The American Militia

It’s the law stupid! Or do I have that backward?

You probably take part in many conversations at political action events, like Gun Shows for example. What? You say you are not political? Well; if you own a gun you are!

There is a corollary to this; You may not be interested in Politics, but politics IS interested in you! We’ll dig into that one a bit later, but for now it’s back to THE LAW.

Gun Laws, Gun Laws, Gun Laws; There never seems to be an end to them. Almost all of them are directly bad from the Gun-Owner point of view, and the few that appear to be good are just put in place to stop some of the bad laws that came along before. Think about it, what are CCW laws doing? Does Vermont have it right? What did the Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 protect and why? Think carefully; take a law, any law. What does it do? What would happen (or not happen) if the law did not exist? Would the net effect be good or bad? I’ll bet that even YOU can think of a few we could do without. Wouldn’t it be nice to hear a candidate promise that, “if elected, for every new law I support, I will would work to remove two!” There’s a candidate I could get interested in.

Someone else has already laid out the logic of laws and why, perhaps, there are so many of them. It was presented in a half-century old novel of massive proportions (and importance). Here, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of its publication, is a pertinent excerpt from “Atlas Shrugged”.

So, are there too many laws? And why?


Beginning on page 411 of the 35th Anniversary Edition (1992) of Atlas Shrugged By Ayn Rand, first published in1957.

Dr. Ferris smiled. . . . . ."We've waited a long time to get something on you. You honest men are such a problem and such a headache. But we knew you'd slip sooner or later and this is just what we wanted."

"You seem to be pleased about it."

"Don't I have good reason to be?"

"But, after all, I did break one of your laws."

"Well, what do you think they're for?"

Dr. Ferris did not notice the sudden look on Rearden's face, the look of a man hit by the first vision of that which he had sought to see. Dr. Ferris was past the stage of seeing; he was intent upon delivering the last blows to an animal caught in a trap.

"Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against -then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted -and you create a nation of law-breakers -and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

Watching Dr. Ferris watch him, Rearden saw the sudden twitch of anxiety, the look that precedes panic, as if a clean card had fallen on the table from a deck Dr. Ferris had never seen before.

What Dr. Ferris was seeing in Rearden's face was the look of luminous serenity that comes from the sudden answer to an old, dark problem, a look of relaxation and eagerness together; there was a youthful clarity in Rearden's eyes and the faintest touch of contempt in the line of his mouth. Whatever this meant -and Dr. Ferris could not decipher it -he was certain of one thing: the face held no sign of guilt.

"There's a flaw in your system, Dr. Ferris," Rearden said quietly, almost lightly, "a practical flaw which you will discover when you put me on trial for selling four thousand tons of Rearden Metal to Ken Danagger."

It took twenty seconds -Rearden could feel them moving past slowly -at the end of which Dr. Ferris became convinced that he had heard Rearden's final decision.

"Do you think we're bluffing?" snapped Dr. Ferris; his voice suddenly had the quality of the animals he had spent so much time studying: it sounded as if he were baring his teeth.

"I don't know," said Rearden. "I don't care, one way or the other."

"Are you going to be as impractical as that?"

"The evaluation of an action as 'practical', Dr. Ferris, depends on what it is that one wishes to practice."

"Haven't you always placed your self-interest above all else?" If you think we'll let you get away with a-"

"You will now please get out of here."

"Whom do you think you're fooling?" Dr. Ferris' voice had risen close to the edge of a scream. "The day of the barons of industry is done! You've got the goods, but we've got the goods on you, and you're going to play it our way or you'll-"

Rearden had pressed a button; Miss Ives entered the office.

"Dr. Ferris has become confused and lost his way, Miss Ives," said Rearden. "Will you escort him out please?" He turned to Ferris. "Miss Ives is a woman, she weighs about a hundred pounds, and she has no practical qualifications at all, only a superlative intellectual efficiency. She would never do for a bouncer in a saloon, only in an impractical place, such as a factory.

