Perception is a substantial piece of the overall picture, sometimes I suppose. I was doing some research lately and stumbled upon a website called TRAC – or Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium, an interesting site that helps shed light on targets of interest and perhaps even responsible parties regarding terrorist activities. However, as I scrolled through the site, I became uneasy over what I was seeing. As a result, I wanted to provide a little advice for a few militia groups that appear to be struggling with a few points. Let me make it clear that this is not a blanket statement because there are militia groups and State Guard groups that are doing just fine and are what I would consider being “the model to follow.” Instead, this article is meant to help “set the tone” for some groups that seem a little lost and an educational tool for those who are unaware.
Contributors to the TRAC site are respectable, to say the least. Comprised of numerous Master and Doctorate level researchers, the information provided on the website is thorough and plentiful. On this site, you will learn about active and inactive potential or actual terrorist threats, as well as gangs and other violent groups. You will see groups from Islamic Extremists, motorcycle gangs, white supremacist groups, and even extreme Animal Rights groups. You can even see the many different types of tactics being utilized.
There was just one issue that I had with this website. It seems to follow the propaganda line of the Anti-Defamation League and has little regard for Constitutional provision. This is especially true when we consider certain groups the website seems to be tracking. In particular, Militia groups. This got me thinking. Why in the world would this professional group be so worried about the militia, especially when you consider that if the military really is unprepared and officers are asking for help, these groups will be a saving grace in the event of domestic turmoil? There were numerous militia groups being tracked as well as groups such as the Oath Keepers. That does not make sense.
Think about this; the ADL states that the militia movement is a “relatively new right-wing extremist movement consisting of armed paramilitary groups, both formal and informal, with an anti-government, conspiracy-oriented ideology”. They say that the militia groups began to form not long after the deadly standoff at Waco, Texas, in 1993; and that by the spring of 1995, they had spread to almost every state. Furthermore, they say that the sovereign citizen movement and the tax protest movement are associated with right-wing anti-government movements and liken the entire movement to racist and anti-Semitic adherents of Christian Identity.
Now that is a lot of ignorance to take in, especially when so much of that is based on skewed information and is entirely inaccurate. Aside from what I have provided thus far in my work, understand that many state militias were actually official state defense forces during each of the world wars. When the National Guard was federalized and deployed during each of the world wars, the states were forced to raise and maintain its military force to protect against saboteurs, quell riots, and perform other duties that would normally fall to the National Guard. Why these facts are omitted in their analysis (or education) is beyond me.
Furthermore, it seems to me that they are saying that even if you are not anti-Semitic, racist, or even a tax-protester, and if you are involved in a militia group, that you are still probably some kind of right-wing extremist and still guilty by association. Never mind the irony in that the groups providing these labels are technically “associated” with the numerous mass shootings, Constitutional erosion, high crimes, and treason (IE: radical left-wing, anti-gunners).
The Anti-Defamation League and other groups, such as the Southern Poverty Law Center released reports and articles on the Militia movement back in 1994. Is it only a coincidence that by the following spring, the militia movement had begun to receive scrutiny by law enforcement, the media, and the public? Perception is often reality, and the reports provided by these organizations were anything but flattering. However, the question we need to ask is, why would organizations such as the ADL, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and TRAC be so against citizen militias, even though the Constitution clearly makes provision for them? There are actually a few reasons, and I want to share them with you.
Lack of Historical Understanding
It is easy to see that these groups have forgotten the idea that this nation was actually founded on the backbone of the militia. I have already stated their necessity during times of war, but even from the very start, the militia was an important part of the culture our Founders aimed to create. In fact, in 1792, the Uniform Militia Act was passed to provide LIMITED direction to the state militias. Section 1 of the act defined militia according to the common historic understanding:
That each and every free able-bodied white male citizen of the respective states, resident therein, who is or shall be of the age of 18 years, and under the age of 45 years (except as is hereinafter excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia by the captain or commanding officer of the company, within whose bounds such citizens shall reside, and that within 12 months of the passing of this act…. That every citizen so enrolled and notified shall, within 6 months thereafter, PROVIDE HIMSELF with a good musket or firelock (military-style weapon), a sufficient bayonet and belt, two spare flints, and a knapsack [etc.] … and shall appear so armed, accoutered and provided, when called out to exercise, or [into] service … and that from and after five years from the passing of this Act, all muskets for arming the militia as herein required shall [be] of bores sufficient for balls of the eighteenth part of a pound. And every citizen so enrolled and PROVIDING HIMSELF with the arms, ammunition, and accouterments required as aforesaid shall hold the same exempted from all suits, distresses, executions or sales, for debt or for the payment of taxes (Second Congress, 1792).
