The Missouri Libertarian Party stands for, among many other positive things, the peaceful resolution to political disagreements and conflicts. That is what we have today as the controversy surrounding the Missouri Information Analysis Center's "Strategic Memo" on militia activity comes to a close.
The memo, a training document for law enforcement officers throughout the state, stated that support for third political parties, including the Libertarian Party, and for specific Presidential candidates, including Bob Barr (Libertarian) and Ron Paul (Republican), could be an indicator that someone is involved in a violent militia group.
Today, Missouri Department of Public Safety Director John Britt sent a letter to the candidates named in the memo, acknowledging that references to specific political candidates or third party political organizations should not have been made and are unnecessary in the effort to stopping violent extremist groups.
Director Britt states in the letter: "In recognition of the mistaken inclusion of this information by the MIAC in its February 20, 2009 report on the militia movement, I have ordered that the offending report be edited so as to excise all reference to Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin and to any third-party political organizations. Additionally, you may rest assured that the report is not posted on any website maintained by the State of Missouri.
"The Missouri Department of Public Safety regrets any inconvenience or issues caused inadvertently by the unnecessary inclusion of certain components by MIAC in its militia report."
Missouri Libertarian Party spokesman Mike Ferguson welcomed the news as a positive development for everyone. "This is a case where the government has responded to the public's objection, reevaluated a controversial practice and responded by addressing the problem."
The Missouri Libertarian Party shares the Department of Public Safety's goal to keep our Highway Patrol Troopers safe as they perform the important and dangerous work of law enforcement. The party stands ready and willing to be part of any discussion that will help avoid conflicts like this in the future.
Libertarians were not alone in this effort. In addition to other political activist groups, including the Kansas City-based Liberty Restoration Project, State Representatives Chris Kelley (D-Columbia), Chris Molendorp (R-Belton) and Shane Schoeller (R-Springfield) were among those who led the discussion of this issue in the Legislature on behalf of the public.
The Missouri Libertarian Party extends its thanks to these legislators,and to any others we may not know about yet, for the attention to the issue at hand and for the leadership displayed in the House in protecting our right to speech free of governmental interference and profiling.
Most importantly, the Missouri Libertarian Party extends its gratitude to the Missourians who took the time and effort to speak out about this issue. Those who contacted their legislators and the Missouri Highway Patrol and expressed their concerns deserve credit for being involved in our governmental process; they helped bring about a positive development in our government today.
Link to PDF of letter from Director Britt to 2008 Libertarian Party Presidential Candidate Bob Barr: