And yet, in the end, she writes of Love, of the would-be murdererrnwhose hand is stilled by “that suffusion of empathy whichrnsome call God, some call weakness.” She closes Snow Manrnwith Geronimo’s chilling plaint: “I think I am a good mair, butrn. . . all over the world they say I am a bad man.”rn”That applied not only to Robert but also to the senators,” shernexplains. “Many of us think of them as bad people. They’rernnot—the system makes monsters out of people.”rnHer revolutionary model is the Zapatistas of Chiapas, Mexico,rnbut Ghute need not look far for an expression of dirt-road patrioticrnresistance that is every bit as authentic, if not more so: forrnshe is the cofounder and indefatigable secretary of the 2ndrnMaine Militia (450 members) and a stalwart of the smaller localizedrnBorder Mountain Militia.rnIf a rat deserts a sinking ship, what do we call those brave soulsrnwho climb aboard and start bailing? Carolyn started the 2ndrnMaine after the Oklahoma City bombing, when “it started tornlook bad for militias. I wanted to give them a good name. Irnthought this was really cool, there was a lot of potential, and Irnwanna make sure this doesn’t die. Don’t hide: They’re all shy,rnthese were the people who sat in the corner in school. Get outrnand be proud, fly your flag.”rnSo Carolyn and an activist from the leftist Labor Party organizedrnthe 2nd Maine Militia. Their early meetings were a truernrainbow coalition. There were “guys in camo, hippies, bikers,rnold ladies. Republicans, Democrats, Greens, Marxists, Libertarians,rnJohn Birchers: It was so cute!” says Carolyn with delight.rnWliat do they have in common? “They’re all trying to makernsense of this. You talk to them, and they all sound sort of similar:rnThe only thing that seems different is the informationrnthey’re getting.” Much of that information now comes fromrnCarolyn, who as secretary fills the mailboxes of her comradesrnwith articles from the Nation, Shooting Times, and other publicationsrnranging from mainstream to the sort of sarnizdat thatrnwould hurl J. Edgar Reno into a tizzy.rnAmong the 2nd Maine’s first projects was a raid on the Mainernstatehouse. One hundred and fifty militia men and womeirrnconverged in Augusta. “We’re screaming ‘We the People! Wernthe People!'” recalls Carolyn. “It was so cool.”rnAlas, a few Earth First! monkeywrenchers showed up andrntaped a sign reading “Augusta: Capital of Corporate Terrorism”rnover the portrait of former Governor and Union Army herornJoshua Chamberlain, thus scotching any chance of being idealizedrnin a Ken Burns docimientary.rnThe 2nd Maine got a bit too big for Carolyn’s taste: “My idearnwas have it be tribal: Different people start their own militias allrnover the place and then we get together to do a big thing. Likernin the Revolutionary- War. People can develop flieir own style,rntheir own neighborhood. People don’t want large organizationsrn—they won’t go, especially the country people don’t wannarnsit under fluorescent lights and eat healthy snacks and raisernmoney for petition drives.”rnEven in militias, she found, the articulate —”the professionalrnclass—would dominate. The conservative [which she uses as arnsynonym for working-class] guys want to come and shoot theirrnguns and while they shoot they talk. They stop, they talk, theyrnshoot: They’re doing something. If they get a moment wherernthey don’t want to talk they shoot. It’s not like thev’re sittingrnfliere staring at each other waiting to have t h i s . . . thing.”rnThe 2nd Maine and Border Mountain militias are nothingrnlike the yokelish death squads that haunt the condominiumrndreams of Morris Dees and Hollywood scenarists. MichaelrnChute calls the Border Mountain “the militia of love.” It marriesrnthe rural gun and shooting culhire with the best of the doyour-rnown-thing hippie ethos. It proclaims itself “no-wing,” forrnas Carolyn writes, “It is my deepest wish that the left, right, andrnall in between stop pointing horizontally when they say ‘enemy’rnbut look up at that faceless elite.”rnNo-wing militias “are not right-wing and we are not Socialistsrn. . . [W]e do not want Centralized Power of any kind. We do notrnwant a GIANT THING that industrializes people or treatsrnthem as a mass. We like having a BIG Constitution. But morernlocal economies, regional, flexible, human.”rnThe Chutes are not theocrats or racial separatists; Michaelrnand Carolyn are organizing a multi-militia gathering in Mainernnext summer to protest the drug war, no-knock searches, andrnthe “undeclared martial law being practiced on our urbanrnbrothers and sisters.” She dreams of a coalition between ruralrnwhites and urban blacks: After all, the drug war has filled thernprisons with the latter, and the coming gnu-control war will introducernfarm boys to this emerging growth industry.rn”W; e don’t see how dangerous the lossrnof small town life is,” Chute insists.rn”The government is going to try to take away our guns,” shernpredicts, and “All of us naughty INDEPENDENT Yankeesrnwill thumb our noses at this. So now we’ll be prime prison materialrn. . . I personally promise that if someone comes to botherrnme about my guns, I SHALL bite ’em in the ankle and rip off atrnleast one ear and curse their tribe for twenty and one centuries.”rnGun control hits all her buttons; it opens the Chute, yournmight say (if only her name were not pronounced “Choot”), asrnplacelcss yuppies and the regime they serve seek to strip ruralrnpeople of a traditional American right. Michael and Carolynrnhave lived with guns all their lives: She remembers, “Mv sixthgradernteacher used to let the kids bring their hunting rifles tornschool and lean them against the wall. My husband bought arnreally good shotgun from a kid in the hall at Sacopee ValleyrnHigh. I used to carry a huge hunting knife and unopened packrnof cigarettes in my pocketbook. I never intended to use eitherrnone, but I’m the kind of gal who if you tell me I shouldn’t do arnthing, I shall do it (unless it is a cruel thing). If I were a youngrnkid in high school today, I would have an unsmoked joint and arngun in my purse, because you tell mc I can’t. I would bernsearched, then handed over to the police.”rnIt is among Carolyn’s greatest insights that the conflict betweenrn”the professional people” and the natives in Maine mirrorsrnthat between indigenous people and rich outsiders elsewherernin the world. The roofless espresso-addled consumersrnnrasquerading as the left in America get misty-eyed over foreignrnpeasants fighting the big landowners and multinationals, butrnthey hate and fear the American working class and peasantn,’, especiallyrnwhen Jethro has a gun. Part of this owes to the uppermiddle-rnclass upbringing of the Java Left}’: Everything he knowsrnabout life in the wilds outside Searsdale he learned on TV; viz.,rnthat people who never went to college are ponytailed wife-beatersrnwho lynch uppity blacks. The old missionary impulse is alsornat work: Rigoberta Menchu is so much more tinglingly exoticrnthan Robert Drummond.rnNOVEMBER 1999/23rnrnrn