Dennis Henigan is a bit upset that the media is running stories about kinder, gentler militias:
The Michigan militiamen must have regarded the NPR story as a spectacular success. According to NPRâ€™s introduction to the story, the militia movement has â€œgrown less violent in recent years.â€ Ms. Raston described the Southeast Michigan militia as â€œbenignâ€.
This judgment seems to have lost the forest for the trees. To point out the obvious, it is possible to help the local sheriff find missing people, collect coats for needy kids, and adopt a local highway, without engaging in military training in the woods with assault weapons. One of the militiamen described his â€œbattle gearâ€ to Ms. Raston as including a rifle with four 30-round magazines, as well as a 9mm sidearm. These people may or may not be racist or paranoid as individuals, but what brings them together is an ideology that should be very troubling to most Americans. The militiamen believe that it is entirely legitimate to form a private army to prepare for armed conflict with our government.
Bravo, Dennis! We all are aware that preparing for armed conflict with your government has absolutely no historical root in the history of the United States. None whatsoever. It’s absolutelyÂ unthinkable that any people would even think about using violence against their own government. It is well known that governments are always legitimate, and it has never happened, in the history of man, that a legitimate government has become illegitimate. It just can’t happen! It certainly could never happen here, right?
Look, it’s not like I don’t think the militia movement is a bit silly. I don’t think a group of Americans can get together and declare themselves a legitimate constitutional militia any more than a group of Americans can get together and declare themselves a jury. There’s a certain governmental structure that’s historically gone along with militias in the United States.
Nonetheless, it’s a free country, and if a bunch of people want to get together and hold mock trials as a hobby, well, more power to them. It’s aÂ legitimateÂ exercise of their First Amendment freedoms, just as practicing shooting is a legitimate exercise of their Second Amendment freedoms. As long as they are not professing violent overthrow of the government, which the Michigan group is decidedly not, it’s within the realm of what the Second Amendment protects. I’ll leave Dennis with a quote from a dangerous proponent of militias:
The militia of these free commonwealths, entitled and accustomed to their arms, when compared with any possible army, must be tremendous and irresistible. Who are the militia? are they not ourselves. Is it feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American. What clause in the state or federal constitution hath given away that important right…. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either theÂ federalÂ or state governments, but where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
We really have to do something about this dangerous militia thinking that’s recently made its way into our American discorse, that’s for sure! We can let them warp American History no longer!