Archive for the ‘Militia’ Category

I almost bought an AR Part III (Miscellaneous Thoughts)

So, do I get a package of ammunition to fight my way to the unit in the same way the Swiss do if I get an AR? 60 rounds doesn’t seem like a lot.
Swiss ammunition packageSwiss 3130953-v4-munition

 

 

 

 

 

Should I join a militia? Or is this just for individual defence?

Why am I in this position because of people who claim to want to have a peaceful society won’t renounce the use of violence?

I just heard that Minneapolis voted to defund the police last night. So much for gun control in the US.

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.

Why I hate the individual right interpretation of the Second Amendment and so should you.

Do not separate text from historical background. If you do, you will have perverted and subverted the Constitution, which can only end in a distorted, bastardized form of illegitimate government.–James Madison

It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect;–Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803).

I was thinking about calling this post The Truly Embarrassing Militia Clauses of the US Constitution as a take of on Sandford Levinson’s “The Embarrassing Second Amendment”. In it, Levinson points out that “the second amendment is not taken seriously by most scholars.” Levinson then says:

I cannot help but suspect that the best explanation for the absence of the Second Amendment from the legal consciousness of the elite bar, including that component found in the legal academy, is derived from a mixture of sheer opposition to the idea of private ownership of guns and the perhaps subconscious fear that altogether plausible, perhaps even “winning,” interpretations of the Second Amendment would present real hurdles to those of us supporting prohibitory regulation. Thus the title of this essay –The Embarrassing Second Amendment — for I want to suggest that the Amendment may be profoundly embarrassing to many who both support such regulation and view themselves as committed to zealous adherence to the Bill of Rights (such as most members of the ACLU). Indeed, one sometimes discovers members of the NRA who are equally committed members of the ACLU, differing with the latter only on the issue of the Second Amendment but otherwise genuinely sharing the libertarian viewpoint of the ACLU.

Problem is that Lawyers know the rules of the game better than most plain folks, and in Constitutional law, it appears some know it far better than 5 of the Judges on the Supreme court. Never mind that when Levinson wrote his piece (1989-1990) the Civic Right interpretation was pretty much the norm. The Second Amendment was neglected since it was pretty much seen as settled law prior to the rise of the revisionist pseudo-scholars. Levinson article was part of the flood of scholarship that has led to revisionism of the Second Amendment pseudo-scholars which has unsettled nearly 70 years of settled precedent. The pseudoscholars have been like good magicians and directing people’s attention to the wrong thing while they deceive them into making the illusion look real.

But, my reason for disliking the individual right interpretation goes to the two quotes that start here. True “Second Amendment” scholarship goes beyond just the text of the Second Amendment which everyone involved in this game knows comes in two versions:

As passed by the Congress:

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

.As ratified by the States:

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.

The Pseudoscholarship only looks at the second half of the Second Amendment (“the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”) and tries to neglect the Prefatory clause (A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State). Unfortunately, this has coloured the debate in recent years despite the admonition from Marbury v. Madison that “It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect”. The preamble thus both sets forth the object of the Amendment and informs the meaning of the remainder of its text. It is wrong that the prefatory text should be treated as mere surplusage according to the original rule for interpreting the Constitution.

The current debate isn’t True Second Amendment/Constitutional law scholarship since that MUST include also the militia clauses from Article I, Section 8 of the US Constitution along with the text of the Second Amendment:

Clause 15. The Congress shall have Power *** To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions.

Clause 16. The Congress shall have Power *** 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.

These two clauses change the debate and bring it closer to historic reality of how the Second Amendment should be interpreted. When the commentators were saying things such as “The great object is, that every man be armed”, Henry was specifically addressing Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 as the text shows:

As my worthy friend said, there is a positive partition of power between the two governments. To Congress is given the power of “arming, organizing, and disciplining the militia, and governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States.” To the state legislatures is given the power of “appointing the officers, and training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.” I observed before, that, if the power be concurrent as to arming them, it is concurrent in other respects. If the states have the right of arming them, &c., concurrently, Congress has a concurrent power of appointing the officers, and training the militia. If Congress have that power, it is absurd. To admit this mutual concurrence of powers will carry you into endless absurdity— that Congress has nothing exclusive on the one hand, nor the states on the other. The rational explanation is, that Congress shall have exclusive power of arming them, &c., and that the state governments shall have exclusive power of appointing the officers, &c. Let me put it in another light.