Miss Ives looked as if she was performing a duty of no greater emotional significance than taking dictation about a list of shipping invoices. Standing straight in a disciplined manner of icy formality, she held the door open, let Dr. Ferris cross the room, then walked out first; Dr. Ferris followed.

She came back a few minutes later, laughing in uncontrollable exultation.

"Mr. Rearden," she asked, laughing at her fear of him, at their danger, at everything but the triumph of the moment, "what is it you're doing?"

He sat in a pose he had never permitted himself before, a pose he had resented as the most vulgar symbol of the businessman -he sat leaning back in his chair, with his feet on his desk -and it seemed to her that the posture had an air of peculiar nobility, that it was not the pose of a stuffy executive, but of a young crusader.

"I think I'm discovering a new continent, Gwen," he answered cheerfully. "A continent that should have been discovered along with America, but wasn't."


You see where this is going. To come 50 years forward in time, back to the present, and to put it in contemporary words, remember the oft used phrase, “It’s not about gun control, it’s about CONTROL”. So many laws often cite some type of safety theme, or protection “for the children”, or crime control. What percentage DO NOT achieve any type of the positive crime control or improve safety, or inhibit future illegal acts? Close to 100%? What percentage DO achieve some type of “social” control over the actions of law abiding citizens? Again; Close to 100%!

This is exactly what several wide ranging studies have generally shown, gun control laws do not reduce crime (or have other positive impacts) and inversely that gun ownership does NOT cause criminality. You can not stop future crime by enacting some law, that only works in the movies sometimes. The bad guys will just ignore the law. That’s why they are called CRIMINALS. Laws can only punish law breakers after the fact. This threat of punishment may deter some of the more rational potential criminals, but there are plenty of irrational actual criminals to go around. Those criminals are “In for a Penny...” so they have little to loose. The many gun control laws are indiscriminately written and applied so that they mostly just inhibit or infringe the innocent. Just inhibit the innocent? Perhaps that is the intended action of some of those legislators. That is were this all ties into the American Militia.

To be effective in its duty the Militia, as individuals, must be able to assemble the tools it needs, to train and to practice with them. It must gather with other members to plan, coordinate and condition for all possible contingencies. It must not be encumbered by oppressive laws or regulations, otherwise it will not be able to train to act as a Militia. We may be giving those who oppose Militia members and Militia actions too much credit for enacting disabling laws, but if they are not acting out of blind emotion, perhaps they have a hidden motive. Perhaps this is what is happening; Legislators and their supporters can not tolerate the individual ability and the group capability found in the American Militia, or any other free thinking independent individual for that matter. They do not want communities to act immediately to prepare for, or to recover from, some event. They seem to have the mind set that only they (the Government) can protect the civilians and the communities, they will establish government agencies and give out government funds (from your taxes) to cure your ills and ease your pain and, in that process, BUY YOUR VOTES.

They say, “don’t try to do anything, you might get hurt, WE will take care of you”. They are also saying, “Don’t retain your independence or the ability to oppose our control”.

Let’s look at this another way. Many laws are written attempting to control the future action of individuals. Some actions should obviously be prohibited and are with social restriction like “do not murder”. Most regulated actions are just that which someone says is “not correct”; like “no smoking” or “no rifle barrels less than 16 inches long”. Such regulations and laws can not control the action of the only part of society it must control if they are to enhance security; they can not control the serious, violent, criminal. The criminals ignore such laws. However, the law abiding citizen will not violate the law, even though the law may inhibit his own liberty or place him at greater harm by stripping him of his ability to act to defend himself. In a stated goal of protecting society, the legislator inhibits the action of everyone in hopes that the criminals will obey the law. In reality he inhibits the law abiding Citizen, who will then not act to defend himself because it is contrary to some law. The law is not correct, but it is obeyed by the law abiding, for a while.

