𝗣𝗢𝗟𝗜𝗖𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝗢𝗨𝗥 𝗢𝗪𝗡: 𝗣𝗿𝘂𝗻𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗧𝗿𝗲𝗲, 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘁 𝗺𝗮𝘆 𝗙𝗹𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗵
“𝘌𝘷𝘪𝘭 𝘥𝘰𝘦𝘴 𝘴𝘦𝘦𝘬 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘱𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘳 𝘣𝘺 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘵𝘩…”
“…𝘰𝘳 𝘣𝘺 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘯𝘰𝘤𝘦𝘯𝘵.”
— 𝗦𝗽𝗼𝗰𝗸, 𝗠𝗰𝗖𝗼𝘆; 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿 𝗧𝗿𝗲𝗸 𝗦𝟯𝗘𝟰: “𝗔𝗻𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗱𝗿𝗲𝗻 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗱”
𝘼𝙇𝙇 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙀𝙑𝙄𝘿𝙀𝙉𝘾𝙀 𝙏𝙊 𝙎𝙐𝘽𝙎𝙏𝘼𝙉𝙏𝙄𝘼𝙏𝙀 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝘾𝙊𝙉𝙏𝙀𝙉𝙏 𝙊𝙁 𝙏𝙃𝙄𝙎 𝘼𝙍𝙏𝙄𝘾𝙇𝙀 𝘾𝘼𝙉 𝘽𝙀 𝙁𝙊𝙐𝙉𝘿 𝘾𝙊𝙇𝙇𝙀𝘾𝙏𝙀𝘿 𝙃𝙀𝙍𝙀.
Long have I waited… just shy of 20 years, now. That long ago I was 17 years old, young and naive enough to accept a mission that had been offered to me; a mantle to uptake. The message, in a nutshell, was simple: “War is coming. Prepare.” Not just myself, but others as well.
Logistics, knowledge, intel, experience, and the glaring lack thereof (especially at that age) notwithstanding, there was a problem: The circumstances, as they had been described to me, were at the time inconceivable. It was 2004; the GWOT machine was just getting into high gear, and the USA did not resemble its current self; its people were by and large united, especially coming off the heels of the September 11th attacks.
How in the fucking hell was I supposed to convince ANYBODY that they needed to reprioritize and get themselves situated to be ready for what was coming? For what today seems 1000% more likely than it did back then? There was no way. I thought it sounded crazy; surely others would think I was insane. I called it the Sarah Connor Effect. That’s not to suggest I developed a messiah complex or something; I didn’t. I accepted that we can’t save everyone a long time ago. We can’t change that; Stressing out over shit you can’t change will kill you.
But along with that, I begrudgingly accepted the reality that people weren’t ready to hear or think about what I was dwelling on. So, between that and not knowing where or how to begin finding allies or identifying enemies, in my frustration I sought advice. It was some of the best advice I would ever receive in my life, still to this day: “Your friends and enemies will make themselves apparent to you when you are ready to meet them. You will know them when you see them, and they will know you, and everything will fall into place and proceed naturally.”
In the meantime, I reasoned: I can’t presume to worry about or guide others while I myself have so much to learn; I didn’t know shit. So I endeavored to get myself up to speed, minding the advice that others would come when the time was right. There is still much to learn, despite how far I’ve come.
I knew I would need access to certain people, knowledge, and equipment; I took a job that would provide access to those things, and a means to use all of them in a manner towards which I was naturally inclined (namely, helping and protecting people) while living a “normal life” in the event that what was foretold never came to pass, that the time and effort wouldn’t be wasted. All the while I remained attentive, watching both the times and how people reacted to them.
So it’s important to point out here, that unless we’re speaking particularly on the subject of LE, I am never talking to you in that capacity in any of my writings; Rather, merely as myself. Just one of the guys that shares many of the same interests, morals, and values as many of you.
As more and more people were in their own time seeing the writing on the wall and coming to the realization that the horizon was in fact starting to look dark and that no one was coming to save them, I watched as they gravitated towards the 2A circles. Not just for the hardware and software, but for like minded individuals as well.
In the meantime, I found that the advice was right: I too would come to find others; my path took me straight to some of the best and brightest among those I sought, many of whom I am blessed to truly call friends now: those who would step forward, and those who have (in varying capacities) chiefly among them. The enemy would stand and be counted on their own accord in due time, just as well.
It is remarkable to see you all finally coming together. It is as relieving as it is foreboding to see that you’re finally here. No matter what you call yourselves, be it militia, prepper network, minutemen, mutual assistance group, armed citizens, whatever. You have no idea how much you are needed. Watching all of you form into a network of nodes covering varying areas of expertise seeking to assist each other in self mobilization… Finally. The troops have arrived.
I commend your efforts, and encourage you to continue striving towards the best form of readiness and capability you’re able to muster; it is the impetus for all that I do, for every piece of content I’ve written: To facilitate that pursuit (even from behind enemy lines), for those who would; To galvanize America’s last line of defense against an ever encroaching adversary that works tirelessly to destroy our way of life, having revealed itself in broad daylight and without shame.
That’s why, when I first heard of the Appalachian Ranger Association, I applauded it. I supported it. I wanted to believe in it and its ability to reach its outwardly stated goals. Although I would strongly suggest against seeking the level of publicity and exposure the ARA had since managed to obtain as it came up (seriously, if you’re telegraphing your numbers, capability and reach on social media platforms, you’re fucking retarded), for many of us it was refreshing and reassuring to see that something like that could be done, and apparently done right!
As it turned out, things with the ARA were not all that they seemed. On the surface, a steadfast collective of voluntary protectors, but the longer I observed the more things started to not smell right. There were hints, early on. Little things that tipped me off that something shady was going on down in Knoxville, TN. But nothing I could speak or act upon. Again, it was too soon. Too many had been fooled into supporting the organization, and I had little to substantiate my suspicions.
I knew then that if I spoke against it, I would be on the receiving end of a deluge of hostile backlash, dismissively branded as a ban state cop that didn’t think citizens should be permitted to come together in arms and train in a coordinated fashion. Patently false, but no less likely that such a response was in store for me had I lacked discipline and struck out prematurely. I wouldn’t ignore that gut feeling though (and it’s a big gut, amirite?) that something was off about the ARA, or at the very least its leader. All I could do was continue to quietly observe.
