Police and National Guard units seeking to confiscate a cache of recently banned assault weapons were ambushed Sunday by elements of a para-military right wing extremist faction. Military and law enforcement sources estimate that 72 were killed and more than 200 injured before government forces were compelled to withdraw.
Speaking after the clash, Massachusetts Governor Thomas Gage declared that the extremist militia faction has citizens who have links to the radical right wing tax protest movement. Gage blamed the militia for recent incidents of vandalism directed against internal revenue offices.
The governor who described the group’s organizers as “terrorists” , issued an executive order authorizing the summary arrest of any individual who has interfered with the governments efforts to secure law and order. The law enforcement team augmented by elements of the National Guard, were sent to raid a militia arsenal after widespread refusal of right wing extremists to turn over recently outlawed assault weapons. This decision followed a meeting in early July between government and law enforcement which authorized the confiscation of the illegal arms, known as the weapons of choice among criminals and militias.
One government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, pointed out “that none of these people would have been killed had right wing extremist obeyed the law and turned over the weapons voluntarily”.