Descripción de editorial
In the mid 1990s self-styled Patriot John Pitner gathered around him a ragtag band of discontents, all eager to avenge themselves against America’s enemies, both foreign and domestic. Fervently believing that a New World Order threatened their liberty and way of life, Pitner and his recruits prepared for confrontation until an FBI sting led to their arrests on conspiracy charges in 1997.
In Lone Patriot, acclaimed New Yorker correspondent Jane Kramer delivers an intimate look into the life and mind of a militia leader and his followers, exploring the volatile mix of personalities and politics that shapes their extreme worldview. Through a series of exclusive interviews with them both before and after, Kramer paints an incredible portrait of a rural America that is rarely glimpsed but strikingly relevant.
Kramer offers insight less into the violent, extreme right-wing militia movement than into a ragtag band of losers who have sought refuge from the world in the backwoods of Whatcom County, Wash., and united under the dubious leadership of self-styled Patriot John Pitner. Among the group are Fred Fisher, a convicted child molester, and Doc Ellwanger, who, misled by a swindler into not paying taxes, lost his veterinary business to the IRS. The members of Pitner's Washington State Militia are angry and alienated from mainstream America and eager to play with pipe bombs and grenades. But the source of their anger seems to be more their inconsequence and unpleasant run-ins with the government than an ideology that they seem too dimwitted to grasp. Kramer's opening sentence brilliantly conveys a certain lack of seriousness afflicting Pitner and his gang: "The enemy took John Pitner, by subterfuge and surprise, on a hot midsummer Saturday when no one could really have been expected to stand and fight, and the result was that John lost his liberty before he had a chance to save America." The centerpiece of this account is a portrait of Pitner, a ne'er-do-well with a "goofy charm." But the most notable, and sympathetic, characters are two women: John's wife, Debbie, who finally ups and leaves him, and his good-hearted lesbian sister, Susan, who steps in to save him after his eventual arrest and pays a heavy price. Kramer's strengths are her inquisitiveness, insight and graceful prose (she's a longtime European correspondent for the New Yorker, which has excerpted this book). But one ends up wondering whether the FBI and Kramer mightn't have better spent time pursuing real militiamen rather than this sad band of malcontents.