I’m not going to waste a lot of time writing about “General” Gary Marbut’s decision to bring his crazy bill for a Montana Home Guard to the Legislature again, but it would be nice if the Republicans in the body could politely ask him to stop wasting the Legislature’s time with his schoolboy dreams of becoming the first General of the Montana Home Guard. Maybe he could take up fantasy football or something, but the annual spectacle of Marbut wanting to dress up his Patriot movement, anti-government views in the garb of an armed or unarmed superhero militia force is growing a bit tired–and distracts the Legislature from more important bills like Marbut’s efforts to require that state officials obstruct law enforcement.
In the course of the hearing, we learned that:
- Senator Webb did not even reach out to the National Guard or Sheriffs Association in Montana to seek their views.
- Senator Webb did not reach out to a single tribal government, even though seven have law enforcement agencies who might have to interface with the unorganized Home Guard.
- the bill does not provide any details about who would bear financial responsibility in the event that some overly enthusiastic member of the Home Guard did real damage to someone.
- the members of the Home Guard could, at various times, provide emergency medical assistance, firefighting, prison riot control, and search and rescue function, among a million other tasks.
- the members of the Home Guard, who might be running around the woods “drilling” could be identified with t-shirts, badges, or caps, clearly sufficient to assuage public safety fears.
Rachel Carroll Rivas, testifying for the Montana Human Rights Network, had it just right, when she noted that Home Guard proposals are little more than window dressing for anti-government activists to legitimize their efforts to disassociate from the federal government–and the Legislature should, but sadly, probably won’t, resist this effort one more time.
Enjoy General Marbut and Senator Webb trying to defend this bill in the face of logical questions: