Needed: ‘Well-regulated militia’ — and guns
by Kevin Foley
Columnist
December 28, 2012 12:00 AM | 2650 views | 42 42 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BOZEMAN, Mont. — “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,” it says here in my copy of the Constitution.

Let’s put that statement into context: The year is 1783. “Arms” are single shot, muzzle loaded pistols and muskets. Militias — citizen soldiers armed with these weapons — played a crucial role in the fight for liberty.

After the Revolution, the Founders were highly suspicious of a standing army. They knew first-hand England’s was used to keep King George’s subjects in line as much as to fight wars, so they disbanded most of the Continental Army.

The Founders believed, incorrectly, future conflicts could be fought by militias. So these units might be mobilized quickly, citizen soldiers required their own muskets and pistols.

This context is everything when the gun lobby or people like state Rep.-elect Charles Gregory (R-Kennesaw) start bellowing about “freedom” and their Second Amendment rights.

The Founders could not imagine the kind of firepower sold in gun stores today. And they could never envision how a lone maniac would use such weapons, this time around to slaughter 20 little children and six heroic women.

The gun lobby and the political allies it funds have twisted the Amendment’s original context to justify the sale of such weapons. To them, profits always supersede public safety.

Out here in Big Sky Country, I have many friends who enjoy hunting deer, elk and antelope, but they never use assault weapons with high capacity magazines to bag a buck. They hunt with bolt action rifles and even bow and arrow. They might pack a side arm for protection against bear or mountain lion attacks.

Responsible sportsmen respect their quarry and want the game to have a fighting chance, so they wouldn’t think of blasting 20 rounds into a deer with a Bushmaster. And isn’t target shooting all about marksmanship, not how many rounds you can fire in three seconds?

Gun lovers who think having an armory at home will protect them from government oppression live in a Ted Nugent-inspired fever swamp.

If the sort of apocalypse they imagine ever happens, it will most likely be led by renegade right-wing military officers, not Greenpeace.

Assault weapons have only one purpose; to kill human beings. To that lethal end, the $32 billion gun industry has been extremely efficient, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. From 2007 to 2009, the U.S. averaged 10,987 homicides per year by firearm, compared with an average of 182 in Germany, 75 in Spain and 47 in the United Kingdom.

Wayne LaPierre, the National Rifle Association’s obfuscating mouthpiece, predictably blames the news media and “elites,” but not easy access to automatic weapons and ammo.

LaPierre claims movies and games led to the slaughter in Newtown, but people see violent entertainment in Germany, Spain and the U.K., where, coincidently, there are also strict gun safety laws and free mental health care.

LaPierre’s solution is armed cops in our 98,000 public schools. Very well, let the gun manufacturers pay for all that security to protect children from their deadly products. They can also cover the cost of armed police in theaters, malls, restaurants, universities and every other place where mass gun murder has or can happen.

The little coffins in Connecticut demand we pass sensible gun safety legislation.

Ban assault rifles, close the gun show loophole and limit magazine capacity, but also repeal the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act that shields gun manufacturers from liability when their products are used to massacre people.

Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.
Comments
(42)
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CobbCoGuy
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December 31, 2012
A couple excerpts from a September 8, 2004, Press Release from Senator Schumer (D-NY):

"US Senator Charles Schumer, author of the 1994 Crime Bill, today announced that several New York school districts will receive $125,000 federal grants under the bill’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. The money will be used to hire one community police officer to be placed within the city’s school system."

"Schumer said community police officers within schools provide a variety of function other than acting as a security presence and link to local law enforcement."

This was a Department of Justice program initiated by Clinton in 1998.

My progressive friends, help me reconcile this with the recent brow beating received by NRA Executive Wayne LaPierre when he proposed placing police officers in schools across the country.
Kevin Foley
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January 02, 2013
@CobbCoGuy - Why is it MY responsibility to pay to protect schoolchildren from gun manufacturers' products?

Do the math: 98,000 public schools X $50,000/year per cop. And, oh yeah, we also need armed cops in every mall, church, theater, post office, etc. Let the gun manufacturers pay for all that.

It costs me nothing extra to give the police we already pay sensible gun safety laws to enforce.

More Friday.
CobbCoGuy
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January 02, 2013
Dunno.

Ask Bill Clinton; this was his program..
CobbCoGuy
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January 03, 2013
Hmmmm; you may be on to something.

You pay for school protection and I'll pay for Sandra Fluke's, uh, "protection."
SG68
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December 31, 2012
Kevin please continue to write your column and try to rebut every post that disagrees with your deluded, naive ideas and opinions.

