Three Percenter

As America reels from the terrorism in Charlottesville, Virginia, a man from the rural Oklahoma town of Sayre has been arrested for allegedly attempting to detonate a half-ton bomb at the BancFirst building at 101 North Broadway Avenue in Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoman’s Ben Felder reports Jerry Drake Varnell “admitted to holding III% ideology and wanted to start the next revolution,” according to court documents. But a national III% organization says Varnell was not a member of their movement.

The Southern Poverty Law Center notes III% groups as “anti-government” and “patriot” group espousing anti-Muslim rhetoric.

This is not the first time III% ideology has made state news this year. The Oklahoman’s Nolan Clay reported in April that Jeremy Doss Hardy, who faces murder charges for a high-profile highway shooting, is “alleged to identify with The Three Percenters.” Per Felder, Hardy “is accused of fatally shooting two drivers, firing at four others and trying to ram another from behind on I-40 in western Oklahoma the night of Dec. 16, 2015.”

Concerning Varnell, The Oklahoman reports the 23-year-old man has a history of mental illness and violence against his former wife. Regardless, he is alleged to have attempted a bombing along the lines of Timothy McVeigh’s terrorism.

Who are Oklahoma’s Three Percenters?

The III%ers take their name from the 3 percent of colonialists who opposed King George’s tyranny during the American Revolution. In Oklahoma, III%ers’ appear to have multiple subsets. One Facebook group features 227 members. Another Facebook group lists 261 members. It proclaims:

We will combat all those who are corrupt. We are America’s insurance company. We will not see America fail. We are everywhere.

Three Percenters – Oklahoma also asserts:

We do not seek after violence, but if violence is ever called for, WE are the III% of the population that will stand and fight against a tyranny.

Recent statements from the national organization

On Monday, the national group issued a tweet criticizing a CBS report it claims painted the group in a negative light:

The tweet also sought to create distance between the organization and Varnell. In addition to citing text from its web site’s About Us section,  the related statement on specifically commends the FBI in the BancFirst case and seeks to qualify Varnell as a non-III%er:

… we have a vigorous vetting process that confronts each potential member with a series of questions. Some of these questions are designed to red flag extremist types which results in the potential member being turned down for membership immediately. We are happy to report that Jerry Drake Varnell was not a member of our organization.

On Saturday, the national Three Percenters site posted an official statement on the carnage in Charlottesville. The statement’s opening paragraph closed cryptically: “We have intel that shows that these protests will continue to spill over into the days to come, as well as into other cities around the nation.”

The post went on to state, in part, that “normally our response would be spin up teams to push back against protests by ANTIFA [anti-fascist movement] and BLM [Black Lives Matter],” but that instead the group, “issued a stand down order in response to the violent protests that have erupted across our nation over the past 48 hours.”

Sunday, however, III%ers called for hundreds or thousands of protesters to go to Las Vegas to protest a federal judge’s ruling in the case of Eric Parker. During the armed resistance by the followers of Cliven Bundy in the Idaho Bunkerville case, Parker was photographed pointing a rifle from an Interstate 15 overpass as protesters faced off with Bureau of Land Management agents. They charge the judge in the case, “… boldly and intentionally violated Parker’s constitutional rights,” and conclude, “We, The People, have had enough of an overreaching and oppressive government.”

‘America’s insurance company’

Following the links from the Twitter account also gives insight into III%er logic. For instance, a tweet already calls for the imprisonment of the federal judge who presides over Eric Parker’s trial. And, a link from truly fake news site claims that a 2012 NPR report:

… reveals that over 25 million Hillary Clinton votes were completely fraudulent, meaning that the Democratic candidate actually lost the popular vote (of 2016) by a huge margin.

If that is the type of evidence used by “America’s insurance company” to prove corruption, the question arises as to what they see as violence that is “called for”?