Archive for the ‘militia service’ Category

Exploring Bermuda’s Forts

OspreyBermuda is also called the “Gibraltar of the West”. It could have once been called a Mid-Atlantic Mackinac Island, but that is one of the many changes not for the best.

it’s also another post.

Anyway, if this is your idea of a fun thing to do (it is mine). I suggest buying a copy of Osprey’s Defenses of Bermuda 1612–1995 in the Fortress series (#112), ISBN: 978-1472825964.

OK, the Bermuda Tourist authority and Historic commissions don’t have their shit together when it comes down to good guides for this. On the other hand, this is an excellent guide which will prevent you from trying to find Forts Albert and Victoria: even though they are on the tourist map. It doesn’t tell you that Fort St. Catherine (the one on the front cover) has been wrecked by development.IMG_7472

You can get what looks like a pristine beach without the future St. Regis residential hotel by using a telephoto. On the other hand, the development of St. Catherine’s Beach caused a shit storm for quite a few reasons (first off, it was a public beach).

Well, they can’t ruin the view looking out to sea. Or maybe they can…

Likewise, Forts Albert and Victoria were trashed by development, but good luck finding that information anywhere besides the Osprey book. I was able to put together the pieces to learn that Fort Scaur was the one I wanted to explore when I was a kid.

IMG_7504

This picture was taken through the fence using the zoom

One major problem with exploring the forts is that Bermuda isn’t really good at preserving its history, as my previous points have shown. The Dockyard is now a tourist trap. They development folk also neglect it was home to Casemate’s prison, which is a whole separate topic.

And probably one most Bermudians don’t want to discuss.

Fort George has a really great view, but it is the Bermuda maritime Operations Centre. You can go there, but not much history or much to see besides the view.

Also, not all these forts are accessible when they still exist. The ones on the islands in St. Davids are on private proerty, which hasn’t really stopped anybody from visiting them.  It also takes some coordination trying to visit the Forts (e.g., you need to make an appointment to see the Martello Towers, which aren’t really restored).

Forts Victoria and Albert became inaccessible to general public after the demolition of Club Med Hotel in 2008, which was located in the same area.  Fort Victoria, which was once one of the finest forts is Bermuda, had been badly damaged from the demolition. Not that having a hotel built around it didn’t do enough damage. A new hotel complex is planned to be built on their site, although the UNESCO world heritage designation of St. George may result in the Forts being somewhat restored.

I’m not holding my breath given the development of St. Catherine’s Beach.

At this point, the Osprey book is the best guidebook around. For that matter: it’s probably the only guidebook around on the topic. Britain’s Island Fortresses: Defence of the Empire 1796-1956 sounds interesting, but it deals with the Fortresses worldwide. The Bermuda Maritime Museum also publishes Bermuda Forts 1612-1957 (ISBN: 978-0921560111), which is the authority on this subject, but a little large for carrying around with you.

On the other hand, this book is very comprehensive and thorough. Like visiting Bermuda, Osprey books were a staple of my youth. Unlike Bermuda, Osprey has only gotten better. This is pretty much the type of information you’ll get on the Island.

Bermuda now has cars. Way too many of the things for a small island.

Buy your copy before you leave since it will cost you (at least) twice the price if you get it in Bermuda. There are a couple of book stores in Hamilton that might have this title (Browns).

Well, you are on an Island in the Atlantic…

See Also:

More on the Unorganised Militia

Usually, you get someone pointing to 10 USC §311(b)(2) and saying they are part of the Unorganised Militia.  Unfortunately, this section of the Code doesn’t give a gloss on what exactly this means, but I have gone into it before in other posts: Asked and Answered–Unorganised, Sedentary, reserve, etcetera militias explained and Still more on the Unorganised Militia.  Basic info being:

The Sedentary, reserve, inactive, unorganised, general (or other term indicating INACTIVITY) Militia, has always been unorganized and untrained

Active Militias, that is THE organised, enrolled, embodied, active (or other term signifying active) Militia, can be supplemented if necessary by the ballot (selection by lot)–in other words drafted from the Unorganised militia draft pool.