May we not discipline and arm them, as well as Congress, if the power be concurrent? so that our militia shall have two sets of arms, double sets of regimentals, &c.; and thus, at a very great cost, we shall be doubly armed. The great object is, that every man be armed. But can the people afford to pay for double sets of arms &c.? Every one who is able may have a gun. But we have learned, by experience, that necessary as it is to have arms, and though our Assembly has, by a succession of laws for many years, endeavored to have the militia completely armed, it is still far from being the case. When this power is given up to Congress without limitation or bounds, how will your militia be armed? You trust to chance; for sure I am that nation which shall trust its liberties in other hands cannot long exist. If gentlemen are serious when they suppose a concurrent power, where can be the impolicy to amend it? Or, in other words, to say that Congress shall not arm or discipline them, till the states shall have refused or neglected to do it? This is my object. I only wish to bring it to what they themselves say is implied. Implication is to be the foundation of our civil liberties, and when you speak of arming the militia by a concurrence of power, you use implication. But implication will not save you, when a strong army of veterans comes upon you. You would be laughed at by the whole world for trusting your safety implicitly to implication.

The problem is that if one looks at the Second Amendment in light of Congress’s powers under the Militia clauses, in particular–the power to arm the militia, the individual right proposition begins to wither away. Even more so when seen in the proper historical perspective. Then, needs to add Article 1, Section 8, Clause 12 (To raise and support Armies) to the mix to get the proper meaning of the Second Amendment.

Somehow, the dislike of Standing Armies in the Anglo-American mind has also been neglected in this mix. In the 17th and 18th Century Great Britain and the British Colonies in America, there was a sentiment of distrust of a standing army not under civilian control. In England, this led to the Bill of Rights 1689, which reserves authority over a standing army to Parliament, not the King. The Declaration of Independence lists keeping standing armies during time of peace as one of the grievances. This dislike was far more nuanced in the United States Constitution which reserves by virtue of “power of the purse” similar authority to Congress, instead of to the President. The President, however, retains command of the armed forces when they are raised, as commander-in-chief. This dislike of standing armies heavily flavoured the debates relating to the adoption of both the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which leads to to this question from Elbridge Gerry:

What, sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty. Now, it must be evident, that, under this provision, together with their other powers, Congress could take such measures with respect to a militia, as to make a standing army necessary. Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins.

The Constitution’s retention of the militia and its creation of divided authority over that body did not prove sufficient to allay fears about the dangers posed by a standing army. For it was perceived by some that Article I contained a significant gap: While it empowered Congress to organize, arm, and discipline the militia, it did not prevent Congress from providing for the militia’s disarmament. As George Mason argued during the debates in Virginia on the ratification of the original Constitution:

“The militia may be here destroyed by that method which has been practiced in other parts of the world before; that is, by rendering them useless—by disarming them. Under various pretences, Congress may neglect to provide for arming and disciplining the militia; and the state governments cannot do it, for Congress has the exclusive right to arm them.” Elliot 379.

On the one hand, there was a widespread fear that a national standing Army posed an intolerable threat to individual liberty and to the sovereignty of the separate States. Governor Edmund Randolph, reporting on the Constitutional Convention to the Virginia Ratification Convention, explained: “With respect to a standing army, I believe there was not a member in the federal Convention, who did not feel indignation at such an institution.” 3 J. Elliot, Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution 401 (2d ed. 1863) (hereinafter Elliot). On the other hand, the Framers recognized the dangers inherent in relying on inadequately trained militia members as the primary means of providing for the common defense, and the institutional deficiencies of the militia were the subject of bitter complaint.

Fortunately, the Congressional debates regarding the adoption of the Second Amendment are very short and found here. There was debate in Congress over the religious exemption, and it was removed. Otherwise, there was general discussion of standing armies and the militia, not about personal uses, and widespread support for the proposed Amendment. It became part of the Constitution with the rest of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791.

Considering the immediate political context of the Second Amendment, as well as its long historical background, there can be no doubt about its intended meaning. There had been a long standing fear of military power in the hands of the executive, and, rightly or wrongly, many people believed that the militia was an effective military force which minimized the need for such executive military power. The proposed Constitution authorized standing armies, and granted sweeping Congressional power over the militia. Some even feared disarmament of the militia. The Second Amendment was clearly and simply an effort to relieve that fear.