But by that point, playing the long game was something I had gotten used to and quite good at, having won it a few times along the way. So I knew I would again have to bide my time and wait for others to see the same thing I did and realize, something was amiss. That it wasn’t just the overreaction of some wayward blue state mentality. I can say now that my patience surely paid off. Now there’s feedback. Now there’s witnesses. Now there’s PROOF that corroborates my suspicions. Those of us watching have compared notes, and we arrived at the same conclusion: The ARA and its leader Mark are non-starters for the greater community.
𝗪𝗛𝗘𝗥𝗘 𝗧𝗛𝗘𝗥𝗘’𝗦 𝗦𝗠𝗢𝗞𝗘…
𝘼𝙇𝙇 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙀𝙑𝙄𝘿𝙀𝙉𝘾𝙀 𝙏𝙊 𝙎𝙐𝘽𝙎𝙏𝘼𝙉𝙏𝙄𝘼𝙏𝙀 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝘾𝙊𝙉𝙏𝙀𝙉𝙏 𝙊𝙁 𝙏𝙃𝙄𝙎 𝘼𝙍𝙏𝙄𝘾𝙇𝙀 𝘾𝘼𝙉 𝘽𝙀 𝙁𝙊𝙐𝙉𝘿 𝘾𝙊𝙇𝙇𝙀𝘾𝙏𝙀𝘿 𝙃𝙀𝙍𝙀.
When I first made contact with Mark, the ARA’s leader, our first conversations were amicable; we apparently saw eye to eye on things, and he’d even told me “I really enjoy the conversation, and I can tell you’re a good man,” after having said my own page was phenomenal and to keep up the excellent work. After that we had a brief but friendly back and forth dialogue. I thought that was cool, and it looked like things were off to a good start. That was last year.
Trouble with him started about a month later after I posted one of my gear modules. I had seen elsewhere on social media a couple of newbs in the gear circles asking where and how they should mount and carry handcuffs on their kit; the response was almost unanimous, regardless of whether those answering were LE or not: “What do you need cuffs for? You planning to take prisoners? Where are you gonna keep them?”
So I addressed this and said in my module, don’t worry about cuffs on your kit, chances are you have neither the facility or paperwork to properly detain someone and document why you took their freedom away; if you need cuffs as a mission requirement, it’s more likely that someone that knows the when why and how of taking prisoners will issue them to you and explain the tactics and lateral limits thereof. This also mitigates an ill-fated would-be lone wolf, knowing they’ve got cuffs, looking for a reason to use them just because. You can go back and look at the module as it was originally written and see for yourself (Gear Part 6: Overt First Line, posted August 5th 2022)
Personally (outside of work), I don’t carry cuffs on my kit. Priorities of work during Matters of Contingency dictate that I am responsible for me and mine long before I take responsibility for prisoners, and all that the responsibility entails; I would imagine this was common sense. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered Mark talking shit in the comments of some random post made by some random cocksucker, and twisting my words in the process; “Don’t ever train or use handcuffs because only police have ever detained anyone,” he had inaccurately quoted me in saying.
Well. That’s not what I would have expected from someone I’d had such a good rapport with previously; the fuck was his problem? Why didn’t he approach me directly to discuss why he disagreed or determine what I meant and why, if he wasn’t sure? That is after all what he demands of those that have a problem with him. I would later come to find that Mark lacks the fortitude for such things.
Despite being falsely accused of thinking that only LE should be allowed to have or train with cuffs (I’ve never said such a thing), I resolved to be the better person and approach him directly to find out for myself. Mark wouldn’t have responded if I asked him directly out in the open because “the ARA doesn’t argue online”; Mark just makes disingenuous drive-by commentary and pretends it didn’t happen later.
I asked if something about my post with the bit about handcuffs rubbed him the wrong way. He said “as an LEO of 8 years,” that I was wrong about cuffs and he wasn’t going to argue. He also said that “down in Appalachia,” citizens have the right to make lawful arrests or be appointed as special deputies as per the needs of the Sheriff.
It’s worth noting here that, having claimed 8 years in LE, Mark would never disclose where or in what capacity he served in detail, and it would later come to light that he possessed zero credentials or certifications in any of the localities he claimed to work in, in any capacity he claimed to work, for any period of time he claimed to be in LE; 2, 8, 10 years, depending on who was asking.
After 14 years in LE myself, I try to avoid using them if I can when I do have them on me at work. I’m not about locking people up for petty shit, and then having a mountain of paperwork to do while babysitting some asshole for petty nonsense. And really, a cop with one year on the job in this sociopolitical time would know that. So for Mark to lean on “8 years” of experience and come out swinging on that topic was a little suspicious.
Let’s put aside for a moment that the whole “as per the needs of the Sheriff” part substantiated what I said about how realistically speaking, someone that knows the when why and how of taking prisoners will issue them to you and explain the tactics and lateral limits thereof. Two things stood out about Mark’s behavior here: First, his stonewall attitude in saying he wasn’t going to argue (he never responded to any PM I sent him after that and it’s been over a year), and second, the “down here in Appalachia” qualifier he chose to use.
Perhaps you’d describe my patriotism as conservative, as I am a strong proponent of the union and its Constitution, and all the tenets, decrees, protections and guarantees thereof. They are all together what enables our existence as the sole superpower on the planet, our global flexibility as the leaders of the free world, and the quality of life we enjoy as a free people with the defensive and projection capability we possess. So when Mark started talking about “Appalachia” like it was a sovereign region unto itself apart from said union, as though he were both some sort of separatist and the self-appointed (read: never elected) arbiter of that region, the picture it started to paint was grim.
Over time, Mark’s separatist-like tone and attitude about Appalachia and his position in regards relative to the rest of the country despite lacking any formal appointment to power became bolder and more pointed; the ARA was for Appalachia and Appalachia only; “We don’t concern ourselves with the opinions of those outside Appalachia,” said the guy who isn’t even from Appalachia (he’s from Toledo, OH, well beyond the geographic and cultural regions of Appalachia).
His demeanor suggested that everyone else (despite their fanfare and support of the ARA, for instance) could basically go fuck themselves; This is how he would typically answer questions pertaining to other groups seeking to network or affiliate with the ARA; “This will never happen, the ARA exists for Appalachians within Appalachia. If you want something where you are, make it yourself.”