The term “unorganized” did not begin to emerge until the 1830s and 1840s, when a massive wave of opposition destroyed the compulsory militia system. Nobody wanted to serve in the militia. State governors and legislators wanted to be able to accommodate this desire, but they were bound by the 1792 Uniform Militia Act, which stated that every white male aged 18-45 would be in the militia.

Militia service was so unpopular that Delaware abolished its militia system altogether in 1831. Massachusetts eliminated compulsory service in 1840, followed by Maine, Ohio, Vermont in 1844, Connecticut and New York in 1846, Missouri in 1847, and New Hampshire in 1851. Indiana classified its militia according to age in 1840, and exempted all but the young men from service. New Jersey withdrew the right to imprison a man for failure to pay a militia fine in 1844; Iowa did the same in 1846, Michigan in 1850, and California in 1856.” – Mahon, John K, The History of the Militia and the National Guard, p. 83

The term “unorganized militia” was kept in use in subsequent decades as a statutory “reminder” that the state could still obligate its citizens to perform military duty, should it ever want them to. Eventually, U.S. law in the early twentieth century picked up this same usage for the same reason: by creating the “unorganized militia,” the United States could guarantee usage of this manpower for military purposes, should the (remote) need ever arise.

Of course, legal method would tell you that there might be another part of the US Code that addresses this issue.  In fact, Title 10 is the Section of the US Code that covers the Armed Forces and there are sections that further elaborate on this topic.  10 USC Chapter 1003 – Reserve Components Generally–specifically addresses who the national guard happens to be:

10 USC 10101

The reserve components of the armed forces are: (1) The Army National Guard of the United States. (2) The Army Reserve. (3) The Naval Reserve. (4) The Marine Corps Reserve. (5) The Air National Guard of the United States. (6) The Air Force Reserve. (7) The Coast Guard Reserve.

10 USC 10105 – Sec. 10105. Army National Guard of the United States: composition

The Army National Guard of the United States is the reserve component of the Army that consists of – (1) federally recognized units and organizations of the Army National Guard; and (2) members of the Army National Guard who are also Reserves of the Army.

Also 10 USC § 312. Militia duty: exemptions, addresses who exempt from service in the militia. 32 USC § 313 deals with who can enlist to serve in the militia.

As I have said before, you need to actually be a member of the National Guard to actually claim that you are a member of the militia.  And that Constitutionally, the only body that can call itself a militia is one which is organised under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16–not the Second Amendment.

I should also add that the unorganised militia is usually addressed in state laws, where it is made clear that this is a reserve force with no duties or obligations.

See also

Pride and Prejudice…and THE MILITIA!

Yeah, we’re talking the Jane Austin Pride and Prejudice where the Bennet girls become friendly with militia officers stationed in the nearby town. The militia is leaving town, which makes the younger, rather man-crazy Bennet girls distraught. Lydia manages to obtain permission from her father to spend the summer with an old colonel in Brighton, where one of the officer’s regiment will be stationed.

The subplot of the militia in Pride and Prejudice is a constant throughout the novel. Though members of the militia were only required to train for twenty eight days of the year, they were often thought to be superior patriots and were generally held in high regard. The militia served as Britain’s standing army of reserve troops; during the the late Georgian and the Regency eras. Their purpose was to defend Britain in case of a French invasion. When Pride and Prejudice was written, Britain was on the verge of war with France and eventually became involved in the Napoleonic Wars, therefore Austen’s inclusion of officers in Pride and Prejudice merely accurately reflected the perception of the militia at the time.

Since training lasted only twenty eight days of the year, Lydia’s expectation that Colonel Forster would host a ball in Meryton was not unrealistic at all, and given the lack of conflict on British soil combined with widespread respect for the patriotic militia officers, their presence at such social events was probably commonplace. Indeed, in Pride and Prejudice the absence of the militia greatly affected Elizabeth in that “parties abroad were less varied than before; and at home she had a mother and sister whose constant repinings at the dulness of everything around them, threw a real gloom over their domestic circle”. Essentially, the absence of soldiers did not affect the safety of the surrounding area of their former camp, but the social life.

