Much of this had been said before, a lot of it by myself here on the MVT Blog.
There is a strong tendency towards infighting and gossip among the Liberty Community. This is something that I try and stay out of. I am not a ‘militia’ member, or otherwise. I am a tactical trainer, blogger and author. When I do jump in and comment I do so from a belief that I am trying to help, to offer advice and constructive comment. This is, however, hard: because due to this very tendency to gossip and fight, to many it is just “Max getting into it’ with someone, it’s just another feud, pull up a chair and enjoy the ringside.
There are many strands to my comments today. The background to this is a post I wrote last week ‘“It’s a Trap” – or – Comment on the Malheur Protest.‘ The post itself is self-explanatory, so you should probably read it if you haven’t already. The post was put up on WRSA, and to my surprise, it was very well received, and I considered that I might have made a contribution to steady the boat as the Malheur protest progressed. Then shortly after, another post went up at WRSA, swiftly undoing much of the good: two steps forward, one step back. Here is my response to that: ‘The Fear and the Paranoia.‘ If you have not done so already, you should probably go and read that one too, to get a sense of the background of what I am writing here.
Interestingly, Sam Culper then went and posted a piece over at Guerrilla America titled ‘Militia, Public Relations and OPSEC,’ which touched on many of the points that I had raised, and which referenced an interview with the same militia leader that I have taken to task in my fear and paranoia piece. There is a pattern emerging here.
I know that many in the militia community do not want to listen, and are not of the mind to take advice. Some of them threaten me with never attending my school when I make posts like this. They were never going to attend anyway. On that note, I am a professional tactical trainer who is there for all armed Americans. The vast majority of my students are not in a militia. Some consider themselves to be, and identify with that title, and that is fine. I am not worried about the wrath of a militia leader.
I don’t want to get into a lengthy debate about what the militia is. Some time back, there were a couple of posts up on WRSA by SFC Barry, and another related one by another retired SF gentleman, which took a 2×4 to the side of the head of the militia movement. I didn’t necessarily agree with the manner or all that was said in those articles, but there was a lot of truth there. I thought the use of the term ‘Joe’s Armed Gang’ was a little harsh, but also true in many cases. I think that at base, the issue is not about the name. I don’t really care for intricate arguments of what exactly the historical militia is or was, and all that. To me, it is a descriptive name for a group, but the real issue is one of training. professionalism and public image. That to me is the difference between ‘Joe’s Armed Gang’ and a squared away militia, or tactical team, or NPT, or CUTT etc. The name is a name, but the proof is in the pudding. Actions speak louder than words.
Let’s not forget that in modern America something like a militia is really a political, rather than tactical, organization. What do I mean? Well, people are in the voluntary group, the militia, because of political views. It is not as if the militia is like the militia of old, which was an official organization to which all persons of relevant age belonged, and were trained to a basic level. This means that a modern militia, or voluntary armed group, is primarily political, with guns and camo. This then means that the level to which they are tactically competent, and present a professional image, depends entirely on the leadership and dynamic of that voluntary group. Many, in my view, fail that test.
For the retired SF chaps, such as Barry, I agree with them that many groups are no more than ‘Joe’s Armed Gang.’ I agree that they lack legitimacy because of inability. I don’t agree that they lack legitimacy at base, because they are not somehow an official historical militia. Retired SF should know better; it is, after all. the right of Freemen to be armed and to associate for defense of the community. It is also the role of SF to train people. And that is where the deficiency lies, in training, and also as a direct result of that, with leadership (untrained often unsuitable leaders).