That alone seemed off. But once you took into consideration, with this tone and attitude in mind, that this guy sent volunteers into Kentucky to assist in the flooding disaster relief (undoubtedly for PR/publicity purposes first and foremost) and insisted that they do so while fully armed and kitted up (something they were asked to leave over if they wouldn’t disarm after numerous complaints– they left), we can infer that he was also intending for “his men” to be equipped with cuffs of some variety for arrest purposes at some point, likely lacking any procedural parameters for their use, as was the case for most of their “qualifications.”
At that point it was like holy shit, this guy is going to get someone killed. Think about it: the poleese have enough trouble apprehending people that don’t want to go to jail; what do you think is going to happen when not the cops but a bunch of self proclaimed, self tabbed Rangers with no official charter try to do it?
That was just the tip of the iceberg, anyway. As others have articulated in their coverage, Mark and the ARA’s intentions were significantly worse according to insider testimony pertaining to the tasking of what the ARA calls RSTG (Ranger Special Task Group) Black and Gold; the former being a hit squad Mark described as his personal assassins, and the latter being Mark’s personal protective detail, as insiders and former members articulated.
Isn’t it peculiar that a man who stood up what he claimed (lied) to be a non-profit organization for young men who wanted to serve their communities and families without being bound to interests outside of Appalachia, would see a requirement to take prisoners and form kill teams, or that he would need bodyguards during Search & Rescue and Disaster Relief operations?
Not really, once you see how Mark admitted he would sooner take your shit for free (read: by force) before he bothered to barter with anyone. And well before this had been confirmed by members who’ve since left the ARA, there were already whispers and rumors in the comments of Instagram posts months ahead of time that Mark had communicated to the ARA rank and file that they would loot and pillage in a disaster scenario without rule of law to keep them in check. This has been further corroborated by former members more recently.
That so many former members testified to the underhanded intentions for the ARA that Mark had attempted to conceal from us in all manner of MiniTrue fashion while projecting the image of being a champion of liberty, testifies further to the institutional rot within as a consequence of the failure of leadership that Mark closely micromanaged.
But I’m going to skip over those details for now (see the following Appendices for direct feedback from those who dealt with Mark in person), because those don’t hurt you. They only hurt the ARA, and those who choose to enable it, affiliate and participate with it. And they 𝗱𝗼 choose to lay with such dogs, regardless of the fleas.
However, I would encourage whoever’s reading this to review all the evidence in regards to the internal strife of the ARA; a tangled web we find Mark squarely at the center of. It further substantiates the suspicions and hunches many of us had independently as observers, before we realized how many of us were out there seeing the same thing and arriving at the same conclusions simultaneously: that the ARA or at the very least the guy running it, is bad news (both for local folk and the greater community). That he is not one of us but rather, a domestic enemy… lying in wait.
“Just because someone’s into guns, gear, and training like you are, doesn’t automatically mean that they’re your friend or on your side.”
– Article author, usually regarding leftists
Earlier this year, Mark pivoted. Where he once claimed, “I do not care about much outside of Appalachia. Other people should focus on getting their own houses in order, that is what we are doing here,” there was now a change to his tune; it would seem someone convinced him to reconsider, along the lines of previous inquiries he’d received pertaining to branching out.
Instead of confining himself and his efforts to the region of Appalachia, he intended to go National; Starting in 2024, Mark’s goal was to change what ARA stands for: Instead of “Appalachian Ranger Association,” it would change to “American Ranger Association.” This is what finally inspired us to act; There was a cancer among us. And as any, it needed to be rooted out, removed, and destroyed; Never permitted to thrive, lest it grow into something terminal relative to the greater collective.
𝗙𝗜𝗥𝗘 𝗙𝗢𝗥 𝗘𝗙𝗙𝗘𝗖𝗧
𝘼𝙇𝙇 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙀𝙑𝙄𝘿𝙀𝙉𝘾𝙀 𝙏𝙊 𝙎𝙐𝘽𝙎𝙏𝘼𝙉𝙏𝙄𝘼𝙏𝙀 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝘾𝙊𝙉𝙏𝙀𝙉𝙏 𝙊𝙁 𝙏𝙃𝙄𝙎 𝘼𝙍𝙏𝙄𝘾𝙇𝙀 𝘾𝘼𝙉 𝘽𝙀 𝙁𝙊𝙐𝙉𝘿 𝘾𝙊𝙇𝙇𝙀𝘾𝙏𝙀𝘿 𝙃𝙀𝙍𝙀.
I want to take a moment to address the conspiratorial insurgency-like approach taken here: It is necessary when the enemy you’ve positively identified is seen by the majority as the good guys, but you know that this is not true. You know that there’s a monster beneath the surface that if left unchecked will become a big problem for a lot of people in due time. They have the best and purest of intentions as they come up, but as soon as they get a taste of power they go off the rails and become corrupt and unjust. But they are still loved.
“A lie doesn’t become truth, wrong doesn’t become right, and evil doesn’t become good, just because it’s accepted by a majority.”
– Booker T. Washington
At that point it is up to good men to recognize the matter for what it is and do something about it. Sometimes there’s fear of reprisal and therefore hesitation. But this is the American way of handling an entrenched tyrant. It is not the first I have participated in or saw succeed, and I do not suspect it will be the last.
I have seen men develop a sense of self-importance after getting a dose of celebrity in the spotlight. I have watched them grow arrogant as they accumulated popularity and power within their spheres of influence. I have seen these men attempt to lean on that perception of themselves as an authority to exclude or blacklist those who dissented from or criticized them from the greater 2A community and/or what all the industry had to offer. Then I saw their fall from grace and knew closely what contributed to it legitimately. So I knew what I was looking at when I saw it in Mark and the ARA and said to myself, “Here we go again.”
Now, whether the American Ranger Association in Mark’s mind at this juncture was merely a standardized organizational template to be distributed nationwide to like minded armed citizens to form groups amongst themselves, or a Patreon based exclusive content avenue matters not.
Either way, knowing Mark and his tendencies both psychologically and in practice, there was no doubt that he would attempt to use this approach to establish a nationwide shadow army and install himself as its supreme commander; to use the knowledge, experience, and talents of those who have actually served in a military capacity (those he would deceive) across the country to enhance the ARA’s offensive capability, and therefore its ability to prey upon those unable to resist; “Why would I barter when I can take your shit for free?”
