News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion Columns

March 2, 2013

RONN MOTT: Indiana Militia

Someone emailed us to suggest I look up the Indiana Militia on their website. (I had written earlier I had bumped into a militia man and I knew almost nothing about the Indiana Militia.)

I’m sorry to report the Indiana Militia website leaves more questions than it answers, even though it makes an attempt to answer many questions.

We have a great many law enforcement agencies available to us in our city, county and general area. We have a well-trained Terre Haute Police Department, we have the Vigo County Sheriff’s Office, and we have the Indiana State Police. I would think, for policing purposes, this would be enough manpower to get any job done. But I’m evidently missing something even though I have eight years of military service under my belt — reserves, active duty, and inactive reserves. So I have a somewhat working knowledge of military organizations.

I guess the thing I’m trying to say here is I don’t know why we need armed civilians in a semi-quasi-military-style unit. I would feel better about it if I saw them in roles of assistance. Perhaps assisting young people in training of weaponry so the young people can be better at hunting, or that kind of activity. Or maybe assisting with veterans’ burials, active-duty deaths, and that sort of thing. But, I have not seen anything like that.

There are always words or verbiage about taking their weapons, and I have never had anyone from the government asking for mine. Of course, no civilization has ever lasted very long when their civilian population and their weapons outnumbered their military. Is that what is happening here?  

A few years ago we had a great flood and it overtaxed civilian rescue and safety, first responders, and such.  Is this a place where the Indiana Militia could be of some value?  

I would remind those concerned about the Indiana Militia that we haven’t seen anything that looks terribly ugly or frightening at this point. So, I ask these questions: Who is in charge? How did they get in charge? Who do they answer to? Do you have a trained officer, cadre? What about non-com training? What about training in general? At one point on the web site you tell us you are not going to say how many men are in the Militia. Where do the weapons come from, who pays the bills, and, ultimately, what do you hope to achieve?

My guess is you need a platoon of good public relations people, but if you don’t want transparency, PR won’t do you any good.

Ronn Mott, a longtime radio personality in Terre Haute, writes commentaries for the Tribune-Star. His pieces are published online Tuesday and Thursday on Tribstar.com, and in the print and online editions on Saturday.

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