What do you get when you put two TV producers from New York, dozens of different rifles, and a militia on a shooting range? One hell of a good time! Last weekend two people who had never shot anything other than videos fell in love, first with a Rock River Arms AR-15 (named Harvey) then an AK, then a Bull Pup MSR. The best part was the knowledge that 13 people walked away with that day: No matter how liberal or conservative, no matter how different, when you stand beside someone and the brass starts to fly, bonds are formed. Very different people simply become people… people you will call your friends for the rest of your life.

When we started telling the militia members that MTV was coming to film our training, we could see them writing the anonymous hate mail and dreadful warnings in their heads. We tried to explain that not everyone in the media is out to portray the militia in a bad light. Frankly, I think it’s become boring news and a tired lie beaten to death by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Lets see, the evil, crazy lunatic living with his inbred family in the woods story who someone, somewhere, called a militia once has gotten quite old. The daring, new, edgy, story is to show the normal, daily life of a militia member. They filmed my mother and me at Bikram Yoga in a 109 degree studio. They filmed me cooking dinner at home. They filmed me on my college campus. Then they came to our 3 day Field Training Exercise and we filmed them shooting for the first time. 

In the end I didn’t wind up convincing anyone in our group to feel better about MTV filming us. The producers themselves convinced our members without even trying. This was accomplished mostly at the range. Personally, I think the most convincing moments were the look of sheer joy and enthrallment on the man’s face as he nailed beautiful 3 inch groupings at 100 yards, and the woman who hugged nine sweaty dirty men in camo before she left. You see, people are just people. They are not always monsters out to exploit you. Sometimes, if you are brave enough to put weapons in their hands and teach them how to use them, as you stand beside them, they become your Brothers and Sisters before you can even feel the brass burning the back of your neck. The Florida Charter Oaks Militia and S.E.C.O.M have a new approach to those who are against the Second Amendment, show then why we have it and the protection it provides.