A few things to note here: 1) citizens were to provide their own arms and ammo, 2) such arms and ammo were to be military-style, and 3) it was obviously encouraged by government and founders. (Ref: 2nd Amendment) The argument that many would like to provide is that times have changed. The idea of people participating in a militia today seems foreign because we have such a strong military. I have already disproved this. This narrative is a perception, not a reality. I could reference again their necessity during the world wars, and I could even speculate the need during a potential third world war, but I digress.
Let me address two important parts of this. To begin with, many in the militia simply love their country and want to protect it. It should be noted that those in the militia have sworn an oath to defend and pledged their allegiance to the flag and Constitution. The fact that the government continues to infringe upon these items is not the fault of those who SWORE to protect it or those who actually follow through with said protection. Second, those in the military have also sworn an oath to defend the Constitution; a Constitution that states we are NOT to have a standing army. Define irony! Article I, § 8 states clearly that Congress shall have power … to raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years; and to provide and maintain a Navy.
So who is really in the wrong here? Let us get some insight from one of our Founders on this particular topic. To do this, we must turn to The Federalist, No. 46 – Tuesday, January 29, 1788, by James Madison:
“Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the state governments with the people on their side would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one-hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield in the United States an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops (“The Federalist #46”, 2016).”
So what is the retort to this? Feelings? Dislikes? Safety? I suppose we should also pay attention to things like the Dick Act or the 1916 National Defense Act, which more or less state that “the militia of the United States shall consist of all able-bodied male citizens of the United States … who shall be more than 18 years of age and … not more than 45 years of age, and said militia shall be divided into 3 classes, the National Guard, the Naval Militia, and the unorganized militia (“Militia Act of 1903”, 2016).”
Three different entities and separate for a reason. The argument that the national guard is the militia is a lie. Further evidence of this comes from a Supreme Court ruling titled Perpich v. Department of Defense, 496 U.S. 334 (1990), the court held that, under the dual-enlistment system established in 1933, guardsmen lose their status as militia members when they are ordered to federal service, and therefore the militia clauses of Article I, § 8 afford them and their units with no constitutional protection (“Perpich v. DOD 496 U.S. 334 (1990)”, 2016).
And just for further clarity, the National Guard is a joint activity of the United States Department of Defense, and the military equipment used by the National Guard is usually furnished by the U.S. Department of Defense through the National Guard Bureau. Furthermore, and with few exceptions, federal control is exercised over military strength, and mobilization of the National Guard and guardsmen are generally considered federal employees. Clearly not “militia” by intended definitions.
The point is that the militia is entirely legitimate, Constitutionally protected, something our Founders wanted, and something upheld by the courts. The militia is necessary because it cannot be federalized and remains a state defense force, which is a state necessity according to law. Second, the only organizations that would resist the idea of the militia would be those who are afraid they might actually do their job, such as federal forces seeking to infringe on the 10th.
Lack of Unity
There is a severe lack of unity in this country today. Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Green Party, Independents, Constitution Party, Communist Party, Socialist Party, etc. Everyone has their own thing going on, and everyone is seeking a piece of the “action.” The irony is that each party seeks to tell someone else what to do in some way, shape, or form when at the end of the day, we can all pretty much agree that it is not okay for someone else to tell us how to live our lives.
Did you know that the Constitution sets up a list of general rules and enumerates a particular set of Rights, that pretty much allows everyone to live their lives the way they want, to believe what they want, and practice what they want, as long as they do not physically infringe on the Rights of our fellow man? Our lack of unity in this specific regard has led us down the road we are currently on.
