Building Rapport with the Local Civilian Populace, a Primer for Militia Groups
(Someone asked my thoughts on militia organizations that post videos on Youtube in the Comments section recently. I tossed out a quick, but only partially tongue-in-cheek response, but some experiences this past weekend had HH6 and I discussing this very subject and she actually suggested this article….So, back to skull-stomping some sacred cows….I AM going to offend some people, specifically some hopefully new readers that I handed out the blog address to this weekend….If they read it and get sand in their clitoris, well…..gunfights aren’t happy places, folks….If they fit, pull up your big girl panties and drive the fuck on. I’ve never backed down from being offensive in this blog, and I’m not going to start now. This is, I’m pretty sure though, the first time I’ve named “names” though.–J.M.)
There is/was an Evasion/Survival Class scheduled for this coming weekend in Northern Idaho (it got cancelled, since every single person that said they wanted in, decided that maybe SERE classes in N. Idaho in January was outside their comfort zone….), so I’ve been in the area this week getting things ready for it. This weekend, as many readers may or may not know, there was a rather large gun show in Spokane, Washington. A SF buddy had a table at it, so we went along to help/hang out (I’m big on hanging out at gun shows and just shooting the shit…figuratively, although a gun show WITH a test range would be a fucking AWESOME idea. What could be better than hanging out in a place full of guns, some of them rare enough that I’ve never even seen one…and talk to people? I mean shit, I LIKE to talk).
One of the local militias, specifically the 65th Lightfoot was present, with a very large booth. One of their apparently senior members did actually stop by my buddy’s table and visit with me for a moment, rather politely, although I initiated the conversation (I’m kind of an outgoing fellow……sort of….). He was, to his credit, dressed relatively conservatively, rather than worn-out woodland-pattern BDUs.
The overall impression of the organization however, not just from my professional perspective, but even from HH6, was far from positive. We happened to walk past the 65th’s booth several times, with a VERY adorable (if I say so myself….fortunately, I don’t have to, since everyone that sees her says it for me…) toddler in our arms….Now, I accept that I’m a big, physically aggressive-looking dude and lots of people could be intimidated about initiating conversations with me. I get that. However, with a baby in tow, there was a natural avenue-of-approach to initiating a conversation with HH6, if not me, with the obvious potential of drawing the intimidating looking, obviously former military guy into the conversation.
Yet, other than the afore-mentioned representative, not a SINGLE member of the organization addressed us, with even so much as a “Good morning!” or even a “Fuck you very much!” In fact, at one point, as we walked by, the only conversation HH6 overheard coming from behind their tables was an argument over who was stupid for not remembering to bring the donuts. Seriously? The fucking donuts? Are you fucking LEOs?
Okay, now, before all the militia members out there get their panties in a wad, I’ve been to Tennessee and conducted a class with the 1st TN Rifles. While those guys have some work to do on their professional skills, which they know and acknowledged gladly, they are a well-organized group who put a LOT of effort into presenting a positive public image in their communities. I’m pretty sure the head of the TN Rifles would kick the shit out of his guys if he overheard them arguing, in front of the community and potential members, about god-damned donuts (J— if you wouldn’t, I’ll kick YOUR ass next time I’m down there, brother!)!
So, I KNOW there are well-organized, well-disciplined militia groups out there, of varying sizes. Good on you.
I’ve watched a LOT of videos on YouTube of militias training. That’s fine. YouTube has the potential to be a great marketing tool to getting people that are of like-mindedness to find your organization and make contact with you. However, as I mentioned in my reply to the commentator….make sure you actually do know what the fuck you’re doing before you post videos on YouTube…and that the members being videotaped present a professional image for your organization.
Here’s the rub folks….It’s a fucking insurgency. You HAVE to win the support and rapport of the local civilian populace in your area. You cannot shoot your way to success. The militia in this country, as organizations, have a very negative image in most people’s minds. A lot of this is, admittedly, disinformation on the part of the media and the regime. I get that. Far more of it however, is predicated completely, on militia organizers’ complete and total inability to run a professional fucking organization.
