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Americans view of the world and our place in it has changed many times over Our history is filled with significant dates that shaped our history July 4 1776 December 7 1941 June 6 1944 and most recently September 11 2001 April 19 1995 was such a date That day at approximately 9 am a massive explosion destroyed most of the Alfred P Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City 167 people were killed in the explosion which was caused by a bomb made of fertilizer that was placed in a rental truck The arrest and later conviction of Timothy McVeigh helped to shed light on a new threat to Americans homegrown militias Modern Militias have become synonymous with fringe elements of society and they are more often feared and dismissed as lunatics The militia movement has affected practically every part of the country some more than others The west it seems has been particularly affected In 1995 the relatively peaceful routine of the residents of Jordan Montana was shattered by a standoff between a group known as the Montana Freemen and Federal authorities Many thought that Jordan would become synonymous with places like Ruby Ridge Idaho and Waco Texas The standoff however remained peaceful and the Montana Freemen surrendered on June 13 1996 For some there are many questions that are left unanswered who were the Freemen what did they believe and why did they defy the government for so long This paper will look at the Freemen organization and its leaders I will look at the background of the group its motivations and the results of the standoff More importantly I will tackle the why Why did the group issue threats against government officials and why do they claim that the US government is illegal I will try and determine if these men are patriots or criminals Background Two men Rodney Skurdal and LeRoy Schweitzer formed the Montana Freemen in the early 1990s
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