One of America’s Most Notorious Militias

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Norman Olson is the founder of the Michigan Militia, the most famous / notorious / we think maybe oldest? group of the early-90s citizens’ militia movement. If you’re too young to remember, that was this thing where guys in camouflage got together to train with their guns and guys with cameras pretended they were scary and racist. The movement hit a speed bump when it got blamed for the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995, and Norm Olson didn’t do much good for his own group when he tried to pass the blame to the Japanese—an idea which, if you subscribe to certain theories concerning the earlier sarin-gas attack on the Tokyo subway and the responsible doomsday cult’s alleged connections to the Japanese Imperial Family, makes a limited sort of sense, but otherwise sounds like the craziest of all possible answers. With faith already shaken in his leadership, Norm then hitched the Militia’s wagon to fears over that Y2K thing and by February 2000 the group was essentially defunct. However, as you may have heard from the Southern Poverty Law Center or one of the hundreds of press outlets who reprinted their press release as a “story,” right-wing militia activity is back on the upswing. And never one to look a media jizz-rush in the mouth, Norm and his old compatriot Ray Southwell are using the momentum to try and get a new militia started on Alaska’s Kenai peninsula. So far it’s been going kind of rough, but that didn’t stop Norm and Ray from inviting us in for coffee and a quick flip through his big, yarn-bound book of Militia Mem’ries. Come join us, as we televize the nostalgialution…

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