NORTHERN MICHIGAN - Militia groups are popping up more and more around the country in staggering numbers, but one security analyst says our government isn't doing enough to track these potentially violent groups.
Tom says that he is part of a militia because "if the dollar gets to the point where it tanks and all hell breaks loose and anarchy, then at least we have the skills in order to survive."
Members of the militia learn how to survive on basic necessities and to hunt for enemies, they are not part of the military.
"I'm a firm believer that every household should be able to protect themselves," says member Joel Glotelty.
Many militias, which are groups of people that draft their own armed forces without government help, disbanded after negative attention from the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
"The biggest concern is that we find ourselves looking at another Oklahoma City," says Mark Potok.
Potok studies militias at the Southern Poverty Law Center, a non-profit civil rights organization, says that militias are on the rise, and some are dangerous.
Although members that ABC 2 News spent time with in Michigan say they're anything but that. Instead, they're learning how to survive and help others in case of a terrorist attack, natural disaster or government collapses.
"We're going through a period of enormous change," says Potok.
Those changes include the first African American President and a dismal economy.
Daryl Johnson runs a company that tracks and studies militias nationwide, he not only warns about the rise of extremism, but also the lack of involvement from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
"I'm actually very concerned. Where we're lacking is strategic analysis," he says.
Johnson spent six years at DHS investigating extremism at home in the U.S. but two years ago, he says the agency nearly stopped monitoring non-Islamic domestic terrorism.
"It got progressively worse and more constraining. It got to the point where myself and my analysts, we couldn't do our hobs effectively," said Johnson.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano defends her department saying "we maximize out opportunity to intercept and prevent violence."
While a handful of government agencies, including DHS, are charged with investigating domestic non-Islamic threats, Johnson says DHS is the only agency that doesn't need a criminal cause to investigate, giving them a unique position.
"We were the guard on that watchtower looking at the threat out there," says Johnson.
Threats that not only come from groups, but also individuals.
Johnson also said that "when you have groups and individuals amassing those amounts of weaponry and explosives, that's a concern. It's a public safety concern, it's a terrorism concern."
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