The American Militia
Who Said Anything About Duck Hunting?
Things are heating up here in Maryland on several accounts; The
Legislature is back in session, recent elections have driven our
state even more liberal and the anti-gun forces are feeling their
oats. A brand new shiny "Assault Weapon Ban" has been introduced in
the State Senate with similar legislation in the US Congress.
Because of this, and other subjects, the topic of firearms has been
picked up on a few local talk shows. Just last Tuesday (2-20-2007)
on a show called The Buzz, the local Libertarian type moderator and
his not so Libertarian co-talker, were debating things firearm in
general and hitting on a few specific topics. I had the impression I
was listening to the play-by-play description of a professional
wrestling match. In this corner, Captain America defending liberty;
And in this corner, his opponent, the amazing Slime Ball, emotionally
attacking everything regardless of facts. Yes, it was a lively
discussion, if it can be called that. On one side was a calm
recitation of facts, but it was being rebutted by a vast array of
innuendo, presumption, hyperbole, ad-hominem attacks, and just
outright rude, crude and socially maladjusted behavior.
But on to the meat of the discussion, firearms and Assault Rifles.
Here were the basic points; Who Needs an Assault Rifle, what is an
assault rifle and what does the Second Amendment have to do with it
Our brave Captain America had his basic argument for freedom well
prepared, but, unfortunately, on the subject of firearms, he was not
too knowledgeable. As he has explained in the past, he is just NOT a
firearm enthusiast. In spite of several technical points which got
in the way of the overall discussion, a bit of headway was made on
that pesky Second Amendment, the issue of Assault Weapons and that
burning question of "Need". A little education will come in handy;
so here goes.
First, let me clearly say, "The Second Amendment is NOT about duck
I say this because a recurrent theme in the slime attack was
something along the lines of, "What do you need an Assault Rifle for,
it is not suitable for hunting." This brings up the second most
prominent mis-applied argument, that of Wants and Needs; but Iīll get
to that later. Back to hunting and just what is the Second Amendment
about and why is it important to know that the American Militia
Lets study that part of the Bill of Rights, bit by bit, to see what
it Says. "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." First off, it mentions "a free state" in its
introductory clause. What is that? What is the "state" they are
talking about? You can have an interesting discussion about this and
obtain some understanding by delving into the word "state" and the
possible double-entendre in its use.
State; A mode or condition of being ... condition of mind ... social
position ... body of people occupying a territory and organized under
one government ... the government of such a body ... one of the
constituent units of a nation...
These several meanings are taken directly from a dictionary.
The Second Amendment also contains the phrase "the people" in its
Let us first assume State means the condition of being and "free
state" means the condition of freedom. Reading the second part, that
"the people" have something to do with the Amendment, tends to
support the first phrase as a condition or state of freedom; people
can have freedom, other "things" can not. Along that line, People
have Rights, other entities or things do not. The two phrase support
each other, each implying that the other applies to people as
individuals and as individual members of a group.
Now; Let us assume that State means the constituent unit of a nation
(the State of Maryland for example). How does freedom apply to this
type of state? People have freedom, things do not. A geopolitical
unit (a state) can not have freedom or rights. But can a condition
of freedom exist within a state, and if the state is the "body of
people occupying a territory...", then can freedom apply to them both
individually and as a body of people? Yes it can. All possible
meanings of the word "state" support its being comprised of
individuals and groups of individuals but not a geopolitical entity.
Just who might the "people" in the "state" be protecting themselves
from? Who are they ready to oppose so as to ensure the condition of
freedom? If the people are collectively ONLY the body occupying the
territory, all of the people residing in the state, then it is
protecting the freedom of that body as it exists under a larger
encompassing entity, the nation and its federal government. The body
of the people ensure the security of the free state, on a macro
scale, from the encroachment of national or federal forces (or any
other outside extra territorial forces for that matter). If the
people are individuals they do the same thing AND protect themselves
individually from other forces denying freedom on a micro scale.
These forces include other individuals (criminals, etc) and all other
entities (the State and National governments and outside invaders).
I guess it is in this context from which the phrase "enemies foreign
and domestic" arose. As a historical prospective these various
"people" individually and collectively comprise the general "Militia"
which is tasked with protecting the free state. This fact is
codified in state and federal law; Look it up. This general militia
is the micro scale defender of freedom. It is the people
individually, ready to muster into local units, and not a standing
select group (the select Militia such as the National Guard Army).
The latter is in fact a part of the federal army which came into
being in the 20th century, not in 1789.
What else supports this concept of the people, individually and
collectively, defending freedom? There are three main documents
supporting this discussion. The Bill of Rights and the Second of
them cited above, the Constitution which contains it and the
Declaration of Independence from which all the others grew. The
concept of freedom is most clearly stated in the Declaration which
set out precisely our grievances against tyranny and our natural
right as humans to correct that tyranny. Take a look at the second
paragraph of that document. In an effort to be precise it is quoted
in its entirety below, although only a part of it strikes to the
heart of this discussion.
