Under the Radar

Sound Off: Does Joining a Militia Count as Military Service?

Maybe it's because the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon is really cold this time of year or maybe it's because there aren't any good hotels with 24-hour room service nearby, but the national media hasn't really flooded the zone with wall-to-wall coverage of the militia takeover in support of convicted arsonists and Harney County ranchers Dwight Hammond Jr. and Steven Hammond. (Don't count on the media showing up if the militia boys hang on until summer, because it's going to be 100+ degrees and miserable then.)

The Hammonds have tried to distance themselves from their armed supporters and they've reported to Terminal Island in San Pedro, California to begin serving their sentences. Still the militia boys, led by the sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, hold firm against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The occupiers consider themselves True Patriots, continuing the Revolutionary War spirit and fighting against an oppressive government determined to strip citizens of their rights and freedom.

The Feds are trying to ignore the militia in hopes they'll get bored and go home, saying that it's a matter for local law enforcement and that the FBI is only "monitoring" the situation.

While there are some actual veterans of military service caught up in the militia movement, most of its leaders have never set foot in a recruitment office and couldn't have qualified anyway.

Still, if you ask these guys, they're organized fighting units dedicated to protecting the First and Second Amendments. If you think it through, things get a little dicey. If the militias actually start their war against the government, who are they going to be fighting? Granted, it won't be the Army or Marines on U.S. soil, but those FBI and ATF and local law enforcement agents sure will include a lot of military veterans.

Do you have sympathy for the guys in the militia movement? Are they the "well regulated" militias described in the Second Amendment? Or are they military wannabes who got a little carried away down at the shooting range? Sound off!

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