Thus, the Second Amendment needs to be read as more than just one clause, but within the context of text of the entire Constitution for it to be properly understood. The majority opinion neglected the guide to constitutional construction given by Marbury that “It cannot be presumed that any clause in the constitution is intended to be without effect” and rendered the “prefatory clause” to be mere surplusage, which is far from how a truly “original interpretation” based upon how such a text was understood to be read. This has led to absurdities such as the Chicago v. McDonald ruling which said that a provision relating to Congress’s powers under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16 applies to the states–even though the states do not have these powers granted to them.

It seems to me that there are good reasons for ignoring the Heller-McDonald decisions and reverting to the standard announced by US v. Miller that said the entire text of the Second Amendment must be used for its interpretation:

 

With obvious purpose to assure the continuation and render possible the effectiveness of such forces (The Article I, Section 8, clause 15 & 16 Militias), the declaration and guarantee of the Second Amendment were made. It must be interpreted and applied with that end in view.

 

Justice William O. Douglas (who was on the Court at the time of Miller) later described the decision as:

The leading case is United States v. Miller, 307 U.S. 174, upholding a federal law making criminal the shipment in interstate commerce of a sawed-off shotgun. The law was upheld, there being no evidence that a sawed-off shotgun had “some reasonable relationship to the preservation or efficiency of a well regulated militia.” Id., at 178. The Second Amendment, it was held, “must be interpreted and applied” with the view of maintaining a “militia.” Adams v. Williams, 407 U.S 143, 150 -51 (1972)

Miller addressed Congress’s power over the militia, yet it has been dropped from the current discussion of the Second Amendment thus removing it from the the debate regarding the proper scope of the Amendment.

Ultimately, the right granted by the Second Amendment (and the Third) was supposed to be one that there would be no Standing Army, not for private citizens to own firearms. The Constitution, in particular, the Second Amendment is silent on the issue of non-militia arms. That fact, strips away the concept of “gun rights” as being protected under the US Constitution (although gun rights are found in State Constitutions). Instead, the Second Amendment is a window on a vastly different United States from the one we now live. One in which standing armies were feared.

The Constitution is not to be taken piecemeal, but to be seen as a whole to properly understand it. The individual right concept separate texts from historical background and says that clauses in the constitution are intended to be without effect rendering them mere surplusage. This turns the constitution upon its head by neglecting that there are two concepts that are in conflict here: the State Militias and the Federal Army.

Yet, rather than scream bloody murder this act has been allowed to be perpetrated upon the American public. Justice Berger called this interpretation a fraud upon the American public and the 5 justices played fast and loose with the rules of Constitutional interpretation to distort the constitution. Those who dislike penumbras in the law and government intrusion into the private lives of citizens, yet can tolerate Heller-McDonald need to understand what they have just condoned. For Heller-McDonald has not come from the penumbras, but out of nowhere in violation of the role of judges to be interpreters of the law, not legislators.

Delegates to the Constitutional Convention had no intention of establishing any personal right to keep and bear arms. Therefore the “individualist” view of the Second Amendment presented in the Heller-McDonald decisions must be rejected in favor of the “collectivist” interpretation, which is supported by history and the pre-Heller-McDonald Supreme Court decisions on the issue: in particular US v. Miller.

The nature of the Second Amendment also does not provide a right that could be interpreted as being incorporated into the Fourteenth Amendment. It was designed solely to protect the states against the powers given to the Federal government under Article I, Section 8, Clause 16, not to create a personal right which either state or federal authorities are bound to respect.

The contemporary meaning of the Second Amendment should be the same as it was at the time of its adoption. The federal government may regulate the body that was called the Militia (now the National Guard), but may not disarm it against the will of state legislatures. Nothing in the Second Amendment, however, precludes Congress or the states from requiring licensing and registration of firearms; in fact, there is nothing to stop an outright congressional ban on private ownership of all handguns and all rifles.

See:

THE POWER TO RAISE AND MAINTAIN ARMED FORCES

Founders’ Constitution:

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 12

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 15

Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16

Second Amendment

Amendment Three

House of Representatives, Amendments to the Constitution 17, 20 Aug. 1789 Annals 1:749–52, 766–67

Weatherup, Roy, Standing Armies And Armed Citizens: An Historical Analysis of The Second Amendment, 2 Hastings Const. L.Q. 961-1001 (1975)

Schwoerer, Lois G. “No Standing Armies!” The Antiarmy Ideology in Seventeenth-Century England

(OK, I am reposting this from MikeB’s Blog, but it’s my post and I can do that!)