We’re talking about a guy that says doing the bare minimum is an integrity issue, when that’s the most anyone’s ever seen him do; Who would sooner divorce his wife for her getting raped, or deign to choose the ARA over her and replace her outright (by his own admission), along with all the aforementioned intentions of using various methods to suppress and restrict those who would refuse to choose him and the ARA first. None of that really comes as a surprise coming from a guy who styled himself as “Tyrannis Primus.” Listen to the phone call; he is a textbook narcissistic sociopath.
But he would dismiss any such claim or concern by reminding the audience of the ARA’s Bylaws, to be strictly adhered to. Mark was quick to recite these, as if to absolve himself of any allegations of wrongdoing; if the ARA bylaws exist, how can he as the ARA’s leader possibly violate them? Hold that thought.
“War is coming. Prepare.” One of my first mistakes in attempting to facilitate that preparation for myself was trying to determine the who, what, when, why, and where that War would be coming from, early on. It turned out that the answer was not one sole source or entity, but in fact multiple. In September 2022 I wrote a module called “For Your Awareness: Six (6) Types of Hostiles during Matters Of Contingency.” Among them was a category I labeled “Self Appointed Powers,” and described them as such:
“𝘊𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦 𝘢 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘳 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘦𝘥 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴 (𝘖𝘱𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘴, 𝘚𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘴/𝘊𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘴/𝘈𝘕𝘊𝘖𝘔𝘴, 𝘗𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘖𝘳𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘥 𝘊𝘳𝘪𝘮𝘦), 𝘖𝘙: 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘵; they 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺’𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺’𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘳𝘨𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘥, 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘦𝘭𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘳 𝘥𝘦𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘺 𝘭𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘰𝘧 𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘺; 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘯 𝘰𝘯 “𝘔𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘔𝘢𝘬𝘦𝘴 𝘙𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵” 𝘵𝘰 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘫𝘶𝘨𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘢𝘳𝘣𝘪𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘺 𝘥𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘥𝘪𝘬𝘵𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘤𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘱𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘴𝘩𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘧𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘶𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘺, 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘮𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘤𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘭𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘷𝘦, 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 “𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘨𝘶𝘺𝘴” 𝘤𝘭𝘢𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 “𝘈𝘳𝘮𝘦𝘥 𝘊𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘯 𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘢 𝘨𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨,” 𝘳𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘮𝘶𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘸𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘴/𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘴/𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘳𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘯𝘴; 𝘵𝘰 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘥𝘦 𝘦𝘹𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘭𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴, 𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭, 𝘰𝘳 𝘳𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘻𝘦𝘥 𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘦.“
Which brings us to the culminating assessment of what we’re looking at as it pertains to ANY armed group Mark would associate himself with, be it the ARA or whatever he tries to weasel himself into otherwise. Arbitrary claims of legitimacy and authority paired with a rigid and hostile posture towards those opposed or refusing to kneel, underhanded intentions for the application of available resources and personnel, lies and violation of oaths sworn before God for a man who outwardly invokes the name of Christ but besmirches it behind closed doors as a Pagan, and all of it obscured by a governing code, in this case “Bylaws.”
…is any of this starting to sound familiar? Perhaps to the older, wiser, and more experienced members of the audience, but the younger members and newcomers might be drawing a blank.
There was a movie once long ago about a post-apocalyptic world and the efforts of the survivors to make do in the aftermath. It’s called The Postman, starring Kevin Costner. The antagonist of that movie is a one General Bethlehem, a maniacal and egotistic tyrant who commands an organized, uniformed neo-feudalist militia called “The Holnists,” that he dispatches to collect tribute, loot, rape, pillage and plunder across the land, with a likewise might makes right mentality.
New recruits are coerced into the rank and file; those who resist or decline are murdered. Bethlehem rules with an iron fist and his philosophy is informed by The Laws of Eight, part of a fictional book called “Seizing the way to Win” that preaches an ideology that the strong should rule the weak, written by one Nathan Holn, the namesake of Bethlehem’s army. And the best part, before the world ended you know what Bethlehem’s job was? He was a printer repair man. Some sick fuck that waited for his moment to take power and anoint himself Warlord.
Both General Bethlehem and Mark alike inspired the Self Appointed Powers slide, as it was written; looking back, I suppose this was my way of trying to give my audience a clue early on. Because ultimately, that’s what Mark is: A General Bethlehem of our lifetime, who came from Ohio with the intent to prey upon Appalachia by pretending to be one of its own. Then, once he’d drummed up enough hype, he would expand and enable others like him to do the same thing elsewhere across the country. And there 𝙖𝙧𝙚 others like him out there, and they would be attracted to him and his methods. Birds of a feather can also be shit magnets.
𝙄 𝙨𝙩𝙖𝙧𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙠𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙤𝙣 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙡𝙖𝙨𝙩 𝙬𝙚𝙚𝙠 𝙗𝙚𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙚 𝙁𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙖𝙮. 𝘼𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙩𝙞𝙣𝙜, 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘼𝙍𝘼 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙧𝙚𝙡𝙮 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙤𝙡𝙫𝙚𝙙. 𝙄𝙩, 𝙖𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙜 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙠’𝙨 𝙧𝙚𝙥𝙪𝙩𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙞𝙣 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙘𝙞𝙧𝙘𝙡𝙚𝙨, 𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙚 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙖𝙗𝙨𝙤𝙡𝙪𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙮 𝙘𝙧𝙪𝙨𝙝𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙨𝙩 𝙨𝙖𝙡𝙫𝙤 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙘𝙤𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙚𝙛𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙩; 𝙢𝙪𝙘𝙝 𝙛𝙖𝙨𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙚𝙖𝙨𝙞𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙣 𝙬𝙚 𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙞𝙥𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙 (𝙩𝙤 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙨𝙪𝙧𝙥𝙧𝙞𝙨𝙚), 𝙬𝙝𝙞𝙘𝙝 𝙜𝙤𝙚𝙨 𝙩𝙤 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙮𝙤𝙪 𝙟𝙪𝙨𝙩 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙣𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙨𝙨 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙠 𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙞𝙨.
