— The Trace (@teamtrace) November 23, 2016
A brief glance at the robin’s egg blue, two-story home on the east side of Cleveland — complete with a low white fence around the raised porch and a grassy front yard covered by leaves — and you would not think it contained a small arsenal.
Until, that is, you realized it was inhabited by members of the Three Percenters, a militia group, which named itself for the claim that only 3 percent of the population fought in the American Revolution. On its website, the group referred to itself as a “structured group of United patriots willing to protect our rights against a tyrannical government and foreign invaders.”
The group seems particularly concerned with “Big Government,” a concept often associated with those identifying as liberal (a group toward which the Three Percenters show particularly animosity). As its website stated:
The states are losing control, federal judges are overruling the people, liberals and democrats are determined to disarm citizens, and the political climate is aggressive and leaning toward socialism. Our founding fathers warned us about this with their intentional laws written into the constitution and the bill of rights. Three Percenters are ex and current military, police, and trained civilians that will stand up and fight if our rights are infringed in any way.
To prepare for the explosive event of fighting for their rights, many affiliated with the movement stockpile everything from food and water (to prepare for doomsday) to weapons, ammunition and explosives (to prepare for battle).
(For context, Jon Ritzheimer, who was a central figure in armed occupation of a wildlife refuge in Oregon, is a Three Percenter.)
Teena Brayen, who recently moved with her family from New York to that azure home with her husband and two children, counts herself among this group. As such, she stocked up in preparation for anything she might have to do, from feeding a starving family if the supply chain gets cut to fighting off an invading force.
In her own words, “We’re preppers, we believe in preparing for what could happen. … We were war-ready.”
As Brayen explained to WJW-TV, “Should we be invaded by another country and not able to go get food or should something happen to where our food supply chain or our community would come into any type of harm’s way, we have a way to supply for ourselves and the community around us.”
An inherent aspect of this belief system is that such weaponry is best handled by those in the militia, which is why Tuesday’s events have caused concern for Brayen.
She may have been prepared for an attack by the government, but she was not prepared for a home burglary.
When she went to sleep on Monday night, she thought the house was secure. But now she thinks one of her two young children had left the side door unlocked.
That evening, she says she told police, the house was broken into, and the arsenal was raided.
Police are investigating the burglary, the Associated Press reported, but they have not said much to the news media about it.
Brayen, though, has been open with a few local TV stations. She said she is worried for her neighbors, as whoever broke into her home is now armed to the teeth with guns, knives and smoke grenades.
“They have seven guns, seven,” Brayen told WJW.
Among the stolen items: five shotguns, a high-powered rifle, a pellet gun, at least one bulletproof vest, a bugout bag containing rice and beans, more than $1,000 in ammunition, smoke grenades, and 12 machetes.
Brayen told the station that one of those guns, which she said “looks like a sniper rifle,” is powerful enough to pierce not just body armor but the exterior of an automobile.
Brayen was deeply shaken by the experience and was worried about what the weapons might be used for. She said she is particularly worried about “our military personnel, especially, and our police officers because they wear bulletproof vests.”
“We have a gun out there that can pierce them and go through cars,” she told WJW. “All you have got to do is aim it. They took all of our ammo. With the ammunition that they’ve got, they’re good for a good year with that ammunition.”
More generally, she simply does not want harm to befall anyone.
“They’re ready for a war,” Brayen, nearly in tears, told ABC. “I don’t want to see anybody get hurt by what people took out of my home.”
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