Every time you open your mouth or put pen to paper it shows how incredibly ignorant, uninformed and brainwashed you actually are.

However your babblings do serve a purpose.

They act as a barometer of how the liberals in this country think and hoe they view the real world through a prism of distortion, idealism and obfuscation.
Kevin Foley
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January 02, 2013
SG68 (whoever you are) - And your posts remind us how many folks out there know little and think less.
Kevin Foley
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December 31, 2012
@ Adams - Oh really? The first authorized Marine Corps consisted of a single battalion to be deployed on ships.

Devlin Adams
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January 01, 2013
Sorry, foley,. but you are worng again.

Here is the text of the act that created them.

"That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one Colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates as with other battalions, that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to offices, or enlisted into said battalions, but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve for and during the present war with Great Britain and the Colonies; unless dismissed by Congress; that they be distinguished by the names of the First and Second Battalions of Marines."

What does the size and funtion have to do with what I said anyway?
Kevin Foley
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January 02, 2013
@ Adams - "What does the size and funtion have to do with what I said anyway?"

I'm glad Eisenhower didn't ask that question the night before D-day.

Thomas Mashburn
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December 29, 2012
I'm sorry Kevin but after many hours of research (and reviewing my notes from a Legal History class in law school on the Declaration of Rights of 1689 (the precurser of the American Bill of Rights)), I can find no historical support for your statement that the Founding Fathers as a group accepted the notion that future wars would be fought by militia. Quite to the contrary, militias of the time (actually up to and including the Southern states in the Civil Wars) were almost exclusively viewed as a local defensive military force and a very poor one at that. As but one of a hundred points in this regard, while every able-bodied male was expected to train with the militia, members came and went as they pleased (not very conducive to offensive operations needed to wage war). They were poorly trained, poorly commanded and viewed as a joke in pitched battles. Please make your arguments without misrepresenting history. Thank you.
RedBoard
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December 29, 2012
Don't bother Kevin with facts. They anger him, especially when they totally destroy his already hollow arguments. Only "feelings" are important to liberals like Kevin.
Thomas Mashburn
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January 01, 2013
You really didn't know that the Founding Fathers spoke of the militia as being the "shield" and the regular army as the "spear?" Really? You really think that the Founding Fathers intended to engage in all future wars with only a "shield?" Really? You really, honestly believed that? Wow.
Thomas Mashburn
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January 01, 2013
Foley - You really don't know the difference between a regiment and a battery? Really? Sad.

Thomas Mashburn
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December 31, 2012
Or James Madison? Yes, the same James Madison who stated that the primary purpose of the militia would be to OPPOSE the tyranny of the federal government?

"The highest number to which a standing army can be carried in any country does not exceed one hundredth part of the souls, or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This portion 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 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. Besides the advantage of being armed, it forms a barrier against the enterprises of ambition, more insurmountable than any which a simple government of any form can admit of. The governments of Europe are afraid to trust the people with arms. If they did, the people would surely shake off the yoke of tyranny, as America did. Let us not insult the free and gallant citizens of America with the suspicion that they would be less able to defend the rights of which they would be in actual possession than the debased subjects of arbitrary power would be to rescue theirs from the hands of their oppressors."- (Source I Annals of Congress 434, June 8, 1789).

Thomas Mashburn
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December 31, 2012
George Washington was one of the Founding Fathers, right? Then let's examine what this same George Washington thought about your idea that he, George Washington, thought that all future wars would be fought exclusively by milita: "To place any dependence on the Militia, is, assuredly, resting upon a broken staff. Men just dragged from the tender Scenes of domestic life; unaccustomed to the din of Arms; totally unacquainted with every kind of military skill, which being followed by a want of confidence in themselves, when opposed to Troops regularly trained, disciplined, and appointed, superior in knowledge and superior in Arms, makes them timid, and ready to fly from their own shadows...if I was called upon to declare upon Oath, whether the Militia have been most serviceable or hurtful upon the whole, I should subscribe to the latter." You really don't understand the distinction between Regulars and militias? And worse yet you don't wish to elevate your knowledge but rather double down on your stupidity. It makes me sad.
Thomas Mashburn
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December 31, 2012
You really didn't know that there was no such thing as a federal militia and that Jefferson was repeatedly frustrated in his attempts to federalize the state militias. Really? Wow.
Thomas Mashburn
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December 31, 2012
I'm sad that I have to explain this further but the militia was the DEFENSIVE force designed to bridge the gap in mobilization for war. Gosh, you are frighteningly ill-informed. Once you've read Clausewitz cover-to-cover, you can write intelligently on military history.
Thomas Mashburn
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December 31, 2012
You are a silly person. In peacetime, the government decomissioned the standing army. Then when war looms you enlist an army. That doesn't mean you intend to fight an entire war with militia. I thought you were merely ignorant and desirous of knowledge. I apologize for my mistake. Rather than ignorant, you are stupid. No need to read another one of your pieces. Goodbye.
Devlin Adams
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December 31, 2012
Foley, the Continental Marines were establihsd November 10th, 1775, and have never been disbanded since.