Wickham’s position as an officer in the militia and a gentlemen allows him to escape from paying his debts for quite awhile, but when Mr. Gardiner and Mr. Bennet must finally research his debts, it is found that he has many “debts of honor”to other officers, and that he was a “gamester”. Such debts demonstrate the laxity of the volunteer military atmosphere and the culture of the military regiments, the greater implication being that many militia men are involved in gambling, and that Wickham is one of the few who dishonorably ignore his debts.

Of course, the role of the militia is much more interesting in the later versions of Pride and PrejudicePride and Prejudice and Zombies and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls where the militia proves useful in combatting the dreadfuls (otherwise known as zombies). That and the Bennet girls’ ladylike martial arts abilities.

See also:

  • Fulford, Tim, Sighing for a Soldier: Jane Austen and Military Pride and Prejudice, Nineteenth-Century Literature, Vol. 57, No. 2. (2002), pp. 153-178.

I am a REAL Second Amendment supporter

Hey, fuck you clowns with your “unorganised militia” bullshit. That’s no more than saying that you have a fucking draft card, dickheads, and means you have fuck all rights.

Get your fucking arses down there and enroll in the Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 militia and get ready for some marching up and down the square!

It’s not about guns, it’s about military discipline!

And yet, though this truth would seem so clear, and the importance of a well regulated militia would seem so undeniable, it cannot be disguised, that among the American people there is a growing indifference to any system of militia discipline, and a strong disposition, from a sense of its burthens, to be rid of all regulations. How it is practicable to keep the people duly armed without some organization, it is difficult to see. There is certainly no small danger, that indifference may lead to disgust, and disgust to contempt; and thus gradually undermine all the protection intended by this clause of our national bill of rights.–Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution 3:§§ 1890

Rather be at the pictures I suppose?

See also:
United States v. Haney, 264 F.3d 1161 (10th Cir. 2001)
US v. Oakes, 564 F.2d 384 (1977)
United States v. Rybar, 103 F.3d 273 (3d Cir. 1996)
Militia-History and Law FAQ
Militia Mythology

The term “unorganised” did not begin to emerge until the 1830s and 1840s, when a massive wave of opposition destroyed the compulsory militia system. Nobody wanted to serve in the militia. State governors and legislators wanted to be able to accommodate this desire, but they were bound by the 1792 Uniform Militia Act, which stated that every white male aged 18-45 would be in the militia. The 1792 Uniform Militia Act explicitly allowed the states to determine who was exempt from militia service. So states divided their militias into two sections, the “organised” militia and the “unorganised” militia. In this way, the letter, though not the spirit, of the 1792 law could be complied with. Only the “organised” militia actually had responsibilities and obligations. The “unorganised” militia was a “reserve pool” that allowed the states’ militias to comprise the entire white male population from 18-45.

Alamo rant.

This little rant comes from MikeB’s post about the Alamo that was inspired by a similar one at Notionscaptial.

The Mexican-American war was one of the US’s more idiotic wars in terms of after effects (up there with the war for independence). The effects that this war caused and caused this war are plaguing the United States: such as the influx of Hispanics from the Central America, in particular former Mexican Territory. The US does not realise that by annexing a large segment of Mexican Territory, it divided families. As the PBS page on this topic points out:

The issues raised during the U.S.-Mexican War are ones that are still valid today: the contradiction between stated ideals and actual practice; the distinction between a “just” and an “unjust” war; the ways citizenship is defined and identified in a multicultural society; and the challenges in building progressive and democratic nations.

Some way that the Mexican American war was a warm up for the Civil War since many of the officers who fought in this conflict were high ranking officers in the Civil War (Grant and Lee). As the two other posts pointed out, Slavery was one of the many issues in this war (as was the newly discovered gold in California). Territory as well.

