Montana state Rep. Wendy Warburton (R) is introducing a bill to create a state militia based on her belief that “Montana needs an armed paramilitary group of volunteers.” The “home guards” would provide services in case of emergencies to “fill in the gap between community service organizations” and the National Guard.
The bill would allow the “home guard” organizations to be formed in companies each with their own uniforms, flags and identities. The bill would also allow them to form into infantry companies. The groups would be free from federal oversight and the state would both certify companies and pick up the tab in the event they cause damage to equipment (or presumably people) during active duty.
According to the Huffington Post’s Nick Wing, Warburton originally called these “home guard” units “organized militias” but backed away from the term after catching some negative attention.
Warburton’s bill is just the latest in a series of state measures that institutionalizes anti-government rhetoric at a dangerous level. According to Think Progress, anti-government, extremist-friendly lawmakers in both Arizona and Oklahoma have also considered creating official militia groups. And that doesn’t even count the hundreds of “Patriot” groups across the country seeking to make similar gains into state governments.
Given the rise of the militia movement and its new and cozy relationship with leadership on the right, this movement at the state level should alarm any reasonable American. It’s not just the idea of armed vigilante groups doing the job of the National Guard and local law enforcement, it’s the fact that these groups would essentially answer to no-one with state taxpayers picking up the tab when they screw up.
photo courtesy of Gideon Tsang via Flickr