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Author Topic: Do we need a militia?
G3
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Glenn Reynolds lays out the question:
quote:
If a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, then where is ours? Because if a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, it follows that a state lacking such a militia is either insecure, or unfree, or possibly both.

<snip>

But although the militia survives in vestigial form in the statute books, as a functional institution, it no longer exists. For law enforcement, the militia has been replaced by professional police, with SWAT teams, armored vehicles and Nomex coveralls; for military purposes, the militia has been replaced by the National Guard, which despite a thin patina of state control is fundamentally a federal military force.

Read the article so you can get the idea of "jurors with guns" and the rationales - don't worry, it's short.

State militias are largely gone, should we drive their reestablishment? Who's up for a state militia of armed citizenry - i.e. all military-age men, armed and properly trained and under the control of local state, perhaps even county, authorities?

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NobleHunter
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Well, it'd be constitutional and it'd make the US even more impossible to invade.

I'm not sure what it would do on a day-to-day basis and it'd require careful monitoring for corruption and other issues.

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D.W.
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quote:
it'd require careful monitoring for corruption and other issues.
Compared to what? The police? The FBI? The ATF? Congress?
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Pete at Home
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Compared to the state of Louisiana
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NobleHunter
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More than most police, if only because the scope of corruption is greater. Less than the federal institutions, but there'd be 50 militias to keep an eye on.
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Pete at Home
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Do we need letters of marque and reprisal? We did once, and we might again.
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G3
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
More than most police, if only because the scope of corruption is greater. Less than the federal institutions, but there'd be 50 militias to keep an eye on.

Each state would only have one. These would not be under the control, nor oversight, of the federal government. I'm sure that makes the pro-government types reject out of reflex.

This would be more like a jury, just with guns. Some corruption is inevitable but I don't think it's anything more to worry about than most citizen based organizations. Regular law enforcement (local police and county sheriffs) in the states could cover it.

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NobleHunter
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Um... you've seen the threads about the reliability of local police? I'm not filled with confidence about their ability to conduct oversight.
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G3
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Um ... you should go read the article, it talks about the police and why a militia.
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NobleHunter
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Doesn't say anything about the reliability of the police. You said regular law enforcement could cover the militia. I'd think that corruption in the militia and the police/sheriff would have similar root causes.
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D.W.
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I would see militia as MORE trust worthy than police or government agencies. This isn't your job. This is a part time obligation, a duty. There is a small chance that those leading the militia could direct the participants to do something illegal. But unless none of the militia knew it was illegal (a serious threat unfortunately) then I doubt the order would be obeyed.

The question is what do you do with a militia? Are there standing forces or police jobs or border security or homeland security positions that are no longer required IF we had an active militia? How much money should a state budget to achieve "well regulated" status? Depends on how they are intended to be used.

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Pete at Home
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Militia are to the modern armed forces what the Blair witch.project is to Hollywood
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D.W.
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I don't think they need to be competitors. The problem is the analogy doesnt change when you compare them to the agencies who the militia's duties may displace.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
I would see militia as MORE trust worthy than police or government agencies. This isn't your job. This is a part time obligation, a duty. There is a small chance that those leading the militia could direct the participants to do something illegal.

....Depends on how they are intended to be used.

Historically militia were very useful in community and ethnic combat, where group or "racial" unity creates a unifying effect that mitigates the lack of professional oganization.

For america the utility of militia wore out with the disappearance of hostile Indian tribes and famous outlaw bands. In the former Yugoslavia, Lebanon, Syria, etc they continue to be relevant because of ethnic neighborhood struggles. I predict they will start being relevant in about six years as Mexican Cartels move north.

[ March 11, 2014, 05:59 PM: Message edited by: Pete at Home ]

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Rafi
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Going back through the archives is always fascinating. From the linked article:
quote:
In 1912, when the federal government tried to send militia units into Mexico, the militias balked, noting that the Constitution allowed them to be called out only to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or enforce the law ...
Suppress insurrection or enforce the law. Check out Ferguson now and the armed militia that has shown up to do just that. Sounds like some borderline nuts but the fact is that they are there.
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NobleHunter
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If they aren't answerable to a duly elected government, they aren't the militia; they're the insurrection.
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Rafi
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At this moment, I've no idea who those yahoos are answering to. It's kinda strange to see them walking around the protests armed.
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TomDavidson
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It does make you wonder if the police would be as tolerant if the protesters were similarly packing.
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KidTokyo
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I have no objection to bringing back state militias, as long as we don't overlook the "well-regulated" part.

Which, in case you missed it, contains the word...regulated.

It would make law enforcement more democratic, and would likely reduce gun violence as well.

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D.W.
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What role do you see a state militia serving KidTokyo?

Disband our standing army? Regulate and arm the hell out of our public with military grade hardware for national defense?

Or would you see them becoming a National Guard / Police hybrid?