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.

Why does the Second Amendment apply to State Militias?

Let’s start with the Articles of Confederation, which were the United States’ first constitutional document. It was drafted in 1776-77 and became the working constitution, although it was not formally ratified until 1781. The Articles authorised the Continental Congress in its supervision of the American Revolution, its diplomacy with Europe, and its handling of territorial issues. There were complaints that The Articles were too weak to adequately administer the United States’s governmental functions. Shays’ Rebellion pointed out many of the flaws in the system of govrnment instituted by the Articles. Some wanted the Articles amended, others advocated a new order. Eventually, the Articles of Confederation were replaced by the current Constitution in 1789.

Article VI of the Articles of Confederation:

nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the united States, in congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of field pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

There are other paragraphs pertaining to the militia in Article VI, Article VII, and Article IX. Article VII provides that all militia officers under the rank of colonel be appointed by state legislatures. Article IX provides that Congress should appoint officers at the regimental level (colonels, usually) and above, and also gives a procedure by which the federal government could call upon the militia in case of national emergency. It was up to state governments under the Articles to determine which men would serve in the militia.

The Articles also clearly distinguish between troops which can be only be kept in time of peace by states with the consent of Congress and militia which it is the obligation of the state to supply and keep up.

The lack of an institutional response to the Shays’ uprising was among the factors which led to the reevaluation of the Articles of Confederation and gave strong impetus to the Constitutional Convention which began in May 1787. The delegates of the Constitutional Convention granted Congress the power under Article 1; section 8, clauses 15 and 16 of the federal constitution to “provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the Militia,” as well as, and in distinction to, the power to raise an army and a navy. The US Congress is granted the power to use the militia of the United States for three specific missions, as described in Article 1, section 8, clause 15: “To provide for the calling for of the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions.” The Militia Act of 1792 enacted these provisions into law with the militia consisting of; “each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein, who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia, by the Captain or Commanding Officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizen shall reside, and that within twelve months after the passing of this Act.”

What was not specified in the Constitution, but was clearly understood by all was that the term ‘militia’ meant the militia of the states given its prior usage and understanding in the system set up by the Articles of Confederation.

Note that the Militia Act requires that the militia member is enrolled into his unit. The actual procedure varied from state to state. In most states at most times, it was the responsibility of the local officers to find out who was new to an area and enroll them in the militia.

For example, here is the 1836-37 Revised Statutes of North Carolina:

“That all free white men and white apprentices, citizens of this state, or of the United States, residing in the State, who are or shall be of the age of eighteen, and under the age of forty-five years, shall, as soon as is practicable, be severally and respectively enrolled in the militia of this State, by the captain or commanding officer of the infantry company within the bounds of whose district…such citizen shall reside; and it shall, at all times, be the duty of every captain or commanding officer of any community, to enrol every such citizen, except as hereinafter excepted; and also those between the ages aforesaid, and not exempt by law, who may from time to time, come to reside within the bounds of his district, and remain therein thirty days; and he shall without delay, notify such citizen of his enrolment, by a proper non-commissioned officer of the company, by whom the notice may be given.”

Also note that the federal government always has the power to “organize, arm and discipline” the state militias. It has this power regardless of whether or not the state militias are called up by the federal government. Furthermore, it routinely used this power at times when no state militias were called up by the federal government. When the state militias are called up, the federal government has additional powers over them, but this has nothing to do with the other powers.

A major concern of the various delegates during the constitutional debates over the Constitution and the Second Amendment to the Constitution revolved around the issue of transferring militia power held by the States’ (under the existing Articles of Confederation), to Federal control. The new Constitution effected a dramatic shift of military power from being militia based and predominately controlled by the States towards being controlled by the federal Congress and the President with the addition of a federal army. It was this shift in power with the Federal government being given the power to arm the militia which led to the Second Amendment.

See also:
The Founder’s Constitution
Militia-History and Law FAQ
Militia Mythology

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?

