Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Militia Logic

You see these stories from time to time, with headlines like this:

Fearing martial law, Gaston man planned bombs, exploding tennis balls

The story:
Fueled by an apocalyptic vision of impending martial law, three Gaston County men conspired to mount a violent defense against an expected federal takeover – from booby-trapped homes to stashes of high-powered weapons and exploding tennis balls, federal documents say.

Two of the three already are in prison. On Tuesday, their partner could join them.

Walter Eugene Litteral, 51, of Gastonia, has pleaded guilty to charges ranging from conspiracy to commit offense against the United States and aiding and abetting the making of a firearm, to illegal distribution and possession of highly addictive prescription drugs. He also tried to buy an assault rifle for a known felon, co-conspirator Christopher James Barker, 43, also of Gastonia.
To summarize: these militia guys built up big arsenals of guns and bombs so they could fight back against the government, but when the police showed up they surrendered meekly.

I detect a flaw in their logic.

They seem to think that things will just go along fine until one day the government will reveal its full evilness, sending tanks into the streets. But that's not usually how it works. Governments don't divide neatly into sweet democracies and nasty dictatorships; most are found somewhere in between. If our government were going to trend fascist this would happen gradually, one new law at a time, each one justified by some terrorist act or other outrage, each one supported by at least a large part of the country.

Our world is messy, and often good and bad are hard to see clearly. But that's our world; longing for a black and white, freedom-loving rebels vs. a Nazi dictatorship won't change anything. And it might get you arrested.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

A strange thought - maybe their thinking isn't so flawed. Or rather, maybe it isn't flawed in the ways we might imagine.

Suppose these people honestly believe martial law is imminent. That means they're expecting the military, not the police, to come rolling through their neighborhood sometime soon.

Maybe that notion excites them. Maybe they desperately want to see tanks and APCs and troop trucks come thundering down their local roads.

Maybe they place soldiers and the military on a pedestal and idolize them, despite not being willing or able to enlist themselves. Maybe they go out and amass these arsenals of theirs in the hopes that it will impress their macho soldier role models when the military inevitably takes control. Maybe they want to separate themselves from other mere civilians by demonstrating the appearance of being comparably masculine "irregulars" and militiamen.

Maybe they want to feel even remotely a part of the lifestyle they idolize, but can't manage to directly pursue for whatever reason. Maybe they can't imagine a more exciting life than being "adopted" by real soldiers whom they can then emulate and worship through dedication and service. Maybe they just want to be noticed and valued by the people they elect to be their personal heroes.