Grassroots Commentary

Militias and Mumbais

By John Longenecker · Jul. 5, 2011

Anti-gun groups are quick to link Militia to state governments, but, as usual, they mislead the electorate. When the Supreme Court and lower courts grapple with the second amendment as a concept of state militia, they err. Still, many wins for the individual right were made possible by a greater adherence to Original Intent than ideas that the Document is a ‘living document’, that a militia must be a state entity, or that a militia is a hate group.

The United States is a living, breathing entity only because the Constitution and Original Intent are firm. If they were flexible, we never would have survived a generation. Here are a few key points of how the importance of the past is relevant now.

1. Militia within the meaning of the second amendment pre-dates the United States. In the framing era, well-regulated meant self-regulated in answering the question, regulated by whom? There was no government in the framing era when the Militia was first-in-time.

2. Militia pre-dates the formation of the federal government, a creation of the states. The founders did not mean that Militia was a federal concept when, in fact, there was no federal government.

3. Militia within the meaning of the second amendment pre-dates an organized police force by nearly 100 years. There were no cops.

4. Militia within the meaning of the second amendment pre-dates National Guard by about 130 years. So much for the ‘state’ concept as an exclusive, collective concept.

5. Militia within the meaning of the second amendment is affirmed by the Vitter Amendment to the Disaster Recovery Personal Protection Act of 2006.

6. Militia within the meaning of the second amendment is a preparedness paradigm of volunteers to activate in time of disaster or any other emergency. Because there is no one else.

Since citizens have legal authority to protect their communities in the absence of first responders, military and other agencies, there is no interference or conflict with governmental assets. There is simply a structure in place to keep the lid on until their arrival.

Anti-gun groups are quick to portray Militia as hate groups, supremacist groups, isolationist or anti-government forces, but there are too many good relationships between Militias and law enforcement for this to be true. Official refusal to work with Militias is rare, and forty-eight states simply have no problem with armed citizens by the millions.

Militias can be summoned to canvas large expanses of land for a lost child when police assets are needed urgently elsewhere. Militias think of food banks, first-aid preparedness and general preparedness paradigms and drills. Militias are medically trained for rescue.

You have your hate groups, your end-of-the-world cults, and you have your Lone Wolf anti-social individuals, but these are not militias any more than the Ku Klux Klan is a benevolent society. You Lone Wolf is not connected with any preparedness Militia, but with terrorist plans of abroad. Which brings me to the Mumbai scenario.

Named after the mass shootings in Mumbai, India of November, 2008, the cloning of that terrorist strike is known to be planned for the U.S. What boosted casualties during those several hours of mass shootings was a combination of striking various locations and striking where the citizenry was known to be unarmed.

While free countries are coming to realize that stunning acts can happen anywhere, America, too, is coming to appreciate a Mumbai-style shooting is possible. Today, chatter captured by Intelligence divulges plans for Lone Wolf strikes of sweeping gunfire a la Mumbai.

What was missing in Mumbai and in the multiple provinces the shootings occurred is a second amendment. They did not have their own “rifle behind every blade of grass.” During World War II, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto advised against striking the United States mainland; he is quoted as saying that there is a rifle behind every blade of grass. Is this a great country, or what?

Let it be known. That’s fine.

One of the best deterrent effects of an armed citizenry is the publicity and general knowledge of it. One of the best preparedness models is the freedom of citizen volunteers to swing into action on very short notice wherever they are on the likelihood that they will be immediately present in sufficient numbers when emergency strikes.

This concept of such a freedom of movement is a meaningful preparedness and response model. Given the fact that governmental assets may be hours to days to weeks away, this one is the multiplication of the Good Samaritan concept so oft praised by law enforcement lately for takedowns.

The beauty of this volunteer force is that it does not answer to any centralized authority. It can deploy in any local emergency without bureaucracy. It can tend to business immediately without permission from any bureaucrat, and it can self-critique and train from one mission to the next without interference.

