Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Waffle House Gang

Here’s some background on the four Georgia men arrested for plotting to blow up and/or poison people in the federal government.

TOCCOA, Ga. — At the Waffle House here, no one can believe that the gray-haired men who came in almost daily for egg sandwiches and coffee could have been terrorists plotting to blow up government buildings and kill masses of people using poison from a bean plant that people in this rural part of the state grow to ward off moles.

The four men — bespectacled and so hard of hearing that they strained on Wednesday to hear a federal judge at their initial court appearances in Gainesville, Ga. — have been accused of conspiracy and may be linked to a loose association of fringe militia groups targeting a government they believe is out of control, according to court papers.

“There’s two schools of thought on this: go for the feds or go for the locals,” Frederick Thomas, 73, a Navy veteran who was described as the leader of the group was recorded saying to an F.B.I. informant. “I’m inclined to consider both. We’d have to blow the whole building like Timothy McVeigh.”

Those statements and dozens of others were cited in court documents that also charged Dan Roberts, 67; Ray Adams, 65, and Samuel Crump, 68. The men were arrested at their homes on Tuesday by a wave of federal agents so big it stunned people in this mountain town of about 27,000.

Friends, family members and the Waffle House waitresses who fed the men regularly either dismissed the plot as “a bunch of old men just talking and trying to be big shots” or said they had simply fallen in with bad people.

Mr. Adams, who had worked for the federal Department of Agriculture growing crops for research, was described as a compassionate man. “He’s friends with everybody, I guess to a fault,” said Ed Adams, Ray’s older brother. “Ray’s a compassionate man. He’s not political at all. I doubt he even knows who is running for president.”

These guys sound better organized than the Liberty City Seven, but because they’re white and have American-sounding names, they’re treated like harmless old goofs who don’t have an evil bone in their body. When they make the movie of this story, they’ll get Tim Conway and Ernest Borgnine for the leads. Terrorists? Pshaw!