just a few weeks ago my daughter and I stopped near our house to pay respects to one coming through our township.  Because that was so recent, the picture I create in my mind when I imagine IEDs at a law enforcement funeral procession is of that morning, that street near my house, and me and my daughter.  Now, it's personal.

I don't generally think of myself as the center of the universe.  I also don't imagine it is anyone's idea of a good way to become famous to be covered in my blog.  But I have to note that, if you did want to make sure I covered you, plotting an attack on a police officer followed by an attack on the funeral procession in southeast Michigan would pretty much guarantee it.  So, in that sense, congratulations to the Hutaree.  You grabbed the Quarterback's brass ring.


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Naomi Zikmund-Fisher
is a clinical social worker, former school Principal and a Crisis Consultant for schools and community organizations. You can learn more about her at www.SchoolCrisisConsultant.com
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