Saturday, March 14, 2009

More on MIAC

According to that MIAC report:

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 Candidate: Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr.

Which, as I've already said elsewhere, is probably quite true as far as it goes. If you're willing to join an organization that trains under arms without the legalistic protection of an ornate charter duly signed by some shiny-badge bureaucrat to "legitimize" its activities in the eyes of the state, it's probably fair to say that you're somewhat um, disenchanted, with the status quo, right? So why the hell would you stick with one of the status quo political parties or its candidates instead of seeking an alternative?

True as far as it goes ... but it doesn't go very far. How many militia organizations are there in Missouri? How many members do they boast? For all that MIAC styles itself as an "intelligence" operation that tracks "trends," the MIAC report offers no estimates.

In Missouri's last general election, more than 11,000 voters supported Libertarian Party presidential nominee Bob Barr and more than 8,000 pulled the lever for Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin. In the 2008 GOP presidential primary, more than 26,000 Missourians voted for Ron Paul. At the party level, more than 90,000 Missourians voted for a Libertarian or Constitution Party congressional candidate in November.

Does MIAC -- or anyone else -- believe there are 90,000 active militia members in Missouri? I doubt it. My own best guess is about two orders of magnitude down from that number: A few hundred, possibly as many as a thousand, even if we include the racist idiots who don't fit a libertarian/constitutionalist political profile in the count. Speaking of which, the last legitimate "law enforcement problem" with anything resembling militia activity in Missouri was with those racist knotheads back in the late 80s and early 90s (The Covenant, Sword & Arm of the Lord, The Order, et. al.).

90,000 is a nice, large number, though. Not just for MIAC's purposes of puffing up its own importance, but for our purposes as well. It's close enough to 100,000 that it suggests a strategy:

- 100,000 bumper stickers of the Constitution Party, Libertarian Party or Campaign For Liberty variety on cars in Missouri.

- $100,000 in a legal fund to defend anyone who is arrested or ticketed for anything while sporting one of those stickers and is willing to go to court and challenge the profiling. No expenditures for negotiating plea bargains -- full jury trials, complete with depositions from, and testimony of, every involved officer (so sad that they won't be out writing revenue invoices tickets while their occupied, isn't it?).

If MIAC wants to encourage profiling on the basis of political affiliation, and if Missouri law enforcement wants to respond to that encouragement, let's make them pay the price.

Other responses are also in order. The Campaign For Liberty and the Boston Tea Party (which is a libertarian organization and which endorsed the CFL's 2008 campaign platform) both have events scheduled in Missouri this spring -- and the Libertarian Party's 2010 national convention is slated for St. Louis. It may be too late to cancel the first two events, and premature to cancel the third, but it can't hurt to talk to the host hotels and other organizations which profit from the events. Local chambers of commerce, tourism bureaus and such too. They'll probably be interested in the fact that future profit opportunities are at risk due to the attitudes and actions of Missouri's law enforcement establishment.

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