This meme shared on Facebook by Las Vegas shooting suspect Amanda Miller reads, "Best coffee table ever?"
A month before a married couple allegedly gunned down two police officers and a bystander in Las Vegas, suspect Jerad Miller went on Facebook looking for a gun. Any gun would do, Miller wrote, as long as it worked on the "evil tyrant bastards."
On May 8, Miller posted the following on Facebook:
Facebook users soon chimed in to help Miller with his request. One person replied, "ak47." A second asked, "What happened to urs?" A third offered, "What are you looking for."
Miller replied, "Doesn't matter, bolt action, semi, anything that can reach out and touch evil tyrant bastards. Idc [I don't care] if its a hundred dollar pink 22 rifle lol."
A fourth person chimed in that the "Gun store has plenty of rifles." Miller replied, "We broke bro, believe me if we had the money we would be at some of the best gun stores in the country buying what we need. Idc if its a ww2 m4 lol. something for when they call us terrorists, we can defend ourselves."
A fifth person recognized that the conversation was entering potentially illegal territory, and recommended that Miller hide his identity. "You and I both know that you shouldn't be using Facebook for this. Get yourself a tor router and be anonymous like the constitution always intended," the person wrote. Miller replied, "lol im just fucking around."
But according to authorities, Miller wasn't "just fucking around"—five people, including Miller and his wife, Amanda, are now dead. While we don't know if the Millers were successful in obtaining any guns through Facebook, the fact that the post is still up raises questions about how well Facebook's effort to crack down on illegal gun sales is working. In March, the social network announced that it would start deleting posts that offer to buy or sell guns without background checks. At the time, it wasn't clear how Facebook planned to enforce the new guidelines. (As of 2012, Miller and his wife were not allowed to own guns because of his criminal record, according to Miller's post on the conspiracy-peddling website, Infowars.)
"We are sickened to learn that the Las Vegas shooter attempted to obtain a rifle through Facebook. The post has remained live on Facebook for a month, demonstrating the inadequacy of Facebook's gun policy," said Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, in a statement. "Facebook continues to make it too easy for dangerous people to find guns and should prohibit gun sales outright."
In a statement sent to Buzzfeed, a Facebook spokesperson said: "While this online discussion is certainly disturbing in light of recent events, we have not been made aware of any connection to an actual gun transaction offline."
Two years before Jerad Miller and his wife, Amanda, allegedly gunned down two police officers and a third person in a Las Vegas shooting spree, before taking their own lives, he pondered when it might be justified to kill law enforcement officers on the website of conspiracy-peddling radio personality Alex Jones. In a May 28, 2012, post titled, "The Police (To Kill Or Not To Kill?)" Miller wrote on Jones' Infowars.com website: "I live in Indiana and recently a law was passed named the right to resist law. As i can make out from it, if a police officer kicks in my door and is not there legally, then I may shoot him."
His posts on Infowars depict an angry, down-on-his-luck man who blamed his woes—decaying teeth, lack of health insurance, and inability to find work—on the tyranny of government. (Alex Jones has insisted the shooting spree Miller and his wife allegely carried out was "absolutely staged" by the federal government.) The justice system became a focus of Miller's wrath following his arrest for selling marijuana. "Before I got arrested I had 2 jobs and was selling weed to my friends and family on the side," he wrote. "Now I cannot find a job. My probation officer states that if I protest that my probation will be violated. They have tried to tell my fiance, who has no criminal record, that she may not own a firearm if I live in the house. Now, i face a dire problem."
The suspects in Sunday's shooting spree in Las Vegas that claimed the lives of two police officers and a shopper were a young married couple who espoused extreme pro-gun and anti-government views on their Facebook pages and who had spent time at the ranch of Cliven Bundy, whose standoff with the federal government made him a cause celebre in the so-called "patriot" movement.
The suspects, who killed themselves at the scene of their shooting rampage, have been identified as Jerad and Amanda Miller.
In a chilling Facebook message published a day before the shootings, Jerad Miller declared, "The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it."
Jerad Miller was eager to support Bundy, who was confronted by federal officials after years of refusing to pay grazing fees. On April 9, he wrote on Facebook:
I will be supporting Clive Bundy and his family from Federal Government slaughter. This is the next Waco! His ranch is under seige right now! The federal gov is stealing his cattle! Arresting his family and beating on them! We must do something. I will be doing something.
During his time on Bundy's ranch, he told a reporter: "I feel sorry for any federal agents that want to come in here and try to push us around or anything like that. I really don't want violence toward them, but if they're gonna come bring violence to us, if that's the language they want to speak, we'll learn it." Not long after the couple made their pilgrimage to Bundy's ranch, Miller noted on Facebook that he and his wife were asked to leave because of his criminal past:
I was out there but they told me and my wife to leave because I am a felon. They don't seem to understand that they are all felons now for intimidating law enforcement with deadly weapons. So don't tell you that they need people. We sold everything we had to buy supplies and quit our jobs to be there 24/7. How dare you ask for help and shun us dedicated patriots.
Jerad Miller's Facebook "likes" include the NRA, American Patriot Media Network, Support the 2nd Amendment, The Patriot Party, Rand Paul 2016, Ron Paul, the Washington Examiner, Legalize Weed, Draft Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Heritage Foundation, FreedomWorks, American Crossroads, and Allen West.
