ALASKA — The co-founder of the Michigan Militia is telling militia members to stay away from Washington D.C. during the inauguration week.
Norm Olson is known as the "father" of the Michigan Militia, a paramilitary group that started in northern Michigan in the mid-1990s.
The group came on to the national radar following the Oklahoma City bombing when the Senate began investigating local militias.
Militias were thrust into the national spotlight once again this past fall when some alleged members were charged in a plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Olson, now in his mid-70s and living in Alaska, calls himself a militia adviser.
“I'm a propagandist, a cheerleader for the militia, apologist for the militia, researcher for the militia,” Olson told FOX 17 over the phone Monday. "I know where it came from. I know how it is supposed to behave."
According to Olson, the recent attack on the Capitol is anything but how militias are supposed to behave.
He says militia members were in D.C. to hear President Trump speak but blames “provocateurs” for stirring up the violence. “The dissipators, the troublemakers lead, and there was no one to stop them,” Olson said.
“I think the next time around if the militia would get its act together and realize that they have a responsibility to actually stop that kind of mayhem and misbehavior, I would have liked to see more militia actually try to put down this demonstration,” Olson added.
The FBI is now probing to see if there was a connection between extremist groups and the violence at the Capitol.
Olson says he can’t speak for groups like the Proud Boys or the Boogaloo Bois but said “That's not the way the Second Amendment militia acts. Second Amendment militia is well regulated and there was nothing like that, you saw nothing like that in the Capitol building.”
Olson claims militias, like the one he co-founded in Michigan, exist to defend the Second Amendment and liberty. He refutes claims that they are anti-government, despite demonstrations like the show of force in Lansing last April that left lawmakers calling to ban guns from the Capitol.
“What I want to do is I want to see the rule of law held, I want to see a Constitution upheld, I want to see the spirit of the republic upheld and reinforced,” Olson said.
FOX 17 asked Olson if he considered the Capitol attack to be terrorism. “That's hard to divide, you know, one man's terrorist, another man patriot," he replied. "So, to me, I saw a lot of good things happening. But again, I also saw a lot of reckless behavior. And I call reckless behavior is any behavior that brings discredit to the militia."
The Michigan native still maintains the baseless claim that the election was “stolen” from Donald Trump and says this issue is what’s growing the division in the country.
Even so, he’s advising militia groups to stay away from D.C. during President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.
“I've called them all back and told them no and to stay away from that," Olson said.
“The best thing you can do to show your absolute contempt is to simply ignore it. Ignore it.”