Federal officials foiled what they claim could have been a mass shooting in Austin, Texas, this month, at the hands of a “right-wing extremist.”
The arrest took place after a confidential source informed the FBI that Steven Thomas Boehle, 50, is a right-wing extremist who was planning a mass shooting.
According to a six-page court filing, Austin police found and seized three guns and about 1,100 rounds of ammunition on April 12 from a North Austin residence.
The document says the source told authorities Boehle “exhibits sovereign citizen extremism ideology.”
Despite the fact the suspect holds extremist views and was allegedly planning a mass shooting, he is not being investigated for terrorism. He faces charges of making “a false statement in connection with the attempted acquisition of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm by a prohibited person,” according to My Statesman.
Boehle is banned from purchasing firearms due to a 1993 domestic violence conviction. He tried to lie about it on no less than three occasions, according to the affidavit. However, his request was denied each time.
In addition to his criminal history, what’s also worth noting is Boehle’s purported extremist ideology.
Sovereign-citizen extremists, according to the definition available on FBI.gov, are individuals “…Comprising a domestic terrorist movement, which, scattered across the United States, has existed for decades… They believe that federal, state, and local governments operate illegally. Some of their actions, although quirky, are not crimes.”
One of the most notorious faces of this movement is that of Terry Nichols, who helped plan the Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, bombing.
So, not only was Boehle, a man with a prior misdemeanor assault conviction, purportedly planning a mass terror attack, he is also believed to be a part of a violent domestic terrorist movement.
Yet, quite unlike what is seen in case of a potential terror suspect of an Islamic background, there is no back-to-back coverage of Bohele on cable news. In fact, it has been a little more than a week since his arrest and, so far, little information is available of his racial or religious background.
(FYI: When it comes to a comparison with actual foreign-born terror threats, white extremists have killed more Americans. In a June 2015 study, the New America Foundation found “48 people were killed by white terrorists, while 26 were killed by radical Islamists,” since the 9/11 attacks.)
Bohele is a man who was allegedly going to commit mass murder of Americans, driven by an extremist ideology, and still he is not being investigated for terrorism. As shocking as this is, it is not surprising.
For example, Robert Doggart, a 65-year-old Christian extremist, was arrested in April 2015 for allegedly plotting to burn down a mosque, school and cafeteria in the Muslim-majority community of Islamberg in New York.
Doggart was charged with various offenses such as intentionally defacing, damaging or destroying any religious property or attempting to do so, violating civil rights, and making threats through interstate communications — but, in spite of the fact that he wanted to blow up an entire religious community, he was not accused of trying to commit an act of terrorism.