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Kansas militia's close call with terror plot

Kansas saw the ugly side of independence rear its head recently when several men were charged with conspiracy to commit domestic terrorism against a Somali population in Garden City. While those charged were from clear across the state, they attempted to join with another militia based near Wichita but were turned away. This case is just the latest of several in recent months that have brought modern militia culture to the forefront of the national conversation, at a time when tensions of many kinds are running high.

Fortunately for Wichita and for the members of the Kansas Flatlanders Militia, the individuals who were charged with conspiring against the Garden City community were turned away from membership, on the grounds that their views were too extreme.

For many outside the modern militia movement, it is difficult to separate extremism from enthusiasm. The Anti-Defamation League's Center on Extremism estimates that roughly 50,000 individuals identify as being a part of a militia of some kind, while many more are ideologically sympathetic to them.

This is where the issue gets complicated. Militias are a fundamental institution to our country, and the right to associate with such an organization is one that deserves to be defended. Similarly, instances like the Garden City conspiracy paint a dangerous picture to the public who are trying to understand what militias are and what they mean to accomplish. Like any organization, there is bound to be complex variations within its membership, and it is vital to the protection of all people's rights that militias are not painted with a broad brush.

Terrorism charges are an extremely serious matter, and should be treated as such. If you or someone you know has been charged with terrorism or another federal crime, you deserve the best possible defense. The institution of a militia is formed in great part around the defense of the rights of the people, and an excellent defense attorney understands that defending your rights is the highest of callings.

Source: Kansas City Star, "Kansas militia says it spurned alleged terrorists arrested in Garden City case," Judy L. Thomas, Nov. 02, 2016

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