You know what you never, ever hear in the news? Ever? “Socialist, transgender, elitist, atheist, mixed-race, pro-government ACLU lawyer and Rachael Maddow fan caught with massive weapons cache; plans to murder straight, white Christians to trigger race war and advance Democratic agenda.” Yes, these days, when you hear the words “weapons cache,” “hit list” and “race war,” it can only mean one thing: yet another right-wing neo-Nazi, and another “isolated incident” of far right insanity. Some might say there’s a pattern emerging here.
Today, the FBI issued a warning to a number of Detroit-area Jewish and minority civil rights leaders that their names had been found on the hit list of a Toledo-area white supremacist named Richard Schmidt. The list included such prominent figures as Detroit NAACP president Rev. Wendell Anthony, and Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit CEO Scott Kaufman, among many others.
In December of last year, the FBI raided Richard Schmidt’s sporting goods shop, Spindletop Sports Zone, in the Woodward Mall. The raid had nothing to do with guns, though; Schmidt had been selling counterfeit sports merchandise emblazoned with Nike, Reebok, NFL and Louis Vitton labels. He was convicted of the felony in July, and lost his right to own firearms or ammunition.
This wasn’t his first run-in with the law, either; in 1990, Schmidt was convicted of voluntary manslaughter. A few years after graduating from Central Catholic High School, Schmidt got into a street fight with three guys over a traffic incident. He killed one, and wounded the other two; he spent 13 years in prison afterward.
It was evidently there that he took on his signature look, which some have called “Every Nazi From Every Movie Ever Made, Including ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark.‘”
The authorities actually discovered the weapons cache in Schmidt’s shop when they raided it on December 21st of 2012, pursuing the warrant for counterfeit merchandise. It’s taken almost a year for authorities to sift through the huge cache of illegal merchandise, which included:
40,000 rounds of ammunition and hi-cap magazines
18 firearms, including AR-15 and AR-10 rifles
A number of Russian AK-47 style shotguns
A .357 magnum and several other handguns
Authorities are still trying to trace the weapons back to the source, but have had little luck so far. This likely indicates that he purchased them the black market, either privately or at gun shows. Essentially, anywhere background checks weren’t required.
The cache also included Schmidt’s writings, which detailed his links to several white supremacist groups, white supremacist literature, “Waffen SS” and other Nazi memorabilia, a “Jewish 500” listing of Jewish businesses, a hit list of potential targets, and (of course) notebooks worth of manifestos detailing his plans and agenda. He also had a membership card to the now defunct neo-nazi “National Alliance” group.
It’s interesting to note that one of the storage trailers was registered to a non-profit organization that Schmidt set up. It was called the “Vinlander Preservation League,” in reference to the neo-nazi Vinlander Social Club, which ideologically centered around the Vikings’ role in colonizing America.
As of right now, Schmidt is looking at at least another 10 years in prison. Authorities aren’t saying at this time whether they believe that Schmidt was linked to any other group or domestic terrorist network; according to an anonymous source: “This is an ongoing investigation.” They do acknowledge though that the publication of his “hit list” was a precautionary measure. They do, however, believe that he was planning an attack, scheduled within weeks of his capture. Prosecutors, who are working to have the book thrown at Schmidt, wrote:
“None of the firearms he possessed were for hunting or purely recreational purposes, whether they were too tactical or high capacity for hunting purposes like the shotguns, or too powerful a round for hunting. The defendant cannot claim a legitimate recreational purpose for owning these firearms. Likewise, the collection does not have a unique historical or collectible value.
“This defendant, quite simply, was a well-funded, well-armed, and focused one-man army of racial and religious hate.”
As far as Schmidt’s intended targets, Kaufman calls it “unnerving,” but neither he nor any of the other names on the list said that it would affect their organizations or efforts in the slightest. Anthony, true Detroiter that he is, noted that his organization gets these kind of threats on a fairly regular basis — he has no plans of treating this latest threat as anything other than another day at the Detroit NAACP.
(PS: Before any of our resident 2A nuts say “Well, imagine that…a criminal ignoring gun laws and getting guns anyway. We shouldn’t even bother with gun laws at all,” they should bear in mind that there’s a flip side to this coin: If Schmidt acquired his guns from someone who had originally purchased them legally, then maybe the way to keep criminals like him from getting them is to register all firearms and make it harder for people to buy them legally in the first place. You don’t want that argument, and we’re not getting into it with this article. So, please…save that argument for later, and discuss instead why these violent neo-nazi types always wind up racist right-wingers with gun collections.)