In the community

Citizen action group aiming to form militias and grand juries convenes at Vale library

VALE – A Texas group that believes the U.S. was founded on Christian principles and that every county needs a grand jury and a “lawful militia” to hold elected officials accountable when they violate the U.S. Constitution met recently at Vale’s Emma Humphrey Library.

According to Kim Wiggins, a Vale locksmith who reserved a room at the Vale library, the group met Wednesday, March 6.

Tactical Civics, a national group, had initially planned to meet at Chavelita’s Taqueria for those interested in a “lawful, peaceful, and permanent solution” in holding elected officials accountable who they believe violate the U.S. Constitution.

Amid backlash over the group’s intentions, Tactical Civics scrapped plans to meet at the restaurant. The group’s local coordinators did not respond to requests for comment about plans to meet in Vale after it scrubbed the meeting at the restaurant.

There appeared to be no public announcement of the change of location to the library.

Wiggins, who declined to comment on how many people attended the meeting, said the Malheur Enterprise vilified Tactical Civics by identifying the organization as a “militia group” in a headline. Wiggins said when people hear the word militia, they think of hate groups. Wiggins said a militia would be much like a local fire department. He also noted that militias are written into the U.S. Constitution.

In a video on the Tactical Civics website, the group intends to form county chapters that establish a “lawful militia” to “bear the sword of the grand jury.”

Wiggins said Tactical Civics does not want the local chapter to discuss its meetings with the media. He said the first of four phases, detailed in the Tactical Civics literature, is for the county to form a grand jury and militia.

David Zuniga, Tactical Civics founder, said in an email Tuesday, March 11, that the organization’s general suggestion is that public statements, from posters to advertisements, must be issued only after approval at the national level. He said individual chapter leaders decide which journalists to welcome to meetings.

“The world of journalism has become controlled by a very small number of owners and market-makers, informed and often parroting increasingly fascist public servants at every level from school boards up, which are the natural result of criminogenic Washington DC,” Zuniga said.

Zuniga said Tactical Civics calls out the “very power-mad D.C criminal class,” and that does not always sit well with “fascistic types” or with their “weaponized journalist shills” who might attend a Tactical Civics meeting. With that, he said some groups might be on guard against reporters with that type of agenda. Nonetheless, he said it’s clear “which side of that divide” the Enterprise is on and that he did not think a member would “shun” the newspaper from attending a meeting.

Wiggins said Oregon already has grand juries, which, according to state law, are citizens selected from the same jury pool who report for regular jury service. A grand jury assesses evidence a prosecutor presents to determine whether someone committed a crime and should be charged. Wiggins said these grand juries would be more “investigative.” 

According to Zuniga, the group is working on an artificial intelligence mobile app that would scan proposed state and federal legislation for violations of the Constitution. Those bills that run against the Constitution would notify the lawmakers involved with a warning that if the bill moves forward, they could face an indictment.

The group also wants to expand the U.S. House from 435 to over 6,000.

Wiggins said Tactical Civics, which he joined six weeks ago, is a group that “supports the Constitution.”

Jeff Calhoun, listed as a regional coordinator, said on the website that Tactical Civics has a “peaceful” plan rooted in “popular constitutionalism.”

On its website, Tactical Civics describes itself as a private Christian organization that believes the U.S. is under “Communist occupation” by politicians in Washington, D.C. The group said the country is a “republic of sovereign states” founded on Christian principles.

Tactical Civics officials said the organization has chapters in nearly 20 counties in Oregon.

Todd Fuller, Vale city manager, said it does not appear Tactical Civics has any future meetings planned at the library.

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