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created
equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the
pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights,
Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just
powers from the consent of the governed, -
That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive
of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish
it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation
on such principles and organizing its powers in such
form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their
Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate
that Governments long established should not be changed
for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience
hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer,
while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by
abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But
when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing
invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce
them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is
their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide
new Guards for their future security. - Such has been the
patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now
the necessity which constrains them to alter their former
Systems of Government. The history of the present King
of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and
usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment
of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this,
let Facts be submitted to a candid world."
Now to that critical language, highlighted above. We are instructed
by our founders, by history and by human rights to guard life,
liberty and its freedom, because without it the general goal of
Safety and Happiness can not be maintained. This is important, we
were not given freedom in 1775 or 1789, by any act of our government,
to be enjoyed thereafter and forever more. Our freedom is an
inalienable right. If that term is too difficult here are some
equivalent terms; Human Right, God given Right, Natural Right, etc.
Such rights exist in man as part of humanity, it is neither given by
another nor can it be taken away by another. We must guard freedom
every day, because it is under constant slow erosion as time
progresses. Eventually, as in 1775, the actions against freedom
mount up and reaction is required to reform or abolish that which
diminishes freedom, and to then start anew.
Now we are back at the Assault Weapon ban of 2007, both the Maryland
State legislation and the Federal legislation. We are now at the
question as stated on The Buzz talk show of "Why do you need an
Assault Weapon, you canīt hunt with it and defense of the home is
better with a handgun or a shotgun".
The response is, why might you want to eliminate any of the tools of
freedom? Some circumstances may argue in favor of one tool over
another, but can you really believe that any choice should be
eliminated? And just what is this Assault Weapon you are so afraid
of? To correct some errors; Yes I Can Hunt with an Assault Weapon
(though I do not hunt). Yes I can defend my home with an Assault
Weapon; There are those who have said that a pistol is just a tool
that you use to defend yourself until you can fight your way to your
rifle. The rifle prevails against multiple attackers approaching
your home. In the Second Amendment / Declaration of Independence
scenario, the rifle is a must. No one can say that Assault Weapons
are not needed. No one can deny an individual the ability to defend
life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. To attempt to do so is
Your "Assault Weapon", that which some seek to outlaw, is not my
Rifle. The anti-gun forces have bastardized the common military term
Assault Weapon to now mean almost any center-fire firearm. If they
do not like it or afraid of it, it is now an Assault Weapon. If it
looks scary, it is an Assault Weapon. The pending Maryland Assault
Weapon bill would include even most center-fire magazine fed pistols.
Its wording is far too vague and far too all encompassing; but
perhaps that is what anti-gun forces want.
Now lets take a look at the anti-gun complaint of why anyone "Needs"
an Assault Weapon. Actually this was handled quite well by one of
the callers to The Buzz when he asked, "Why do you need a high
powered fast car." That could have been any of a dozen question,
like why do you need an SUV, Fancy clothes or a big house. Let me
ask you; Canīt you drive your car quite well, even without those
nasty seat belts you are required to wear? You can get in, start up
and do quite well driving around without them. You do not need them;
YET? No, not yet. But when you do need them, you need them RIGHT
NOW. You do not have time to look for them, unlock them and put them
into use. By then you are squished in your car or murdered by your
attacker if "them" that you need is your firearms.
This is a lesson to remember. It is simple, but still it is
difficult for some to understand. There is a difference between
Needs and Wants. We Want to be prepared (seat belts and insurance)
in the event of a Need (accidents). The probability of any
particular need might be small. Some might say one is paranoid if
their wants include to be protected against unlikely needs. Do you
have fire or flood insurance? How likely is a fire or flood at your
house? Do you have a burglar alarm? Do you have disaster supplies,
food, water and a generator in case of natural disaster? You do?
Now; Do you have the ability to defend your home and all those
supplies you have so carefully gathered to secure your survival when
the criminals decide it will be expedient and easier to take what you
have prepared, rather than to provide for their own survival? You
might just need that Assault Weapon and the shotgun and the pistol to
defend your home under serious circumstances. You can easily expand
this need into the Second Amendment scenario, to the case where
elected officials enact unconstitutional and tyrannical laws. Your
need then expands and requires more serious tools. You will have to
defend the Constitution against tyranny, and for that you Want the
proper tools. Defense in what has then become the hard fight will
also require the proper training, conditioning, associates and
communication; But that is another story. Better to act today in the
legislature with the easy fight for freedom than to let things
degrade to a hard fight from tyranny.
The American Militia knows that by whatever name such an attack may
be branded, you Want to keep and stand ready with your battle rifle
and other tools if the Need should arise. Even Captain America now
knows this lesson.
The American Militia understands.
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