He won’t act to defend himself, not right away at least. He knows that he should act for the good of his community and obey the laws, even to the apparent detriment to himself . Those making the laws were elected by him as his public servants, and surely they have his best interest at heart. Surely they would not knowingly do him any harm, would they? Perhaps this is not the case and harm to liberty, or at least oppressive control, IS the desired goal of some law makers and it is achieved by the laws they make. The Citizen must be in a position to act, to say “no” and fight such laws. At some point the law itself is on trial by the Citizen. He then reaches a threshold of harm, and saying “no further”, acts to defend himself and others. Doing this he still defends general liberty at no cost to safety. NOT Doing this, he permits bad laws to stand which inhibit liberty and threaten the defense of his community and the nation.

The American Militia knows that he must be ready to respond to disasters and to tyranny, but he must also be ready to fight to stop and to reverse such laws. It is better to put the law on trial early in a soft conflict and remove it rather than be forced by circumstances to step outside the law. He already learned about the Soap Box, the Ballot Box and the Jury Box. He keeps up the pressure and slowly removes infringements of liberty before the hard conflict arises. Some day however, when things go bad in a hurry, the news reporters will tell us how the public service defenders and rescue forces are overwhelmed and it’s “everyone for himself”. That threshold of personal harm has been passed. If the bad laws are not removed in advance you will be forced outside the law. Can’t happen you say? Already has; Remember hurricane Katrina.

In that event the law and rescue services broke down. Lawlessness grew and the media dutifully reported public officials throwing up their hands and pointing lots of fingers, always pointing outward. At that point the Citizen reaction began, they ignored some laws knowing that they must do so for the protection of themselves and the community. In the official reaction to that self reliance, however, something went terribly wrong. The public officials could no longer claim that society as a whole was being protected and comforted by its hired agents, as it had guaranteed with each added law. Officials did not call on Citizens to help maintain order and resist lawlessness, as the Citizens had begun to do on their own. The officials instead took the easy task of blaming everyone, Citizens and civilians alike, for the acts of a few, blaming them as part of the problem, welcoming them as part of the solution. They then tried to disarm all the Citizens to stop the potential actions of a few criminal civilian elements.

What rational thinking could support this? Lets see; a disarmed population can not as easily lash out at those who broke the promise of protection under the laws, who failed or abandoned their jobs, or even joined the lawless. Disarming law abiding civilians is an easier response, they do not indiscriminately shoot the police; criminals however are another matter. A disarmed population can MORE easily be attacked by criminals, thus the criminals finding easier pickings among the disarmed and stay away from the armed areas. They then might not attack the high- class civilians with private security guarded places (or the public officials themselves). It is the disarmed lesser class neighborhoods that fall victim. With more criminal activity, the law makers will have more reason to call for more and wider reaching laws and, buying more votes with the promise of protection, to then be re-elected and keep their jobs. If these law makers wait long enough, and complain about what lawless acts MIGHT occur, those acts eventually will occur through coincidence, or possibly at the triggering suggestion that it could occur, taking root in the weak minded but easily influenced criminal. The past prediction becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. Just call this leveling the playing field by making everyone a victim. Not really rational thinking I guess; just political thinking.

So... Eventually unarmed civilians, thrust into the caldron, will become Citizens and realize they ARE the American Militia. When disaster strikes they will act ON THEIR OWN in the best interest of themselves and their community. Even unprepared citizens will seek out the proper equipment and knowledge and form up Citizen ranks of response. It will not be in their selfish interest, but the best interest. Their actions will provide their own relief in the emergency and thus will RELIEVE the public agencies from having to tend to them so the agencies can tend to others less prepared. The community will address most if not all of its immediate needs and perhaps even aid those relief agencies elsewhere! Eventually, when some official attempts to act improperly, to disarm law abiding citizens and to do something that immediately or in the future makes the situation worse, that official will be told NO. He may even be resisted by force or taken before a court with a charge of improper, illegal and hazardous actions. The Citizens in a community, now the American Militia, will act to aid and defend the community and to stand against improper actions from ANY quarter.

In the meantime, they will work to remove the inhibiting laws, those same laws he would be forced to break in the event of future emergencies.

At that point civilians will become Citizens and they will have become The American Militia in spirit and in action.

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Most recent revision November 2007