So, here’s my suggestions for publicizing your preparedness group/militia in the public eye.
1) Be friendly. I guarantee you, as my buddy Doc (he’s a retired 18D) noted this weekend, NO ONE walked by his table without me engaging them in conversation. I mean, EVERY SINGLE MOTHER FUCKER was greeted with “Hello! How are you today, young man/lady?” (Regardless of age. Wanna see a woman or a man in their 60s smile like they did when they were teenagers? Call them young!)
Even if they weren’t looking at Doc’s table, I fucking MADE them look at it, by engaging them in conversation. Now, granted, I’m a LOUD son-of-a-bitch, but that’s not the point. The point is, it’s customer service 101. Find some junior member of your militia unit that’s been a waitress and made a lot of money in tips, and put her in charge of training your PAO people in talking to people. Seriously.
Guys, it’s about building rapport, and it’s not hard. Go out to your local used bookstore, find a copy of Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” and memorize that fucker, then put it into practice. Give up, for one month, on making your people read obsolete fucking field manuals, like the 1984 edition of FM21-75 Individual Combat Skills of the Soldier and Patrolling (Yeah, the 65th had it on their table….Sorry guys, you made it WAY too easy….), and make them read Carnegie’s book. Be friendly.
2) Quit wearing fucking camouflage in public. Seriously. It’s called camouflage, because it helps you HIDE. Unfortunately, in a built-up area, in public, it makes you stand out. It makes you fit the stereotype that lots of Americans have, of fat, redneck hillbillies, in woodland BDUS, sitting around the campfire, chugging Jack Daniel’s finest, and cheap PBR, talking about how you’re gonna pull a Red Dawn on the Commie-Pinko-Towelhead-Jihadi motherfuckers.
Look like a god-damned professional organization. If you’re going to have a booth at a gun show, make every motherfucker (including the females….especially the females…..woodland-pattern BDU trousers would make a fucking Rodeo Queen’s ass look like an elephant’s ass) wear khaki slacks and a polo shirt, if not a fucking shirt and tie.
If you absolutely feel like you HAVE to wear UTILITY uniforms in public places….don’t wear the same ones you wear in the field. Have a brand-fucking-new pair set aside, just for that, that have been professionally starched and pressed, wear spit-shined boots, and have unit insignia. LOOK FUCKING PROFESSIONAL! Not like a bunch of dope-growers or meth-cookers, hiding out in the woods, who came to town to buy more Drano. I’m not one of those old-time NCOs that thinks a dirty uniform is a sign of a lack of professionalism by any stretch. In fact, I think a dirty uniform, in the field, is a sign of a unit that actually trains. Outside of the field environment however, having pride in yourself and your organization, and displaying that by wearing clean and pressed clothing to represent that organization IS a sign of professionalism.
3) Get involved in your community. Have your organization put on fund-raisers for shit unrelated to the militia. Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, fucking the Animal Shelter….ANYTHING that makes Joe and Jane Public (especially Jane Public!) feel good about donating money or time too, and be professional. Let people know it’s the militia doing the project, but don’t shove recruiting efforts in their face. If they’re a good fit for the militia, they’ll come looking. If they’re not, at least they’ll start having some positive images to associate with all the media/regime bullshit they’ve been spoon-fed.
4) Learn how to execute BASIC light-infantry tasks CORRECTLY. I also noticed that the 65th had a copy of Chris Larssen’s book, Light Infantry Tactics for Small Teams on their table. Now….it’s a good primer on the fundamentals of 7-8, in a reasonably well-written voice, that’s somewhat more engaging than FM 7-8 is (not as engaging as my writing voice of course, but then….Well, I’m fucking me, and no one else can really pull it off, since I write EXACTLY how I speak….unless I’m speaking to ladies and children, when it gets cleaned up to a crazy level….). I’ve also had the “opportunity” to see some of the 65th’s videos on YouTube….Guys, you did NOT understand what the fuck you read, because you were doing that shit WRONG! I’m not saying you need to have me personally come train you, and I’m just not interested in joining a militia unit, but for the love of God people, if no one in your unit has ever been in a leadership position in a fucking light-infantry unit, FIND someone who has, even if you DO have to pay him. You need someone who’s been a platoon sergeant or better, preferably in the Ranger Regiment, the 101st, or the 82d, preferably has a fucking Ranger Tab, and ideally, has some light-infantry foot-mobile patrolling experience. An SF NCO would, of course, be ideal, since well, it’s what we’re trained to do, specifically…teaching local indigenous defense forces to function.
