Black Helicopters and the Morning Militiarnby Sarah J. McCarthyrnPeople in other cities, said an Army spokesman, don’t getrntheir feathers ruffled during midnight helicopter invasions.rnWhat is it about Pittsburghers that caused them to pour intornthe streets in their underwear during recent treetop antiterroristrnmaneuvers? Nine Army helicopters swooped into Pittsburghrnone midnight in June, complete with the sounds of mock gunfirernand explosions that shook the ground. “In my grandma’srnneighborhood,” said Kelly, “people laid down in the streets.rnThe noises came in through the open windows. The helicoptersrnwere flying so low you could’ve hit them with a broomrnhandle. They thought the communists were coming to takernover, or that it was aliens!”rnTimothy, the owner of LaDolce Vita Sweet Shop, said hernwasn’t surprised to see masked soldiers sliding down ropes ontornrooftops from helicopters. “They’ve been doing extractionsrnaround here for a long time,” he said, referring to Pittsburgh’srnmissing persons. One woman, as she peered out her apartmentrnwindow in the wee hours at the unmarked black helicopters,rnsaid, “Oh my God, the militia was right!” On the other hand,rn”These people are a bunch of crybabies,” decided GrandparnBup, a World War II veteran. “They should’ve felt the groundrnshake when a 3,000 pound bomb was dropped on London.”rnThe helicopter exercises, conducted by the U.S. Army SpecialrnOperations Command based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,rnwere to have continued all week but were promptK’ canceledrnafter the public outcry. Army spokesman LieutenantrnColonel Ken McGraw said similar training had been conductedrnin other cities, including Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, andrnDetroit, with few complaints.rnSarah /. McCarthy writes from Pittsburgh.rnAccording to the local scuttlebutt, the Army is concernedrnthat conditions in certain cities are ripe for racial conflict. Pittsburghrnhad several serious racial incidents involving blacks andrnthe police in 1996, beginning with the death of Jonny Gammage,rna cousin of Pittsburgh Steeler Ray Seals, when he wasrnstopped by suburban police for a traffic violation.rnThe morning after Pittsburgh’s helicopter invasion, TomrnMarr, a Philadelphia talk show host, said that invariably inrnthese situations the “black helicopter crowd” comes out of thernv/oodwork, spreading rumors that the Pentagon is ready to aimrnits guns at American citizens. In Pittsburgh, listeners to JimrnQuinn’s Morning Militia talk show were primed with a healthyrnskepticism to just say no to black helicopters.rnAt 6:00 A.M. on weekdays, Quinn’s Morning Militia listenersrnare burrowed under their covers like friends around a campfirernlistening to ghost stories—only Quinn engrosses his listenersrnvv/ith right-wing conspiracy theories. It’s trendy to trash rightvyingrnradio—no one wants to be part of what Al Gore calls “thernextra chromosome crowd”—but just like kids who want to hearrnWhere The Wild Things Are read over and over, listeners findrnthat conspiracies can be fun.rnQuinn has regular callers, such as Larry Nichols, a Clintonrnappointee to the Arkansas Development Finance Authority,rnwho usually calls from somewhere in hiding. Like many rightwingrnactivists, Larry fears for his life. Sounding a bit panicky,rnhe called the other morning to tell Quinn that there had beenrnanother “Arkancide,” the name for all those untimely and suspiciousrndeaths around Arkansas that look like suicides. Thernnewest Arkancide, claimed Nichols, was one of his “witnesses,”rnand he would call back the next morning to tell us who it was.rnStay tuned.rn16/CHRONICLESrnrnrn