REDMOND, Ore. — B.J. Soper took aim with his AR-15 semiautomatic rifle and fired a dozen shots at a human silhouette target. Soper’s wife and their 16-year-old daughter practiced drawing pistols. Then Soper helped his 4-year-old daughter, in pink sneakers and a ponytail, work on her marksmanship with a .22-caliber rifle.
Deep in the heart of a vast U.S. military training ground, surrounded by spent shotgun shells and juniper trees blasted to shreds, the Central Oregon Constitutional Guard was conducting its weekly firearms training.
“The intent is to be able to work together and defend ourselves if we need to,” said Soper, 40, a building contractor who is an emerging leader in a growing national movement rooted in distrust of the federal government, one that increasingly finds itself in armed conflicts with authorities.
Ok, grab your ‘Militia Panic’ bingo card and lets play:
- Quote from the panic pimps at the SPLC? Got it.
- Mention of young children shooting guns? Yup, got it.
- Use of the race card? Uh..whoops, there it is!
- Nod to conspiracy theories? It’s there.
- Picture of scary guns and the use of ‘assault rifles’?Of course!
Man, every few years this comes up….some folks form a brunch-n-bitch club with the word ‘Constitution’ or ‘Patriot’ in it’s name, shoot targets once in a while, and clean CostCo out on 50# bags of rice, and the media thinks it’s barbarians-at-the-gates.
You know, I live in the middle of that sort of environment. If there is a person I encounter during my day who doesn’t have food socked away, own a gun, or think .gov gets pretty grabby once in a while…well…I’m unaware of it. I’ve met a bunch of those high-profile folks..Randy Weaver, Bo Gritz, John Trochmann, etc, etc….and they’ve all been pretty nice folks. Oh, you don’t want to get into a long political debate with them but they’ll buy you lunch, help you change a tire, or help you plow your driveway. Most people, regardless of political inclinations, are, at a basic level, fairly decent folks.
The folks in the Wasington Post (aka “Pravda On The Potomac”) article seem like nice enough folks, with a genuine civic and civil mindset. It seems like they just need a lower profile. Guys, you don’t need to be part of a structured, high-profile, march-in-public organization in order to do the things you want to do. The ‘Boise Hiking Club’, ‘Kalispell Trail Walkers’, or ‘Butte Gopher Whackers’ can go out and hike in the woods with rifles, learn first aid, and do small-unit exercises just as well as the other guys. But with less scrutiny from the pearl-clutchers in the stands.
There’s always some idiot with a bad case of derpes who takes it too far. Pretty much anyone on reality TV ‘prepper’ shows springs to mind. Remember this clown? Don’t be that guy.
But…without the specter of those evil ‘militias’, how’s a place like the SPLC going to stay in business?