One of the huge problems with these groups is that they are often motivated by, and subject to, and large amount of fear and paranoia. To an irrational extent. This removes all legitimacy. We have seen this with the responses to the Malheur protest, many of which are not grounded in reality. I covered this in my ‘Fear and Paranoia post.‘
There is no unity of purpose in the Liberty movement. When you tie this in with irrational fears and paranoia there is little hope for progress. How to support something like the Malheur protest when there are so many negative opinions? Of course, the flip side to that is that many Patriots are subject to ‘analysis paralysis’ because they spend so much time thinking about it, analyzing it, naval gazing, wondering if it is the right time and the right people, that they will never get anything done. In fact, in terms of comments by the militia leader that were addressed in the ‘Fear and Paranoia post,’ this is often an area where tactical inexperience is highlighted. Extracted from that post to highlight the point, a partial comment on the original militia post, by ‘Cat:’
This is not helped by related actions. I find myself being very disappointed with Oath Keeper’s national leadership. Following on from spurious reports that the Bundy Ranch was going to suffer a drone strike, the ‘keeper of all super-secret information’ has recently stated that secret squirrel forces are being deployed to Malheur and that all ‘women and children’ must be removed from the site. It is this sort of panic mongering and grandstanding that is not helpful. This black helicopter report then found its way into the militia leader’s post that I reference, and was used as a reason to spread more fear. Why is OK not supporting Bundy? Because the Hammond’s were intimidated and went to jail? They need to be called on by locals for support? This seems spurious to me: you are either fighting the good fight for Liberty, or you are not. Malheur is a protest, and as such it will not be popular in all circles. It will be demonized. It should be supported for the attention it brings to the tyranny of the BLM.
I am curious about one thing though: if Malheur, according to our militia leader, is a provocateur attempt by ‘The Feds’ to create another Waco and then destroy the militia movement and take guns away from Americas, by creating a false flag massacre (as stated in his post), what does it say about the militia movement and Americans? Let’s follow this thought through, shall we? So, they go and ‘Waco’ Malheur. Are you then going to hand over your guns, give up on Liberty and burn the Constitution? How about a hundred Malheurs instead? How about getting your gear, and putting it in the truck? What are you thinking?
Check out this video, introduced by Ammon Bundy, of outrageous BLM actions:
Other than the fear and paranoia in the militia article, perhaps the main takeaway is the gossip and infighting which appears to be a spillover from the Bundy Ranch situation. This to me is the main issue, but on which I will probably write the least, because it is what it is. Groups are on the whole not adequately trained and prepared for tactical action. Protest maybe, not tactical action, unity of effort, or acting in coordination with others. They have poor leadership and cannot get on with other groups. Much of this comes from lack of tactical training: and it appears that a lot of the accusations by the militia leader against Payne come from disagreements over tactical decisions. Do not attribute malice to incompetence! If Payne is not well versed in the siting of various weapon systems, and you disagree with him, and he won’t change it, is it because he doesn’t know any better and doesn’t want to lose face? Perhaps because you both think the other is an asshole? It doesn’t by itself point to being a paid agent provocateur.
If you look around the blogosphere and the Liberty community you will see nothing but various groups fighting against each other. It’s like a soap opera. Some of these individuals have little choice, because they are being attacked and have to fight back. But it appears to me that many are so deep in the internal politics of the whole thing, they forget what the point is, which is Liberty.
I think many need a lesson in simply cooperating and working well with others. We have made suggestions on how this may be made to work, with various groups, in this post: ‘Guerrilla Unit Command & Control Discussion – MVT Forum.‘
Another aspect that many fail to consider is that of profile. It is how you appear and comport yourselves. It appears that the Malhuer protesters have got a grip of that, with their rancher dress code and lower profile on long guns. If ‘The Feds’ are expecting ‘militia extremists’ and they find people dressed as such, you are already on a loser. Consider your dress, posture and weapons carriage protocols. In the winter, it is even more helpful because you can cover things like plates/tactical vests with cold weather clothing. Just a thought. If you look professional, and perhaps not always fully armed depending on the situation, it may help. You can have security / QRF fully ready to go with a less ‘tactical’ public face on display.
On that note, the following video is useful, for many things, including the dress and equipment of both sides, the fact that a conversation is taking place, and that ‘The Feds’ do actually appear to be human. I made the following comments about this video when I posted it on the forum.
There has been an intervention at Malheur by the ‘Pacific Patriots’ and in this video, there is an actual negotiation at the FBI compound. I find looking at the FBI agents very interesting. As a ‘tactical type veteran’ these guys are me / us, and and I / we are them. These are, in my guess, not ‘bureaucratic agents’ but more likely members of an FBI local or national level hostage rescue team. These guys are ‘security’ and you can see by their look, deportment and gear that they are likely combat veterans now working for the FBI. It would be good to see bridges built, rather than torn down. These guys have sworn the oath, and it would be good to have them see the greater Constitutional / Liberty issue here.
Hide your crazy!