The American Militia

The American Militia – Are You A Member?

What is The American Militia? What makes you think you are worthy of being a member?

The questions above are somewhat sharp. They imply there is some threshold or special quality to achieve “membership” in some type of exclusive Militia group, and only by membership in this group can you secure the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. Recent Supreme Court cases, in 2008 and 2010, have brought Second Amendment and Militia issues to the forefront of public attention. Public sentiment too often used to be that you need to be a member of an exclusive group, The Militia - then thought to be the National Guard, in order to poses a right to keep and bear arms as enumerated in the Second Amendment. Perhaps you even fear or despise any group with the name of “The Militia”, a group to be avoided and a forbidden subject. We will soon see how wrong this is.

“I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death.” --Thomas Paine (1737-1809)

These words explain why and how individuals become members and form the Militia. They have a clear conscience and principals to follow which guide them in time of trouble.

We know that “The Militia” is a group of individual Militia members who come together for the common good or defense of a community. The members also react individually in defense of themselves and their family. Thus, the word Militia can be singular and plural; it describes both the individual and the group. It also describes the action of forming up for defense.

It is well established that no other person, even any sworn officer or “public servant”, is REQUIRED to come to the aid of any individual or group. For example peace officers are required to keep the general peace and to deal with those who disturb it. If some criminal is attacking you, and a peace officer comes on the scene and stops that attack and prevents you from being harmed, so be it; But he is not REQUIRED to protect you. A blunt way of putting it is, “when you dial 911, you might anticipate someone responding to your distress, BUT until they arrive, You Are On Your OWN!” Another way of putting it is that, aside from those attacking you, YOU are the first responder to the attack. You better be able to deal with it, at least for a little while.

This situation, with you as the first defender of yourself or family or community, highlights a possible moral conflict. When some disaster or crime occurs, we have many appointed and hired public servants to deal with such events. We, as individuals, are not usually competent in all of the possible abilities of these many agencies we have chosen to serve us. We are not all EMT’s, or Fire and Rescue staff, or Peace officers, or even soldiers. We generally turn to the hired help to respond appropriately and in a reasonable time when they are informed there is a problem. Are we justified to step in the way of the professional hired help, to displace their authority in time of an emergency?

Unfortunately, although help you summon may arrive quickly, in mere minutes, they may arrive just a bit too late, only to clean up the mess and not to save your life. Clearly, when death and destruction is only seconds away, you are empowered by natural law to defend your life, your family and community. There is no moral conflict here. Perhaps there is a religious conflict or a personal conflict in the minds of some, but there is no moral conflict in acting quickly in self defense.

Many of us actually have some of the skills and things the hired help brings with them; the technical skills and material to respond when needed. We are engineers and carpenters and campers and hunters and hikers, and yes occasionally we really are “Rocket Scientists”. We can deal with some significant problems on our own. We are independent in our lives and abilities, we are not part of a dependency society.

Therefore a question arises. When a problem occurs and the hired help can not respond properly and timely, or will not respond or even when they become the aggressor themselves, how should individuals, or groups of individuals, react? Should they stand by and wait for the “professionals”, even at their own peril by the delay? Should they plead their cause to the attackers as the only way to try to stop an aggression? Clearly NO.

If delay would cause harm, you must act. You are morally bound to do so. The seeming moral conflict of intruding into the domain of the “professional”, to provide for your own defense, help is thus easily resolved. Indeed, not taking action, standing by while you or others are harmed may place you in a worse moral conflict. You may be within the law to stand back but you will be castigated by many if you fail to help.

Paraphrasing a quote from others;

People who are not prepared to resist, but are eager to submit, hate others. They hate the individual thinkers who do not want to submit and are prepared to fight. Those who submit hate those who defend, because they are afraid that the defenders, in the act of their defense, will endanger those who wait as well. In their view everyone must submit and no one should resist.

Beyond this, how do Citizens respond in the case where peace officers can not or will not respond or even become the aggressors themselves? Do they defend themselves? We often hear complaints that such Citizen actions might be Vigilante Justice or “taking the law into ones own hands”. In response to this it is very clear that self defense, or applying lawful restraint in the absence of desired or required civil defense, is very justified. Those posing the defense are not dispensing law, they are just stopping a hazardous situation and possibly restraining an unlawful person for future civil processes. There may well be consequences of the defense in which attackers are harmed when they are resisted. Their harm is a consequence of their attack in the fist place and not of the resulting defense. Defense and any harm that arises from it is not a premeditated end result, not a dispensation of justice.

Think of your own position in life. Are you an active member of your family, working and playing with them? Do you play at things like hiking, outdoor recreation, strenuous activity. Do you build and maintain your home? Do you interface with others in your community to help them do similar things? Do you have unusual skills, professional or amateur, such as medical or mechanical skill? Do you, as a result of this, maintain specific tools and supplies? Are you ready and willing to respond to an emergency? Are you willing to help not only your family but your community? If you can take this one minute survey of your life and your surroundings and find several of these or similar attributes exist, then you have answered the leading question. Not only are you Qualified to be Militia, you already are.

By Statute in federal and most state codes, every Citizen within a broad age category, and excluding a few elected persons, are by definition members of the Unorganized Militia. This is a separate group, not a direct part of, but an adjunct so to speak, of the Organized Militia. The Organized Militia is commonly referred to today as the State Militia or the National Guard. We, you and I, are part of the Unorganized Militia. We form a pool of individuals to do precisely what is outlined above, to react and defend in time of need. We form a very large pool of persons, with many skills and even trained at arms, who could form up quickly to stand in the breech and augment more traditional forces in the time of need.

"A man who has nothing that he cares more about than he does about his personal safety is a miserable creature who has no chance at being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
- John Stuart Mills

In other words, prepare to defend your self, family and home, but be ready to defend the community too. Our need may be slight or extreme, natural or man made, foreign invasion or domestic tyranny. Whatever the cause or source, you the Militia will be called on to act. You could well be placed in a war, not of your choosing, but one of your necessity.

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing is worth a war, is worse." - John Stuart Mills

You, in The American Militia, are ready, at least a little bit. Now you must plan and practice to become better prepared and more ready.

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Most recent revision October 2010