5) If you’re going to sell shit at the gunshow, like gear, get something that you can just GIVE to little kids as they walk by. It doesn’t need to be expensive, but one thing SF guys figured out a LONG time ago is, if you get the kids on your side, the parents will follow. So, whether it’s a fucking balloon, a ballcap (I gave every single patrol cap Doc had away for free, to kids under the age of ten….every one. Some of the parents understood what I was doing and were cool with it, some offered to pay for the caps. I told them, it was a gift, because we believe in building rapport…and it worked. I had people come back three or four times buying stuff they weren’t going to get, because I was nice to their kids). Don’t talk down to the kids, but be nice (See a fucking pattern here?). Ultimately, building rapport with the civilian population and getting their support is about being a salesman and getting them to buy into the Cause.
6) Talk to people. This goes back to being friendly, which really, I can’t emphasize enough. Fucking engage people in conversations. Ask them how they’re doing. Don’t automatically bring it back to the militia/group/TEOTWAWKI/”Let’s Kill ‘Em All!” But talk to them. No one, and I do mean NO ONE, least of all the prospective female volunteers, and the wives of prospective male volunteers, and even less those of us who have actually killed bad people in gunfights, is impressed with the quiet, steely-eyed dealer of death act. It comes across as a scared shitless, shy, aluminum-eyed poseur image that turns the women off, and makes the rest of us laugh at you. Fucking talk to people.
7) On the female note….Don’t let the men in your organization talk down to females, member or not. Don’t let them make demeaning remarks about women, even if they “think” the female in question can’t hear it. She can…and if it was my wife, you’d be choking out your apology around broken jaw, missing teeth, and the muzzle of my fucking Glock (in their defense, I did NOT hear of this from any of the 65th people, but I’ve seen it and heard it about other men’s female companions at other gun shows, with other organizations….). If you’re there to conduct information operations and civil affairs, don’t fuck with the women. It’s not a chance to get laid, or meet your next ex-wife. “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy.” If she thinks you’re a bunch of fucking assholes, she ain’t gonna let daddy have fuck-all to do with you.
So, while I’ve obviously pissed off and offended the 65th Light Foot Militia of Northern Idaho, don’t feel too bad. I also offended two other people this weekend. One guy asked me if I had any SKSs. He about shit when I told him if I had one, I’d have thrown the piece of shit in the river (apparently, the SKS is also colloquially referred to as “The North Idaho Sniper Rifle” as a local gunshop owner told me a few days ago…), and when one guy asked if I had a Springfield XD, he got his feelings hurt when I told him I wouldn’t own one of the pieces-of-shit if you have it to me (seriously…..let’s take a Glock, and fuck it up by adding the single worst part of the 1911A1 to it…..what the fuck were they thinking?). Hopefully, if the 65th’s representative that I mentioned at the beginning is still reading (seriously dude, I hope you are. You actually impressed me and the missus more than the rest of your unit combined. Feel free to email me if you have questions, concerns, or comments about what I wrote. I’m a big boy.), he won’t get his feelings hurt, but will take it for the learning experience and teachable moment it is, and run with it.
For the rest of the readership, think of it as a 101 primer of building rapport within your community. The good part of it is, this weekend, with all my practice I got at building rapport, engaging the locals, etc, gave me the impetus to start working on some articles on Information Operations, building rapport with the local civilian population, and other civil affairs and PSYOP aspects of UW.
De Oppresso Liber!