The American Militia

Well Regulated

"[G]overnment's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it."

The quote above comes from President Regan from his "Remarks to the White House Conference on Small Business", Aug. 15, 1986

Is this what is meant by Regulation?

It seems that the same problems keep recurring year after year, even century after century. Immediately after the Civil War the Union Army studied the marksmanship of US rifle men and found their proficiency lacking (to be kind). It appears that hitting a target was not the main concern of many of the troops. Muskets recovered from the battle field were examined and often found to contain multiple unfired loads, sometimes more than a dozen. One would think that the trooper would notice his ramrod was getting longer with each shot, or that through lack of recoil or report, that a shot had not even been properly fired. Such is the fog of war I guess.

The American Militia should know better.

In WWI approximately one ton of munitions were expended for each enemy hit. In Vietnam a horrendous quantity of munitions were expended for each hit. Ammo was cheap (and light too with the 5.56mm mouse guns, but that is another story). What was the tactic at that time, to just keep hammering away on full auto and keep the bad guys ducking so quick they will not have a chance to shoot back? I guess the troops abandoned the training that says that if you HIT THE ENEMY, then they can NOT shoot back; not ever. Aimed fire was a thing of the past.

The American Militia knew better.

Things were not always so. The fight for liberty, begun in 1775, was carried mostly at first by "minutemen" or those Citizens of the Militia who stood ready at a minutes notice to answer the call to defend a community. They valued the ability to load and fire one aimed shot to hit your target. The process of aimed fire was relatively slow and therefore could be expensive if you did not hit your target. You could not afford to waste that expensive shot. The minutemen turned out self trained in that ability, and with their own equipment, to band together with their companions for a length of time. They stood in the gap and then were slowly augmented by the standing army that was being assembled to wage a much larger Continental campaign.

The Citizen army of 1775 held the line until more force could be applied. They were good at what they did but a bit lacking in battle discipline of the day. Perhaps they were too smart to stand shoulder to shoulder and "receive the enemy fire" in closed ranks. The tactics chosen by them, aimed fire from cover and the hit and run engagement, was ideal for the small and loose but mobile force of minutemen. It was what they had learned in hunting, to stalk and take the important target. It was "hit and run", sometimes running too soon, that most likely earned them some level of scorn in the eyes of the "regulars". They had learned to fight to win, not taught to stand and die. They were thought of as barbarians for not conforming to the "gentlemanly etiquette of war". They picked off the enemy leaders because they new the cost of the engagement and the value of their chosen targets. They were comfortable on the move with a variety of weapons at the ready. They were well "regulated", or conditioned, with their native knowledge, equipment and ability with firearms, if not in the marching discipline of "Napoleonic" warfare.

Things changed and it appears some native firearms wisdom was lost in the Civil War. Immediately after that war, about 1871 or so, several Union Army officers came together to form an association dedicated to the improvement of military marksmanship through civilian education. Not much later, around the time of WWI, a Civilian Marksmanship Program was enacted by Congress to try to improve marksmanship after that conflict too. The 1871 association became known as The National Rifle Association and both it and the 1919 CMP are still around. They are still trying to promote civilian marksmanship so that the armed forces of the United States will have a well regulated pool of recruits to draw on. They train the American Militia.

Why should the civilians in the USA be well regulated, or in the vernacular of 1775 self instructed and equipped, able to take the field properly armed and trained? Of course, to be as effective as possible on short notice, and therefore efficient to train for the long run because they have a good basic foundation to start from. But how about to stay alive. Take a look at this news story. It has been edited only slightly for relevance.

Army makes soldiers get comfortable carrying weapons By: MICHAEL FELBERBAUM - Associated Press

PETERSBURG, Va. -- In the early months of the war in Iraq, Army Spc. Paul J. Sturino was getting ready for guard duty one day when another soldier accidentally fired a bullet into his neck. "Somehow it went off," his mother Christine Wetzel said as she recounted the official reports documenting her 21-year-old son's death on Sept. 22, 2003. "I just think we're sending young, young people into situations that they're not ready for," she said from her home in Rice Lake, Wis. "They're inexperienced with weapons. ... Things happen and we pay the price."