𝙀𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙨𝙞𝙣𝙜𝙡𝙚 𝙥𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘼𝙍𝘼 𝙝𝙖𝙙 𝙖𝙘𝙧𝙤𝙨𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙢𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙪𝙢– 𝙨𝙤𝙘𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙢𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙖, 𝙋𝙖𝙩𝙧𝙚𝙤𝙣, 𝙏𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙢, 𝘿𝙞𝙨𝙘𝙤𝙧𝙙, 𝙞𝙩𝙨 𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙬𝙚𝙗𝙨𝙞𝙩𝙚, 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙣 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙠’𝙨 𝙁𝙖𝙘𝙚𝙗𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙥𝙧𝙤𝙛𝙞𝙡𝙚– 𝙣𝙤 𝙡𝙤𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙧 𝙚𝙭𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙨. 𝙄𝙣 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙘𝙤𝙬𝙖𝙧𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙚, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙬𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙤𝙪𝙩 𝙖 𝙬𝙤𝙧𝙙, 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙠 𝙙𝙚𝙡𝙚𝙩𝙚𝙙 𝙤𝙧 𝙩𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙙𝙤𝙬𝙣 𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙮 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙢 𝙤𝙣 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙬𝙖𝙮 𝙤𝙪𝙩. 𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝘼𝙍𝘼’𝙨 𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙨𝙥𝙝𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙤𝙛 𝙞𝙣𝙛𝙡𝙪𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙝𝙖𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙚𝙣 𝙨𝙢𝙖𝙨𝙝𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙤 𝙥𝙞𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙨, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙜𝙡𝙖𝙨𝙨𝙚𝙙 𝙩𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙞𝙢𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙧.
𝘼𝙡𝙢𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙞𝙢𝙢𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙡𝙮 𝙖𝙛𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙡𝙖𝙪𝙣𝙘𝙝, 𝙬𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙛𝙞𝙧𝙢𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙨𝙚𝙫𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙡 𝙥𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙘𝙡𝙤𝙨𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙠 (𝙗𝙤𝙩𝙝 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙛𝙞𝙙𝙖𝙣𝙩𝙨 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙨𝙪𝙗𝙤𝙧𝙙𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙨) 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙠 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙗𝙚 𝙧𝙚𝙨𝙞𝙜𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙥𝙤𝙨𝙩 𝙖𝙨 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘼𝙍𝘼 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙧, 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝘼𝙍𝘼 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙗𝙚 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙗𝙖𝙣𝙙𝙚𝙙. 𝘿𝙚𝙨𝙥𝙞𝙩𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙖𝙡 𝙨𝙝𝙤𝙘𝙠, 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙜𝙧𝙖𝙩𝙪𝙡𝙖𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣𝙨 𝙬𝙚𝙧𝙚 𝙢𝙪𝙩𝙪𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙙𝙞𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙗𝙪𝙩𝙚𝙙; “𝙒𝙚 𝙜𝙤𝙩 𝙝𝙞𝙢 𝙗𝙤𝙮𝙨!!” 𝘼𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙-𝙗𝙚 𝙩𝙮𝙖𝙣𝙩’𝙨 𝙖𝙥𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙤𝙨𝙞𝙨 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙚𝙙, 𝙖𝙣𝙤𝙩𝙝𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤𝙬𝙚𝙧 𝙩𝙤𝙥𝙥𝙡𝙚𝙙. 𝙈𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝘼𝙘𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙥𝙡𝙞𝙨𝙝𝙚𝙙.
𝙏𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖 𝙜𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙥 𝙚𝙛𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙩 𝙛𝙧𝙤𝙢 𝙙𝙖𝙮 𝙤𝙣𝙚. 𝙄𝙩 𝙬𝙖𝙨 𝙖𝙣 𝙪𝙣𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙪𝙣𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙖𝙡𝙗𝙚𝙞𝙩 𝙣𝙚𝙘𝙚𝙨𝙨𝙖𝙧𝙮 𝙗𝙪𝙧𝙙𝙚𝙣 𝙩𝙤 𝙗𝙚𝙖𝙧, 𝙤𝙣𝙘𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙨𝙚𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙞𝙣𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝙗𝙚𝙘𝙖𝙢𝙚 𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙩. 𝘼𝙨 𝙛𝙖𝙧 𝙖𝙨 𝙬𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙘𝙤𝙣𝙘𝙚𝙧𝙣𝙚𝙙, 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙚𝙛𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙩𝙨 𝙨𝙖𝙫𝙚𝙙 𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙚𝙨. 𝙒𝙚 𝙩𝙖𝙠𝙚 𝙩𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙨𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙙𝙚 𝙣𝙤 𝙢𝙖𝙩𝙩𝙚𝙧 𝙝𝙤𝙬 𝙢𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝙚𝙭𝙘𝙪𝙨𝙚𝙨 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙈𝙖𝙧𝙠 𝙖𝙣𝙙 𝙝𝙞𝙨 𝙗𝙚𝙝𝙖𝙫𝙞𝙤𝙧 𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙘𝙧𝙞𝙩𝙞𝙘𝙨 𝙬𝙤𝙪𝙡𝙙 𝙢𝙖𝙠𝙚.
The strategic goal was to cut down Mark and the ARA at the knees, that he may never pose a threat to anyone with his private army, in Appalachia or anywhere else in America, because we knew who he truly was and what he truly wanted.
The tactical goal was to provide evidence of who and what we knew Mark to be, along with his intentions, to allow the audience to undeniably see for themselves what a piece of shit he was and distance themselves from him and the ARA to starve it of its star power.
The bonus was how Mark pretty much confirmed everything we had to say about him by falling on his sword and disappearing himself and the ARA out of pure shame and humiliation the way he did.
So why are we still posting things so many days after the fact, to beat a dead horse? No. The work isn’t over yet.
𝗔 𝗡𝗘𝗪 𝗗𝗔𝗪𝗡
All things considered, the danger this phenomenon among armed groups poses to innocent civilians, the lawful armed citizens of myriad communities, and the greater 2A community increases exponentially the longer problems like this are allowed to persist. And it is a problem. Looking at it in retrospect with rose colored glasses and ignoring what the ARA and its leader were poised to become, in favor of the concept of what it could have been, is a disservice to EVERY legitimate volunteer coordination effort elsewhere within our sphere, and the quality control thereof.
Which is a shame, because I’m sure there were a lot of good people that came together under the ARA’s banner because they wanted to do good and serve their communities within the Appalachian Region. Those people, as pure of heart and virtuous their intent, would increasingly stink the longer they stood next to piles of shit like Mark.