An interesting quote from George Mason:

I was looking up some material on George Mason and the Militia and found this quote from the Fairfax County Militia Association, 21 September 1774:

That we will form ourselves into a Company, not exceeding one hundred Men, by the Name of The Fairfax independant Company of Voluntiers, making Choice of our own Officers; to whom, for the Sake of Good-order & Regularity, we will pay due submission. That we will meet at such Times & Places in this County as our said Officers (to be chosen by a Majority of the Members, so soon as fifty have subscribed) shall appoint & direct, for the Purpose of learning & practising the military Exercise & Discipline; dress’d in a regular Uniform of Blue, turn’d up with Buff; with plain yellow metal Buttons, Buff Waist Coat & Breeches, & white Stockings; and furnished with a good Fire-lock & Bayonet, Sling Cartouch-Box, and Tomahawk. And that we will, each of us, constantly keep by us a Stock of six pounds of Gunpowder, twenty pounds of Lead, and fifty Gun-flints, at the least. That we will use our utmost Endeavours, as well at the Musters of the said Company, as by all other Means in our Power, to make ourselves Masters of the Military Exercise. And that we will always hold ourselves in Readiness, in Case of Necessity, hostile Invasion, or real Danger of the Community of which we are Members, to defend to the utmost of our Power, the legal prerogatives of our Sovereign King George the third, and the just Rights & Privileges of our Country, our Posterity & ourselves upon the Principles of the British Constitution.

O.K., I’ve highlighted the last sentences since they are what interests me, but point out something I have been saying for a while, which is that the Rebels during the War for American Independence were fighting for their rights as British Citizens. What I find interesting is that they mention the legal prerogatives of King George the Third. Of course, the ability to tax without the consent of his subjects through representation in the British Parliament wouldn’t have been one of these prerogatives, but still this is interesting.

This is the quote I was hoping to find which comes from the Fairfax County Committee of Safety Proceedings [17 January 1775]:

Resolved, That this Committee do concur in opinion with the Provincial Committee of the Province of Maryland, that a well regulated Militia, composed of gentlemen freeholders, and other freemen, is the natural strength and only stable security of a free Government, and that such Militia will relieve our mother country from any expense in our protection and defence, will obviate the pretence of a necessity for taxing us on that account, and render it unnecessary to keep Standing Armies among us—ever dangerous to liberty; and therefore it is recommended to such of the inhabitants of this County as are from sixteen to fifty years of age, to choose a Captain, two Lieutenants, an Ensign, four Sergeants, four Corporals, and one Drummer, for each Company; that they provide themselves with good Firelocks, and use their utmost endeavours to make themselves masters of the Military Exercise, published by order of his Majesty in 1764, and recommended by the Provincial Congress of the Massachusetts Bay, on the 29th of October last.

Note that the “well regulated Militia” is “composed of gentlemen freeholders, and other freemen”. The gentlemen freeholders being what in England is referred to as the “Landed Gentry”, in other words property owners. There is a problem with militia service though and that is that it takes time: time which could be better spent in more “profitable” pursuits (e.g., Commerce). Thus the burden of militia service usually fell upon the lower classes as the “gentlemen freeholders” either held positions as officers, or paid to have someone else (usually from the “labouring classes”) take their places.

Of course, there is the Famous George Mason misquotation, which is actually a partial quote from Elliot’s Debates, Vol. 3, Page 425

Mr. GEORGE MASON. Mr. Chairman, a worthy member has asked who are the militia, if they be not the people of this country, and if we are not to be protected from the fate of the Germans, Prussians, &c., by our representation? I ask, Who are the militia? They consist now of the whole people, except a few public officers. But I cannot say who will be the militia of the future day. If that paper on the table gets no alteration, the militia of the future day may not consist of all classes, high and low, and rich and poor; but they may be confined to the lower and middle classes of the people, granting exclusion to the higher classes of the people. If we should ever see that day, the most ignominious punishments and heavy fines may be expected. Under the present government, all ranks of people are subject to militia duty. Under such a full and equal representation as ours, there can be no ignominious punishment inflicted. But under this national, or rather consolidated government, the case will be different. The representation being so small and inadequate, they will have no fellow-feeling for the people. They may discriminate people in their own predicament, and exempt from duty all the officers and lowest creatures of the national government. If there were a more particular definition of their powers, and a clause exempting the militia from martial law except when in actual service, and from fines and punishments of an unusual nature, then we might expect that the militia would be what they are. But, if this be not the case, we cannot say how long all classes of people will be included in the militia. There will not be the same reason to expect it, because the government will be administered by different people. We know what they are now, but know not how soon they may be altered.