Regarding the militia, there is no clear unity of mission. This creates a perception of rouge behavior. To the credit of the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are militia groups formed out of race hate. There are groups that are based out of radical ideology. I am sure there are even a few groups that form on the basis of overthrowing the government. While I am sure these are few, the perception becomes public because they are the ones willing to be vocal, and the media loves that because it helps to further the globalist agenda. Not that it would matter anyway until we can formulate some kind of unity as a nation, the idea of armed conflict seems premature at best.
Meanwhile, the groups that form because they simply hate what their country is turning into or because they want to do some good in their state remain quiet. Thanks to the media, the bad perception takes over. Remember, if the message is simple and repeated often, people will eventually begin to believe it. It is propaganda 101. You counter it by reversing the process and being the model.
Lack of Clear Direction (Vision)
True, the basic direction of the militia is to protect the state and the nation if and where possible. True, the government (and media) has done a fantastic job of trying to render the need and ability of the militia almost useless. However, only the ignorant would go along with such efforts, and the mission and vision remain.
The problem is that if the militia, law enforcement, or even the military actually upheld their oath, there would be big trouble in the streets of Washington, D.C. So perhaps if the mission was altered a bit, the oath could be upheld while still staying true to the vision.
Consider the following: there will always be a need to protect the state, be it from Federal invaders seeking to impose federal will against the 10th, invasion by any foreign force or people and of course to aid your fellow citizen in the time of crisis. The militia should be organized and present at EACH event to aid where possible and to assist their DOD counterparts; the National Guard.
Additionally, so many believe that any “good” politician willing to do the right things would ultimately be shot. However, as I have pointed out numerous times, true change can happen if the states embrace the 10th Amendment and literally stick to their guns. It seems to me that the militia should be utilized to protect leaders who seek changes that will counter federal mandate or policy. At the very least, make the option available to the leader who might need it. This, of course, just gets us started.
Ambiguous or Lofty Goals
Protecting the state or protecting the country is simply not specific enough. Your militia needs a clearly defined list of reasons why they are in existence. Each member needs to be able to speak to these reasons in a way that demonstrates a professional position on the topic.
The mission of said militia should be focused more on county and state law rather than federal law, though. The feds have their enforcement agencies. Stick up for your state first and gain the support of your fellow citizens and government.
For instance and for example; if the state passes a law that bans the federal government from infringing on a particular right or action, enforcement of this law at the request of the governor needs to become part of the mission. Or, if a natural disaster occurs, and the militia wishes to protect their state, Anti-Looting protocol should become part of the mission. If you have a leader who is making waves and is a champion of the Constitution, guard and convoy duty should become part of the mission. Or better yet, when the National Guard is called out of the state or is in need of assistance, filling in should become part of the mission.
There are a lot of things the militia could be doing that do not involve sitting around and plotting on what everyone will do when SHTF, and while I believe a uniform of some type should be used, it does not have to be the classic fatigues. Regardless, this list of directives and missions will keep people trained up, increase the worth of the militia in the eyes of the citizenry, media, and government, and ultimately aid in better recruits. It is my opinion that the militia should conduct and carry itself as an official defense force or State Guard unit.
As a matter of fact, if you live in places like Alabama, Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, chances are, you may already be familiar with the non-federalized State Guard. These groups answer directly to the governor. Perhaps consider setting up your group in a similar fashion or joining them.
Militia Members Hide
Right now, there are a lot of people in the militia who are almost afraid of letting others know they are a part of it. This is because of what the government and media have been telling people for so long. However, I would counter with the idea that if the militia were more transparent, that fear would subside. It is much like anything else; once the taboo of the topic is taken away, the act itself is often ignored or simply accepted.
If the militia group you are a part of or aim to be a part of, is not doing anything wrong, then there is little reason to be so recluse. If your mission is clear, and your actions are sound, and you prove to be a dependable group that is loyal to the state, you will gain the support you need, and you can come out of the shadows. However, you must be willing to take such risks.
Remember in Ferguson Missouri, when Oath Keepers decided to take to the rooftops to keep stores and people safe during the riots? This was obviously a risk, but the mission was clear and historically supported. Remember how people felt about the feds pulling them off the roof? Now imagine that these types of activities became more common. Imagine a time when it would be a shock that a militia member was NOT present, rather than a shock that one was actually posted up.
