'Online novel' allegedly inspired Georgia terrorism suspects
Former militiaman Mike Vanderboegh's "online novel" "Absolved" inspired Frederick Thomas, 73, one of four Georgia men who were arrested Tuesday for allegedly planning terror attacks, authorities say. The Associated Press reports that "federal prosecutors accused four elderly Georgia men of plotting to use the book as a script for a real-life wave of terror and assassination involving explosives and the highly lethal poison ricin."
In his introduction to the book, Vanderboegh describes it as a "useful dire warning," a book that is "as much a cautionary tale for the out-of-control gun cops of the ATF as anyone. For that warning to be credible, I must also present what amounts to a combination field manual, technical manual and call to arms for my beloved gunnies of the armed citizenry. They need to know how powerful they could truly be if they were pushed into a corner."
Vanderboegh told Fox News that his work had been misinterpreted, and had harsh words for the suspects, whose plot allegedly included targeting federal workers and buildings and blowing the deadly toxin ricin out of a moving car on the freeway.
But is an "online novel" really a book? It is not for sale at Amazon or Barnes & Noble or used book vendor Alibris. It does not have a publisher. It was not self-published. It was not available in a portable ebook format. Vanderboegh began posting "Absolved" on his blog in 2009. Does putting words on a blog and call them a book make them a book?
Vanderboegh himself has called it "My as-yet-unpublished novel Absolved." Where I come from, that's a manuscript.
Of course, all the attention that has been directed at Vanderboegh and "Absolved" this week means it may not be a manuscript for long. "Well, guys, you were looking for the miracle that would motivate me to get Absolved into print," Vanderboegh wrote Wednesday. "I guess St. Barbara, the patron saint of gunners and fools, just did."
-- Carolyn Kellogg
Image: Ray Adams, left, and Samuel Crump are shown in this artist's rendering as they appear in a federal courtroom in Gainesville, Ga., on Wednesday. The men and two others are accused of planning a terrorist attack. Credit: Richard Miller / Associated Press