Gone West

Tag: Murder

Ash Wednesday 1978

“Ash Wednesday in L.A. under a haemmorhaging night sky on the San Diego freeway beginning a journey for the beasts of paradise, those leashed and unleashed. Door-to-door maniacs and rabid creatures, little girls with knives. Hungry things. The birds of appetite are sometimes shrikes.” (Memories of The Geek Beat)


NarcoGuerra Times: The Faith-Based Cartel

La Familia corpse

The drug cartel La Familia Michoacana is, as one Mexican intelligence analyst put it, “unique.”

From all available information so far, it appears that La Familia has developed into a faith-based right-wing populist social movement emanating from and orchestrated by an organization that happens to be a well-armed, well-financed violent criminal enterprise.

La Familia has branched out from the production and transport of drugs, diversifying into counterfeiting, extortion, kidnapping, armed robbery, prostitution and car dealerships. They’ve gone so far beyond bribery that people in Michoacan are paying mony to La Familia in lieu of taxes to the government. According to the recent Mexican federal police report on La Familia, there are 9,000 members of the La Familia “sect.”

The federales are now viewing La Familia as more of a guerrilla group than a straight-foward drug cartel. Unlike other cartels, La Familia goes beyond the production and distribution of marijuana, meth, cocaine and heroin and into the political realm. The report goes on to say that La Familia has “created  a cult-like mystique and developed pseudo-evangelical recruitment techniques that are unique in Mexico.” 

Federal intelligence officers in Mexico described La Familia leader, Nazario Gonzalez Moreno–El Mas Loco (The Crazy One)–as a “religious zealot” who totes around his self-published book of “aphorisms” based on the Bible and writings of US evangelical author and former Focus on The Family writer, John Eldredge. In the searches and arrests targeting La Familia across Michoacan, the one common denominator federal forces found, along with assault rifles, grenades and drugs, were copies of Eldredge’s Wild At Heart. (Salvaje de Corazon).

La Familia is strongly pro-family (and all that that implies) and requires its members to abstain from alcohol and drugs. There is an indoctrination program all La Familia recruits must go through that inculcates ” personal values, ethical and morlal principles consistent with the purposes of the organization.”  Last year La Familia brought in  two motivational speakers to lecture its members. The group is hierarchic and maintains a strict top-down emotional control of its members.

Think of Jim Jones’ People’s Temple, only with more money and firepower and you get the idea.

 La Familia presents serious implications for the July 5 state and elections and not just in Michoacan. The federal intelligence report warns that   La Familia “represents a serious risk to penetrate political, social and religious structures in Michoacán and increasingly in other states of the country as Guanajuato, Mexico and the State of Jalisco.”

More to follow from La Familia writings, messages and banderas.

A Wrathful Bloody Sunday in Wichita

When the news came Sunday  that late-term abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller was gunned down while attending church in Wichita, it didn’t deliver much shock.

Tiller had been walking the earth with a target on his back for decades. In 1993 he was shot in the arms by Shelly Shannon while driving up to his clinic. Shannon was a compatriot of sniper assassin James Kopp in the ‘Army of God”, the underground network of activists committed to “direct action”, including “justifiable homicide.”  

Here’s a refresher on Kopp from my 2003 Playboy article, Virtual Reich:

Kopp’s most prominent victim was the Buffalo physician Dr. Barnett Slepian, who ran an abortion clinic. After several forays around Slepian’s home, Kopp  secreted himself in a wooded area on the evening of October 23 and waited. From this vantage the shooter had a clear view through his rifle scope to the Slepian’s kitchen window and its well-lighted interior. The gynecologist/obstetrician was standing with his back to that window stirring a pot of soup on the stove, his wife and teenage son at the table, when a 7.62 round ripped through Slepian’s body. The doctor bled out and died in front of his family before EMS arrived at the scene.

Kopp then calmly left his sniper’s position, walked 150 feet into the woods where he wrapped his Kalishnikov rifle in plastic, slipped it into a plastic tube and buried it. He then returned through the woods to his Chevrolet where a female accomplice may have waited with the motor running. Within days of the killing, police had tagged James Charles Kopp as a prime suspect by tracing the vehicle tag number noted by one of Slepian’s neighbors. He was also implicated in rifle attacks in Canada and New York that had left three other doctors seriously wounded. Not only were Kopp’s victims all abortion providers, but all were either Jewish or had names identifying them as Jews.

By late Sunday afternoon the suspect in  Tiller’s murder, David Philip Roeder, had been picked up by police  near Kansas City.

I put a call to  Judy Thomas at her desk at the Kansas City Star. She is the co-author with James Risen of one of the best books on the anti-abortion movement, Wrath of Angels, that focused on the siege of Wichita abortion clinics by Randall Terry and Operation Rescue in 1991. wrath of angels

Judy and I have known each other for two decades, exchanging info on the radical right, the anti-abortion movement and militias. We recalled Roeder from back in the day when the Christian Patriot militias  and the revived Posse Comitatus were rampant. His name was  familiar to us. Roeder was arrested in 1996 for driving with a bogus “soverigen citizen’ tag. When the cops looked in his trunk they found bomb components.  Roeder was  signed up with the Freemen, a Christian Identity-based common law court separartist group that was in a stand-off  at the time with state and federal authorities at a farm in western Montana.  He was just one of thousands who had moved into the armed right-wing resistance that spang to life during the 1990s.

Their world became my world when I went to work with the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Alabama in 1994. A year earlier I wrote a piece on the murder of Dr. David Gunn, an abortion provider who was gunned down in Pensacola, the first such assassination in a string that continued for the next six years.

To put yesterday’s killing in Wichita in historical perspective, I’m posting an unpublished piece from 1993–“…with guns in their hands and God on their side.” 

I thought I had lost the typewritten manuscript, but it was discovered last week among some files a friend was going through who then passed it  to me along with another unpublished piece I plan to post here.

In the years since I wrote this, I have learned far more about the anti-abortion movement, Christian Identity and Reconstructionists–much of it obtained through personal encounters “out in the field”, as we say.

Though I’ve written at greater length on anti-abortion  and right-wing terrorism elsewhere, this once-orphaned article may add a little historic context to yesterday’s assassination in Wichita .