Militia of Montana leaders Friday called the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City “despicable and deplorable” and denied any link to suspects in the case.
“We went through all our records, our files, and we have nothing on these guys,” said militia co-founder Randy Trochmann.
The core of the Montana group - Trochmann, brothers David and John, and spokesman Bob Fletcher, spent Friday in Randy Trochmann’s Noxon home. They say they fielded 700 phone calls from the media and the public.
Blaming the explosion on militias would be “a little like saying when a Catholic commits a crime, we’ve got to close all churches,” Fletcher said. “A couple crazy people probably blew up that building and I think they should be hung.”
Fletcher, 52, admits MOM published a flier last month referring to significant past events on April 19, including the 1993 federal raid on the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas. He said a splinter group manipulated the fax publication to suggest the date would be remembered this year. It’s not MOM’s responsibility if someone took that as an encouraging violence, Fletcher said.
“Anybody can misinterpret anything,” he said.
Some residents of the dusty onestrip town along the banks of the Clark Fork River said Friday that militia leaders are about nothing but violence.
“They’re always preaching they would never do anything like this, but when they get you one-on-one, things are different. It’s scary,” said a woman in Larkin’s Waunegan, a local tavern, who asked that her name not be used.
Other residents laughed at the possibility the Montana militia could be linked to the Oklahoma bombing.
“It’s just a business,” said Mike Richter, 45, a self-described constitutionalist. “They are just selling fear and paranoia through tapes, book, and pamphlets.”
Fletcher cursed the notion and pointed to his 1970 green Volkswagen bug as evidence.
“Does it look like I’m making money from this?” he asked.
Bar owner Sharon Larkin and her husband, Larry, said they were sick of the militia giving their town a bad name.
“I’m tired of the whole damn shebang,” said Larry Larkin, 62, who has lived in Noxon since 1937. “We want them to move the hell out. I’ll help them pay for it.”