Militia Nostalgia

Lexington Minuteman representing militia minut...

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The sad dearth of innovative ideas and fresh thinking on the insaniac far right continues: in a move that brings the retro early ’90s trend full circle, militias are apparently back. This development—if remotely true, which can hardly be guaranteed—sends me on a teary-eyed trip down memory lane.

Ah, the days of youth. When I was a cub reporter on a weekly paper in Montana back in the day, I used to frequent the Kinko’s ’round the corner from our offices to print up whatever poorly designed punk-show flyer or half-thought-through ‘zine tract I wanted to mass produce that week. On many occasions, I found the next photocopy machine over manned by one John Trochmann, the weird-bearded commandante of the Militia of Montana, one of the more enterprising DIY battalions of the halcyon pre-Oklahoma City days. While I churned out propaganda for my faux-Communist hardcore band, The Sputniks, John’s earnest efforts revolved around the illegitimacy of our national currency and his rather eccentric views on the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878. We almost could have been kindred spirits—it was just that John lacked a certain sense of irony, you see. Such are the stylistic quibbles that divide men.

The militias possessed a certain camp appeal among my Montana brethren. As long as you didn’t take their kookaburra views at all seriously, they seemed like a bit of local color. No visit to one of the local hunting and fishing trade shows was complete without a stop at MOM’s table to peruse intriguing literature about the secret army of Gurkhas, trained by the United Nations, that was, supposedly, training AT THAT VERY MOMENT in our very own Big Sky foothills. The Gurkhas awaited only the proper occult signal from Bill Clinton to launch their coordinated assault on the Republic, the first blow that would lead to universal health care and One World Government if concerned patriots didn’t act NOW! I even recall attending a speech by zany Bo Gritz—as one of my first dates with a high school girlfriend, if you can believe it. Good times.

But that was then, and it’s not like the rest of the world has suddenly reverted to listening to Nevermind on cassette. Can’t the lunatic fringe come up with something new? After all, it turned out the whole militia thing was only fun until someone got hurt.  


About zachdundas

Freelance journalist. Author of The Renegade Sportsman (Riverhead Books). Thank you.
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