What Ever Happened to the Michigan Militia?
Whatever happened to the Michigan Militia, the weekend warriors who drill in the piney woods in camouflage gear, worry about secret messages on the back of road signs and who generally think their government is the root of all evil?Well, if you thought they had been laughed out of existence, or taken prisoner by United Nations troops lurking outside Toledo, you better think again. Ken Adams, now statewide coordinator for the National Conference of Citizen Militias, says proudly that the militia - make that militias - are still here, thank you, and wants you to know they've got more supporters than ever.Plus, they now have something else, too: A mail-order catalog. That's right. Last-minute shopping for that well-dressed paramilitary cuckoo in your life need no longer be a chore. You can instead dial up an outfit called - what else - "Success Marketing" and order great gifts like this:Catalog Item D4: Operation Vampire Killer 2000 Disk. Jack McLamb's American Police Plan for Stopping the New World Order. This menu-driven program includes: The New World Order Government Plan, World Money Powers, Media Black Out of the Facts, World Government Under the U.N.. and much, much more. This is a great disk to give to your Law Enforcement and other Doubting Thomases. So there. We'll get back to the catalog in a bit, but first of all, let's catch up with what's gone on with the Michigan Militia. Exactly one year ago, the Detroit Metro Times writer Beth Hawkins wrote about a group founded by a gun-store owning Baptist preacher and his deacon had enlisted thousands of Michiganders in a paramilitary movement designed to protect the nation from its own elected government. Even then, most "mainstream media" paid scant attention, except for a few TV stories showing the guys tromping around in a show of force that, sure enough, kept UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros Ghali away from that particular midwestern region. But then came April 19 and the Oklahoma City bombing. Soon after, reports - never confirmed - indicated that the two men eventually charged, ex-soldier Timothy McVeigh and former Michigan farmer Terry Nichols- had attended militia meetings. Within days, it seemed that every national media star from Sam Donaldson to Ted Koppel was lining up to interview the likes of Mark "Mark of Michigan" Koernke, the University of Michigan janitor who thinks government agents can drive by your house at night and count your paper money with secret scanners. (Catalog Item T2: "Mark of the Beast:" On this cassette tape, you will hear the developer of the computer chip that can be inserted in the forehead or right hand tell of the consequences. Hear how the small chip can be tracked by satellite and how thousands of babies have already been implanted.) But the militia began to fall on hard times soon after the camera crews left town. Within days, the militia's commandant, Baptist preacher and gun-store owner Norm Olson and his deacon and right-ammo-belt man, Ray Southwell, were forced to resign as leaders of the movement after they made a bizarre claim that Japan was responsible for the blowing up the federal building. Soon, the militias were being portrayed as loonies, baby killers, or worse. Rumors surfaced that the movement was wracked by dissension, splintering and in disarray.Not so, says Adams, a former state organizer for H. Ross Perot who now runs the National Confederation of Citizen Militias (NCCM). "Certainly some people have backed away - we don't deny that for a moment," said Adams. "But we did a survey after the bombing and found our membership was up by more than 25 percent," said Adams, who said the NCCM "is to the militias what the National Rifle Association is to gun owners," an association providing information and assistance to the nation's militias, which it also helps keep in touch with each other. That may be particularly necessary in Michigan, where a sort of militia mitosis has taken place. Since the heady media days of last spring, the original Michigan Militia has been succeeded by six "regional militias," Adams says. They include the Wolverines, headquartered up around Muskegon, the Straits Area Militia, and Central, Southern and Upper Peninsula Michigan Militias, plus the Northern Michigan Regional Militia, headed by - surprise! - a recommissioned Norm Olson and Ray Southwell. When the full muster is read, "We have been saying all year we have about 12,000 active people," Adams said, hinting that there may be more. "There are, also, a lot of people who would like to be active, but who are not able to participate because of business commitments." he says. Still, "in a real emergency we could muster more than three times that - maybe 50,000 people who would come out," to save their country.Prudent militia commanders have not been too specific about just who the nation needs to be saved from, but the 47-year-old Adams has an idea. He maintains that the U.S. State Department has issued a document allowing the UN to take over the United States of America and establish a socialistic world dictatorship. That is something he thinks we should be armed and ready to oppose. "It is still the responsibility of the people to see that militias exist," he said, adding that he is frustrated at how "the Bill of Rights has in many ways been degraded," especially as far as the right to bear arms is concerned. "We're no different from what our forefathers meant us to be," he says. Except, that is, in terms of technology. By dialing 616-536-9878 on a phone attached to a fax machine, you can hear stirring militia rhetoric and/or have a two-page catalog of militia products immediately sent to you, including the $35 "NCCM Membership Pack": which includes a laminated membership card, a copy of the secret "blueprint to turn over the U.S. to the UN" and a "Communist check off sheet." You also get a faxed picture of the Liberty Bell, stirring quotes from the likes of Patrick Henry and George Washington, and a statement of principles that concludes: "With the militias growing at such a rapid pace, and with the talent that is coming with that growth, liberty can be restored in this great country." How serious all this is remains to be seen. Michigan State Sen. James Berryman (D-Adrian), who has served on both the mental health and local government committees, is not convinced the nation needs to be saved by the militias. "It seems like some of these people get their manhood from going out and tromping around in their uniform. It gives them an identity," he said. "While I have a lot of sympathy for people who think we may have too much government, I think the figure who think we have chips secretly implanted in our butts is really rather small."