Vigilance is Necessary for Traditional Domestic "Anti"-Groups

by DR. JAMES “JIM” BLAIR, COL RET, ARMY AMEDD November 4, 2010
Domestic Anti-Governments groups wax and wane but they rarely completely go away.
The last decade of the 20th Century ushered in a brief period (7 years) of the so called “Patriot Movement”, armed militia-like groups, angered by a myriad of actions taken by the federal government. The era was characterized by dramatic slow moving clashes between these groups and federal law enforcement agencies. The 1992 federal siege at home of white supremacist Randy Weaver in Ruby Ridge, Idaho and the fierce coordinated federal attack on the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas left scores dead and ignited the militia movement to a fevered pitch. The number of these domestic Anti-Groups peaked in 1996 with a reported total of 858 identified by the federal government.
The second anniversary of the Branch Davidian compound destruction (pictured above) marked the tragic bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City (below). Timothy McVeigh, a self-professed white supremacist was tried and found guilty of the Murrah Building bombing. Following his execution many of the groups faded away.
Fast forward to 9/11/01. Post 9/11 has seen a resurgence of these groups. Some groups focused on the threat of terrorist attacks on the U. S. mainland. Some focused on the issues associated with lack of border control, illegal immigration, and drug smuggling. Others reacted to the looming domestic economic crisis. White supremacist and other known racists groups reacted to the election of a non-white president. There are few surprises as the “usual suspects” come forward with their lists of grievances.
These groups rarely present a direct threat to hospitals or healthcare organizations. However, they do present a need for hospital readiness, in that attacks which produce mass casualties as seen in the Oklahoma City bombing do require a reasonable level of preparedness.
Extreme anti-abortion groups are a threat to the healthcare community. Most organizations following domestic terrorism do not aggregate the broad groups of Anti-Environment terrorists and Extreme Animal Rights terrorists into their reports. They are seen as threats against property in a misguided noble cause.
Ironically, we see these groups as a potential threat to the healthcare community. They pose a direct threat to any organization/hospital/University engaged in nuclear or biological research. Among the greatest threats is the release of infected research animals into the environment. We have also seen gaps in the control of animals and radioactive materials during natural disasters, such as Katrina,
One of our consistent findings is that hospitals and healthcare organizations are not aware of - or prepared to deal with – the specific research activity threats in their own own backyard or down the road. Contributor Dr. James Blair, DPA, MHA, FACHE, FABCHS, CAS, is president and CEO of the Center for HealthCare Emergency Readiness. This article was adapted from excerpts from Blair's book, Unready: To Err is Human: The Other Neglected Side of Hospital Safety and Security, which was published in June. He is also a career-retired army colonel with 28 years of active service. Among his private sector experiences, he served as VP of Hospital Corporation of America, Middle East Limited and as an independent consultant to Joint Commission International.

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