Let me tell you a bit about myself. My name is Madelynn Frazier, I live in Springfield, Mo. I’m disabled. My hobbies include gardening and reading. I am also politically active. I supported Obama during the recent presidential election because of his support for peaceful foreign policy as well as sensible domestic policy.

The reason I mention this is my concern with a recent Missouri Information Analysis Center Strategic Report.

This report, entitled “The Modern Militia Movement” was distributed to law enforcement officials within Missouri. It contains information on radical militant groups and according to Lt. Hotz at the MIAC, was intended to “let law enforcement officers know what the trends are in the modern militia movement.” The report was put out by the MIAC, which is a “fusion center” created by the 911 Commission Act of 2007. These fusion centers, being set up all around the country, are tasked with coordinating different levels of law enforcement across the states and across the country.

My concern with this report is that it’s sophomoric presentation of facts unfairly and inaccurately characterizes certain peaceful political organizations as militant. I believe the sloppy manner in which the report makes its points could possibly lead well-meaning law enforcement officers to misinterpret common, peaceful political paraphernalia as a “red flag” indicating radical militarism. Law enforcement officers’ jobs are hard enough without being given misleading information about who they should be looking out for.

My contention is not that this report misrepresents those who are violent, but that it names activities and groups without making it clear that the vast majority of the people that make up these groups are in no way militant or violent. For instance, the report lists and displays the First Navy Jack Flag as a “Militia Symbol.” Perhaps some members of some militia who I’m not aware of display this flag as theirs, but until I read this report, the only time I’ve seen such a flag flown or displayed was by current or former Navy servicemen.

As a matter of fact, the entire U.S. Navy was instructed to fly this flag at the beginning of the War on Terror. Are they a violent, radical militia? Certainly not, but how would a law enforcement officer that had no prior knowledge of this flag know that? My grandfather served in the Navy during World War II, and I find it disturbing that he may be thought of for even a second as a radical militant for simply displaying the flag that so many of his fellow servicemen proudly fly.

This article likewise misrepresents and identifies by name certain political movements/organizations such as the Libertarian and Constitutional political parties, as well as the lobbying organization Campaign For Liberty. The names of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr, and Chuck Baldwin were also mentioned and the report stated that “It is not uncommon for militia members to display Constitutional Party, Campaign For Liberty, or Libertarian Party material.” Perhaps that is not an untrue statement, but it would seem to imply that these political organizations are somehow violent or militant, especially if one is not familiar with them. This article states that violent, radical militia members believe “You (law enforcement officials) Are the Enemy.” Maybe they do, I don’t know, I’ve never met one. But I know I take issue with having a peaceful man/woman that I supported for president being mentioned not only in the same document, but just a few paragraphs later.

These are just a few of the many examples of how this report takes what it represents as facts, and presents them so sloppily and carelessly, that an entirely new idea is formed. I hope in the future whoever is putting together these reports takes more care not to tread so close to slander. There is no excuse for misinforming our hard-working officers of the law, whether intentionally or not.