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The Freemen of Montana

and by the way, they're the reason we have a government

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, March 13, 1996.

A small town in Montana, long bullied by a local gang, has been invaded by the FBI, who have surrounded and laid siege to a compound held by the heroically named Freemen. The group’s two leaders were arrested earlier, and it seems the government has prepared itself wisely this time. This will be no Ruby Ridge.

The Freemen - so-called - are another group who think the Federal government has no legal standing according to the constitution, and have therefore been running their farms and town like outlaws of 150 years ago. They threatened judges, postal officials, everyone in any sort of authority. The town applauded when the Feds showed up.

The west has traditionally been settled by lots of independent people trying to get dependent in a hurry, and this is the reason. Without Federal troops - whether FBI or Buffalo soldiers - the area would remain carved up by gangs of bullies and thugs, many of whom - like the Freemen - are little versed in federal philosophy or history despite their pretensions. What we see here is a stark reminder of why we have a strong Federal government, why one is needed. Until the FBI, thugs were handled by vigilantes payed by the state, although often the thugs were the state’s people. With the feds we have, at least, law enforcement without financial connections to the property.

Nothing scares me like the returning of power to the states, a direct reversal of thought since Lincoln and Roosevelt. Can you imagine state law enforcement trying to arrest the Freemen? Because they had the chance and reason and still didn’t do it despite a town terrorized by them. And no state, by the way, has more loony right wing groups than Colorado. None.