There is some benefit of the doubt to be extended in amnesty here, of course; people don’t know what they don’t know and for the last year or so Mark has done a very good job at deceiving the greater social media audience into buying the idea that he’s something he really wasn’t (to the tune of nearly 13,000 people). So it’s like yeah, we get it. Some actually are innocent and didn’t know; they are entitled to mercy. However…
There are just as well some who knew all of this, then and now, and will still choose to stand by Mark and defend the ARA and his leadership. These shit stains deserve no quarter and are just as guilty and complicit for enabling Mark to do what’s been described here as Mark was for having the idea. Their choice to remain standing next to him needs to reflect poorly on their reputations and their businesses and their standing among us until they get the fucking point, and repeat it among themselves:
Guys like Mark need to go. If not willingly then they need to be forced out, and disavowed from taking part in anything even remotely resembling the ARA or any other mutual assistance group or militia or whatever the fuck, no matter how minor a role they’ve got to play. They can train and shoot and do whatever they want on their own, that’s their right. But just the same way as Mark abused his admin role in the ODGG Telegram chat to prevent people from coming together to form training groups locally if they wouldn’t join the ARA and pledge loyalty to him, people like him need to be kept out. There can be no exception.
And as much as it pains me to say, the ARA needed to go along with him. The name, the symbolism, the intent, is all tarnished and stained now. So too would this extend to likewise groups across America, had the ARA’s rise gone unabated.
Those who would serve their localities, and those they stand to serve, do not deserve to be held back and dragged down by the specter of Mark’s memory and all the negative connotations that come with it. Not in Appalachia, not anywhere else in the US.
Guys like Mark with aspirations like his are a bad look on the entire gun owning community; they give legitimacy to wayward bogeyman accusations like “Right Wing Extremists” and “White Supremacists” that the liberal left likes to throw around. It reflects poorly on the greater 2A community in this country, and reminds me of the sentiments towards it going back to the 90s, the same sentiments that gained public support for the likes of the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban by using militia movements as a scapegoat.
This necessary movement of mobilization should not be tainted by one making the rest look bad. From the ashes of the ARA, new organizations will come up. They will be better than the ARA for being able to learn from its failures and take care not to repeat those mistakes. And if they forget, there will be others watching, ready to remind them of who they are and how untouchable they are not.
That’s not to suggest we should get the law involved; however there are legal parameters one needs to consider before volunteering for groups like these, lest they find themselves in cuffs or worse because they voluntarily followed the orders of some wannabe warlord. Thus, the lives we saved with our success.
This self-policing, this pruning of the tree of liberty as it were, is necessary to AVOID the attention of the authorities. Not only to prove that we aren’t what our political and ideological opponents accuse us of being, but to allow the movement to collectively flourish and grow stronger by discarding the parasites that leech from it for personal gain at the cost of its own good standing and reputation among our fellow Americans, the same as myriad flora found throughout.
And who am I to say these things? “Bootlicker”? “Statist”? “Gun control enforcer”? None of the above. And in addition to things I’ve never been… all that Mark became as ARA Actual: Fraudulent. Pretender. Disloyal. Liar. Predator. Communist Sympathizer. Megalomaniac. Quitter. Thief. Would-be Raider. Evil.
I’m just one of the guys. We saw something, we convened, and we did something about it. For your situational awareness. Remember why this happened.
𝗦𝘁𝗮𝘆 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗟.𝗔.𝗡.𝗘.
𝘼𝙇𝙇 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙀𝙑𝙄𝘿𝙀𝙉𝘾𝙀 𝙏𝙊 𝙎𝙐𝘽𝙎𝙏𝘼𝙉𝙏𝙄𝘼𝙏𝙀 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝘾𝙊𝙉𝙏𝙀𝙉𝙏 𝙊𝙁 𝙏𝙃𝙄𝙎 𝘼𝙍𝙏𝙄𝘾𝙇𝙀 𝘾𝘼𝙉 𝘽𝙀 𝙁𝙊𝙐𝙉𝘿 𝘾𝙊𝙇𝙇𝙀𝘾𝙏𝙀𝘿 𝙃𝙀𝙍𝙀.
𝗔𝗣𝗣𝗘𝗡𝗗𝗜𝗫 𝗔: 𝗦𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗻 (𝟳) 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗺𝗲𝗿 𝗺𝗲𝗺𝗯𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗔𝗥𝗔 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝘀𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗹𝗼𝘄𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 (𝟴) 𝗾𝘂𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀. 𝗥𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘄 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝘀𝘄𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗱𝗿𝗮𝘄 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀.
1.) What attracted you to the ARA, originally? What brought it to your attention?
• EXARA1: I was looking for an organization that focused less on militia type activities and more on community development and assistance. I had a friend in the ARA who suggested I join.
• EXARA2: Networking and comradery and it didn’t seem like a stereotypical militia at first glance.
• EXARA3: I had just been kicked out of the Marine Corps for refusing the COVID Vaccine. I’d heard about the ARA and it seemed like a worthwhile community for me to transition to after my time in the Marine Corps.
• EXARA4: Non-political mutual aid. The Art & War podcast brought them to my attention.
• EXARA5: Just saw a post of people training in my area and reached out.
• EXARA6: I was originally attracted to the ARA because I believed it would be a more affordable way to get professional training that would allow me to become more capable at helping protect my local community in times of various disaster.
• EXARA7: Honestly, I had no intention of joining an organization when I found them. I literally was just looking around for STALKER groups and places to do STALKER challenges when I found them.
2.) What inspired you to join? In other words in what sentiment or concern was this decision rooted in?
• EXARA1: Same as above answer.
• EXARA2: Mark said he was LE and between the bylaws and other things it seemed like it was solid. EXARA7 was already joined and being a close friend of mine he pushed me towards joining.
• EXARA3: All I’ve ever wanted to do was help people. I’ve volunteered my whole life.
• EXARA4: I had a group out in Colorado that actually responded to the riots in 2020. Handed out water and first aid constantly in downtown Colorado Springs. I thought we’d be helping people like that, not learning how to assault private property.
• EXARA5: Saw the mission statement, and initially talking to Mark it seemed really professional.
• EXARA6: I was inspired to join because from outward appearances, it looked as though the ARA members were a good group of guys to surround myself with, aka Iron sharpens Iron.
• EXARA7: I had started really getting into preparedness and acquiring both gear and preps and the image they portrayed back then was that of a readiness/preparedness organization.
3.) Did you find integration into the ARA to be a smooth or bumpy process?
• EXARA1: Smooth with the general membership, but bumpy with the leadership. Most of it seemed to be instigated by leadership.
• EXARA2: It was a very easy process. This was back before everything grew and got the social media attention.
• EXARA3: Integration into the ARA was pretty easy at first I would say. That was back in June 2022. There wasn’t a lot of drama then. Plus I was looking for a place to belong. I felt displaced. So I wanted it to work.
