Militia report criticized by lawmakers

Brennan Stebbins

A report by law enforcement officials concerning the “modern militia movement” has lawmakers up in arms over what they say is unfair profiling.

The report, issued by the Missouri Information Analysis Center in Jefferson City, included warning signs that someone could belong to a militia or domestic terrorist group, including those subscribing to right-wing extremist movements, associating with a third party political candidate and displaying the colonial Gadsden Flag with the motto “Don’t tread on me.”

A letter signed by 78 Representatives and sent to John Britt, the Director for the Department of Public Safety, called the report “dangerous and disturbing.”

“At best, the MIAC report was sloppy, lopsided in its assumptions and poorly written,” the letter states. “At worst, it’s political profiling and a written set of instructions for the infringement of our rights to free assembly and free speech!”

One section of the report states that, “it is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign for Liberty, or Libertarian material. These members are usually supporters of former Presidential Candidates: Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.”

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder condemned the report last week during a press conference, and called for an investigation into its’ preparation.

“While the director does say he will remove references to political supporters of Ron Paul and Bob Barr, he does not address references to Christians, supporters of border security, nor pro-lifers,” Kinder said.

“I am calling for Director Britt to be placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into this and other reports done by MIAC which may profile or demean Missourians belonging to specific political, religious or social groups.”

Many conservatives were upset by the report, which included those strongly against abortion, immigration and tax resistors as possible militia members.

“Anti-abortionists have been known to take up arms in support of their beliefs,” the report stated. “Eric Rudolf who was responsible for the Atlanta Olympic Park Bombing and abortion clinics was an anti-abortionist.

“Extremists will argue that immigrants are taking the jobs of U.S. citizens during times of high unemployment,” the report adds.

Though Gov. Jay Nixon tried to distance himself from the report, saying in a press conference that, “We’ve got enough bad guys to catch, we shouldn’t spend our time looking at good guys,” it wasn’t enough to calm Kinder.

“Conservatives are a part of the backbone of America’s fabric, we are not the thread, and that’s why we are all one nation under God,” Kinder said.

“Under the guidance of the present director, who apparently must think it is Nixon’s secret service, the Department of Public Safety has taken on a new and sinister role of political profiling, in the nature of making terrorists out of citizens who want nothing more than to freely voice their opinions guaranteed by our Constitution and Bill of Rights.”

Rep. Tom Flanigan (R-Carthage) was one Representative to sign the letter to Britt, and said he was disappointed with the report.

“I think it’s wrong to target individuals or their beliefs,” Flanigan said. “That’s not the America I grew up in and that we live in, that you would turn around and target people simply because they had a certain kind of bumper sticker on or a certain symbol on their car or they had some beliefs that somebody didn’t agree with.”