KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) --- "Ok I'll do it." He was reluctant. Scared even. "But I don't want my face shown."
I met him in a parking lot, he opened up only after he asked me if I was wearing a wire.
He was a militia member, or at least he hoped to become one. Austerity riots in Europe and fear of a gun grab here in the United States had become too much.
It is time, he believes, to take up arms and prepare. "We're sick and tired of people making decisions without us. We're sick and tired of people getting in office that really didn't get the votes." His eyes shift and survey the parking lot while he talks. "We fought against the tyranny of King Henry and if the tyranny is here then we'll fight here."
Some may think what he says is outlandish, crazy even. But the man who wants to remain nameless represents a growing belief in East Tennessee.
There are more people joining militias and "Patriot groups" today than have in twenty years.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center the number of them (1,360) is 813% higher than the year before President Obama was sworn in.
Law enforcement in Knoxville are aware and on the lookout.
Judges and Court Clerks have trained for "Sovereign Citizens" a growing group that refuse to recognize American law or the people that police them.
Militias are also growing here in Knox. Deputies have called in SWAT teams to evict people, they've had guns pulled at traffic stops.
"As the economic times get worse," Detective Tom Walker explains, "people are being forced from houses. These are desperate people and they're lookig for a solution any solution whether it makes sense or not."
For our nameless man it means getting ready for a government collapse. "We will band together as Americans and take back what's rightfully ours."
Although the Sheriff's office is seeing an increase it doesn't mean they're seeing an increase in crime and violence. They say its more a representation of how some American's are getting more radical about what's happening in Washington.
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