The whole quote addresses the system of exemptions from Militia service, which gets to my point about it being a burden when the system was in practise. Of course, what I was interested in finding out was whether Mason used the term “the people” in a rather restrictive form of “White male landowners” as opposed to the more liberal form which people are suggesting is the case. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that that is totally the case. Although, it does get to another aspect that has been mentioned in regard to Militia service–it was seen as a burden.

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.

Militia Training Day

These are both of the paintings I mentioned in my The Second Amendment in Art! post. The first is:

Militia Training by James G. Clonney (1812 – 1867). This is the painting found at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Charles Henry Granger’s Muster Day is in the National Gallery in Washington, DC.

Charles Henry Granger’s Muster Day

The Second Amendment in Art!

This is Charles Henry Granger’s Muster Day which is in the National Gallery in Washington, DC. There is another version of this at the located at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

While able-bodied citizen between the ages of eighteen and forty-five were considered members of the militia under the militia act of 1792, The annual muster day was how they accomplished the actual enrollment of the members into their units.

Local companies of militia would gather annually for parade and inspection at their regiment’s muster day which often involved a thousand or more men from half a dozen towns. Food and alcohol vendors, showmen, fiddlers, auctioneers, charlatans, gamblers, and several thousand spectators turned these gatherings into regional festivals in an era of few such diversions. Muster days were structured social events in a regimental towns in ways not duplicated since. By 1830, muster days were under attack from those who resented the required participation. They were joined by temperance advocates, who objected to the considerable public drunkenness attending each muster, and later by critics of the Mexican War, who claimed that the existence of a peace-time militia had in fact led to this conflict.

“Their general good conduct on the field was creditable to officers and soldiers – with the exception of a few, (such as never know how to leave off when they have done), who fired promiscuously about the plain a long time after they had been dismissed, a practice always disreputable to good soldiers and the officers to whom they belong. the occasion attracted an unusual assemblage of spectators, pedlers, rumsellers, rumdrinkers and gamblers; whose noise, ribaldry, intoxication, and violation of the laws in the face and eyes of the authorities, was disgraceful to the place, to the occasion, to those specially engaged in it, and to all who looked on and tolerated it. We leave it to the people to judge whether there be more good than evil derived from ‘making a muster.’” –Report of the Amherst Muster Day from The Farmers’ Cabinet, 1834

Exemptions to Militia service were:

Vice President, federal judicial and executive officers, congressmen and congressional officers, custom-house officers and clerks, post-officers and postal stage drivers, ferrymen on post roads, export inspectors, pilots, merchant mariners, and people exempted under the laws of their states”notwithstanding their being above the age of eighteen and under the age of forty-five years.”

Or as the quote goes: “I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.”
— George Mason, in Debates in Virginia Convention on Ratification of the Constitution, Elliot, Vol. 3, June 16, 1788 (that should be quite a few public officials).

So, militia service was NOT universal. In fact, Men actively sought exemption from militia service. This was a reason for the carnival atmosphere at muster days. Again from Story:

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.

To be quite honest, people had jobs and other things to do than militia service and sought exemption from that duty. The muster day had a carneval feeling because it made the obligation less painful. Still there was an obligation to perform militia service. This was compulsory military duty which required time away from your work.

Now, they demand the right without the obligation encumbent to that right.

More of the Widom of Matthew White

From his FAQ: Death Tolls for the Man-made Megadeaths of the 20th Century

Q: Is government responsible for most of the deaths by violence and oppression in the 20th Century?

A: Well, yeah. Of course. Organized thugs kill more efficiently than disorganized thugs.

Wars and oppressions are collective endeavors, and whenever humans work collectively, they work through government. Whether wars are fought using citizen militia, standing armies, hired mercenaries, tribal warriors, corporate security teams, street gangs, paramilitaries or feudal levies, there’s always a ruler or governing body to determine who does what to whom. Call it a cabinet, junta, council of elders, general staff, board of directors, politburo or capo de tutti capi — it’s a government.

Unfortunately, blaming war and tyranny on government is like blaming house fires on oxygen. Strictly speaking, it’s true, but no fire marshal would ever get a good performance review if that’s his answer to everything. To understand house fires, you’ll have to look at wiring, storage, smoking, materials and cooking, and not just insist, “It’s oxygen, I tell you! Oxygen is evil! Why won’t anyone listen to me?”

