Guns and Bibles: Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt trained with Righteous Invasion of Truth (RIOT) a Christian survivalist group.
The Independent reports:
The Austin bomber was involved in a teenage Christian “survivalist” group that discussed weapons and dangerous chemicals, according to a childhood friend.
Mark Anthony Conditt reportedly took part in a conservative outdoors club called Righteous Invasion of Truth (RIOT), in which home-schooled young people studied the Bible and were taught gun skills.
BuzzFeed reports on Conditt’s training with the Christian survivalist group while being homeschooled in a very insular, conservative Christian family in in Pflugerville, Texas. According to that report, Conditt worked on gun skills, chemistry, and Bible studies with the group of conservative Christian homeschooled teens.
Commenting on RIOT, Cassia Schultz, who trained with Conditt in the Christian survivalist group, said:
A lot of us were very into science; we would discuss chemicals and how to mix them and which ones were dangerous… We were into weapons and stuff…
More from BuzzFeed:
Cassia Schultz, 21, told BuzzFeed News that she ran in the same conservative survivalist circles in high school as Conditt.
Schultz said they were both involved in a group called Righteous Invasion of Truth (RIOT), a Bible study and outdoors group for homeschooled kids, created and named by the kids and their families, that included monthly activities such as archery, gun skills, and water balloon fights. Conditt and his younger sister would usually attend the activities along with 15 to 20 other kids, according to Schultz.
“A lot of us were very into science; we would discuss chemicals and how to mix them and which ones were dangerous,” said Schultz. “We were into weapons and stuff. A lot of us did role-playing, and RPG [role-playing games]; we’d have foam weapons and act out a battle.”
Schultz described Conditt as a “pretty normal kid.” She said that a lot of children who were part of RIOT carried knives and learned how to shoot guns at gun ranges, but she didn’t recall bombs or bomb-making being a specific topic of discussion at RIOT.
RIOT events also included 30 minutes to an hour of Bible study, Schultz said.
She said she attended Bible study at Conditt’s parents’ home. She described the family as “more conservative, strictly religious.”
Guns and Jesus – a toxic brew.
Writing for The New Republic, Sarah Jones explains the significance of the name “Righteous Invasion of Truth (RIOT)”:
RIOT appears to take its name from “Righteous Invasion of Truth,” a 1995 album by Carman, a Christian rock artist.
Bottom line: As a teen homeschool student, Austin bomber Mark Anthony Conditt trained with a Christian survivalist group that was “into weapons and stuff” and “would discuss chemicals and how to mix them and which ones were dangerous.”
In addition, the Christian survivalist group also held “Bible studies.”
And so it goes.