Tracing Jared Miller's Descent into Extremism
Jared Miller’s online activities—particularly on his Facebook and You Tube accounts—provide unique insights into his beliefs and intentions that would lead to the deadly attack committed on June 8, 2014 in Las Vegas by him and his wife, Amanda Miller.
It seems that Miller’s extremist actions and voiced frustration regarding his legal problems were nurtured by the anti-government movements and related propaganda that he began following on the internet. As time went on, Miller’s posts, along with being more frequent, began to rhetorically mirror the content that he was following and sharing on social media. Eventually, Miller would become active in such anti-government causes outside of his internet life and in the real world, ultimately ending in his death and four others’.
Initial Expressions of Frustration
Miller’s Facebook presence, despite being angry at times, was sparse and relatively calm from 2010 through 2011. In this two year span, Miller liked eight pages—only one of which, “Support Legalizing Marijuana,” being political in nature. He made only six posts made in this time, most of which pertaining to his personal life. His first post reads, “chillin, enjoyin my job at mc donalds. anxious about my upcoming court date on april 11. ftp!”
Miller’s first post directly regarding the government was made on May 2, 2011. It reads in a casual and non-alerting manner:
life is funny if you dont find it so horrific. sometimes u just gotta roll with the punches anf forgive the gov for its stupidity.
His distaste for the government was likely prompted by his legal problems with drug possession and distribution, allegedly starting in 2007. Namely, Miller would comment on his experience as a drug dealer in March 2012 in his first You Tube video under his account, “USATruePatriot.” The video, titled “real reason for violence.AVI,” begins by detailing why he needed a gun to protect himself as a drug dealer. Throughout the video, Miller claims that he was never violent in his practices. However, as the video goes on, Miller begins turning his past accounts into an argument that prohibition creates violence.
Six days after posting this video, Miller made a Facebook post expressing paranoia that he was being monitored. It reads:
good moring everyone! I know its early, but I feel I need to let you all know something. Perhaps before the government takes me away as a domestic terrorist or something. Everytime I watch a video on youtube about government corruption or anything like that it buffers I or I get isconnected from the internet. Seems suspicios to me.
Increasingly Aggressive Rhetoric
Miller’s posts from this time period also imply that he was alienating his family members with his extreme views. In a post made on October 27, 2012, Miller wrote of his grandmother chastising him over his attitude regarding his alleged probationary urine tests. He wrote, “I was harsh on her, but it was something she needed to hear,” and then followed with a sizable rant on the drug war. Two users, whom Miller addressed as “dear cousins,” commented in disagreement, citing a mutual relative’s death. The argument eventually became hostile, with Miller stating, “Stop this ignorance all of you! God fucking damnit!” Miller also stated:
it is not your right or your privelage to tell another human being what he may or may not fucking do! fuck! cant you see how brainwashed you are!
It was also in 2012 that Miller began following politically conservative pages on Facebook. Such pages varied in levels of extremity and focus, with relatively moderate groups including “Downsizing the Federal Government,” a Cato institute project focused on shrinking federal government programs, and various libertarian politicians’ pages like Ron Paul and Gary Johnson. More extreme pages included that of radio talk show host Alex Jones, a widely-known conspiracy theorist and voice of anti-government causes.
The posting and sharing of anti-government content on Miller’s Facebook page had also begun increasing at a rapid pace. Such content included a video by Jones, titled “Alex Jones Historic Plan to Save America,” which Miller posted on his Facebook page on November 18, 2012. In the video, Jones makes no direct calls for violence, but expresses that he feels no fear of death in “signaling the beginning of the second American Revolution, the restoration, and the spirit of 1776,” and urges that “this is time for commitment, for spiritual decision” as Americans fight off the “new world order.”
Miller had previously posted another You Tube video to his Facebook page on November 7, 2012. The video, titled “U.S. Army prepares to invade U.S. NDAA,” was posted by user “skb0rzn” and claims that “government plans to suspend the constitution and affect martial law” have been in progress for decades, and implies the “tables have been set” for citizens resistant to such laws to be “dealt with as terrorists” by the government.
Miller also became active on an Alex Jones online forum, Planet Infowars, in 2012. On May 28, 2012, Miller posted a long entry titled, “The Police (To Kill Or Not To Kill?).” In the post, Miller claimed, “I am like a wild coyote. You corner me, I will fight to the death.” The post ends on a grimly ironic note, reading:
So, do I kill cops and make a stand when they come to get me? I would prefer to die than sit in their jail, when I have done nothing to hurt anyone.
His hostile and alienating attitude only increased into 2013. In a January 1, 2013 Facebook post, Miller stated:
This is a declaration to all Americans. If you dont agree with and hold dear the second amendment of the united states constitution, then you, need to self deport yourself to someplace where people like you can congregate.
