Scores Killed, Hundreds Injured As Para-Military Extremists Riot - Could It Happen Again?
BOSTON, April 20 - National
Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault
weapons were ambushed on April 19th by elements of a para-military
extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimated that
72 were killed and more than 20 injured before government forces were
compelled to withdraw.
Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared
that the extremist faction, which was made up of local citizens, has
links to the radical right-wing tax protest movement. Gage blamed the
extremists for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal
The governor, who described the group's organizers as "criminals,"
issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any
individual who has interfered with the government's efforts to secure
law and order.
The military raid on the extremist arsenal followed wide-spread refusal
by the local citizenry to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons.
Gage issued a ban on military-style assault weapons and ammunition
earlier in the week. This decision followed a meeting in early April
between government and military leaders at which the governor authorized
the forcible confiscation of illegal arms. One government official,
speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out that "none of these
people would have been killed had the extremists obeyed the law and
turned their weapons over voluntarily."
"Government troops initially succeeded in confiscating a large supply of
outlawed weapons and ammunition. However, troops attempting to seize
arms and ammunition in Lexington met with resistance from heavily-armed
extremists who had been tipped off regarding the government's plans.
During a tense standoff in Lexington's town park, National Guard Colonel
Francis Smith, commander of the government operation, ordered the armed
group to surrender and return to their homes. The impasse was broken by
a single shot, which was reportedly fired by one of the right-wing
extremists. Eight civilians were killed in the ensuing exchange.
Ironically, the local citizenry blamed government forces rather than the
extremists for the civilian deaths. Before order could be restored,
armed citizens from surrounding areas had descended upon the guard
units. Colonel Smith, finding his forces overmatched by the armed mob,
ordered a retreat.
Governor Gage has called upon citizens to support the state/national
joint task force in its effort to restore law and order. The governor
has also demanded the surrender of those responsible for planning and
leading the attack against the government troops. Samuel Adams, Paul
Revere, and John Hancock, who have been identified as "ringleaders" of
the extremist faction, remain at large.
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