Armed Militia In Flint Arrives To Get Answers To Water Crisis, Gives Government Ultimatum

Perhaps this is the new normal, and apparently the Constitution and a famous speech provide for this protest.

An armed militia in Flint, Michigan, rallied over several days, and the group’s demands are simple: government officials should offer answers to the disturbing water crisis or it will force their hands by any means necessary.

Since the public outcry and increased calls for Governor Rick Snyder to resign or be arrested over the state’s alleged mishandling of the contaminated water in Flint, rallies have taken place in the beleaguered city. However, not many anticipated the arrival of gun-toting citizen protesters. On Sunday, over two-dozen members from the Genesee County Volunteer Militia gathered at City Hall, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Led by militia executive director Matthew Krol, the men, donning camouflage and sidearms and waving “Don’t Tread on Me” flags, yelled demands that the government provide transparency and answers over how the water became undrinkable.

“We’re here to defend this community. We’re not going to allow (the government) to step on the people of Flint any longer. If it means having to take up arms in defense… we will do that as well.”

Militias have been around for ages but have only made recent headlines. The Bundy standoff, aka Battle of Bunkerville in southeastern Nevada, and the 2016 Burns, Oregon, standoff over a federal land dispute are two in recent history.

Their actions are supported largely in part by the Second and Fourteenth Amendments, which grant the state (including citizens) the right to bear arms and provides equal protection under the law, respectively. The Second Amendment is what is playing out in the Flint water crisis and other recent standoffs.

“A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Arguably, Krol’s words echo President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863, with his wish “that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Initially, the militia’s presence bore the markings of a response against peaceful protesters. And based on the cast of notable surrogates who’ve expressed outrage over Flint’s dirty water, Matt Damon, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Michael Moore and others, men with sidearms who are staunch NRA supporters seemed out of place.

However, Krol cleared up lingering confusion pretty quickly. Although his group has more in common with the citizen militias in Oregon and Nevada mentioned earlier, the group’s presence is clear, according to Krol.

“This is not a racial issue, unlike some people last week tried to say. It’s a human issue.”

Earlier, Rev. Jackson called the city of Flint, Michigan, a “crime scene,” President Obama said the construction was “inexcusable,” and the Fahrenheit 9/11 director said leaders in the state purposely “lied” to the citizenry over the water contaminants, which are reportedly behind 10 Legionnaires’ disease deaths. According to a Washington Post report, as many as 87 cases have been diagnosed since June, two months after the city switched over its water service provider.

So far, there has been no law enforcement response to the militia, and civil protests are largely peaceful. Like the recent protests in other states, the government has chosen a muted strategy, likely due to public sentiment and the risk of armed confrontation.

Although officials say the city’s water supply shows decreasing levels of lead in the supply pipes, several experts are cautioning against consuming it until the “all clear” declaration is given. Unfortunately, there is no timetable in place. Meanwhile, the city and third-party donors are providing bottled water for local residents.

Still, another militia member said the situation in Flint is a “crime” and those responsible for the debacle valued money ahead of the welfare of the people they represent.

“The only color that was involved is green.”

[Image via Getty Images/Brett Carlsen/Stringer]

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