War, of course, makes no sense, but this was a War for territory that would ultimately change the character of the US. Even 150 years after this war, the US has not come to grips with the Hispanic culture it has inherited in the South West. There is that Northern European Chauvinism that wants to make everyone speak English and assimilate them into US culture.

The Mexican-American war was also the beginning in the change of attitude toward the Military from the Civilian Militia defence forces to full time Standing Armies. The Militia is not supposed to be used as a force for conquest, but as a means of protecting the homeland. The fact that the militia is an amateur force with primarily Civilian occupations was supposed to keep it from being used away from its home.

“Provided, That the militia of any state shall not be marched out of such state without the consent of the executive thereof, nor be continued in service out of the state, without the consent of the legislature thereof, for a longer term than six weeks; and provided, that the power to organize, arm, and discipline the militia, shall not be construed to extend further than to prescribe the mode of arming and disciplining the same.”–Melancton Smith, Proposed Amendment, New York Ratifying Convention


At one time it was said, that the militia under the command of the national government might be dangerous to the public liberty; at another, that they might be ordered to the most distant places, and burthened with the most oppressive services; and at another, that the states might thus be robbed of their immediate means of defence. How these things could be accomplished with the consent of both houses of congress, in which the states and the people of the states are represented, it is difficult to conceive. Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution 3:§§ 1197

The Mexican-American War has unfortunately passed into the void of US history. Its realities have been replaced by myths despite the fact that it added Hispanic Territories and Culture to the United States. This war along with the Spanish-American War ensured that Hispanic culture would be part of the US Culture.

Needless to say, I wish that the Mexicans had won this conflict. That would have put a halt, or at least slowed down, US imperialism.

SEE:
PBS’s US-Mexican War
Was the US-Mexican War Necessary?

Who the Fuck is stopping James A. D’Cruz from joining the National Guard?

I want to say that I fully support James A. D’Cruz’s Second Amendment rights, I understand he is an 18 year old male who was in JROTC and he should be able to directly enlist in the Texas National Guard, which is the Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16 Militia, if he is healthy enough to pass a military physical. The Second Amendment says either:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Another version is found in the copies distributed to the states, and then ratified by them, which had this capitalization and punctuation:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Nowhere do I see anything that states he can own a firearm outside of the well regulated militia, that is one which has been organised under the militia clauses of the Constitution, which are found in Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16:

To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

Which takes us back to my question: Who the Fuck is stopping James A. D’Cruz from joining the National Guard?

Now, I do have to admit he is the perfect test case for the rule that one needs to serve in the US Army prior to being eligible for National Guard service, which is a violation of his Second Amendment right to be a part of an Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16 Militia. On the other hand, D’Cruz doesn’t want to be a part of the military–he wants guns for some personal purpose as Josh Horwitz and others have pointed out.

D’Cruz WANTS to go into combat, which is why he should be allowed to join the militia. Although, since the militia is primarily a defence force, shouldn’t he want to be a part of the US Army? Of course, the Army isn’t covered by the Second Amendment–it’s the militia, which reading the primary sources and Anglo-American history shows to be true: Standing Armies are what tyrants set up when they want to destroy the militia. D’Cruz wants to assert his Second Amendment right, but that right is to bear arms as a member of an Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16 Militia. So, he can join the US Army, but that has no bearing on the Second Amendment. So, D’Cruz NEEDS to join the Texas National Guard if he wants to exercise his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.

By the way, if an armed band is not organised pursuant to Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16, it’s not a constitutional Militia.

As General Wesley Clark said: “I have got 20 some odd guns in the house. I like to hunt. I have grown up with guns all my life, but people who like assault weapons should join the United States Army, we have them.”

D’Cruz can join the National Guard if he wants to be around weapons. Let some drill sergeant kick his arse into shape. I support his right wholeheartedly if that is what he wants to do.

