Early last year, an Ohio television station filed a brief report covering a mock National Guard drill in the town of Portsmouth. For its context, the training exercise envisioned a terror attack staged by “[t]wo school employees who are disgruntled over the government’s interpretation of the Second Amendment.”
After repeated, unsuccessful requests to see the training documents, a media watchdog finally issued a report of its own on Monday, outlining the logic behind staging a terror drill involving people who aren’t actually mobilizing to terrorize anyone.
The scenario for the Ohio National Guard’s 52nd Civil Support Team training, conducted in January 2013, imagined an incident at a junior high school where, after discovering a dead body (gunshot wounds) and numerous people sickened by ricin and mustard gas poisoning, guardsmen stumble upon a classroom where they discover this:
On the chalk board as well as the tables there were several statements about protecting Gun Rights and Second Amendment rights. Additionally a phone number was written on the chalk board with the label William “the boss” Pierce (USPER), 304-539-6221 Area code for Charleston, WV.
At the time of the training exercise, Portsmouth police chief Bill Raisin boosted the drill, telling WSAZ-TV such scenarios represent “the reality of the world we live in. Don’t forget there is such a thing as domestic terrorism. This helps us all be prepared.”
On Monday, journalism watchdog Media Trackers released its report on the training documents it had obtained, following up with local leaders who were none too happy to be questioned about the drill scenario. From the Media Trackers report:
Scioto County [Ohio] Emergency Management Agency director Kim Carver refused to comment, telling Media Trackers she was “not going to get into an Ohio Army National Guard issue that you have with them.”
Ohio National Guard Communications Director James Sims II suggested Media Trackers was “inferring” from the ONG document’s contents as opposed to “what’s actually in the report.”
After excerpts of the report were read to him, Sims said it was “not relevant” to understand why conservatives may feel unduly targeted by ONG’s training scenario.
“Okay, I’m gonna stop ya there. I’m going to quit this conversation,” Sims concluded. “You have a good day.”
Does that exchange put Media Trackers on some kind of watch list? Hopefully not, because the same report goes on to quote Chad Baus, spokesman for the very active Buckeye Firearms Association, who criticized the government for approaching domestic terrorism from a point of view that regards citizens who know their Constitutional rights as likely terrorists.
“[I]t is a scary day indeed when law enforcement are being trained that Second Amendment advocates are the enemy,” said Baus.