Militia Militia Everywhere, What Ever Will We Do?
Author's Note: This Hub is a bit long.
Type the word “militia” into Google and hit enter. A quick read of the listings will lead one to believe a militia is merely a group of angry guys with guns in “camo” pants, who hate the federal government. You will see headlines for articles like: “The terrorist next door,” “Is your neighbor anti-government,” etc., etc. Sadly, you are being lied to.
To fully understand let’s first look at what a militia is and question why media reporters are, A: ignorant of the history and purpose of the militia, or B: purposefully dishonest and helping to undermine American freedom, or C: media mice who dance to the tune of the socialist pied piper.
On June 16th, 1788 George Mason said, “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote:
“For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well-organized and armed militia is their best security.”
And James Madison:
“A well regulated militia; composed of the body of the people, trained in arms, is the best most natural defense of a free country.”
These are the people who wrote the Constitution. All through their writings they explain what they mean in context of the Second Amendment. Yet, you have politicians, judges and lawyers saying we do not know the exact intent of the Second Amendment.
Regarding “the militia” the above quotes are all true. Note however, these statements also say, “well organized,” and “well regulated.” Who is going to organize and regulate? A gang of guys with guns? No, this also was not the intent. There is a process for calling forth a militia as follows. A militia is: citizen volunteers operating under authority of the state governor, or county sheriff (historically, even the mayor); an authorized power well regulated by a local governing body within the state. The purpose of the militia is a part of the founding fathers’ intent to spread power among the people and limit the federal branch from becoming all powerful, thus ensuring the continuation of a free nation.
Any individual group not authorized by a governor, or sheriff – is not “a militia.” Technically, they are part of “the militia,” but there is no separate militia branch free to do whatever they please outside of the local governing body, i.e., governor, sheriff or mayor. They may be a pro-militia group or they may improperly call themselves a militia, but they are not a militia constitutionally and legally defined. ( Note: the words Constitutionally and legally largely have the same meaning in this instance.)
Wikipedia, under militia, includes this entry: A militia, which are made up of non-officially organized individuals who have formed organizations based on their own interpretation of the concept of the militia.
I have to disagree with Wikipedia. Look carefully at the following part of their definition: “individuals who have formed organizations based on their own interpretation of the concept…” Is that all it takes to become an authorized body under a legal authority? Using that description, I could start a police force, or an IRS agency, or a branch of the FBI by my own declaration. Would that make me a policeman or a federal agent? No; of course not. Like many in the media, their legal, historical or constitutional research has not been done. Putting forth such statements is a disservice to American Freedom, but nothing surprises me anymore when it comes to anti-Americanism via popular ignorance. A group of protesters is not a militia. They may be members of the unorganized militia waiting to be organized. The root point the media is not getting is that a militia is an arm of government.
If you consider the above definition as a modern misuse of the term, then yes, the above misused definition is commonly used by the media and in that regard is “a definition.”
It’s a simple concept really. But, if you listen to the talking suits and skirts of the media a militia is an angry gang of rednecks with guns who hate the federal government. There is always a few loons in every crowd (ever hear of eco-terrorism?) be it right, left or in the middle. Despite repetitious crowing, this position by the media is largely false.
I don’ t believe news reporters to be completely stupid, yet, they may be blindly ignorant and following orders from their editor dictating the direction and content of their writing; (which is why I hung up my reporter hat years ago).
So who are all these groups running around being labeled a militia? If you look closely the legitimate ones are little-more than state militia seeking to legitimately be called forth. In their official name it will say something like “Pennsyltucky Militia Association, or Organization. Such groups simply petition their state government to call forth the state militia. They also do volunteer work like cleaning up road-sides, parks and other civic services. They often hold educational meetings to educate the public as to what a militia really is.
Sometimes people will show up at these meetings and start venting their frustration with the federal government. A good organization leader will defer the discussion for another time and tend to the business at hand. However, depending on current national headlines and if the right people are present, a meeting can turn into a complaint-fest and the meetings agenda takes a back seat.
