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Granite Falls Advocate Tribune - Granite Falls, MN
\x34Rants and Raves\x34 includes everything from political commentary to movie reviews
Terror in rural Minnesota!
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About this blog
By Stephen Browne
Steve Browne is an award-winning reporter and columnist who entered journalism by accident while living and working in Eastern Europe from 1991 to 2004. He is the author of two books for English students: \x34Word Pictures: English as it is REALLY ...
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Rants and Raves
Steve Browne is an award-winning reporter and columnist who entered journalism by accident while living and working in Eastern Europe from 1991 to 2004. He is the author of two books for English students: \x34Word Pictures: English as it is REALLY Used,\x34 published in Belgrade, Yugoslavia and Novosibirsk, Russia, and \x34English Linguistic Humor: Puns, Play on Words, Spoonerisms, and Shaggy Dog Stories.\x34 In 1997 he was elected an Honorary Member of the Yugoslav Movement for the Protection of Human Rights. He is currently living in his native Midwest, which he considers \x34the most interesting foreign country I have ever lived in.\x34
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By Stephen W. Browne
May 13, 2013 11:25 a.m.



I started out last Monday writing my weekly movie review when a report of terrorist activity in Montevideo, Minnesota landed on my desk.

The FBI press release had it that someone named Buford “Bucky” Rogers had been arrested in a raid on his parent’s trailer home on Friday. The FBI claimed they’d seized lots of guns, including a Romanian AKM assault rifle, Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs.

It’s a bit outside of our coverage area but it seemed serious, so up I went and spent most of the day in the trailer park outside of town, talking to the Rogers family, a.k.a. “The Black Snake Militia” and their neighbors, and watching the TV news people from as far away as Minneapolis and Sioux Falls come and go.

Since then I’ve caught the news reports of the terrorist plot as it’s gone national. The FBI claims they’ve saved Lord knows how many lives.

It’s all bull$#!+ and a lot of so-called journalists should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves!

The “terrorists” are father Jeff Rogers, a man four years younger than I am who looks 20 years older. He’s wheezy, out of shape, and had open heart surgery not long ago. His son Shawn is 17, though neighbors told me they guessed his age at 13-14, which should give you an idea how dangerous he looks. As it turns out Bucky doesn’t live there but with his girlfriend and their 10-month-old baby in town, which is actually where he was arrested.

These people aren’t terrorists. They’re dumb as stumps, nutty as fruitcakes – but probably harmless.

The talking heads pointed their cameras at the family, asked a few questions – and sat back and watched them rave about implanted microchips and their “militia.” Because everybody wants to be a movie star, and this was likely the most attention they’d gotten in their lives.

But they’ve got guns!

All of them legal and registered to Jeff. A sizable collection but no bigger than those of friends of mine who include teachers, county commissioners, farmers, and cops.

They wear camouflage!

For God’s sake, cammie is the right-wing equivalent of “Che” T-shirts and “Mao” paraphernalia. “Look at me! I’m wearing the battle dress of a military I don’t remotely qualify to join.”

Nobody gets upset when college students parade around campus wearing the faces of mass murderers on their shirts. Nobody cries “racist” that one was the greatest murderer of Hispanics in the 20th century.

Why the hell aren’t journalists asking intelligent questions?

If the FBI found bombs in the trailer home – why aren’t the Rogers family in custody? According to Jeff, they weren’t even mirandized.

Molotov cocktails? That’s an incendiary made by filling a bottle with gasoline and stuffing a rag in the neck for a fuse.

Nobody stores Molotov cocktails! They keep cans of gas, rags, and bottles around and assemble them as needed!

Shawn Rogers said the FBI carted off a box of scrap plumbing pipe. I believe him, The Rogers seem to eek out Jeff’s disability pension by collecting and selling scrap. I got Jeff Rogers to open the “bomb factory” shed – it’s a junk heap!

Some reports more cautiously said they had “bomb making materials” in their house.

That I believe. But then again, so do I – and so do you. Between your kitchen and your bathroom you have the ingredients for at least two high explosives which I won’t name, but they go off at a harsh look. Everybody is one chemistry lesson away from a bomb.

Bucky Rogers I haven’t met. Word from people in the school system is he was a trouble maker but not scary in school, but his little brother is rather liked by his teachers.

Bucky was on probation for burglary, but didn’t do time. He mouthed off a lot on Facebook in ways that could be seen as threats. The FBI said he admitted after a Miranda warning to firing his father’s AKM at a gun range.

Gotcha! Probation violation – which is what he’s been charged with so far. So why hasn’t he been charged with making terroristic threats?

Bucky’s parole officer might have taken him aside and told him to dial the nutty stuff down until he was off probation.

Instead the FBI swooped down on Montevideo, roped in several local law enforcement agencies, and when the FBI show up in your office you don’t say “No thanks.” They staged a major operation at considerable expense which I seriously doubt the local law will ever get reimbursed for.

Many readers I’ve talked to are quite sensibly skeptical about the sensationalist news reports. Good on you! The county sheriff has been admirably restrained and rather noncommittal in his public statements. The FBI is often disliked among local law enforcement agencies, but it is not wise to antagonize them.

But why all the commotion? Not to mention the expense.

If I were a right-wing conspiracy nut, I’d suspect that in the aftermath of the Boston bombing the PC Patrol is desperately searching for terrorists who aren’t Muslims. The Rogers are the people America has been taught to fear – white, redneck gun nuts.

But since I’m a cynic I have to wonder if the FBI affidavit didn’t give it away. The agent who signed it said he’d been at the Minneapolis office since he graduated from the academy in 1999. If I had to guess, I’d wonder if someone is tired of being stuck out in the boonies and sees a big score that’ll get him back to the bright lights in the big city.

Note: This is the self-syndicated column I submitted to my subscriber(s) for this week. I usually wait a while before posting on my blog to give the print-only outlets a head start. Currently this is re-posted on the websites of rural newspapers in a five-state area in the upper midwest.

I am expecting the compost to hit the thresher over this one. We’ll see, and stay tuned for part 2.

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