Most attempts to blame government for democides depend on a kind of circular reasoning. They define “government” as any organization capable of mass violence, and then are amazed when all mass violence is produced by government. If they were to instead define “government” as, say, any organization that delivers mail or builds roads, then at least they would be moving away from obvious tautologies.

He makes a point that most people miss about the “militia”, especially if they believe that being a part of an “Unorganised militia” qualifies them for dick. This is partially because they are ignorant that the “unorganised militia” is a draft pool of potential militia members. As I like to say, it’s the equivalent of saying you are in the army because you have a draft card.

The really salient point is that the militias, especially during the War for American Independence, were under some form of government control. Despite the common criticism that they were as effective as a mob with sticks. The reality was that the militias and ultimately the Continental Army was under the Control of the Continental Congress and other forms of rebel government.

They weren’t just some people who got together with weapons and beat off the British. In fact, the War for American Independence was both a civil war, in that the Loyalists had their own militias, and an actual war in that the British, French, Spanish, and various other countries were involved in fighting it.

So, you had both revolutionary miltia units and Loyalist militia units which were under some form of government control. They wern’t unorganised bans of people who just struck out at “British tyranny” or “Rebel tyranny”.

This puts the modern “militia” pretenders and Libertarian loonies in a quandry about the insurrection theory since how can one have tyranny in a democracy when one is technically the government? As Dennis v. United States, 341 U.S. 494 (1951) puts points out in regard to the insurrectionist theory:

The obvious purpose of the statute is to protect existing Government, not from change by peaceable, lawful and constitutional means, but from change by violence, revolution and terrorism. That it is within the power of the Congress to protect the Government of the United States from armed rebellion is a proposition which requires little discussion. Whatever theoretical merit there may be to the argument that there is a “right” to rebellion against dictatorial governments is without force where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change. We reject any principle of governmental helplessness in the face of preparation for revolution, which principle, carried to its logical conclusion, must lead to anarchy. No one could conceive that it is not within the power of Congress to prohibit acts intended to overthrow the Government by force and violence. The question with which we are concerned here is not whether Congress has such power, but whether the means which it has employed conflict with the First and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution.

So, there is no right to armed rebellion and one cannot make an argument that such a right exists where the existing structure of the government provides for peaceful and orderly change.

Got that???

When we hang the capitalists, they will sell us the rope.

I have to admit being flooded with outrage about the Fort Hood shootings. There are loads of reasons for this.

First off, that it could have been allowed to happen. Even more so when you consider that the ridiculous access to firearms is done under the guise of the Second Amendment. This is a text that includes the words:

necessary to the security of a free State

Why has that gottten lost in the debate? I hear all sorts of stupid shit about “fighting tyranny”, “rights”, “Liberty”, and “freedom”, but I never hear about the responsibility and obligation that is incumbent upon this right.

That is service in the militia. Not some bullshit “unorganised” militia, which is the quivalent of having a draft card, but actually serving in a legally organised militia unit.

There has been at least two conspiracies to shoot up military bases in the US: Fort Dix and Quantico, VA. U.S. domestic military bases are still “wide open to attack.”

Charles Faddis, a 20-year CIA counterterrorism veteran, says:

“If you drive around the United States today, other than security measures in place at airports, you will see very little has changed in the last eight years,” said Faddis, who has visited several U.S. military bases in the past year while researching an upcoming book on homeland security, “Willful Neglect”.

“We remain wide open to attack. That is true in the nation as a whole, and it is true on military bases as well,” said Faddis, 51, who retired in 2008 as chief of the CIA’s weapons of mass destruction terrorism unit. Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he led a counterterrorism team into northern Iraq in search of an al Qaeda base. He has authored two withering critiques of his former employer, most recently “Beyond Repair: The Decline and Fall of the CIA”, published last month.

“They know how to secure an installation,” says Faddis. “They are not failing to do so because they do not know what to do. They are failing to do so, because somehow, some way, we have convinced ourselves that an attack cannot happen here.”

“You may have to show a photo ID at some locations, but even that is not always true. Even if you have to show an ID, a civilian driver’s license will often suffice,” he said. “Most bases remain open to civilian visitors with even the most cursory of explanations for why they are coming on post. “

Even the Fort Meade, Maryland, headquarters for both the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command and the super-sensitive National Security Agency, has porous security, said Faddis, who has visited the sprawling post within the last few weeks. “There are no barriers (at the gate),” he said. “If you want to stop, you do so. If you want to go by the gate and onto the base at 60 miles an hour, you do so.

