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The old man’s 30-40 Krags with the Box of Truth from 1898 on his son’s Army fatigues from 1974.

Join a militia expecting things to go right? Then join the right militia.

First, look in the mirror. Take a good, long, look.

Do you see an eighteen year old? Nineteen or twenty?

Or do you see a forty or fifty year old? Maybe sixty?

Either way, ask yourself if you really want to join a militia that matters.

If the answer is still yes, take a look at the militia you plan on joining.

Take a good, long, look. Then start asking questions.

1. Is there a chain of command? Are you talking to the leader when you join a militia, or is the leader a mystery?

If everyone starts as a general, an admiral, or a field marshall, all the better. You’re all leaders.

When you join a militia, you’ll be a leader too.

Except that’s not how most things work. How often do you start a new job as the boss?

2. What sort of training do your new brothers in arms have when you join a militia?

Since it’s a militia, they’ll have weapons, also known as guns.

If their gun safety is suspect from the beginning, it won’t get better soon.

You won’t get shot joining a lot of groups that don’t have guns.

3. Should you join a militia of former military people?

Baby boomers have come to know people accused of ‘stolen valor.’

As nasty as the Vietnam War got, people who ought to know better buy clothes and medals from surplus stores and present themselves as veterans.

Once an upstanding man explained how hard it was writing letters to the parents of kids who died under his command. After he divorced his wife for a younger model his grown kids said their dad was never in Vietnam.

Take that, dad.

4. How can you tell if you join a militia of former military?

They’ll watch you to see if you’re trustworthy.

Since there’s guns involved they don’t want to get shot by you any more than you don’t want to get shot by them.

They’ll know what a DD 214 is. Bring it up in casual conversation.

If one of them asks, “What’s a DD 214?” you’ll know they’re not vets.

5. How can you tell if you join a militia full of phony military?

They dress up in battle gear the wrong camo color for the region. It was the only stuff they could find.

Their hair is high and tight. Not a flat top with fenders, just sidewalls.

The language they speak is jargon, acronyms, and full of ‘the war of the future, man, the one you got to be ready for, “cause if you’re not ready you’re going down, man, and fast, unless you stick with us. We’ll be ready.”

6. You join a militia full of guys with braided goatees, tattoos depicting comic book violence, and no women. That’s where you want to spend your spare time?

If the choice is kid sports, time with your wife, of join a militia of the guys noted above, you need to check your goals.

A militia full of guys isn’t always a good thing for women and children. Have their families rejected them? Has yours? Or do they have so little game that they’ve never been on a date?

If you match middle aged men with a gun in their hand, a pack of cialis in their hip pocket, and a nervous twitch, be cautious.

7. You join a militia and all they do is complain?

Brace yourself for the worst when they start on President Bush, the second one, not HW.

What do they say?

“General Powell would have been a great president if he hadn’t been railroaded with that yellow cake uranium story to justify the Iraq War.”

“George Bush wasn’t the worst president. He just had a bad start with 9-11.”

“How was Dick Cheney supposed to know he outed a CIA agent when he pulled the rug out from under Valerie Plame? That wasn’t his fault.”

Join a militia if you must. It’s called the U.S. Army, Marines, Navy, and Air Force.

If you’re too old, think of it like the family you never had.

Put yourself up of Militia Adoption. What could go wrong?

About David Gillaspie
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