Rent-a-Paramilitaries Freak Out Wisconsin
Josh Marshall, 8 July 2013 (hat tip: NC)
There’s been a battle royale up in Wisconsin over an effort to establish a big iron mining operation near Lake Superior, to be owned and operated by a company called Gogebic Taconite. The Republican legislature approved the mine in March over environmentalists’ objections. Some protests have been staged since the operation got started. But people started to get freaked out over the weekend when the company brought in what the Wisconsin State Journal calls “masked security guards who are toting semi-automatic rifles and wearing camouflaged uniforms.”
Now two state legislators are asking the company to withdraw the guards/paramilitaries. One of them, Bob Jauch, “said he was especially concerned that the guards are carrying high-powered rifles more appropriate for fighting wars than for guarding construction equipment in a scenic forest that draws scores of hikers and vacationers in addition to mine protesters.”
In general, although they sound rather timid, the legislators are correct. The amount of violent protest staged within the United States is minimal. The presence of overly military looking guards is far more likely to cause problems than to prevent them. It is one of the reasons why, although I don't have any issue with concealed carry permits, I am not overly enthusiastic with the open-carry crowd. But militarizing conflict has become a popular way to go these days.