Reuters sent a video news crew to capture the antics of a self-styled militia in Georgia, and what they filmed is pretty much what we’ve seen pretty much every time a news crew has filmed “militia training” since the 1990s.
In short, it was cringe-worthy.
Down a Georgia country road, camouflaged members of the Three Percent Security Force have mobilized for rifle practice, hand-to-hand combat training — and an impromptu campaign rally for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“How many people are voting for Trump? Ooh-rah!” asks Chris Hill, a paralegal who goes by the code name “Bloodagent.”
“Ooh-rah!” shout a dozen militia members in response, as morning sunlight sifted through the trees last weekend.
As the most divisive presidential election in recent memory nears its conclusion, some armed militia groups are preparing for the possibility of a stolen election on Nov. 8 and civil unrest in the days following a victory by Democrat Hillary Clinton.
They say they won’t fire the first shot, but they’re not planning to leave their guns at home, either.
An hour south of Atlanta, the Three Percent Security Force started the day around the campfire, taking turns shooting automatic pistols and rifles at a makeshift target range. They whooped with approval when blasts from one member’s high-powered rifle knocked down a tree.
The group operates independently, but is affiliated with a national armed movement that calls for members to defend individual rights in the face of what they see as an overreaching federal government. The movement draws its name from the notion that no more than 3 percent of the American population fought in the Revolutionary War against Britain.
Amid the war games, Hill weighed plans for a possible armed march on Washington if Clinton wins.
He said he doesn’t want his members leading the way, but they will defend the protesters if need be. His group will not hesitate to act if a President Clinton tries to disarm gun owners, he said.
“I will be there to render assistance to my fellow countrymen, and prevent them from being disarmed, and I will fight and I will kill and I may die in the process,” said Hill, who founded the militia several years ago.
This isn’t a militia. These are adult children dressing up and playing at being soldiers during a weekend camping trip with guns and s’mores.
Empty, improperly-worn plate carriers. Obsolete firearms dressed up in “tacticool” plastic furniture to look more “assaulty.” Handguns so unreliable they’re given away or thrown away by people who know better.
Absurd adopted names for “operational security” adopted from Xbox gamer tags, like “BLOODAGENT” and “KILLZONE.”
Slidefire stock? Check.
Absurdly large, dirt-cheap scope that will change zero every time it’s bumped? Check.
Plate carrier hanging down on your belly, instead of protecting your heart and lungs? Check.
Empty pouches that you bought because they looked cool, but you have no idea what to put in them, where to properly set them, or even how to thread onto your plate carrier’s MOLLE attachment points correctly?
Check, check, check, and check.
Their training is equally excruciating, whether you’re talking about CQB room clearing drills poorly copied from YouTube, nose-to-tail patrolling, or their marksmanship training. All are conducted without a range, berm, or even a hillside to stop the bullets, as these nimrods fire blindly into the woods. Where did the bullets end up?
No one knows.
Put bluntly, the self-styled Three Percent Security Force is a farce, and they probably accurately represent the vast majority of self-styled militias you’ll see in the news or listed as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (which, ironically, is a hate group loved by the political left, but that’s a story of another time).
That’s not to say that these poorly-trained, laughably equipped pretend soldiers aren’t a threat. In fact, real experts on civil wars and insurgencies see them as a symptom of a very real and dangerous state of disunion that could preclude a civil war.
…I thought about my visit to Ukraine last year, to cover their ongoing civil war. The most common sentence I heard was, “It’s like a bad dream.” Up to the minute the shooting started, almost no one thought civil war was a serious possibility.
So instead of waking up one day and screaming, “Holy shit, I can’t believe I didn’t take this possibility seriously,” I decided to take the possibility seriously. I talked to David Kilcullen, former Chief Strategist in the State Department’s Office of the Coordinator of Counterterrorism. He helped plan the successful “surge” in Iraq, and he’s seen a lot of civil wars in his time. He didn’t consider a new U.S. civil war likely … but he was also pretty damn far from ruling it out: “I think what we’re seeing now is, what I would describe as a proto-insurgency situation … the ingredients are out there, if somebody knew what they were doing, [they could] pull together an effective movement.”
So in the unlikely (but possible) event the U.S. broke out in a new civil war, what would it look like? I rounded up every civilian and military expert I could find and asked them that question. To my surprise, they all got back to me…
Cracked is not a serious publication, so it was surprising to see some legitimate long form journalism taking place in such a flippant venue, but this is indeed some deadly serious journalism.
The author, Robert Evans, wears his obvious liberal bias on his sleeve, but his selection of insurgency and human terrain experts to interview was solid, and their conclusions were highly plausible.
I strongly suggest that you bookmark Evan’s article, grab a cup of coffee, and read beyond his personal political biases and the poor attempts at levity to really get a sense of what is simmering here in the United States just days before the 2016 Presidential elections.
The Three Percent Security Force is a complete and utter farce as a militia, but they and groups like them are reflective of a growing distrust of the American people towards one another which isn’t bound to one political party or ideology. The multi-factional antagonism is overt on social media, as is the “othering” of perceived enemies from the very top of both major party candidates down through Facebook fights between (former) longtime friends that we see erupting in front of us in real time.
“KILLZONE” and “BLOODAGENT” are a joke now… but they may not always be.
David Kilcullen notes how monsters are made from men.
During his time in Iraq, one of David Kilcullen’s jobs was to “debrief” captured insurgent fighters. He told me he’d find himself asking questions like, “How did you get to a point where you were cutting off kids heads?” And they’d always respond with something like, “I have no idea, it was like a form of collective madness that just overtook us all…” David didn’t think that was all ass-covering, “…people will look back on their own behavior during the height of a civil war, and almost not recognize themselves, or recognize their behavior…and it turns out that’s not accidental, there’s an art to generating that.”
I’ve read stories from survivors of civil wars in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. “Savage” doesn’t begin to cover what the human animal is capable of doing to his own species when that thin veneer of civility is stripped away.
It very well can happen here, and that doughy little paralegal we so easily laugh off now, or that seemingly docile accountant who lives down the street, may rapidly devolve into a beast spoken of in whispers by following generations when the right mix of stimuli are present.
We are not immune from the possibility of insurrection, civil war, genocide, or democide, just because we’re Americans.
It’s time to sober up, and admit that the the threat to our Republic is real, that it is coming from us, and that it can easily boil over if we’re not careful.