Eileen Pollack, the director of the creative writing program at the University of Michigan, is the author of the forthcoming book “Breaking and Entering,” a novel about the militia movement.

The problem here in Michigan is knowing which militia members are dangerous and which aren’t. Not long ago, I attended Tax Blast, an annual event put on by the Southeast Michigan Volunteer Militia. Families chowed down on pulled pork sandwiches; a tiny girl in pink clutched a stuffed dinosaur. The lid on one chafing dish read “Kosher Meals Available”; it stood empty until a man wearing a pistol and a black T-shirt reading “When I Snap You’ll Be the First to Go” filled it with Hebrew National hot dogs.

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