If you want to change the stigma, you are going to have to go change the stigma. Sitting in a field and waiting for a situation WROL is not going to get it done. Just something to consider.
A Few Rotten Apples
A few rotten Apples sometimes can spoil the bunch. This is especially true when you consider a media that is proactively trying to form public opinion. That is, of course, unless those apples are removed from the bunch early on. If you want people to take you seriously, then you need to approach your business seriously. It is estimated that there are some 20,000 to 60,000 militia members nation-wide. Well, it only takes a few with bad publicity to ruin something great.
Imagine you are a business owner and you have a staff of 12. A couple of your workers do not do their jobs or fantasize about something different than what you have going on. What should you do with these workers?
The same goes for your group. You need to police your own and retain only those whose hearts and minds are right. Of course, if you are in a group whose leader is a nut-job, then A) your group needs to ensure that the leader steps down, or B) the group needs to walk-away from the leader and start a new group. State Constitutional laws should not be broken. You are not going to get support by being outlaws or by destroying buildings or whatever. Furthermore, you should not be associated with people who have ideas geared toward such activities. Remember: you are a protection force.
The idea of background checks (while not a popular one) is not a bad one. The idea of having members eligible for conceal and carry or other firearm permits is a good idea. You want model able-bodied United States citizens on your team. If you want to be a role model, you will need to be a role model. That being said, there are numerous people in this nation who have frivolous felony charges on their record who would be a great addition to any force. Discretion is obviously key here. The point is that you do not want to be put into a position where you must rely on and/or associate with a psychopath. Again, just police your own.
Putting It Together
Understand that there will more than likely come a time when WROL is a reality. There will more than likely come a time when SHTF. In the interim, the goal of the group should be to train up, recruit, and protect. You can gain the support you need, you can become more active, and you can prove all of the anti-Constitution people wrong by simply doing the right thing repeatedly.
The militia and/or State Guard is a cost-effective means of fulfilling America’s defense needs. It has been said that State Guard units are now the true successors to the militias that the Framers intended as state and local checks upon federal power. State Guard units are consistent with a constitutional states’ rights philosophy, and a welcomed organization in most states. Under federal law, any of the states or territories in the United States may maintain a state defense force, and nearly half of them choose to do so. There is no reason why your group cannot be a part of that defense.
My suggestions are as follows: if your state does not currently have a State Guard, carry yourselves as one and consider seeking official status as one. You might also consider joining groups such as sgaus.org. Or if your state already has a State Guard, consider gaining membership or discuss having your unit somehow join the existing Guard’s hierarchy. The options are endless.
Know in your heart that the militia is not a bad thing. The militia is a very necessary part of our culture and will continue to be. Sure, in the past, there have been some rogue militia members who have done some bad things, but this was not the fault of the militia; it was the horrible actions of an individual. Generally speaking, the militia is not participating in horrendous acts and they do not want horrible things to happen. They simply love their country. And though you may not know it, they are gaining the support of the citizenry and local authority.
Let me reiterate something I shared in previous works. Brevard County Sheriff, Wayne Ivey, says that “It takes a community to protect a community” and says that “Terrorists and active shooters are using every weapon available to target citizens: guns, knives, trucks, hammers, and even explosives.” Ivey believes that “now, more than ever is the time for our citizens to be prepared to serve as the first line of defense (FOX13, 2017).” I believe that an armed citizen, the militia, and/or State Guard are all necessary for our safety and protection and are the best first line.
It is clear that our future is shaping up to be a violent one. Terrorism is clearly on the rise but so is domestic terrorism from the left. Consider left-wing Bernie Sanders’ supporters and active shooters such as James T. Hodgkinson or Jeremy Joseph Christian that decided that killing people was the answer to their problems. Think about other left-wing radicals that shoot up public places, derail appearances by controversial speakers or riot and loot for any number of reasons. Think about the media’s positive portrayal of such events and people. While most of us recognize that these acts are carried out by a minority, we should also recognize that their numbers (both in population and incidents) are increasing. Now consider the previous paragraph where law enforcement is now asking for help. There is a need.
Change the paradigm by being the change you seek. Model yourselves after groups that are doing it right and create fellowship with them if you can. Understand that you are already being watched. Make sure that what they are seeing is good, or at least Constitutionally protected.