Remember the gunmen who were standing outside the military recruiting center in Sioux Falls last week, against the Pentagon’s wishes? It turns out they were part of something called the South Dakota Regiment, a self-proclaimed “well regulated militia” serving in the spirit of the federal and state constitutions.
The Constitution of the United States of America provides for, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,” as well as the Constitution of the State of South Dakota, “The militia of the state of South Dakota shall consist of all able-bodied male persons residing in the state, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five years, except such persons as now are, or hereafter may be, exempted by the laws of the United States or of this state.”
We are the well regulated militia for the protection of the state, the preservation of order and the efficiency and good of the state.
We will defend South Dakota [South Dakota Regiment, Facebook “About” page, downloaded 2015.07.30]
Neither the Facebook page nor the website give any clear indication of who leads this Regiment, although recruiting center vigilante Zachary Gallegos III appears from this June 8 FB post to be a regiment organizer. But the above text appears to suggest that, by the South Dakota Constitution, all of us South Dakotans under 45 are members, including me! Where’s my pea-shooter?
The South Dakota Regiment boasts a military command structure, with Squadron Commanders, Troop Commanders, and Platoon Leaders, complete with insignia borrowed from the United States Armed Forces. The Regiment is recruiting medical specialists, sappers (to clear minefields in South Dakota?), pioneers (to camouflage positions), communications specialists (“a knowledge of Morse Code is preferred”), and armorers.
The “pioneers” who “camouflage positions” might be in charge of propaganda as well. The Regimental Pledge requires that members “shall hold no prejudice or animosity against any race, religion or ethnicity.” But the Regiment’s Facebook page responded to this summer’s controversy over the Confederate traitor flag with this post on June 25:
Now, now, we know that, in discussions of the traitor flag, “Southern heritage” is code for, “Why can’t black folks just keep their place?”
The South Dakota Regiment says it has held training days and a 5K Ruckmarch on July 11. Its next events are an August 15 Training Day, Weapons Qualification, and a visit from the “Colonel” to the Black Hills Troop, then a September 12 Training Day and Colonel visit to the Lewis & Clark Troop.
I don’t have a problem with folks who want to march around in the Hills and the sloughs playing bang-bang, as long as they stay hydrated, don’t point their guns at anything they don’t intend to kill… and don’t fly the traitor flag. But the layering of fantasy over their activities (see FB image of Predator attached to call for defense against July 4th ISIS attackers, or FB link to clips of Sergeant Major Plumley from We Were Brothers to show what South Dakota Regiment leaders are like), the idea that they constitute a defense force against—against what, again, fellas?—indicates the detachment from the real world that gun advocates like these suffer as they take us away from practical daily problem-solving in civil society.