Over the weekend, several media outlets reported that a man who traveled across the country to join anti-government extremists at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch in April 2014 will organize an anti-Muslim cartoon contest in his home state of New Hampshire.
Jerry DeLemus of Rochester, New Hampshire, “is planning to hold a cartoon contest in late August on private property, though he said he hasn’t decided on a particular town or venue,” The Boston Herald reported this morning. DeLemus told the Herald that he was inspired by a May 5 event in Garland, Texas organized by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) – a small organization co-run by anti-Muslim demagogues Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer.
DeLumus is a local organizer for the far-right 9/12 Project inspired by right-wing media personality Glenn Beck.
Next month’s anti-Muslim event is not the 60 year-old’s first foray into nativist activism. He is a local organizer for the far-right 9/12 Project inspired by right-wing media personality Glenn Beck. DeLemus was also a lead organizer of an anti-immigrant demonstration on a Rochester overpass in July 2014. The demonstration was one of many announced by an ad hoc coalition of nativist organizations labeling itself the “National Illegal Immigration Protest Coalition.”
DeLemus has attached himself to other far-right causes and demonstrations. Perhaps most notably last year when traveled over 2,500 miles to Cliven Bundy’s ranch to join other anti-government extremists in an armed standoff with federal agents. After the armed standoff ended, DeLemus continued to stay at the ranch and led a self-styled militia to provide security, Business Insider reported at the time.
Bundy, whose decades-long avoidance of paying grazing fees united protesters in aiming loaded weapons at employees of the federal government, made headlines for publically wondering if Black Americans were “better off as slaves.” Arguing that slavery provides more “freedom” than being “on government subsidy, Bundy lamented during a news conference that Black Americans “abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton.”
Bundy doubled down on this bigoted sentiment in an interview with The Guardian earlier this month.
The April 2014 standoff at the Bundy ranch attracted numerous anti-government groups and spokespeople including the Oath Keepers and former Arizona sheriff Richard Mack. During the standoff, Mack told Fox News that “We were actually strategizing to put all the women up at the front… If they are going to start shooting, it’s going to be women that are going to be televised all across the world getting shot by these rogue federal officers.”
When paired with Bundy’s own expressed bigotry, Mack’s willingness to use women as human shields to advance Bundy ranchers’ conspiratorial, anti-government positions speaks to the true extremism of those protests.
Now back in New Hampshire, DeLemus seems unlikely to shed that extremism. He told The Boston Herald that he will be able to put “a pretty good security team” together to protect his August event.
Following May’s event, Geller proudly claimed that “I think that more events like the one in Garland have to be staged.”
Geller seems to have gotten her wish. However, from neo-Nazis in Arizona to Bundy ranchers in New Hampshire, examining those who are most receptive to Geller’s call for action is certainly telling.