• EXARA4: Bumpy. I challenged Mark and his leadership’s roles constantly. My first FTX was a nightmare and I told Mark at the end of it that I was thoroughly disappointed.
• EXARA5: Bumpy. There were a lot of rules that were either unspoken or applied only at certain times.
• EXARA6: Integration into the ARA was not difficult once I was involved in the various Telegram chats. The majority of the members are good guys who are there for the right reasons and easy to get along with and develop friendship with.
• EXARA7: I don’t know that my coming in to the ARA could have been smoother, both online and in person. The first time I met any of them in person, I was greeted with hugs.
4.) To what extent did you participate in the ARA’s activities?
• EXARA1: I was in junior leadership for 3 of the 4 FTXs I went to, assisted the planning of several activities, all of which never went anywhere, as well as attempted to teach a basic SAR class, but this was shot down by leadership several times.
• EXARA2: Numerous FTXs and the kentucky flooding. I was the RSTG Gold CO as well as on the Intel Cadre and in the overall leadership group of the ARA.
• EXARA3: The first thing I ever did was help organize the flood response in KY. I was working in Alabama at the time, but I sent Mark a message. Told him pretty much if he was serious about this shit I can get him phone numbers because I’m from where all that happened.
• EXARA4: I went to two FTXs. After our first FTX, I pointed out flaws and was put into Alpha’s Detachment Leader.
• EXARA5: Heavily; I was the ARA XO, Bravo Call Tree Leader, Bravo XO, RSTG XO, RSTG Black CO, and Head of Media during my time with the ARA.
• EXARA6: I went to every FTX the ARA held from the time I joined until I was removed. I was a squad leader in charge of two fire teams, with a total of ten men under me. I was involved in leadership chats, and had direct interaction with many of the senior members of the group.
• EXARA7: I attended two FTXs and part of the Kentucky mission. But outside of that, I was Mark’s XO. I was his sounding board for new ideas, I helped design some of the tabs and wrote doctrine for them even after I left the organization.
5.) What were you sentiments towards the ARA during the Summer of 2022?
• EXARA1: This was well before my time.
• EXARA2: At the time in 2022 my views on the ARA were high as it seemed like we were doing good and was overlooking any negatives that had shown up.
• EXARA3: I remember showing up thinking it was pretty strange how we were doing things. There’s a lot that’s been said about what happened in KY regarding our efforts there. A lot of what has been said are lies. Knowing what I know about the situation, some things could have been done differently, handled better. But I wouldn’t say that my sentiments were negative per say.
• EXARA4: I had heard of the ARA, but had never engaged with them before 2023.
• EXARA5: Pretty neutral. I liked getting out and doing stuff but I didn’t see myself staying in it long term.
• EXARA6: I was not involved with the ARA in 2022.
• EXARA7: I joined in April of 2022 and attended my first event in May. My feelings at the time were largely positive aside from a few personal interactions that I thought could have been handled better.
6.) How long into your membership did you start seeing signs that something was awry, that the ARA wasn’t what you thought it was?
• EXARA1: After April I had my first doubts when our Public Service training exercise was just more of the same martial activities from our Field training exercises.
• EXARA2: 3-6 months? This would have been the social media blow up and the Kentucky flooding “deployment”. Things got muddled and it seemed like once the social media presence took hold there was a dramatic shift in the ARA.
• EXARA3: When I was promoted to being Delta Call Tree Leader in charge of KY, OH, WV, and VA. At this point I was in the Leadership Cadre circle and saw how and why things were being done. I knew what bad leadership looked like because I’d had it in the Marine Corps. I told Mark then that things needed to change or the ARA would not be around much longer.
• EXARA4: After my second FTX, most likely. I put out a very thorough and explicit AAR to the leadership only chat and it was very cherry picked.
• EXARA5: Like my third month in, I went hunting with another member and we both talked about quite a few flaws we saw in the system.
• EXARA6: A month into my membership, as I began to be more involved, I began to see red flags. Conversations being deleted by Mark, members being removed without explanation, people bringing issues to leadership which were completely ignored.
• EXARA7: I started noticing things were wrong when I departed the ARA the first time in November of 2022, when mere weeks later I found out third hand I had been removed from a position despite having been begged to stay in that position before.
7.) What excuses did you tell yourself when you still wanted to give the benefit of the doubt?
• EXARA1: I didn’t really have one, just kinda kept going because I was leadership and felt a responsibility to the guys under me.
• EXARA2: That this was a short phase of growing pains and that everyone together would bring us back to the original core values of the group.
• EXARA3: That things would iron themselves out in time. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt. I believe people will learn from their mistakes EVENTUALLY. Especially when there are so many people telling you that you’re fucked up. I stepped down as Call Tree Leader in December I think, so I started to distance myself anyway.
• EXARA4: That there are good guys inside of the ARA and they don’t know any better than the trash training they were receiving.
• EXARA5: I made friends within the organization and was mainly going to hang out with them.
• EXARA6: After I began to notice red flags, I determined that unless there was a course altering event, I would stick around a little longer to train and build relationships and would leave within a few months to start training outside the group. The longer I was in, the more disappointing the training was, and the more disenfranchised I became, as conflict between members and Mark became more of a focal point than bettering the group.
• EXARA7: I gave no excuses when I wanted to give the benefit of the doubt. I knew the problem was Mark and that he needed to be checked. It’s why my final conversation as a member was attempting to make sure I could enforce the new leadership oath against him if need be.
8.) What was the final straw that pushed you away? Presuming you didn’t choose to leave, what was it that made you say “Fuck it, I’m just gonna say what needs to be said and speak my mind,” knowing that you could well be dismissed for it?
• EXARA1: Mark speaks very disrespectfully to what is supposed to be a volunteer group. He’s been criticized for this by at least 4 members including myself. I spoke to him about it privately and was removed for questioning him.
• EXARA2: Being removed from leadership with very little said before or afterwards of my removal from RSTG Gold as its CO. The leadership values were non-existent and Mark was only after yes-men in those positions to do his every deed. Those who did not comply were removed and cast away. Once I saw others doing the same and that the ARA had been growing and throwing more people into dangerous situations without care for anyone’s safety was the final straw to speak out about everything.