The long post ends with the statement:
If you do not wish to be hung from light posts because of your opinion on the second amendment, you need to leave. God gave us these rights, and if you try to take them away, we will send you to Him to discuss where you fucked up.
On May 13 of that year, Miller touched back on his legal troubles once more in a Facebook post claiming that he
stood before a fascist judge today and implied that he was a Nazi. I told him I did not recognize his authority over me and reminded him that 2 states now have legalized weed for recreational use.
His alleged actions seem to speak to a post made earlier that year on January 30, wherein he stated that he would no longer “acknowledge unconstitutional laws or authority figures,” adding:
I was unlawfully imprisoned due to my actions that did not involve a victim. I am the victim of tyranny and the federal government and the local authorities have violated my rights for the last time.
Following this post, Miller claimed in another Facebook post on July 21, 2013 to be preparing for prison. Miller stated that he was trying to “enjoy this last day” with Amanda Miller before being incarcerated “for 7 weeks.” In another Facebook post made the day before, Miller expressed frustration in going to jail “for the creation and cultivation of the plant marijuana on the planet earth.” Miller’s next Facebook post was made on September 18, 2013, and implied a perceived sense of duty on his part. The post reads, “Sweet sweet freedom, I am back guys. Now I have to get back to restoring our rights!”
Along with posting more frequently, Miller’s language was becoming increasingly akin to the material he had been following on social media—resonating more of political speeches and propaganda than the casual tone he had used in earlier posts. In a Facebook post on October 1, 2013, Miller addressed his friends as “brothers and sisters,” using revolution-echoing phrases like “our numbers grow day by day,” “die free than live as slaves,” and “unleash the peoples wrath upon tyranny.” The post then went on to establish a sort of manifesto, reading:
We will not only free the people here, we will give way to a new era of freedom and prosperity. Where the law does not favor the rich. Money will only be a means to an end. Laws will not protect patent holders who wish to keep technology on the shelf.
Miller closed the post by stating that his proposed society wouldn’t come to be “without some bloodshed.”
Miller was also beginning to post videos onto his You Tube channel more frequently, and to a similar tone. In these videos, he appears to take on the persona of an educator, reading from packets of notes on his lap and looking into the camera with a calm certainty in what he saying. The videos appear similar to his first video, but starkly contrasts his better-known satirical video from 2012, wherein he dressed up as the Joker from the Batman series in a sarcastic bid for president while citing current government policies.
By 2014, Miller had a steady stream of anti-government content on his Facebook feed, having liked over 100 politically-focused pages—many of which anti-government in nature and simlar in extremity of tone. Such pages then included that of Operation American Spring, a failed protest that, though asserting itself to be nonviolent, proclaimed it would “be a gigantic step in removing the flea infestation that is sucking the blood out of America.”
Activity off the Internet
In 2014, Miller had also become active outside of the internet. He had allegedly traveled to participate in the stand-off at Bundy Ranch in April, 2014, wherein Las Vegas rancher Cliven Bundy and numerous armed supporters staked out his cattle ranch in an attempt to keep out Bureau of Land Management (BLM) enforcement officials demanding Bundy pay fees for grazing his cattle on federal land. In an April 9 Facebook post, Miller claimed, “I will be supporting Clive Bundy and his family from Federal Government slaughter,” then adding, “We must do something, I will be doing something.” Miller would later claim to have seen the stand-off in a May 25 Facebook post stating, “I was down at the Bundy ranch. BLM snipers were all over the place.”
Miller can also be seen in a picture from two months before the Bundy Ranch stand-off, posing with Richard Mack, the former Sherriff of Graham County, Arizona and 2006 Libertarian Candidate for the US Senate. Mack was also an active participant in the Bundy Ranch stand-off, controversially stating his tactic to the media of putting women in front of potential lines of fire, stating:
If [BLM enforcement teams] 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.
How much of Miller’s violent actions on June 8, 2014 should be attributed to his instability and feeling “cornered” by law enforcement as opposed to what he was reading and watching online is immeasurable. However, his radicalization—as measured by his rhetorical shift from casual language toward that of revolutionary contexts—simultaneously intensified with his increasing likes and posts of content by anti-government social media pages. The content of these pages, along with associable events like the Bundy Ranch stand-off, contributed to Miller’s perception of a coming revolution. It was likely these events, conspiracy theories, and rhetoric that provided Miller with a platform to house his frustrations—granting his anger an ideological framework, and eventually transforming it into a deadly agenda.
In the week leading to the shooting, Miller made twenty-four Facebook posts. The last one, made on June 7, 2014, just a day before the shooting, reads, “The dawn of a new day. May all of our coming sacrifices be worth it.”