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A few suggestions for Mr. Kinder's next op-ed

Despite being confronted on numerous occasions about his misrepresentations of the controversial MIAC report, Peter Kinder continues to delight in sharing his very selective reading of the document.  I know that Kinder and his staff have very busy schedules that make it hard to get bogged down with the details, so I'm humbly offering these edits for the next newspaper that chooses to reprint his misleading and incendiary op-ed on the matter:

Militia report warrants a complete investigation

Friday, April 3, 2009
[Note: be sure to change the date for the next reprint]
By Peter D. Kinder

On March 20 March 14, reporters broke the astonishing news that a report from the [the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC), part of the] Missouri Department of Public Safety[,] was distributed to law enforcement agencies across our state[. This report] depicted Christians [members of the violent Christian Identity movement that think non-whites are “mud people”], [militant] anti-abortionists [like Eric Rudolph who take up arms in support of their beliefs], advocates for protecting [militia units who take it upon themselves to patrol] our borders and supporters of certain political candidates as potential "threats" to public safety.

The report was developed [researched in 2008 and written in very early 2009] by the Missouri Information Analysis Center [under the direction of my good friend, Van Godsey,] and was titled "The Modern Militia Movement." By title alone, the imagination conjures up images of commando renegades on remote outposts in secluded mountainous terrain.

However, while this "Modern Militia" report did touch on such radical ideologies [as noted above, plus people who planned to bomb the Southern Poverty Law Center, members of the Aryan Republican Army and people who wanted to assassinate a federal judge], the groups purported to be "threats" were supporters [were said to "most commonly associate with 3rd party political groups," such as] of such political candidates as Bob Barr and Ron Paul. There are certainly individual extremists in many religious and political groups (both conservative and liberal), but Gov. Jay Nixon and director of public safety John Britt  have created a dangerous precedent of profiling [the authors and individuals who approved the report used broad language suggesting that otherwise] lawful citizens [could be profiled] as threats to public safety simply based on [the "political paraphernalia or anti-government propaganda" they display that is most certainly protected by the First Amendment] their political or religious beliefs.

On [Last] Tuesday, Nixon and Britt said they stood by the content of the report, while both said they hadn't read it [nor have I]. Then, on [last] Wednesday, Col. Jim Keathley of the Missouri State Highway Patrol issued a statement saying the review process for future MIAC memos would be changed. Shame on Governor Nixon and Britt for making a noble public servant and iconic law enforcement leader like my friend Colonel Keathley take the fall for their bureaucratic and political failures. [If anyone should be blamed for this report, it should have been MIAC Director Van Godsey.]

Keathley, the men and women of the Missouri State Highway Patrol and law enforcement officials across this state put their lives on the line each and every day to keep our communities safe. We should honor these everyday heroes for their sacrifices and never allow them to be used in a political ploy.

By Thursday, as conservatives across this state made their voices heard, Nixon [noted that MIAC was formed by Matt Blunt and that no one in Nixon'ss administration saw the report before it was released] decided to pass the blame to the previous administration. This is  unacceptable [yet another unfortunate political reality for me]. I am [still] calling for Governor Nixon to place Britt on administrative leave pending a full investigation [of the information that has been diligently reported by our fine reporters].

All Missourians should rest assured that we are protected by the freedoms of our constitution and should never have to fear being monitored by their government based upon a person's race, place of birth, political beliefs or their spiritual convictions. Unfortunately, that confidence was shaken by the governor [a poorly-written report and the outrage we worked hard to foment]. Nixon remains ultimately responsible for his administration. Nixon should fully answer and apologize for what has been allowed to occur on his [and Matt Blunt's] watch.

Rush Limbaugh gave brief remarks concerning Missouri and this report:

"Remember we told you not long ago that the state of Missouri had told the highway patrol that if you see a bumper sticker for a third-party political movement it's obviously a militia group and you gotta be worried, like anybody for Ron Paul or anybody for pro-life, or anybody NRA, and it caused an uproar, so the Missouri Highway Patrol this week retracted a controversial report on militia activity and will change how such reports are reviewed before being distributed to law enforcement agencies. The highway patrol also will open an investigation into the origin of the report, which linked conservative groups with domestic terrorism and named former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin as dangerous reactionaries. The highway patrol's announcement followed a news conference in which Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, a Republican, suggested putting the director of public safety on administrative leave and investigating how the report was produced. So the fur flew out there over this, and they've rescinded it."  [General suggestion: If have any interest at all in being taken seriously, don't quote Rush Limbaugh about anything.  Just a good rule of thumb.]

These are just my thoughts on ways to tell a more complete story that I think your readers will appreciate.  I think that any additions I made to the word count will be offset by the deletion of the Rush Limbaugh quotes (which makes you look even more transparently partisan, btw). 

Take them or leave them.



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