I learned this Saturday when I travelled to Odessa, Mo. for my second session with the third brigade of the Missouri Militia. Today, the militia was having a medical class and covered CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and other simple medical procedures that could help someone in the case of the absence of a medic. The militia also invited their children and wives to come and observe what they were all about and taught them the same medical techniques they were learning.
As I've been exploring the story of the Missouri Militia, my story angle has changed some. Initially, I wanted to focus on the Missouri Initiative Analysis Center (MIAC) document that had come out, addressing all militias as terrorist organizations. However, that document has since become discredited and is no longer an issue. Now, I am mostly focusing on what the Missouri Militia's mission statement is and their goal to become state recognized.
When I initially came into this project, I thought the Missouri Militia was an organization that would act as a watchdog of the government in case it got too powerful. Although militia members have stated that they support limited government, that is not their main goal.
The militia's main concern is to act as a volunteer force in cases of natural disaster, especially when the government has limited resources, like the National Guard. They also focus on acting immediately in these cases, as oftentimes the government will have a slow response time. They also talked about helping with search parties in cases of lost children. Missouri Militia member Randy, who is an ex-U.S. military officer and served in Rhodesia, has stated that he wants to train every militia member to the equivalent status of a sergeant to assist the U.S. military and lead civilians in these cases such as these.
Sumpter is also working with the state to become recognized as an organization that can be utilized in cases of great need for the state. The militia has talked with state representatives and is working to talk to the governor to make this happen. However, in an interview with Sumpter, he expressed concerns, such as funding. Sumpter stressed the idea of no political affiliation as an organization, because he worried that if their political views did not align with those of a state official, they would be forced to disband if they were state recognized. He also stressed not wanting to be government funded, worrying that their equipment could be taken away with a politician disagreed with their mission.
State Rep. Mike McGhee also showed up to the militia training Saturday. McGhee is a republican politician and a Tea Party supporter. Apparently, McGhee is the neighbor of Bill, who hosts the militia trainings. McGhee dropped by to visit the militia members and to thank them for what they were doing. I luckily nabbed an interview with him and gained a really great voice on the political perspective of the militia.
I will be going back out to join the Missouri Militia in early May. I'm worried because the training day is two days before my final project for the class is due, but I think if I'm thorough, I can edit the audio and put together some multimedia within that time frame. At least, I hope so!
Working with the militia has been great so far. Regardless of how I feel about the premise of the organization (this is me nixing conflicts of interest), the men involved are really great, down home kind of guys that would do anything for you, whether you're a stranger, family member or even a journalist.