Who Are The Militia?
James S. Barber - 4/09/96
As the the drama of the federal law enforcement action in Jordan, Montana moves into it's third week, some subtle but nonetheless noticeable changes have occurred. The manner with which media has changed it's tack in reporting the Freemen Standoff and the besieged occupants of the "compound," is curiously devoid of any references to the evil "militia."
Even the federal law enforcement agencies involved have been mostly silent, unlike Waco, where daily press conferences were called to bolster their actions with diatribes and descriptions of all manner of debauchery in describing the Branch Davidians and their right wing terrorist supporters.
It is curious to note that the first week of the attempt to arrest the Freemen holed up in the 960 acre ranch, all manner of self styled terrorist and militia experts were sounding the alarms of impending doom, while referring to the freemen as terrorists, Klansman, white supremists, nazis, fascists, ad nauseum. The media widely reported these groups were the MILITIA collectively, in spite of numerous law enforcement and expert sources clarifying the obvious differences between all of these diverse groups and movements.
Even the reknowned Morris Dees, of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Klan Watch, drew the distinction between the militia and the Freemen under seige in Montana, but nonetheless qualified his conclusion with statements like "the militias are anti-Semite terrorist, violent hate mongering racists," so as not to seem too concilliatory in his admission of truth. Mr Dees knew full well that he could not get away with lying about who the Freemen were/are and that the militias could not be blamed for this one.
The militia movement has in the past been a convenient target of opportunity for accusations of vilolence from everything from the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal building, to hate crimes, armed robberies, terrorist acts and murder, even if it was one of their own members (militia) that been killed by law enforcement officers.
In one instance, an accidental, self inflicted gunshot wound resulting in the death of an alleged militia member, was classified as proof of militia violence by media and law enforcement.
One can only speculate as to the reasons both the media and law enforcement have conspicuously downplayed the collective "militia" designation used to describe the freemen at Jordan, Montana, and other alleged anti-government groups that Morris and company claim exist for the sole purpose of "overthrowing the Government."
Much credit for the demands of accuracy in reporting who and what the Militia is and is not, must go to to many militia spokesmen and even some in the media that have correctly drawn the distinction between the Freemen and the various "Unorganized Militia" groups of the several states.
Bob Fletcher in particular, past member of the Militia of Montana, is to be commended for nailing Mr. Morris Dees' slippery hide to the wall on a CNN segment, shortly after the Freemen began their standoff with federal agents. While appearing with Dees, Mr Fletcher humiliated him after Dees accused him of lying to the Senate Judiciary Committee last year.
During testimony to that Committee, Bob Fletcher displayed a photo to committee members, of a number of Sheriff's deputies, dressed in full camo battle dress uniforms and helmets, carrying automatic weapons and flanked by an M113, Armored Personnel Carrier. Dees riduculed Fletcher's assertion of the militarization of local and state law enforcement and accused him of lying regarding his conclusion that the photo was proof positive that a militarization of civil law enforcement was indeed taking place in America. Fletcher's response to Dees' accusation was swift and direct, "Maybe it is time we investigate Dees' Southern Poverty Law Center for the fraud and financial irregularities and other moral indiscretions by Mr. Dees, widely reported in numerous Mississippi newspapers," said Fletcher. The camera quickly panned to Dees. His expression was one of a man that had just been struck by a bolt of lightning. Screams of righteous indignation could be heard eminating from their off camera CNN host, but Bob Fletcher was unrepentent and continued with a diatribe against Dees that he soon won't forget.
Dees' response? Zero, zippo, nada. He just sat there, staring blankly into the camera with an astonished look. The arrogance of the Dees of this world is remarkable, and stupid. Do Dees and other corrupt propogandists and black bag men think that their own unsavory pasts will not be exposed?
Bob Fletcher and other militia supporters have undoubtably concluded it is time to take the gloves off and timing is everything. The militia movement is a duly constituted, Constitutionallly legal component of the several state's military establishments, well regulated and membered by patriotic, tax paying, voting Americans that believe in a strong defense of both home and country, just as the Founding Fathers intended. I dare say that more members of Congress have run afoul of the law than the entire membership of the militias of the several states, in the performance of militia duties.
What gives then? Why the outright attack on something as patriotic and Constitutionally legal as volunteer militia duty in the pursuit of safeguarding country, hearth and home? Why the demonization of men and women that see the militia obligation as an opportunity to serve one's country?
Some may view the militia as an opportunity to serve when they have passed the legal age for regular military duty (the Ohio Constitution states a 17 to 67 year age for unorganized militia service) or may never have had the opportunity to serve in the regular armed forces. Others long for the commraderie they experienced while serving their country in times past.
People of other nations, particularly Europe, consider Home Guard duty (Unorganized Militia service), a part one's responsibility and patriotic duty and is never questioned as in Switzerland, where they have no regular military establishment. Only here in the United States has this military tradition, which has been an integral part of every state's constitution for more than one hundred years, been villified and branded terrorist by the press and certain segments of an overzealous political class. Home Guard or Unorganized Militia duty as it is called in Ohio's Constitution, has been in existence even before the founding of this nation.
Could it be that the Founding Fathers knew all too well that Americans, could only guarentee the continuance of their liberties by active participation in it it's protection? Was it their knowledge of the many European monarchies and their penchant for tyranny, that prompted them to adopt the Second Amendment, as well as the other nine amendments to the Constitution of the United States?
What is it then that the Charles Schumers',the Morris Dees' and even many members of our own well estabished political leadership fear regarding the existence of a Constitutionally legal citizen's militia? Why do they fear and villify Americans that feel they are performing their patriotic duty? A duty that they themselves unselfishly obligate themselves to.
These questions can only be answered by those who attempt to disparage and criminalize the honorable intentions of individuals that believe in duty to one's country.
Constitutionally speaking, militia duty is a RIGHT and an American's responsibility. Let us not lose yet another right to political zealots with an agenda that just may prove to be an affirmation of the reasoning behind the adoption of our Bill of Rights. And in particular, the amendment that they would abolish with glee, The Second Amendment. These lawmakers owe the American people an explanation of their actions and their fear of citizens participating in and taking responsibility for their own safety and the security of their nation.