“The number of ‘extreme anti-government groups’ — which includes the militia groups as well as Patriot groups and others — has spiked since President Obama’s election in 2008. There were 149 of these groups in 2008, but within four years there were more than 1,300.”
The armed occupation of a federal wildlife reserve in Oregon has brought nationwide coverage and a renewed interest in anti-government groups that have been growing in number. The initial spike in anti-government groups or “patriot groups” occurred after President Obama’s election in 2008, with the number going from 149 in 2008 to 1,300 in 2012; the number of patriot groups fell to 874 in 2014. Expert Mark Pitcavage from the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism claims that, “anti-government extremists have been itching for a confrontation with the federal government,” after being emboldened by the 2014 standoff between the Bureau of Land Management and Cliven Bundy at his Arizona ranch. After this incident, other right-wing groups have been more extreme in their dealings. In one instance, after armed extremists, some belonging to the Three Percent group, intervened in a dispute between the Sugar Pine Mine and the Federal Bureau of Land Management – a federal court ruling diffused the situation. Another standoff occurred at the White Hope Mine in Montana in which the militia group the Oath Keepers backed down the Bureau of Land Management again. Both these groups are present at the Oregon nature sanctuary, whose conquering has been uncharacteristic of the far right, who tend to rally around someone who they perceive is under attack.