In a June 2 Facebook post—something of a manifesto—Jerad Miller indicated that he supported the arguments of the anti-government patriot movement that claims freedom and liberty in the United States are currently threatened. He wrote:
We can hope for peace. We must, however, prepare for war. We face an enemy that is not only well funded, but who believe they fight for freedom and justice. Those of us who know the truth and dare speak it, know that the enemy we face are indeed our brothers. Even though they share the same masters as we all do. They fail to recognize the chains that bind them. To stop this oppression, I fear, can only be accomplished with bloodshed. May the best men of our beloved nation stand and fight tyranny, without fear and without regret. May we stand proud as free men instead of kneeling as slaves. May we offer our children a free and just world with our blood, sweat and tears as payment. Let our wives and lovers take vengeance upon our enemies in our absence. We cannot fail in this endeavor of Liberty, if we do we risk leaving our orphaned children to the will of tyrants. We, cannot with good conscience leave this fight to our children, because the longer we wait, our enemies become better equipped and recruit more mercenaries of death, willing to do a tyrants bidding without question. I know you are fearful, as am I. We certainly stand before a great and powerful enemy. I, however would rather die fighting for freedom, than live on my knees as a slave. Let it be known to our children's children that free men stood fast before a tyrants wrath and were found victorious because we stood together. That we all cast aside our petty differences and united under the banner of Liberty and Truth. May future generations look back upon this time in history with awe and gratitude, for our courage to face tyranny, so that they could live happy and free.
A few days later, Miller shared a photo that proclaimed, "The police have never attacked a pro gun rally."
On her YouTube page, Amanda Miller liked videos called, "Shooting Cops," "Citizens Can Shoot Police," and "When Is It Okay To Shoot a Cop." She posted a video of Jerad Miller interviewing people at the Bundy ranch. Her Facebook page contains photos of a woman posing with guns and she shared a picture of the "best coffee table ever"—it was a table with a drawer full of guns.
A sample of their posts is below:
Jerad's posts from June:
Jerad's post from May:
Jerad's posts about attending the Bundy rally in April:
From Jerad and Amanda Miller's wedding day:
YouTube Likes from Amanda
Here's Jerad interviewing people at the Bundy Ranch standoff:
The Bodyguard Blanket™ was developed by Steve Walker, a father of two elementary school students who was horrified by the December 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six adults dead. In the 14 months following Newtown, there were at least 44 school shootings. "We wanted our children to have a layer of protection immediately," Walker told Oklahoma NBC affiliate KFOR. "They can be stored in the classroom, and, when seconds count, they can be easily applied."
It comes in both child and adult sizes and is designed to be bulletproof, made from the same materials that US soldiers and law enforcement wear, the manufacturer's website claims. The manufacturers estimate that the blankets provide protection against "90% of all weapons that have been used in school shootings in the United States."
The blanket is intended to be strapped on a child's back like a backpack. When the child crouches in a ball and huddles up next to other children, they form a kind of human shield, like how the "Romans and the Greeks used to lock together," managing partner Stan Schone told KFOR. (The blanket is also being marketed toward schools that might want to protect students from tornado-induced flying debris.)
Each blanket costs a little under $1,000, but the creators told KFOR they hope to offer discounts for large orders. There is also an option to donate blankets to "schools, daycare centers, churches, and other organizations located in your community." In any case, there's sure to be a market.
On Tuesday, Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was the guest speaker on Rev. E.W. Jackson's semi-regular conference call, during which Jackson, a tea party activist, said that President Barack Obama has "Muslim sensibilities" and that gay Americans "want to destroy us."
During the call, Paul generally gave routine answers to questions on abortion, border security, and the size of the military. One caller did ask Paul if he supported Obama's recent declaration that June was LGBT Pride Month and if he believed homosexuality is an illness. The question was reminiscent of a tweet Jackson wrote in June 2009, when Obama designated June as Pride Month: "Well that just makes me feel ikky all over. Yuk!"
"I don't think that there's really a role for the federal government in deciding what people's behavior at home should be one way or another," Paul said. "It's not something the federal government needs to be involved in."
After Paul left the conference call, Jackson said he suspected the caller who asked about Pride Month was trying to harass them. "Thank god he was respectful," Jackson said. "But I just want to encourage everybody, that they are going to talk about us like [we're] dogs because all they know is hatred, because all they know is anger and bitterness, because there's something wrong with them on the inside…And by the way, they also want to destroy us…We are in a fight for our very lives, for our survival."
Jackson then discussed Obama's announcement of the release of Bowe Bergdahl, an American soldier captured in Afghanistan. He said that the president "could not help but smile" when Bergdahl's father, Robert, said "allahu akbar—or whatever it is they say" at the press conference.
Jackson continued: "I have been roundly criticized for saying the president has Muslim sensibilities. That’s not my statement—that’s just a statement of fact…In this situation you would think he would have restrained himself. But he could not help but smile when that man said 'Praise be to Allah.'"
(Bergdahl actually said "Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim," which translates to "in the name of Allah, most compassionate, most merciful.")
Jackson has a history of extreme statements. In two interviews in October 2012 with Americans for Truth About Homosexuality—which the Southern Poverty Law Center considers a hate group—Jackson accused homosexuality of "killing black men by the thousands." He added that liberal activists who support gay marriage "have done more to kill black folks whom they claim so much to love than the Ku Klux Klan, lynching, and slavery and Jim Crow ever did." Of gay people, he said:
Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality. When they talk about love they’re not talking about love, they’re talking about homosexual sex. So they can’t see clearly...Homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies.
In those interviews, Jackson also said that the president "seems to have a lot of sympathy for even radical Islam, unwilling to call it terrorism, unwilling to deal with it."
Paul has made controversial remarks about same-sex marriage. After the US Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June 2013, he said, "It is difficult, because if we have no laws on this, people will take it to one extension further—does it have to be humans?" Paul later said he was joking.
Paul's office did not reply to requests for comment on Jackson's claim Obama possesses "Muslim sensibilities."