You're Not a Militia. You're Just a Gang.
It’s time to just start calling these guys what they are. They’re just a gang.
We at Peacekeepers don’t know about the rest of you, but we’re just about exhausted with having to pretend that these armed vigilantes have any kind of legitimacy. We’re tired of having to pretend that they represent “patriotism”. We’re tired of pretending that they believe in “the constitution”. We’re tired of having to pretend that their goals are anything other than supremacy and intimidation. Particularly now, when so-called “militia” members have responded to the wildfire crisis by patrolling the Oregon back roads to set up “checkpoints” to harass and terrorize people, we're just entirely out of patience.
So we will no longer be using the word “militia.”
The Peacekeepers and the Central Oregon Diversity Project will be in Redmond on Saturday for a solidarity rally, and to collect donations for the emergency shelter in Warm Springs. As with every other protest event in Central Oregon this year (and before) this rally will be an entirely peaceful expression of people’s First Amendment rights. Even so, the nationalist gangs have already indicated they intend to show up and counter protest. They'll be there dressed in their paramilitary costumes. They'll come armed with AR-15’s. They'll distribute zip tie style handcuffs to their members again as they have in the past. They'll posture and strut in a transparent display of the inadequacy that drives them. Once again, we’ll prove to them that our Peace is stronger than their Hate.
These guys claim to be driven by patriotism and love for the constitution. They claim to be interested in standing up to “big government”. If ANY of that were true, they’d be right by our side protesting systemic injustice. If ANY of that were true, they’d have the courage to stand up to overreach by police and the federal government. Instead, they simply engage in these cowardly (and failed) attempts to intimidate unarmed and peaceful protesters.
We don’t have any choice in whether or not these goons show up to protest events with their guns and their hateful rhetoric. We do, however, have a choice in not glorifying them in the language we use. Words are powerful things, and these people want to borrow legitimacy through the use of grandiose language. The ranks of the “Oregon Zone Five Three Percent” are filled with guys who failed out of the real military, with violent felons, and with petty crooks. They are no more a “well regulated militia” than any other loose collection of common criminals.
They aren’t a militia.
They’re just a gang.