Pledging Allegiance to the Militia
For all you able-bodied American males out there, ages 17 to 45, who think you’re still civilians, an intense young man from out of town came through the Valley a few nights ago with a message he hopes will shake you out of your suburban stupor.
“You’re in the militia now, and you’re being called up to defend America in her hour of need.”
This comes from Dean Compton, a name that has yet to be blazoned in the national media.
But if Compton accomplishes one-tenth of what he has promised, he’ll soon be better known than David Koresh or Randy Weaver.
Hailing from tiny Shingletown, Calif., Compton is the head of the National Alliance of Christian Militia, and its non-Christian partner, the National Alliance of United States Militia.
Unlike most of us, who go about our daily lives assuming that things are as they appear to be, Compton has read the fine print in his contract with his government.
And he wishes to bring to our attention Title 10 of the United States Code, which defines the structure of the armed forces. Under Section 311, “Militia: composition and classes,” it says all males of the above-mentioned class belong to something called the “unorganized militia,” obliged as citizens to defend America in its hour of need.
And the message from our commander--Compton--is that the hour of need is now.
Compton believes that America is in the worst crisis of its history--a result of the government’s connivance in drug trafficking and illegal immigration--and that he has been called to defend the nation.
He has vowed to mobilize the “unorganized militia” across the land and lead a force 250,000 strong to the border to do what the government will not--seal it off, shoulder-to-shoulder.
Compton’s national itinerary led him to Tarzana recently, where he was a guest speaker of the Granada Forum, a Valley-based organization that holds regular meetings to keep its members informed--and spread the general alarm--about how far the corrosion of the U.S. Constitution has progressed.
The Granada Forum is a little slippery to define. It is neither a militia nor a “state sovereign” group, as news articles have characterized it, said the woman who asked for a $5 donation at the door.
She would not give her name, her reluctance precipitated by the misquoting of her husband in a previous newspaper article, she said. But she spoke freely about the Forum, asserting that it is no more than an educational group whose members tend to be serious constitutionalists.
According to the news clips, past speakers have talked about the evils of federal gun control and property forfeiture laws.
There was a full house for Compton, with about 120 members filling the meeting hall at St. Innocent’s Orthodox Church on Lindley Avenue.
They were a diverse group, both old and young, some trimmed and buttoned to precision, a few in cowboy or military motifs, but most decidedly just San Fernando Valley casual.
One member, a candidate for the 45th Assembly District, passed out his card, designed as a mock license to carry a gun: “Call 9mm, not just 911,” it said, a reference to a popular pistol caliber.
Others bore more moderate political expressions, from a “Buchanan for President” T-shirt to an “I Like Ike” button.
But by the end of the night, all stood at Compton’s exhortation to show their allegiance to the militia.
Compton was introduced by Allen Brandstater, a Glendale political consultant and host of a KIEV radio talk show. Brandstater has had Compton on his show and left no doubt about his own sentiments, contemptuously recalling his reply to a critical caller who asked if he intended to join the border operation.
“I gave a very simple reply. I said, ‘You’re damn right I am,’ ” Brandstater said to a loud ovation.
Compton, wearing a black bush hat and a gold crucifix around his neck, introduced himself modestly as “a nothing, like 260 million nothings in this country.
“As you listen to me talk tonight, you’ll find out I’m not well-spoken.”
He proved that, frequently breaking sentences in the middle, bouncing from topic to topic, stringing together non sequiturs and mixed metaphors on a cosmic scale.
“Let me explain about our friends across the border,” he said at one point. “They were made in the image of almighty God, just like you and I were. . . . The person that comes to this country, just like the guy who comes to the door and asks for a hand, they are welcome to all I have. [But] if you sneak through the window in the middle of the night, I’m going to drop them on the other side.”
Despite the murky analogies, Compton had no trouble persuading this crowd that America’s Armageddon is here.
Death was woven throughout his theme, and Compton contemplated his own in the context of Waco and Ruby Ridge.
“Now the federal government, through its anonymous sources, has come to us and said, ‘The federal government may execute Americans that are trying to defend their country.’ How many people believe that the federal government may try to do something like that?”
Most hands went up across the room.
“The New World Order that you’re going to hear about is going to feed, and it’s going to feed on you. And the lives of your children. There is no free American going to be allowed to stand under the new rules of society. We don’t fit in.”
Americans who think they are free should consider the cattle on his ranch, Compton said.
“Boy, I’ll tell you what, when those cattle are up there feeding, they’re the freest thing there is. . . . Two days later, they’re hamburger.”
A few times, Compton spoke of the news media, placing me and most of my ilk firmly among the enemies of the nation.
“There are press people here and I want you to hold their feet to the fire when you start listening to this on the news tomorrow,” he said.
I sat in the back of the room, trying unsuccessfully to be inconspicuous as heads turned my way.
As the meeting began to break up, a man with searing blue eyes couldn’t wait to hold my feet to the fire.
Without identifying himself, he said that although he didn’t know me personally, he knew some of my colleagues and most of them are traitors, citing a couple of prominent ones by name. He instructed me to tell them he said so.
I hereby do so. But I think that will have to be enough for my role in the campaign.
I have to admit, I don’t hear America calling.
And I suspect that if I did, I’d hear something like: “Oh, gimme a break, you guys.”
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get the day's top news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.