With the Marines, Congress was perfectly safe in disbanding part of the army, which was, by the way, an economic move as well.
RedBoard
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December 31, 2012
Right on cue:

Another lame and fact-less response from Mr. Foley. Yo...Kevin: Mashburn was talking about state militia, NOT the Continental Army.

History, Kevin. History. Real History. Read. Understand. Then write.
Kevin Foley
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December 29, 2012
Mr. Mashburn - Did you learn that the Founders disbanded all but two regiments of the Continental Army? Who was going to do the fighting? You're the one who needs the history lesson.
Thomas Mashburn
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January 06, 2013
Foley, you really think that George Washington forgot his bitter experience when, on December 1, 1776, two brigades of New Jersey and Maryland militia simply walked off and went home "notwithstanding the enemy are within two hours march and coming on."?

Like I said, I've got at least a hundred more examples if you persist like "No Man Shall Pass" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

You, sir, are beaten on this point and fairly so.
Kevin Foley
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December 28, 2012
@ AmericanMale - Funny how you guys are all about "personal responsibility" until it comes time to take responsibility for your words.

When cars are involved in deaths, it's seldom homicide. We have more than 10,000 firearm homicides in America every year. You want math? That's 27 per day. And that doesn't include accidents.

The idea here, my friend, is to reduce the body count.



AmericanMale
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December 31, 2012
Foley, again you wandered from the topic into the weeds.

Please re-read my original post which explained how existing and proposed gun control regulation would not have prevented the carnage in CT. If you have valid counter arguments, cite them. If not, please return to your standard ploy of name calling. We find this predictable behavior entertaining.
AmericanMale
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December 31, 2012
Oh, and I find it interesting that on one hand you claim car-related deaths as a lesser issue than gun-related deaths because there wasn't any intent to kill, yet you also claim it's all about "body count".

NEWS FLASH: They're all just as dead!

Intent isn't nearly as relevant as results!
Devlin Adams
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December 31, 2012
Lies, Foley. you are fallig for lies. Whether you know it or not, the idea is to take away the right of the people to keep and bear arsm, and thus disarm them, making it easy for an invader or a tyranical government to subjugate the people.

If you do not already know that, it is about time you found it out.

IT IS NOT ABOUT GUNS. IT IS ABOUT CONTROL.

CobbCoGuy
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December 28, 2012
Have you discussed the issue with your friends in Big Sky Country who are hunters? What do they say?
CobbCoGuy
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December 28, 2012
Google is your friend - search "larry correia gun control."

It's a long read, but well worth it.
leChat
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December 28, 2012
Oh joy, Kevin’s usual mish-mash of lies, distortions and general ignorance. Ill-informed naivete’ may sometimes be endearing in a child; rarely so in an adult pretending to some sort of reasoned argument.

I would suggest that the MDJ drop him as a contributor, but I suspect they keep him on to make even the lamest of their conservative opinion pieces seem absolutely brilliant by comparison.

It would take a response four or five times the size of his column to point out all of his errors, so I’ll just note the one: “…I have many friends…”.

Kevin Foley
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December 28, 2012
leChat (whoever you are) - See the part about mental healthcare because you sound like you're in need of help.

In the meantime, kindly tell us where the lies are in the piece.
AmericanMale
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December 28, 2012
Kevin, those little coffins in CT are the result of two things: a crazed individual who could just as easily slaughtered innocents with a baseball bat or ramming a car bomb into the school, and liberals who favor symbolism over substance!

The assault rifle found hadn't even been used in the attack. The pistols did use high capacity clips, but such clips actually save very little time. Changing out clips takes about 3 seconds.

Your background info was good, but misleading. The military was used by the king against his own people. Our current military and police could be used in much the same way against our current population. Therefore, the ability of the people to form a militia in their own defense is not to be infringed upon.

Your use of stats is disingenuous at best, too. If stats from the UN are to be believed, the classification of homicide vs gun deaths are not distinguished. But if we accept the number anyway, you're talking about 0.0036% of the 300 million guns owned in the US.