Would the state militias patrol? Do they go about their day job only to be called upon in a state of emergency declared by the Governor or Mayors?

Is the "regulation" more of a strict military style ranking system? If so do we train all the officers with a primer on constitutional law so they know what orders they can and should disobey?

Is performing an illegal/abusive act while operating as part of a militia subject to standard civilian law or military style tribunal?

A militia of citizens is a hedge against a military coup without sacrificing all national defense. Is there any room for this model in the U.S. today?

I still agree with my statement last year that they are not more prone to abuse than the current structured law enforcement and military systems we have, I just don't think there is a place for them anymore.

As for the armed Oath Keeper presence in Ferguson, "those yahoos" aren't answering to anyone but each other and their idealized version of how America SHOULD function based upon the constitution. And I don't really need to wonder how tolerant the police would be if all the protestors were equally armed.

As much as we like to believe our framers were incorruptible paragons of wisdom and foresight, the world and our country changed a lot since then. The ideals still stand, the mechanics of achieving them may not.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
It does make you wonder if the police would be as tolerant if the protesters were similarly packing.

Do you really think none of the protesters are packing? I wouldn't be at all surprised if the police are not assuming they are (and still being tolerant). But more to the point, heavily armed otherwise peaceful protestors have been around repeatedly over the years, and I'm sure the police have procedures on how to deal with them.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
As for the armed Oath Keeper presence in Ferguson, "those yahoos" aren't answering to anyone but each other and their idealized version of how America SHOULD function based upon the constitution. And I don't really need to wonder how tolerant the police would be if all the protestors were equally armed.

I agree with this to the extent we're talking about them as a militia. If they haven't been called to act by the duly elected state government (or there specifically to resist a tyranny by such state) they are not acting as a militia. There's no reason though they can't be present and armed, so long as they are peaceful.
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D.W.
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They are pro-gun right protesters is all. This is for all intents a media stunt. I don't agree with their methods, but it is lawful. It's also true that it's a double standard and if the black protestors were in large number sporting long guns slung on their back, or <gasp> slung at the ready, things would be a lot more tense (or bloody) than they are right now.

My problem with these armed demonstrations is that they are too on the nose when it comes to the racial double standard a lot of us just accept as being "the way it is."

They are more likely to cost us gun rights than to promote them because a lot of pro gun white America is scared to death of equality of arms within the civilian realm. They just wouldn’t look at a heavily armed group of black protestors and see ideological allies. They would see a race war ready to erupt.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
They are pro-gun right protesters is all. This is for all intents a media stunt. I don't agree with their methods, but it is lawful. It's also true that it's a double standard and if the black protestors were in large number sporting long guns slung on their back, or <gasp> slung at the ready, things would be a lot more tense (or bloody) than they are right now.

Wasn't that exact scenario the modus operendi of the Black Panthers? Or was that just media hype?

I don't see the racial view as being key to this part of the debate. I mean obviously the Ferguson protests are highly about race, but I'd like to think that the presence of highly armed, completely peaceful protestors would be treated the same by the authorities regardless of race.

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D.W.
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I'd like to think that too. I just don't believe it.
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TomDavidson
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*laugh* That would have been my exact reply, D.W. [Smile]
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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by D.W.:
They are pro-gun right protesters is all. This is for all intents a media stunt. I don't agree with their methods, but it is lawful.

Are you quite sure that in their minds it isn't about simply protecting the businesses that the police have declined to protect in recent riots? I fully understand why police forces would not want to wield deadly force again rioters conducting property damage and theft, but if you think of black business owners in Ferguson having to arm themselves to secure their business during the protests then perhaps a private series of 'protectors' isn't as crazy as it sounds. Let's say, for instance, a number of business owners had contracted private security guards to stand watch - the security would hardly be classified as 'yahoos.' But because the Oathkeepers are doing it pro-bono they are yahoos.

By the way I'm not discounting the fact that they may, in fact, be yahoos. It's just a question of what I see as a previous north-eastern bias against them or militias in general in judging them in this case. Why shouldn't citizens protect each other when they feel it's needed?

I think your question of how the police would act if it was black people packing heat in the same way is a good one, though.

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DonaldD
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If in fact the oathkeepers were there without the business owners' knowledge, how would them having a gun on a rooftop serve to protect the businesses?

Would they fire upon bandits that break into a store and loot it? Would they fire upon arsonists throwing molotov cocktails through windows?

I'm just trying to figure out the visuals, here...

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Fenring
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
If in fact the oathkeepers were there without the business owners' knowledge, how would them having a gun on a rooftop serve to protect the businesses?

Would they fire upon bandits that break into a store and loot it? Would they fire upon arsonists throwing molotov cocktails through windows?

I'm just trying to figure out the visuals, here...

Since action by private militia is so bizarre to us in modern life and there is no standard for how this would play out, I agree that it's hard to assess exactly what operating guidelines the Oathkeepers have while there, and whether they are keeping the business owners in the loop as regards their tactical approach.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by Rafi:
At this moment, I've no idea who those yahoos are answering to. It's kinda strange to see them walking around the protests armed.

