MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 4, 2010

Can't we get by with tweaking government a little?

By David Gerard

I'm thinking about starting a militia group. You want to join?

We need one to protect ourselves and our loved ones from those more than 500 wacko militia groups that are out there.

I'm referring to groups like the Hutaree, of course. The FBI arrested nine Hutarees this past week on charges they were planning to kill police officers because the Hutarees don't like the federal government.

I'm not particularly crazy about the federal government right now either. It's tax time.

Oh, don't get me wrong. I don�t mind paying taxes.

It�s trying to understand those ridiculous tax forms and rules that drives me mad.

I�ve said this before about taxes: I don�t like my dollars going toward war, I don�t like them being wasted, and I can�t stand that the federal government has created an industry around filing taxes. I don�t like paying somebody to do my taxes.

I had to pay an accountant last year because I sold some property and I couldn�t figure it out. But this year should be � should be � a relatively simple matter with only my wife�s and my incomes to account for along with a little interest and our pension funds.

It�s still too complicated, though.

But I�m not going to fly a plane into an IRS building over a 1040 or Capital Gains form. And I�m sure not going to join a group of nut cases going around in camouflage and shooting up the countryside on weekends pretending to be honorable warriors with plans to right the world�s wrongs by shooting policemen or killing other innocent people.

These so-called American patriot groups should see how well that�s been going in other places in the world, such as the Mideast, Iraq and Afghanistan.

I like our general method of dissent: Gripe, whine, moan, bicker and name-call until we wear ourselves out and we�re too tired to pick up guns.

But according to experts, militia groups are increasing exponentially, from 149 in 2008 to 512 in 2009. Most Americans used to join the Rotary Club, Kiwanis, Shriners, Knights of Columbus, Eagles or a Moose lodge and do something for their communities.

Now though, it�s more fashionable to discuss one-world government conspiracy theories, learn how to build bombs and shoot guns, and plot to kill people or disrupt the government.

I understand our government is not perfect, but really, if these militia groups are going to complain about our government, they should consider what they�re complaining about.

First, you have groups that espouse simple nonsense, groups like the Oath Keepers, which after Hurricane Katrina, believed FEMA was putting Louisiana refugees in concentration camps, which doesn�t even deserve comment � or the Branch Davidians, who wanted to have sex with as many young women as possible. You don�t need to belong to a militia group for sex with young women, though. Just ask Tiger Woods.

But the majority of militia groups are upset with taxes, environmental policies that restrict land use, or gun policies that don�t allow them to openly carry a handgun in public, so they get their camo underwear all in a twist over those issues, which is selfish.

If they want to criticize the federal government, they ought to be upset that the government�s been involved with the torture of terror suspects, assassinated foreign leaders we didn�t like, supported dictators, and sold weapons to any country that asked for them. But the militias don�t care how we treat other people, just the way they think they�re being treated.

They want to be known as patriots, the guardians and keepers of liberty.

They ought to be known for what they say they want to do, disrupt and depose our government.

My vote is for tweaking government when it needs it. We need tweakers, not disrupters and deposers.

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