Why aren't you focusing on the much bigger problem in the cause of deaths in the US? More than 33,000 deaths a year are caused by assault cars and assault trucks. That number is so "low" because they're registered, so only responsible people will use them. Hmmmm... Doesn't really work that way, does it?!

Again, Kevin, to you, logic and actuality is irrelevant. This tragic event in CT is just another opportunity to try to advance your liberal agenda. The reality is that madmen will do whatever they can to inflict harm. The tool used may vary, but the attempted harm will be sought, regardless!
Kevin Foley
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December 28, 2012
AmericanMale - I wouldn't identify myself either if I were you.

You really think a madman with a baseball bat could kill 26 people in less than 5 minutes?

Reactionaries like you are making excuses for the maniacs armed to the teeth with assault rifles and high capacity clips.

Devlin Adams
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December 28, 2012
Foley, it makes no difference whether he identifies himself or not. What he said is well reasoned and well stated, You, typically, responded with no data, omly insults.

BTW, you do not identify yourself when you post as "Lib in Cobb".
CobbCoGuy
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December 28, 2012
I agree with AmericanMale - not a bad article that focuses on only one aspect of a multi-facted problem.

1. Gun control - ineffective. However, in the interest of reaching across the aisle, many conservatives are open to discussing reasonable gun control regulations.

2. Mental health - civil commitment laws, specifically, involuntary commitment laws need to be addressed. However, we're now bumping into 5th amendment rights of due process. I see no discussion whatsoever of this factor from the progessives.

3. Violent movies and video games - some believe this is a factor, I don't necessarily subscribe to it, but some do argue that it is a contributor to the violent culture we live in. It is worthy of discussion, but we're bumping into 1st amendment rights of free speech. If conservatives are willing to sit down at the table to discuss gun control, then Hollywood and video game designers should be willing to do likewise.

4. The Media - I'd like to see the media report these tragedies without mentioning the names and displaying the pictures of the losers who commit the acts. Deprive the monsters of their 15 minutes of fame. Deprive them of their ability to say, "I'll show them", so to speak. However, I'm not delusional; the media will never support this idea. It's all about the ratings, right?

5. Armed citizens - yes, one can conjure up any number of scenarios whereby innocent bystanders become casualties from the armed citizen's weapon. However, these scenarios generally assume that a firefight ensues, and completely ignores the effect of deterrence.

Again, good article that's sure to stir up many responses. I hope we can keep it civil and broaden the scope to factors other than gun control.

More later.
AmericanMale
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December 28, 2012
I am a private citizen and wish to remain that way, so I focus on the discussion at hand.

Without getting too gruesome, yes, a crazed adult with a baseball bat could kill children at the rate of 1 every 11 seconds. It's not rocket science, Kevin.

It's funny/sad that you fail to address the issue and instead focus on name calling. It is people like you who reacted to the slaughter of these poor children with cries for gun control... advancing your own agenda in the wake of their suffering. THAT's a pitiful level of low character, in my opinion. YOU are the "reactionary" one.

If you'll re-read my post, you'll see I made NO defense of the actions of the mad man. Again, you apparently can't think straight (or read accurately).

You made your weak assertions. Their reasoning has been soundly refuted. Now you can only begin the name calling and mockery.
Too funny
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December 28, 2012
Ridiculously false analogy. Guns are made for an express purpose: killing. Cars are made for transportation, Baseball bats are made for baseball. You and the rest of the gun-loving freaks out there are the ones being disingenuous.
CobbCoGuy
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December 29, 2012
And knives were made for slicing tomatoes, carving a point on your tent peg, and cleaning under your fingernails, yet a knife-wielding man in China injured 22 children; some had severed fingers and ears.
Bob Johnson
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December 28, 2012
Do we sue the subway train manufacturer now that there is another evil person who pushed someone if front of it.
Too funny
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December 28, 2012
another stupid false analogy.
Bob Johnson
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December 28, 2012
Kevin you cannot legislate crazy or evil. No matter how many gun laws you have on the books someone who is determined to carry out evil will find a way. How can you prosecute gun manufacturer's and not the car makers? They kill more people than guns. You cannot prosecute a company when an evil person uses their product to commit a crime.
Too funny
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December 28, 2012
Because cars are made for transportation; guns are made for killing.
Devlin Adams
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December 29, 2012
@ Too Funny. I can assure you that cars are used for killing with greater frequency than guns are used for transportation.

The indiscriminate use of either is criminal.
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