The patriot movement, or whatever it’s called these days, is a huge, formidable force, ready and trained to meet any obstacle, any foe, anything. Just ask them. They’ll tell you. In fact, a good portion of the visible people in the movement, truth be told, are a lot like three guys named Tom, Dick and Harry.
You’ve got Tom, who says he’ll leave a pile of bodies on his front porch if anyone shows up to take his guns—but until then, he’ll be running his mouth on various blogs and honing his meme speed posting skills. His favorite kind of memes are the sheepdog ones. Well, that and anything with the words “III%” or “brother” on it. He runs a few groups on Facebook and makes sure to “vet” people before adding them; Tom’s pretty conscientious, so he checks to make sure they post memes and “liberty content” too before adding them. He likes to say it’s time to “take the country back,” to RISE UP AND GO FIGHT!!!!; most of his posts make you wonder if he somehow mixed up the concepts of “offense” and “defense” or is simply just lazy and/or instigating. He says he’s ready to go TEAR SHIT UP…just as soon as someone stands up to lead the rebellion. In the meantime, he’ll be on his porch waiting for someone to come take his guns.
Tom’s friend Dick spends his weekends wearing face paint and running through the woods in repeated iterations of basic stuff he already knows because it’s a much bigger self-esteem boost than actually learning something he isn’t currently familiar with. Dick thinks Tom is a lazy bastard, and yells at him to “get off the porch” and do “real shit.” Dick never met a tactical class or FTX he didn’t like, and he has all the best gear. His favorite saying is “Everyone wants to be a patriot until it’s time to do patriot shit.” And Dick is doing some REAL PATRIOT SHIT. His T-shirts, loudly proclaiming that he would totally END YOU if you try to take his guns, may not cover his 400-lb belly adequately but as he’ll tell you, he’s a force of nature. He even designed his own hand-to-hand combat style. Dick can kill you with one hand while eating Twinkies with the other. He says he learned how when he was in the SEALs, as a Ranger with “Force Recon Delta” while doing “clandestine missions for the CIA.” He’s in a ‘militia’ unit, and he publicizes all of his group’s activities because he says they don’t have anything to hide. His profile picture is him decked out in camo, holding a rifle and a machete with a surly look on his face.
Dick’s cousin Harry thinks both Tom and Dick are troglodytes. He’s a rally-goer and ‘fights for our rights.’ He’s at all the events, holding the signs and whatnot. He uses social media to browbeat people into calling and writing their elected representatives, because in his heart he believes that if we can just get the right guy into the White House, this whole crisis can be averted. He’s on Facebook too, but he’s usually networking and organizing the next event. Every few months or so, he posts a dramatic exit post in which he laments over the “state of the movement” and whines that he’s the ONLY ONE DOING ANYTHING, and threatens to quit. The post always nets a bunch of supportive “please don’t go, you’re so important” comments and eventually Dick ends up staying. His profile photo is him with his favorite presidential candidate, cheesing like a Cheshire cat.
Tom, Dick and Harry encapsulate a lot of things about the movement. Like it or not, we probably all know these guys; if we’re honest with ourselves, some of us need to admit we ARE those guys, at least to some extent. Now let’s talk about Stan.
Stan isn’t related to Tom, Dick or Harry; in fact, they probably don’t even know him that well. Stan doesn’t own any shirts or morale patches, doesn’t have any bumper stickers on his car, and doesn’t go to any rallies. Stan probably doesn’t even have Facebook; if he does, he uses it rarely, and mostly just lurks. Sometimes when people ask him what he’d do in a SHTF situation he looks a bit nervous and says, “Whatever I can, I guess.” He’s just a regular guy; loves his family, takes care of his kids, goes to work, and just lives his life. He’s pretty boring.
Except he’s not boring at all.
Stan** is part of a 7-person group, and he’s in charge of a very important job. He maintains resources all over his area, including 2 safe houses. He knows exactly how much food, water, and supplies his group needs, where the gaps are, and who knows how to do what in his group. He’s worked with the intelligence guy in his group to identify strategic resources in the area, and where the safest places are to store things they might need later. He has a network of contacts, skills, and abilities. Like Morgan Freeman in Shawshank Redemption, Stan is the guy that can get you things.
The other members of his group have other jobs; one of them is the secondary to Stan…and Stan is a secondary to someone else. His group—without a leader or figurehead—is all trained on security protocols for online communications, and they never let their ‘work’ environment cross over into their ‘regular’ lives.
Stan and his group have the capability to engage in a host of activities at a moment’s notice, wherever they happen to be when it’s required to act. They have plans and more plans; they practice those plans and each person understands their primary and secondary role. They don’t have a Facebook page or Twitter account, and they don’t talk about things they’ve done, even with the other members they did those things with. And…they’ve done some things.
Once they plastered posters stating that “TAXATION IS THEFT” all over their local college campus. They used Pet brand milk, as mentioned by an old school activist, to ensure that their handwork was stuck there forever. That was about 2 years ago, and they smile to themselves when they walk by the posters—all of which are still there.
Another time, they made little cards, about the size of a business card, with the words “Are you really free? Look around,” and put them in every single 12-pack of pop and beer in stock at their local grocery stores. Still another time, they made business cards for the 100 Heads Life and Casualty Company and put them on the car windshields of every elected official in the state legislature. LaVoy Finicum’s name was listed as the agent. When activities like these were finished, they were never spoken of again.
Stan’s group does not need attention, and prefers that no one know what they are, who they are, or what they’re doing. They know how to cover their online tracks, practice good tradecraft, mix technology with ‘analog’ old school methods, and just generally wreak havoc of the good variety. Two of them are even members of Moms Demand Action; they like to go to the meetings and get information so their group can mess with them later (such as volunteering to pass out pamphlets in the neighborhood and ensuring none of them actually reach their destination, or accidentally deleting the contacts database). Their group isn’t all the same color, and they don’t agree on a lot of things. They do, however, teach each other and work together.
All in all, Stan and his group operate in a world where no one gets to stand up and get recognized for their contributions. No lawmakers applaud them, no Facebook community puts up links to their exploits and lauds or condemns them; in reality, if anyone met Stan at a rally, they’d think, ‘gee, what a boring guy. It’s almost like he doesn’t even WANT liberty.” In reality, Stan dearly loves liberty, and he’s willing to set aside his own ego to help further its cause.
Which of the four men are the most effective? Who is most needed, most valuable?
We all are at least a little bit like Tom, Dick and Harry. A lot of us should be a lot more like Stan.
**Stan is obviously, like all the guys in this tale, more a composite than anything. The exploits of his group are mostly made up.