Is Sheriff Larry Deen, of Bossier Parish, Louisiana putting together a Militia? The media seem to think so, but he says no, and I say if he is, it's sure an odd mix. Granted, the group is made up of 200 volunteers, white males, but, they are mostly middle-aged, paunchy and most of them are ex-lawmen.
Sheriff Deen describes "Operation Exodus" as "a calling" and his reason for his actions is all the home-grown terrorists that are constantly training, in order to bring the America to its knees someday, with a coordinated effort via the internet, to stage attacks all over the country.
It appears he is training his troops in a bit of hand-to-hand combat, as well as arming them to the teeth with riot shields, shotguns, batons and the star of the show, a 50-caliber machine gun mounted on a "war wagon". In the event of attacks or civil unrest, his troops would be sent to protect food from grocery stores, gas from gas stations and other local resources, as the situation demands.
He says the operations will cost only $4,500, partly because weapons, such as the machine gun on the war wagon, have previously been bought. One wonders when it was purchased and where it has been stored.
In a way, this sounds like a modern take on the Civil War reenactment, in which a bunch of old white guys, brandishing weapons and wearing blue or gray suits get together on the weekend and act out one battle or another. The difference is that one is acting out the past and the other is acting out the future.
I would love to make fun of this bunch, but for some reason, I can't. First, because this is obviously not a Militia, the way I picture them. In my mind, a militia is a bunch of rednecks, looking for all the world like Ted Nugent clones, and sounding as loony as he does. The men in the above photo look pretty harmless, just a bunch middle-aged guys who are worried about their country, and this is all they can think of to do to protect it.
They seem more like vigilantes to me. Or, neighborhood watch participants, only with weapons. It doesn't bother me if they want to get together after work and on weekends and engage in hand to hand combat and target practice if it makes them feel more secure and that they are taking action to protect their fellow Americans, it's ok with me. I realize vigilantes are problematic, but they think they are doing the right thing. So, I feel kind of mellow toward these men.
They just don't look dangerous, do they? Are they?