I caution people who have been programmed to automatically paint such sentiments as “anti-government.” I do not believe these people to be anymore anti-government than concerned citizens critiquing government action in web blogs. In the first place, are not “we the people,” the government? Is this true, or is it not? The people we put into public office are our servants; they work for us, is this true or not? Then a citizen complaining about the job their public servants are doing, does not make them anti-government, it makes them anti- bumbling, incapable, incompetent government, anti- inefficient, unskilled, unproficient-government, and/or anti-corrupt-government, as the case may be.
Who has never thought the government to be bumbling, incapable, incompetent, inefficient, unskilled and unproficient, even corrupt… anyone? If so, does that make you anti-government? I don't think so.
What about a government servant who takes an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and then violates that oath and engages in illegal activity? Would that make the government employee, anti-government? I would think so.
Personally, I love government, I love good government. Who doesn’t love good government? It is corrupt government, and public servants who rebel against the laws regulating their job authority that most people oppose. So the question on the table is: “why can those with the magic title of FEDERAL ABC DEPT, run around and break all kinds of policy and laws and do whatever they want without answering to the boss, i.e., “we the people?” Why is the boss suddenly, anti-government when he/she asks, “Hey what do you think you’re doing?”
I am a little off track here, but only to make a point.
Imagine if Dave Thomas, (God rest his soul) founder of Wendy’s restaurants, decided to question one of his corporate directors and the director accused Mr. Thomas of being Anti-Wendys because he dared to call into question the job he was doing for the corporation. What is the difference here with citizen’s doing the same thing with those they employ to do our national business?
Am I defending “the militia?” Yes, but under its proper definition. Am I defending a rogue gang of rebels with guns? Absolutely not, these people do tremendous disservice to the real militia. There is not only a definable difference of a militia; there is a difference in legal status too. Be not confused by the ignorant or subversive media that wants you to believe that a militia is a gang of irate, government-hating guys with guns. It is not.
A gang of guys with guns.
Likewise, what about a gang of inner-city thugs who sell drugs, run prostitution rings and carry guns? Are they not anti-government? If they were pro-government they would follow the law, but they break the law daily in their endeavors. They hate cops and government. They even shoot cops, especially in Oakland, California. There, they kill several cops a year. Do the media refer to them as a militia? No. Why not? They are a gang of guys with guns, they are anti-government and they are consistently breaking the law. Why aren’t they making headlines as anti-government? They kill cops, how much more anti-government do you have to be? In contrast, a group of law abiding civilians who petition their state to call forth a legal, organized constitutional body to help the state - not only make headlines, but is painted as evil and despised because they are a risk to the public safety. Obviously, they are anti-government. Again, it’s a lie.
Seventeen states currently have legal state militia’s operating under the governor of that state. San Antonio, Texas had a city militia as recent as the late 1980’s complete with helicopters and tanks. I do not know its current status at this time. These organizations assist the National Guard at various times, and are ready to jump into action during an emergency or in the National Guard’s absence. They are mostly made up of former military veterans who served in times of war or military action. These are the people they are painting as evil anti-American, government haters.
So what is the difference between the State Militia and National Guard? A state, city or county militia answers to the governor, mayor, or county sheriff. The National Guard, even though located in the state and consisting of state residents, answers to the governor and the federal government. The long and complex history boils down to: the National Guard, is a modern version of a state militia with federal strings and money attached. Many state militias converted to National Guard units during the 1900’s. However, many state militia units were called the National Guard nearly 100 years before congress officially created the National Guard, thus some confusion here.
To further confuse things, today we have two National Guards, the state and the federal. The difference depends on the historic position of each state. If your state National Guard has recently gone off to the Middle East, your state’s units are members of the federal National Guard as well as the state, which falls under different laws than a state that retains complete control and authority over its National Guard. If we consider the National Guard our modern equivalent to the state militia, and I believe that to be fair statement, we must also understand that the federal government has a great deal of control over them, getting its way 99% of the time. The federal government has been taking control of state National Guard units slowly, inch by inch since it began. While I consider people who serve in these units among the finest of Americans my position has nothing to do with them personally. It has to do with federal control vs. state control and nothing more.
One of the original reasons for the state militia, is so “we the people” could have some control over going to war on foreign shores. Folks who are consistently demanding an end to the war on terrorism could have just that if they supported state militias and state control over the National Guard. Many in the National Guard are deployed overseas to conduct federal operations. If the state governor stood up and said, “No, the state does not want our sons and daughters dying for this cause…” Congress would face some political heat they wouldn’t want to face. In a war on terror, there is no defined enemy and no declaration of war, just military action against the terrorists, whoever they turn out to be.
