You cannot make this up. Three men were reported to have planned on attacking a electricity grid in a white supremacist scheme to cause national unrest, per NBC News. The three have plead guilty to their terrorism attempt. The Justice Department called them a “serious threat to the nation.”
Christopher Brenner Cook, 20, Johnathan Allen Frost, 24, and Jackson Matthew Sawall, 22, met in an online group chat in 2019, per NBC. Frost pinged the idea of attacking a power grid in Ohio and planned to recruit more people to participate.
Cook maintained the group’s ideology by giving his coconspirators a reading list that reenforced white supremacy and “Neo-Nazism,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
The trio decided to disable electricity substations in major regions of the nation essentially by shooting at them, prosecutors said. Frost and Cook trained with an Armalite semiautomatic rifle to prepare, they said.
“They had conversations about how the possibility of the power being out for many months could cause war, even a race war, and induce the next Great Depression,” according to the Justice Department statement.
Their scheme was even spread out to Texas where they tried to convince teenagers to join them, per NBC. Prosecutors said their plan never moved into action. However, they planned to kill themselves with “suicide necklaces” holding fentanyl if they were stopped by police before seeing their plan through, reported NBC.
Well, the police did indeed stop two of them, Sawall and Cook, in Ohio during a traffic stop, per NBC. Sawall took his dose of fentanyl but survived. Brian Levin, director of the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University San Bernanino, told NBC this type of domestic terrorism plan isn’t uncommon.
“Within both the folklore and history of the racist far right’s plotting over decades has been the glorification of leaderless resistance style targeted plots and attacks, ranging from assassination, infrastructure and intimidation for the purpose of advancing an insurgency, in part through destabilization,” he said by email.
Frost’s attorney said his client has denounced his white supremacist views and is “extremely remorseful for his conduct.” According to NBC, the three were charged and may face a sentence with a maximum of 15 years. The case is also being investigated by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in the cities of Columbus, Milwaukee, Indianapolis and Houston.
Lesson learned? The threat of domestic terrorism didn’t stop at the Jan 6. insurrection! I wonder did the insurrection instead encourage people like these young men to carry on the fight to move our society backwards?