The general rule for me is if Alex Jones says it, don’t take it seriously. And that’s what I said on Thursday to several friends that e-mailed me a link to a story about how the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) basically correlates libertarians and more specifically supporters of Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin, with potentially being a domestic terrorist or member of a militia.
Titled “The Modern Militia Movement,” the report is dated Feb. 20 and designed to help police identify militia members or domestic terrorists. Red flags outlined in the document include political bumper stickers such as those for U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, talk of conspiracy theories such as the plan for a mega-highway from Canada to Mexico and possession of subversive literature.
But when Neal read the report, he couldn’t help but think it described him. A military veteran and a delegate to the 2008 Missouri Republican state convention, he didn’t appreciate being lumped in with groups like the Neo-Nazis.
“I was going down the list and thinking, ‘Check, that’s me,’ ” he said. “I’m a Ron Paul supporter, check. I talk about the North American union, check. I’ve got the ‘America: Freedom to Fascism’ video loaned out to somebody right now. So that means I’m a domestic terrorist? Because I’ve got a video about the Federal Reserve?”
[S]tate law enforcement officials said the report is being misinterpreted. Lt. John Hotz of the Missouri State Highway Patrol said the report was compiled by the Missouri Information Analysis Center based in Jefferson City and comes purely from publically available, trend data on militias.
Hotz said MIAC, which opened in 2005, is a “fusion center” that combines resources from the federal Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. It was set up to collect local intelligence to better combat terrorism and other criminal activity, he said.
“All this is an educational thing,” Hotz said of the report. “Troopers have been shot by members of groups, so it’s our job to let law enforcement officers know what the trends are in the modern militia movement.”
The report’s most controversial passage states that militia “most commonly associate with third-party political groups” and support presidential candidates such as Ron Paul, former Constitutional Party candidate Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate last year.
Hotz said using those or similar factors to determine whether someone could be a terrorist is not profiling. He said people who display signs or bumper stickers from such groups are not in danger of harassment from police.
Look, if you’re working for a government entity and you’re going to issue a report dealing with people who are prone to buy into conspiracy theories, you may want to take note of the fact that they are some paranoid people and that they’re going to overreact once they find out about the report, especially when Alex Jones gets the information.
Ask yourself why “militia movements” have been created inside the United States? You can’t blame people for mistrusting or being skeptical of elected officials, even law enforcement. Conspiracy theorists are always going to exist, and as much as I make fun of them, I can’t blame them either because of how secretive government tries to be or your Attorney General tells you there is no right to habeas corpus or when memos surface about suspending protected rights or politicians attempt to disarm law-abiding citizens or when it uncontrollably spends taxpayer dollars and runs up a massive debt.
Like I said, you can’t blame them.