“I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for few public officials.” – George Mason
Militias, Training Bands, Home Guard, Security Force, Patriot Fire Team; some of these terms may be more familiar than others. However, from a practical standpoint, they all have the same basic function, to protect the people from threats to their lives and livelihoods.
Everyone in the United States should be familiar with the term “Militia”. We revere the use of militia in our history classes and then fear or run from the term in modern use. The modern media has made the use of “militia” a pejorative during the last twenty-five years or so.
Training Band is a synonym for militia. The Training Bands were citizen soldiers found in the Colonies of the Americas long before the Declaration of Independence. Training Bands met during regular intervals and drilled in the use of arms and military formations. They were all volunteer citizens, not regular army, and they elected their officers.
A Home Guard or Security Force is a modern expression of a very old idea; citizens banding together during crisis to defend their community. The Patriot Fire Team concept is simple, four people pledged to aid and assist each other, their families, and community during times of crisis. The Patriot Fire Team is based up the makeup of the Marine Corps infantry fire team.
“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance. Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, December 20, 1787
A Militia is More Than Muskets and Bayonets.
When many people hear the term “militia” they imagine the quintessential Minute Man, a patriot with a tri-cornered hat holding a musket or “firelock”. You might believe that the militia became obsolete when the American Revolution came to a close. Many folks also believe that the advent of the modern US Army and municipal police forces put the militia out of business and caused the concept to become antiquated.
The Efficiency of the Militia Act, also known as the Dick Act since it was sponsored by Ohio Representative, Charles Dick, was passed and made law in 1903. While 1903 seems to be a long time ago, we had a US Army and all major cities had police forces at the time. So, if the existence of a regular Army and police agencies negated the need for a militia, why was the institution formally promoted and enshrined in the 20th Century?
“Be it enacted by the Senate and the House of Representatives of theUnitedStates of America in Congress assembled, That the militia shall consist of every able-bodied male citizen of the respective States, Territories,and the District of Columbia, and every able-bodied male of foreignbirth who has declared his intention to become a citizen, who is more than eighteen and less than forty-five years of age, and shall be divided into two classes-the organized militia, to be known as the NationalGuard of the State, Territory, or District of Columbia, or by such other designations as may be given them by the laws of the respectiveStates or Territories, and the remainder to be known as the ReserveMilitia.” – the First Paragraph of the Dick Act of 1903.
As a point of reference, when the Efficiency of the Militia Act was passed, we had automobiles in the USA, we also had cartridge-firing machine guns; both Browning and Maxim invented machine guns prior to 1900. The M1903 rifle became the standard US Army service rifle, firing first the 7.62x65mm .30-03 round, then the improved .30-06 cartridge. This was a far cry from a power and ball muzzle-loader.
Every Able-Bodied Male Citizen is the Militia.
The Efficiency of the Militia Act, like most modern bills in Congress, had a lot to say. However, the most important takeaway comes from the first paragraph. It states that “every able-bodied male citizen…who is more than eighteen and less than forty-five years of age” shall be a member of the militia.
Naturally, if you have ever studied the history of the Colonies and the United States, it had always been accepted that the able-bodied men of the community were duty-bound to be members of the militia, it was the Dick Act that codified it. During the American Revolution, teenagers served as did men in their fifties and sixties.
Yes, I understand that women can and should contribute to the defense of their families and communities. Nonetheless, that one sentence from 1903 dispels the myth and misunderstanding that the Militia is the same as the Army National Guard. Not every able-bodied male can pass the entrance process to be an active member of the Army National Guard, but every able-bodied male can indeed be a member of their local training band, militia, or Patriot Fire Team.
Understanding the Situation in Virginia.
Unless you have been living in a cave, you know that the Militia Movement is alive and well and growing within the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Militia Movement is growing as a reaction to the threat of Unconstitutional (read: Illegal) actions threatened by the Democrat Party of Virginia. The party of bullies and thugs apparently is operating under the illusion that any bill that they push through automatically passes Constitutional Muster because it received a “majority vote”.
The United State of America is NOT a democracy, it is a Constitutional Representative Republic with a codified Bill of Rights. Inalienable Rights, those which are codified and acknowledged in the US Constitution, do not come from man or government. Therefore, no political party of government, regardless of majority status, has the authority to usurp those rights.
What the patriots and militia members of Virginia are boldly stating for the world to see is that rights are not subject to mob rule, irregardless of what the mob thinks. The institution of the Militia is as old and time honor as the United States of America herself. What we are witnessing in the Old Dominion is the exact purpose for which the Bill of Rights are written and the Militias exist; out of control government with plans and desires to revoke the inalienable rights of the people.
We harken back to a quote from Benjamin Franklin, a man who knew a bit about liberty, governments and their desire for power. On May 9, 1754, in the Pennsylvania Gazette, Franklin suggested that the pending crisis in the Colonies required action. His recommendation?
“Join or Die”
This article was authored by Professor Paul Markel from Student of the Gun.