Dry Heat: The Arizona State Militia

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While covering the protest held on the road to Peppersauce, I observed a group of men wearing matching black shirts, khaki pants, caps and dark glasses observing the crowd. I approached some of the men and asked them if I could take their photograph. They pointed me to a bearded man and said I needed to ask him. I assumed he was the leader of the group. I introduced myself and asked him his name. He responded, “Colonel Kratos.” I knew he was no colonel at least in the military sense and something told me his name was not Kratos.

Colonel Kratos told me the group was part of the Arizona State Militia and they were there as security and nothing more. He would not let me know who they were providing security for but after watching the news and looking at photographs of the protest it appeared they were there watching over Russell Pearce and Gubernatorial candidate Frank Riggs who Pearce has endorsed.

I became curious about what the militia was doing there and their relationship to Pearce. You would think Pearce would have distanced himself from these groups after his friend J.T. Ready, an avowed Neo-Nazi and leader of vigilante militia patrols in the Vekol Valley area of Pinal County, murdered four innocent people before killing himself. Then there is Shawna Forde on death row for killing a man and his 9-year-old daughter. Shawna and two men had planned to rob the home to provide financing for the Minuteman American Defense (MAD) group of which she was a leader. Chris Simcox founder of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has been arrested for child molestation. What is scary about this is that Ready and Simcox have ties to important Republican politicians. Pearce is the first vice chairman of the Republican Party and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery once supported Simcox and the Minutemen.

I am not saying that the Arizona State Militia are white supremacists, in fact on their website they say that racism or discrimination based on race, sex or ethnicity will not be tolerated. Yes, they have a website and are on Facebook and I am saddened or horrified to say they have more “likes” than Copper Area Newspapers does.

I visited the website and their Facebook page and saw where Colonel Kratos posted and responded to posts. I also researched the name Kratos which actually comes from Greek mythology. Kratos was the God of strength, might, power and sovereign rule. Kratos is also a fictional video game character of the game “God of War” based very loosely on Greek mythology. The Colonel probably took the name from this game series. There were two others responding to posts, Colonel Reaper and Major Crichton. Yes, Crichton and Reaper are also video game and/or comic book characters.

The character of Kratos has been described as ruthless, merciless and savage. The creator of God of War said of the character Kratos, “I think he achieves the greater purpose which is to give players a character who they can play who really does just let them go nuts and unleash the nasty fantasies that they have in their heads.” Considering what some militia members have done in the past in Arizona, let’s hope that these militia characters can separate fantasy from reality while playing army in the Arizona desert.

Author’s Note:

I have been given the opportunity to express my opinion and viewpoints on politics, national, state, and local issues as well as life in general. I hope to inform you as well as entertain you, make you smile or make you mad. I will use humor, sarcasm and occasionally anger to express my views. My intention is to hold politicians accountable sometimes bringing some heat on them and if my views make you angry or hot, remember that like my humor, it is a dry heat. These opinions are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of Copper Area News Publishers.

John Hernandez (525 Posts)

John Hernandez lives in Oracle. He is retired and enjoys writing and traveling. He is active in the Oracle Historical Society. He covers numerous public events, researches historical features and writes business/artist profiles.


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