Otherwise, he can go fuck himself. The Second Amendment doesn’t apply to non-Article I, Section 8, clauses 15 & 16 Militia purposes.

Still, he can join the Army, which is what he SHOULD be doing. Shut up, Asshole, and just do it rather than run off at the mouth. Go to your recruiting office and ENLIST!

Second Amendment Fallacies from the Federalist blog

This came from an experiment I did to see if I received different results from the google search “Second Amendment standing armies” performed outside the USA. It came as no surprise that the non-US results provided more scholarly articles than the gun right related results one received in the US.

Of course, Nothing I haven’t been saying here before, but I still want to repeat this since it needs to be said:

Second Amendment Fallacies
By P.A. Madison on September 28, 2010

I wanted to take the opportunity today to add some late commentary over the court recent ruling in McDonald v. Chicago that extended the protection of an “individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia” against state infringement which had been an open question since the earlier gun case of District of Columbia v. Heller. Specifically, I want to address obvious errors in the courts reasoning in supporting an “individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia” under the Second Amendment.

Before I do, I want to add the disclaimer that I am not arguing for or against particular gun laws but only arguing gun laws, no matter how wise or foolish, are not in any way applicable to the Second Amendment. Owning a gun for personal defense is a far different principle from the keeping and bearing of arms as part of the military power of a State through a well-regulated militia that had always been compelled by State law.

The first error I’ll address is the one that treats the Second Amendment as though it confers a right directly to people of the States. The federal Constitution, and specifically the Second Amendment, did not confer anything to the people in terms of individual rights and freedoms for the simple reason they already possessed such rights through their own sovereignty under their own constitutions. It was the States with the approval of the people who gave to the new federal government and not the other way around.

Amendments were asked for and offered only to calm anti-federalists fears over future claims of power of national government to do such things as establish and compel worship to a national religion, enact laws of seditious libel, or disarm and replace state militias with a standing army, etc. The Second Amendment’s purpose was declaratory much like the Tenth Amendment. The principle it declares is that the security of a free people (State) is through a well-regulated militia for which the reason of keeping and bearing arms shall not be infringed because there can be no security in a standing army during times of peace.

Perhaps no one explained the principle behind the Second Amendment better than Tench Coxe when he wrote in the Pennsylvania Gazette, 1788:

The powers of the sword, say the minority of Pennsylvania, is in the hands of Congress. My friends and countrymen, it is not so, for the powers of the sword are in the hands of the yeomanry of America from sixteen to sixty. The militia of these free commonwealths entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible [standing] army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Is it feared then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom? Congress have no right to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American.

James Madison said standing armies during peace were “the greatest danger to liberty.”

One might argue the Second Amendment says nothing about standing armies but neither does the Third Amendment and historians agree it is rooted in the practice of maintaining a standing army during times of peace where law required people to quarter those troops on their property.[1] One of the things that made standing armies so odious was they lived among the people.

When early American patriots spoke of bearing arms they were talking about the safeguards of liberty through security of an armed and well organized citizenry in contrast to safeguarding their homes and families through a standing army and not any private right to own and use a gun. New Hampshire Governor John Page in June of 1841 explains these safeguards through an armed citizenry require efficiency through laws and organization:

The “right of the people to keep and bear arms,” is a right dear to every freeman; arms should be in the hands of every citizen of the Republic, who is able to wield them, and it is the duty of Government to prescribe such rules of organization and discipline, as will give those arms the greatest possible efficiency.

Pennsylvania Governor John Andrew Shulze said in 1829, “The right to bear arms is another important right guaranteed to all our citizens by the [Pennsylvania] constitution.” This right says he, imposes on the “legislature the duty of so organizing and disciplining the whole body of the citizens, that they shall be able, not only to bear arms, but to use them with confidence and skill, ‘in defense of themselves and the States, ’ if such a necessity shall arise.”