For a lost child or a Mumbai-style strike, immediacy is everything. [The very idea of an Amber Alert utilizes the concept of involving civilians quickly and as widely as possible.] The freedom of movement in having a rifle behind every blade of grass – or a loaded sidearm on every hip – is the same concept.


TAE said:

And that 'rifle behind every blade of grass' is why Switzerland has one of the lowest crime rates in the world - because every man in the country serves in the military, and at the end of his enlistment, he takes his gun home with him in case some idiot decides to invade them...and it's why they've NEVER been invaded. Too bad the overly-liberal left can't understand the concept. I wish I could find my t-shirt that proclaimed 'Society is safer when criminals don't know who's armed.'

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Howard Last in Wyoming said:

And in Switzerland they take home full automatic firearms, that is a machine gun. I guess upchuck Schumer will never go there.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 12:19 AM

FrankInFL said:

TAE is wrong, of course ;-) Switzerland has been invaded.In the late 13th-century, Charles the Bold of France, needing collateral to pay his debts, decided to gobble a piece of (what would later become known as) Switzerland. 1200 Swiss militia caught his army in a vulnerable condition and 'neutralized' it along with Charles the Bold.'Never' is a real long time, TAE ;-)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 9:06 AM

Mark Kovacic said:

John,important addendum. At the time the amendment was written, "well regulated" meant neat, or orderly or well groomed or professionally put together. For instance the term was used to refer to a man's appearance, i.e. "He is well-regulated in his dress."

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Longenecker said:

True, Mark. But terms often have more than one meaning. Historically, there was none of the subequent regulatory bodies in existence at the time, and Militia could have positively no authority superior to it; it was the supreme authority which was within the people prior to feds, police and Guard. At this time, there is still no authority superior to ourselves. My study of this language and history of Original Intent was that they did not like a standing army nor other concepts which might have powers or authority over them then or eventually.Right now, North Carolina has signed into law absorption of the Unorganized Militia, complete with court martial if you don't respond to orders from the Governor. This is what the Founders feared, and it is my read that well-regulated within the values of Original Intent should (then and now) mean self-regulated originating from the fraiming era that there was no one else Militia would answer to. NC's new law brings the UM under control of the Commander-in-chief, (the Governor, in this case) and I believe that the language of the second amendment forbids this.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Hank Reardon said:

And the militia in terms of the Second Amendment is completely irrelevant. A simple linguistics analysis of the Second Amendment shows that the first half is nothing more than a preamble. It is giving the reason, the why, if you will, the second half exists. If you eliminate the first half, the Second Amendment would read "The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." Fairly simple and straightforward. Yet, we are saddled with a preamble. "A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State". But what does that mean exactly?You must be aware of our history to truly understand what is being said here. At the time of the Revolution, the idea of a standing army was anathema to the very idea of freedom. But our Founding Fathers were practical men. They understood that professional soldiers were needed to defend the country, hence our use of the French and Hessians during the Revolution. Since a standing army was "necessary" to secure our freedoms, they wanted to ensure that the people would have the ability to defend themselves against that very same army. The fact that we play into this nonsense that we are somehow the militia is only useful in the anti-gunners hands. We are the people whose freedom to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Broadsides said:

Thank you Mr. Longenecker On the subject of ‘militia’:The sponsors of the first colonists from Great Britain were much too poor to support an army of professional soldiers--men whose sole occupation was to plan, train and prepare for war--but were well aware of the hazards of the New World. While the ’militia tradition’ had fallen into general disuse in England, it was revitalized and carried forth by the colonists, who brought arms with them aboard their ships, men trained in war to lead them, and immediately upon arrival formed a part of themselves into an armed militia for their defense. In its purest form, a ‘militia’ is comprised of individual persons in possession of their privately-owned ’arms’, ( especially, but certainly not expressly limited to 'fire-arms' ) available to be formed into a group for purposes such as common defense.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011 at 9:18 PM