Sunday, November 1, 2015

What does "Militia" mean in modern day America?

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

BLK RFL DIV recently released our new batch of tees and one of the t-shirt designs boldly states, "Support Your Local Militia." The design and verbiage has resonated within the firearms community and we are very proud of the response.

Since its release we've had some questions regarding that message and the use of the term 'militia.’ For me and the guys I shoot with, the word 'militia' is synonymous with community, in that the militia is made up of the people, for the people, and by the people. The militia is not merely about a free, law abiding American citizen with a firearm, it is about that free, law abiding American and the community that surrounds him or her; the support structure, the freedom to organize, the freedom to converse and congregate, to prepare, to assist, to render aid, to educate, to grow food, to pray and follow whichever religion you choose, to be self-sufficient, all while working together and in solidarity against tyranny and anything that threatens the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and our Great Nation.

That said, we live in a modern culture that has now been programmed to associate the term 'militia' with fringe groups who live in rural, isolated communities and whose members are considered wackos or other stereotypical terms in order to alienate them from "normal" society. This is in opposition to the original meaning, where the militia referred directly to all the men, women, and children in a community, whether rural or urban — the citizenry. So how and why did this happen?

The bias can easily be attributed to the media's sensationalistic stories deeply driven with elements of ridicule, but, for the most part, it is per our Federal government's centralizing efforts. Shortly after the 2nd Amendment was adopted on December 15, 1791 the government set to manipulate the meaning based on its agenda and, with over 200 years of rulings, legislation, and case law, most notably with the passage of the many Militia Acts, the Federal government has successfully alienated the word 'militia' from the general public. And this is what the focus of this post will be, the steady alienation and erosion of the militia and its symbiotic relationship with the citizenry (as it states in the 2nd Amendment) by our Federal government via the Militia Acts. Following are some of the key points from the most notable Militia Acts:

The First Militia Act of 1792 : This act gave the US President the authorization to call the militias into Federal service for 2 years. It was the first step to centralizing the control of the militias under the federal government. Out-of-state militias could be called into action to suppress local rebellions. One such rebellion was the famous Shay's Rebellion where Revolutionary War veteran Daniel Shays led four thousand rebels in an uprising against the debt collection and tax policies of the State of Massachusetts.

The Second Militia Act of 1792 : This act provided for the organization of the state militias and enacted the conscription of every "free able-bodied white male citizen" between the ages of 18 and 45 (later expanded to all males, regardless of race, between the ages 18-54) into a local militia company. Additionally, and key to the act, is that it allowed for court martial proceedings against any militia members who disobeyed orders. Why? Because many militia members disobeyed orders to fight against their fellow Americans in the Shays Rebellion, which they had sympathized with. Additionally, many did not want to leave their native states or their families for extended periods of time, especially if it did not serve their state or local community’s interests. Economically it would place hardships on local communities if all the men had to leave, not to mention compromising security and leaving those same communities open to attack.

The Militia Act of 1795 : The 1792 Militia Acts had an expiration date of 2 years, so the Militia Act of 1795 was passed to indefinitely continue the initiatives of the 1792 Militia Acts.

The Militia Act of 1903 : This act federalized the militias and created the National Guard. The National Guard received federal funding for equipment & training. It also began to organize its units similarly to that of the regular Army. Along with that, the President of the United States had the power to call up the National Guard for up to 9 months to repel invasion, suppress rebellion, or enforce federal laws, but not for service outside the United States. Guardsmen had to answer a presidential call or face court-martial. States had to organize, equip, and train their units in accordance with the policies and procedures of the regular Army. If Guard units failed to meet Army standards, they would lose federal recognition and federal funding (Wikipedia / W. Donnelly Article).

The Militia Act of 1908 : This act amended the 1903 Act; lifting the 9 month service limitation and ended the ban against the use of the National Guard on foreign soil.

The National Defense Act of 1916 : This law completed the work of the Root reforms in determining the Guard's role in national defense and asserting federal control over state military forces (W. Donnelly Article).

Final notes: I am not a scholar of history and I may be leaving out some critical notes, so please fill in the gaps if you have anything to add to the discussion.

Besides the Federal government centralizing the militia under it's supreme control and extinguishing the everyday citizens independent role and association with the militia, the media has been used as a very effective tool to cultivate distrust and a misinformed understanding of what a militia is and what it could be. There are numerous instances where the media has been active in this erosion of the word. Most recently, in the standoff at the Malheur Reserve in Oregon where Ammon Bundy and a group of activists sort to build awareness for the abuse power by the BLM managers, specifically the by Karges, and by the former US Attorney for Oregon, Amanda Marshall, by occupying the vacant buildings (vacant, so as not to incur a confrontation but still make a statement) at the Reserve. This act of civil disobedience, protected by the 1st & 2nd Amendments, was immediately met with an onslaught of misinformation where little was ever reported in the way of facts, not even a review of evidence regarding the Hammonds' egregious trial and prosecution, which would have exposed the unjust and unConstitutional use of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 used for their prosecution. The op-ed pieces did nothing to investigate how or why such an event could happen, something I would have expected to see from a media base founded in ethics and protocol, yet nothing of the sort was distributed by any of the major networks. The division was created and once that division was established, no one cared about the truth, because, as we all know, the truth means nothing. To watch what unfolded was undeniably incredible, a complete annihilation of character and of mission by the media. But why? Why was the media so scared of men who dared stand up to a government regime that is no longer transparent, has full power, ignores the checks & balances mandated by our governmental system....  I honestly can't answer that question, I only know that this event proved ultimately that the people are but pawns and our great Nation continues on a path that goes further & further away from the pinnacle of what the Constitution and Bill of Rights sort to establish, which was written in a time when much of what was ordained was almost impossible to attain for most. But our Forefathers set the foundation, it was up to us, the people, to achieve that goal.

"Live Free or Die" the New Hampshire state motto.

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