Especially considering that the cops there are arresting other people merely for being armed.
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philnotfil
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
It does make you wonder if the police would be as tolerant if the protesters were similarly packing.

Don't even have to wonder.

theguardian.com

quote:
A group of young black men were incorrectly arrested on suspicion of firearm possession during a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, as a group of white militiamen, armed with rifles and wearing body armour and camouflage, claimed they had been granted permission to walk through the protests by police officers.
quote:
On Monday night, a group of at least three black men who were standing by a car next to a hair salon on West Florissant Avenue were arrested after a phalanx of St Louis County police surged towards them, using pepper spray and batons. A spokesman for the police department told the Guardian by email on Tuesday that officers had received information “that the occupants or folks near that vehicle were possibly armed with handguns”.
quote:
When asked about Karriman’s [the leader of the Oath Keeper contingent] claims of interactions between militiamen and police on Monday evening, Sergeant Brian Schellman, a spokesman for the county police, said he was not aware which officers Karriman spoke to.

Schellman said the department’s commanding officers were not aware Oath Keepers would be at the protest and they “did not ask for or receive permission” to attend. He added that the St Louis County police department would consult with the St Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office about “the legalities of the issue”.


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D.W.
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My bias against militias is that I don’t understand a context in which they fit today.

At their best I see them as a social group who enjoy and want to promote gun culture and constitutional knowledge. At their worst I see them as would be heroes in search of an emergent event or an excuse to just act tough within the confines of the law.

Or, well “at worst” accepting that some event requiring a militia didn’t occur. Other than extras for another Red Dawn movie remake.

And “yahoos” wasn’t my label. [Smile]

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NobleHunter
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Well regulated militias would make a great excuse for doing target practice with fancy military grade weapons.

They'd also be useful in the case of a really bad disaster, like, multiple states bad. That way, you have local on-the-ground (stuck-in-the-middle-of-it) units with an equally local chain of command. They wouldn't need to get to the site or make their way to the affected regions or wait for some authority to follow the process. They could organize and start dealing with problems as they see fit.

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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by philnotfil:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
It does make you wonder if the police would be as tolerant if the protesters were similarly packing.

Don't even have to wonder.
Sure you do, if the young men were OPEN carrying there wouldn't have been a suspicion they were armed. Is this not a state where concealed carry is illegal without a permit?

The question of equivalence only comes into play when comparing like to like. Peaceful open carry to peaceful open carry, for instance. If any of the Oathkeepers turned aggressive, or failed to comply with police directions, we'd have another circumstance to compare as well.

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D.W.
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quote:
They'd also be useful in the case of a really bad disaster, like, multiple states bad.
What is the difference between a "well regulated" militia and say the national guard?

Do you need both? Is it just more of an "in case of emergency call" vs. it being a job?

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DonaldD
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quote:
Is this not a state where concealed carry is illegal without a permit?
I agree that the situation is not exactly comparable.

On the other hand, police pepper spraying and otherwise assaulting people suspected of carrying hidden firearms before ascertaining whether those people had permits is not that different.

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NobleHunter
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Potentially me not understanding the National Guard, but I'm under the impression that the units of the National Guard would have to assemble and deploy more or less like a regular army unit. The kind of militia I was thinking of would be organized on a town/city/county level so any surviving members wouldn't have to cross a lot of disrupted territory to form an effective unit.

Also, the National Guard seems like its supposed to be able to perform effectively in a standard military fight, whereas a militia would sacrifice that capability for greater logistical and organizational flexibility.

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D.W.
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So somewhere between neighborhood watch and national guard. OK, thanks. Not sure I agree they would be much use outside of the plot line of Jerico, Walking Dead or Falling Skies, but I kinda see your point.
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Seriati
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quote:
Originally posted by DonaldD:
I agree that the situation is not exactly comparable.

It's not really comparable at all. One event is criminal, the other isn't.
quote:
On the other hand, police pepper spraying and otherwise assaulting people suspected of carrying hidden firearms before ascertaining whether those people had permits is not that different.
It really is. The question of race is already on the table, we're already looking at whether black protestors get worse treatment than white ones, it doesn't add anything to throw in the OathKeepers unless there's something directly comparable.
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D.W.
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The only remotely close comparison I recall seeing in the news was two black me outside a polling location. I think they said to prevent anyone from interfering with black voters? One of the two I think was armed with a long gun.

The reason I suspect comparisons don't get closer is if during a protest there was a small group of black men with assault rifles slung in front, pointed down, hand on grip but fingers outside the trigger guard, they may be shot on sight if things were even a little tense.

The aggression that was just mentioned over suspected concealed weapons demonstrates that to me. People are shot because they MIGHT be drawing a weapon. If that weapon was in their hand and ready? People know who can or can't protest in this manner and in what context and survive.

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