The Militia

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Officially, a militia is part of the organized armed forces of a country that is called upon only in an emergency. There have been paramilitary groups with revolutionary ideas throughout America's history, but today's militia movement is a new more organized and violent presence (Meyers). Today the militia are unofficial citizens' armies organized by private individuals, usually with antigovernment, far right agendas. They rationalize that the American people need armed force to help defend themselves against an increasingly oppressive government that is becoming part of a global conspiracy called the "New World Order" (Sonder, 2000). These armed groups call themselves militias; to both imply the image of the Minuteman of the Revolution and to try to claim legitimacy by asserting that these paramilitary groups were the "unorganized militia" of federal and state law. The causes for the militia movement are many, but most center around a fear of gun confiscation and the role such confiscation would play in their various one-world conspiracy theories. The major events, which helped to incite the movement, include the Ruby Ridge and Waco standoffs, the Brady Law and the Assault Weapons Manufacture Ban. The first groups began forming at the end of 1993; by mid-1994 (Sonder, 2000) there were a variety of such groups in many states across the country. While the media noted the emergence of this movement, little attention was paid to the phenomenon until late 1994, when civil rights organizations such as the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League released reports on the militia movement. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center most of these citizens' armies have few members and are not involved in violent activities (Sonder, 2000). They are interested mostly in the purchase and use of firearms, in discussions of patriotism, and in playing weekend war games. However, there are more than a hundred of these groups, which probably have ties to...
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