At the beginning of the War of 1812, America had less than 12,000 U.S. Army soldiers which Congress sought to expand to 35,000. However, the pay was poor, few experienced officers were about and military service was voluntary and didn’t offer to pay for college tuition either. Not many strapping young men were hot to sign up.
As the war of 1812 was just beginning to rear its head, President James Madison solicited several state militias to aid the army but many declined to serve beyond the border of their home state. Massachusetts’s Governors Gerry Elbridge and later in that year, Caleb Strong refused to send militia to aid. Massachusetts was “home plate” for illegal trade between Great Britain and the United States. Thus the state refused to get involved in a war with their militia. Granted it was for ill-gotten reasons, yet, they had the authority to refuse to do so.
Did congress create the National Guard so they could have a standing army waiting and ready to go to war without declaring war? No, in the early days of the National Guard they were used domestically, not internationally. But there is a lot of money to be made for some people during a war. This is also why we had state militia, to prevent wars for profiteering. Yet today the media jumps at every chance to confuse people to what a militia is, slinging mud upon citizens who would lend America a needed hand, out of love of country and patriotic duty.
The “official” National Guard was created in 1903 by the DICK Act to provide federal funding and training standards to state militia. Essentially, they passed a law mandating state militia now belonged to Congress. As with all federal money it came with strings, strings like, your state militia must convert to a National Guard unit and answer to the federal government. The last state militia to convert was Massachusetts in 1956 ( as I recall ).
Despite congressional meddling, there are still legal state militia not under federal control. Likewise your state governor still retains authority to call forth a state militia if he so chooses, though today’s political fall-out may end his career.
I believe there are well meaning people who want help establish a state militia. They see their nation turning into the “land of the un-free” and are grasping for solutions, a direct reason for the Tea Party movement. Unless the state, city or county is prepared to call forth a militia and support it, their efforts are in vain. Even if a gang of rednecks with guns had their hearts in the right place and meant only to save America from an oppressive government, what power do they have? When America invaded Iraq, our armed forces toppled Iraq’s government and its army in a few weeks… if that. If our forces can topple an entire country in a couple weeks, how long will it take to knock out a few groups of citizens here and there?
I think the answer is in the congressional voting booth, not the gun in your closet. Yes, American’s own over 70 million guns, but the government’s guns are much bigger, more sophisticated, more organized and professionally executed.
We have a glorious history in America of the little guy triumphing over an oppressive government and it’s armies to win our freedom. Americans still have that fighting spirit that led our fight for independence. Don’t let the media convince you that your redneck neighbor is your enemy for talking about the militia. Unless the governor calls them into action, not much is going to happen, save maybe a good roadside cleaning. Personally, I would prefer a gang of guys with guns as our last line of defense against rampant government corruption as opposed to a poisoned reporter with an ignorant pen.
Opinionated Side note:
However, if push comes to shove, I will choose a bullet before an RFID chip in my hand or forehead.
I too, under Ronald Reagan, took an oath to defend America against our domestic enemies, this includes enemies destroying America via the media, and politicians grabbing power not legally theirs to grab. What does that mean? For me, it means education. I believe education is our first line of defense. Our second line of defense is to stop buying products from companies who put ads in socialist newspapers, magazines, and television shows. Write letters to company marketing departments informing them as long as they run ads that promote anti-American sentiment, you will no longer do business with them, then stop doing business with them.
I would like to see a federal law that all politicians running for office must pass a constitutional competency exam – before the election. By that, I mean a test on the Constitution, what it means, what limitations it brings to government and what they can and cannot do as representatives. Today we have people taking an oath to uphold the Constitution (our contract for government), and have no idea what it says or means. Why even bother to take the oath? If violating the oath of office results in no consequences, what the hell good is it? What is it for? Tradition? The law, federal code 5.US. 7311, says that anyone who violates the constitution is immediately displaced from office and may face fines and imprisonment, but no one is ever prosecuted. Until they are, “we the people” will remain little more than a warm fuzzy ideology with little functional meaning.