“Once you are on base,” the former CIA official continued, “you go wherever you want. There are no armed guards. There are no checkpoints. There is no visible security. Even entering buildings, the only kind of security you are going to see is the kind designed to deter unauthorized personnel who are trying to sneak in, steal secrets. and sneak back out.

Nothing has been done to restrict access to firearms either. One can walk in to a gun store with a valid drivers licence and walk out with enough firepower to cause serious mayhem. Hey, you can buy enough guns and ammo to start WWIII. There have been mass shootings in the United States for at least 30 year, yet gun laws are becoming laxer, not tighter. The assault weapons ban was crap, but somewhat useful. Even then, it was allowed to lapse and newly made assault weapons can once again be bought,

So, why the fuck are people who should not have access to firearms still buying them legally? Or even acquiring them easily. I mean we lock our houses and cars, but we leave firearms wide open.

The next thing that pisses me off is that people are pointing fingers at everything except what allowed this to happen.

The gun.

Yeah, sure guns are tools. They are highly effective tools for killing. They work quite quickly as the Fort Hood shootings show.

Don’t give me any crap about an Army Base being a gun free zone since there was an armed guard who returned fire. They were guns on the base which could have been used to fend off the attack, but a semi-automatic pistol can has a high rate of fire. Unfortunately, people, especially civilians, don’t understand that an incident like this can happen quite quickly and result in a high body count before anybody can do anything.

The FN 5.7 holds 20 rounds. In a crowded room it would be easy beyond belief to hit 43 people in a matter of a few SECONDS, say nothing of minutes.

Are you going to tell me that US soldiers are cowards and didn’t resist in any way? They just let this psychotic asshole shoot up the military processing center. I don’t believe that.

Not to mention someone did return fire, but by that point, the body count had racked up.

Of couse, in this outrage, we also see a backlash against muslims, which also doesn’t make sense. The Fort Hood shooter could have been screaming “Kill for Cthulhu“. He was a fucking whack job.

His religious pseudofundamentalism is a symptom of his mental illness.

As Zirgar said, do we point out the people who kill abortion doctors are christians? Likewise, do we point out the religion of other mass shooters? How about the asshole who shot up the Holocaust museum, what religion was he? How about the dickhead who gunned down 3 Pittsburgh Officers, what religion was he? How about the Jerkoff who shot up an LA Fitness Centre in Pittsburgh? What religion was he?

No, only this asshole because he is a “muslim”.

If this is terrorism, then it is because someone with a firearms shoots up a place we would like to think is secure. But we would like to think streets, shopping malls, supermarkets, schools, universities, fitness centres, and so on are secure. Terrorism is creating a feeling of terror and panic, which mass shootings do create.

The United States has to become like Northern Ireland during the troubles where security checkpoints were ubiquitous and frequent if people are going to demand more guns without restrictions. Even with registration, there should be checkpoints.

It is completely moronic to give terrorists the tools they need to accompllish their goals. Those who block any restrictions, especially if they do it in the name of “fighing tyranny” are complicit in this act.

After all, who defines tyranny? Is it a small minority who feel that they have been wronged? Then why aren’t they praising the Fort Hood shooter for standing up against what he saw as tyranny?

No, because that it complete bullshit. So, cut the crap with the Second Amendment being for “fighting tyranny” and “freedom” because somehow our freedom of movement and right to live safely will have to be curtailed. Even if that destruction of liberty is from sheer paralysis about leaving the safety of your own home.

As for the Second Amendment, I have said more than once that it is archaic and its meaning has been lost with the passing of time. The founders would be shaking their heads in disbelief at things which are being said and done regarding “the Second Amendment right”. Especially when people say that the Army should be able to “exercise its Second Amendment rights”.

No, too much emphasis has been placed upon the phrase “right to keep and bear arms” with neglect of the concept of the “Security of the Free State”. The Supreme Court wrote those words out of the Amendment in its DC v. Heller decision, but it is time to revive that concept.

The “right to keep and bear arms” is related to the “Security of the Free State” and those who would allow terrorists, foreign or domestic, access to arms are guilty of treason.

So, where the fuck is the outrage that this shit can happen and why isn’t it directed at the ease it can happen?