Source: Esquire Magazine
“It’s been a while since we checked in on Matt Shea, the crusader monk of the Washington state legislature. The Guardian tells us that he’s now hooked up with some outfit that (no kidding) trains kids to use guns and knives to wage “biblical war.”
The emails, sent in July 2016, begin with an email from Patrick Caughran, who presents himself as the founder of a training group called Team Rugged. They were provided to the Guardian by a former Shea associate who was copied in on the exchange.
Caughran asks Shea to publicize a link to the group’s Facebook page, and put him in touch with “John Jacob Schmidt”, the nom de guerre of Shea associate, Jack Robertson. Robertson is a rightwing podcast host who advocates for conservatives to move to the “American Redoubt” in eastern Washington, Idaho and Montana, and, with Shea, campaigns for eastern Washington to secede and form its own state.
On Team Rugged website, it is described as “a Christian organization that strongly believes in building manly character and the capability to stand in adversity in young men”. In his email to Shea, however, Caughran offers a different description, saying that the group exists “to provide patriotic and biblical training on war for young men”.
Is there white supremacy involved here? Of course, there is. Caughran goes on to detail the group’s training regime, writing that “there will be biblical teaching (some taken from pastor John Weaver’s works) on biblical warfare, the responsibilities, regulations, principles and mindset. So that our young men will be better prepared to fight against physical enemies, and to do so, God’s way and with His blessing.”
The Georgia-based Weaver is a controversial preacher whom the Southern Poverty Law Center says is a “leading proponent for training Christians for armed battle.” As well as being a preacher, Weaver is a firearms instructor, and according to the SPLC has given weapons training to members of the League of the South, a neo-Confederate group which marched at the far-right Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017 that ended in the death of a protester.
It is going to take decades to wring out the crazy from the fabric of the country, even if we all agree we should, and I’m not entirely sure all of us do. I think a lot of “us” are quite happy with the crazy.”