History shows all the States required by law those capable of bearing arms to do so, whether they were required by law to supply their own private arms or given public arms to use. Eventually all the States did away with compelling citizens to provide their own arms and instead armed their militias with public arms. When Tench Coxe once spoke of “private arms” he was referring to his own State of Pennsylvania law that militia members provide themselves with their own musket, else the fines for missing muster days would be used to purchase a musket for those unable to provide their own.

Armed militias of the citizens served as a vital function of providing a community with an armed police force when needed since there were no established police forces in early America that could respond to such events as rioting mobs. Framer James Wilson’s home was surrounded by an angry mob of 200 (some armed) in 1779 that required the calling out of the militia the following morning to disperse.

The bearing of arms was never considered a fundamental right of individuals to personally keep and use firearms but rather viewed as a civic duty, an obligation of citizenship in the same breath as casting a ballot or jury duty. One of the early arguments against granting suffrage to woman was it could lead to the obligation of them bearing arms. Proof of the civic function of bearing arms can be found in the denial of citizenship under former naturalization laws when potential new citizens refused to take an oath to bear arms.

The United States in July of 1863 issued orders forbidding citizens of the city of Baltimore and County to keep arms except those with the constitutional right to keep arms being members of a militia.

The court calls “explicit evidence” the words “constitutional right to bear arms” under §14 of the Freedmen’s Bureau Act that the 39th Congress viewed the right to keep and bear arms as a “fundamental right.” However, the insertion of these words was in response to the arming of all white militias within former Mississippi that excluded blacks. In other words, §14 of the Freedmen’s Bureau Act actually supports arms of the citizenry under a well-regulated militia rather than an individual right to arms outside of the service of a militia.

It is important to note the Freedmen’s Bureau Act was limited only to former rebel States that were then under United States military jurisdiction which in return made the Second Amendment applicable under any laws made by Congress while administering law within these former States.

This fact became very apparent with an act of Congress on March 2, 1867 that disbanded all the armed militias within former rebel States, leading to the charge Congress was infringing citizen’s right to keep and bear arms. President Johnson called the disbanding of the militias as “contrary to the express declaration of the Constitution, that ‘a well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.’” In other words, it was the people who bear arms that were the well-regulated militias that provided for the security of a free State.

The majority makes a bizarre claim that the Civil Rights Act of 1866 “similarly sought to protect the right of all citizens to keep and bear arms” as the Freedmen’s Bureau Act did, even though the Civil Rights Act made no mention about bearing arms. The majority tries to slink around this inconvenience by suggesting the words “the right … to have full and equal benefit of all laws and proceedings concerning personal liberty, personal security, and the acquisition, enjoyment, and disposition of estate, real and personal” was understood by some to include bearing arms.

How did the majority come to this wild conclusion?

They think Sen. Lyman Trumbull suggested the Freedmen’s Bureau Act would have protected the right to bear arms without the words “constitutional right to bear arms” inserted. In reality, all he said was the insertion of “constitutional right to bear arms” under the Freedmen’s Bureau Act had no “material effect” to the already existing section.

The Civil Rights Act of 1866 is a bad act to cite since its author, Sen. Trumbull, said it was only intended to enforce the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several States under §2 of Article IV, so “that a citizen of Massachusetts” could seek vindication or enforcement of a right in South Carolina courts. In other words, it isn’t horribly relevant since it was never viewed as advancing any personal rights under federal amendments to citizens under their own State.

Conclusion

Because all States compelled by law individual males of a certain age to keep arms (or arms were required to be stored in public armories) to bear when called upon to do so, dispels the idea of bearing arms was seen as a fundamental right for individual’s to own and use firearms outside of militia service. Instead, bearing arms was viewed as an obligation of citizenship in the service of the militia for both State and community defense and not anything to do with private firearms for personal use.

The declaratory principal found under the Second Amendment lies today in a dormant state due to the fact States no longer maintain and compel their citizens to serve in armed State militias as part of the security of a free State.

[1] Editorial comment: Not really true, There are drafts of the Second Amendment and other contemporary documents which make it quite clear that the existance of the militia was to prevent the establishment of a standing army.