The Army has begun taking steps to reduce accidental discharges through a new weapons immersion program fully implemented this year throughout the Army's 16 training facilities.

Sturino, assigned to the 101st Airborne Division based at Fort Campbell, Ky., was one of 21 soldiers killed by accidental discharges in the combat zones of Iraq and Afghanistan since 2003, according to the Army's Combat Readiness Center. Eighty-nine others were injured. "Losing one U.S. soldier because of a negligent discharge or not handling the weapon right is one too many," said Col. Paul Fortune, commander of the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade at Fort Lee, near Petersburg and 25 miles south of Richmond.

"Most likely we're going to Iraq, and when we get there, if you don't handle your weapon during training, you're going to forget," Dykeman said. "It helps you get closer to your weapon, know the characteristics, know what your rifle can do, so when you're out there in the field, you know how to keep yourself safe." The program is significantly reducing negligent discharges, said Col. Kevin A. Shwedo, director of operations, plans and training for the Army Accessions Command. The average company used to experience about five negligent discharges every four hours. Now, he said, "if you hear a single discharge, that's a lot."

"It's a constant practice to teach them these rules and responsibilities," Fortune said before checking weapons at random in the cafeteria. "We want to teach them that there is no such thing as the front line." In recent years, the only time soldiers at Fort Lee would see their weapons was when they practiced shooting. Commanders say the change reflects the need for soldiers to be ready to engage in the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And Wetzel, who lost her son, agrees with that logic. "I wholly endorse more contact with those weapons under safe circumstances ... to have more exposure to that weapon and more safety training," Wetzel said, adding that both of her sons had only one week of total weapon training when they entered the Army. "It should be second nature: safety first."

"We have got to prepare every soldier for the possibility that they would go immediately in to fight," Shwedo said. The program is part of the Army's new initiative to make training more relevant and apply lessons learned from troops coming back from deployment. "We save lives every day that we train soldiers how to properly handle their weapons," he said.

On the Net--Training and Doctrine Command

Accessions Command

Now think about this. Notice how the AP writer and the relative speak of "Accidental discharge". "Somehow it went off". The Army spokesperson speaks of "Negligent Discharge".

He is right; there is NO SUCH THING as an accidental discharge, they are ALL negligent because someone forgot a lesson, forgot the basic safety rules, forgot safe procedures. Folks have been trying to teach this to the Citizens who make up our pool of recruits for years, from as early as 1871 and before. The lesson has been in small part forgotten. Unfortunately, the lesson in a major part has been DENIED. Firearm instruction is not permitted today in about 98% of schools. Firearm competency is frowned upon, even actively hated in much of urban society. The Immediate loss is of the lives of volunteer soldiers who are at the mercy of some poorly educated riflemen. Children and adults alike have no idea how to deal with firearms when they are encountered in real life. Learning firearm handling from Hollywood movies certainly sets civilians up for disaster. The long term loss from no education or improper education may be our liberty and the freedom of our country. We have no universal pool of Minutemen to stand in the breach and defend our country in the face of foreign attack. We have no minutemen to rally to the call to oppose tyranny from within. We have no minutemen to come to the general aid when disaster strikes.

The American Militia knows of this problem, that is why its members educate themselves and then train, condition and equip themselves to be on guard, effective and safe. He works with others to be ready to stand-up when called and be effective from day one. Having trained and equipped on his own, he will be more easily educated to work as a company and to be able to educate others in that company to fight. He knows the "Regulation" does not mean to be confined or restricted by government rules. Instead he is part of a smoothly operating (well regulated) group, one that is self supplied and educated, thus able to act alone or in small intimate groups with little or no outside influence. He learns much today so that in the future, if need be, he can be that "Army of One".

The American Militia is all around you. He better be, for the sake of liberty.

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Most recent revision June 2007