• EXARA3: I chose to leave. Due to the nature of my work I can’t reliably attend FTXs. I should’ve been removed, however, Mark liked me and kinda waived the attendance rule for me and because I was a tabbed ranger. I also was becoming more aligned with my faith at the time. Mark had shit talked Christians many times and acted proud of it. Under good conscience I could not seriously take orders from a Pagan any longer. I would say this was a big reason as to why I truly left.
• EXARA4: I didn’t know that my AAR was that jarring, but after seeing how it was received and hardly paid attention to, I mentally checked out. About three weeks later, I was added to a “disciplinary hearing” channel and had been removed from every other chat. Basically without letting anyone else in the ARA know that I was dismissed, for hours.
• EXARA5: When we got done with an FTX that was particularly physically challenging when it shouldn’t have been. Instead of discussing increasing fitness, Mark decided he wanted to regulate more clothing to exclude rugby shirts. I pretty much said this is dumb shit we shouldn’t be worried about and that the ARA is not his private army. I was removed within the week.
• EXARA6: The last straw was when Mark was pushing a terrible uniform regulation change which would negatively affect the majority of members, both practically and financially: It was individual’s choice of a combination of Ranger Green or Coyote Tan tops and bottoms for public service. Mark changed it to Tan ONLY tops and Green ONLY bottoms, so we could look like WWII Rangers, fucking over the guys who had bought either Green tops or Tan bottoms. He also changed the field service uniform to Blouses ONLY, no combat tops or other previously acceptable uniforms allowed. All this for the sake of *aesthetics*.
When I stood up to Mark, reminding him that the ARA is a volunteer force and we should have a say-so, especially if we have experience on a subject, he clearly stated that the ARA is not a democracy and that he will have his way. Another member told him that we were there as volunteers for our communities, not to be his private Army. I voiced that I agreed, and within a matter of hours, I was removed from the organization without notice. Many senior and junior members reached out to me to let me know they agreed that my removal was BS. These members left or were also kicked within the next two months or so.
• EXARA7: The final straw that saw me cut ties and then be blacklisted was seeing Mark accuse a respected local vendor of theft and fraud when in fact I was shown evidence of gear not paid for by Mark.
𝗔𝗣𝗣𝗘𝗡𝗗𝗜𝗫 𝗕: 𝗪𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝗗𝗠-𝗧𝗨𝗦𝗖, 𝗜 𝘄𝗮𝘀 𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗮𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱 𝗯𝘆 𝘁𝘄𝗼 𝗼𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝘁𝘂𝗱𝗲𝗻𝘁𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗼 𝘄𝗲𝗿𝗲 𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝘀𝗮𝗺𝗲 𝗧𝗨𝗦𝗖 𝗰𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀 𝗮𝘀 𝗠𝗮𝗿𝗸 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗚𝗶𝗼 (@𝗼𝗽𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘀𝘂𝗹𝘁𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻), 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝘁𝗲𝗮𝗺 𝗹𝗲𝗮𝗱𝗲𝗿. 𝗜 𝗮𝘀𝗸𝗲𝗱 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗺 𝘁𝗼 𝗲𝗹𝗮𝗯𝗼𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗼𝗯𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗲𝗱 𝗮𝘀 𝗽𝗿𝗶𝗺𝗮𝗿𝘆 𝘀𝗼𝘂𝗿𝗰𝗲𝘀; 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲’𝘀 𝘄𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗵𝗮𝗱 𝘁𝗼 𝘀𝗮𝘆:
• Mark arrived 15-20 minutes late to class, made a dramatic entrance.
• Mark was described as looking like an ANTIFA mugshot, and “the short fat one.” They nicknamed him “Short Stump.” They say he was a fuckin tool in demeanor.
• Mark went to volunteer for Team Leader before learning it was determined to have guys with .mil backgrounds take those positions (this is how Gio became the team leader) whereupon Mark became visibly upset and started huffing and puffing and sputtering.
• Mark started bitching about it to Eric, the other ARA member with him. Eric was described as having other tattoos visibly covered under all the black ink on his arms, and was described as Mark’s “handler.” The guys said he and Mark were joined at the hip and went everywhere together.
• Mark apparently promoted himself to “RTO” even though that position does not exist in TUSC and there was no need for it. Gio later explained that he created/made up the RTO position (given that Mark & Eric brought their own radios) to placate Mark and make him feel important.
• After *ONE* iteration of SUT/IMT, Mark stepped to the side and crossed his arms and said “I’m not doing this” like he was too good to participate and stood aside to observe with Eric.
• Instructors told people taking pictures not to post any containing other people without their permission. When Mark noticed he was in a camera’s line of sight during some pictures, he freaked out about pictures being taken of him without his permission. His behavior was described here as schizophrenic and extremely self important. Eric was also allegedly weird about pictures.
• When it was time to turn cell phones in, Mark freaked out about it. First he said he has a newborn at home he needs to be reachable for, and he was told don’t worry, if we receive word that there’s an emergency we will notify you.
• This is when Mark claimed that he had “an important FTX” with a lot of people to go to and didn’t realize he double booked himself, and left.
• When the guys telling me this got their phones back a day or two later they checked and found that Mark had been posting on IG about how they just finished a great FTX. They did the math and realized he drove home to bumfuck wherever, spent six hours in the woods, and came home to post on Instagram about it. Which compared to TUSC and all 4 days of what it entails, ain’t shit.
• Apparently Mark is now PNG at DARC (but honestly he’s basically PNG everywhere since this whole thing started). This was never confirmed by any DARC staff, but was stated nonetheless; to be treated as speculation.
Unlike Mark, the author actually completed the DARC TUSC. Although, “Do better than Mark” didn’t really set the bar that high.
𝘼𝙇𝙇 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝙀𝙑𝙄𝘿𝙀𝙉𝘾𝙀 𝙏𝙊 𝙎𝙐𝘽𝙎𝙏𝘼𝙉𝙏𝙄𝘼𝙏𝙀 𝙏𝙃𝙀 𝘾𝙊𝙉𝙏𝙀𝙉𝙏 𝙊𝙁 𝙏𝙃𝙄𝙎 𝘼𝙍𝙏𝙄𝘾𝙇𝙀 𝘾𝘼𝙉 𝘽𝙀 𝙁𝙊𝙐𝙉𝘿 𝘾𝙊𝙇𝙇𝙀𝘾𝙏𝙀𝘿 𝙃𝙀𝙍𝙀.