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Ready to Respond

December 16, 2009

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.

There. That was my obligatory quoting of the Second Amendment. Now we can move on…

The Founding Fathers were terrified of a standing army. After all, that’s how autocrats exercised their power. Today, dictators maintain their control through their armies (and it is telling that when dictators fall, it is often through the action of their armies). So they opted for each state to maintain their own ad hoc militias. Any able citizen, when called, should be able to grab his musket and rush to the defense of the state. However, today we have standing armed forces, so that “well regulated militia” is an archaism — except that it isn’t. Able-bodied American men between the ages of 17 and 45 are automatically part of the Reserve Militia. States have State Defense Forces that back up the National Guard in the event they are called away.

Some “gun nuts” I know (and I love ‘em, even the raving lunatic ones) practically wish for the “Red Dawn” scenario so they can open their arsenal and start blasting everyone with a red star on his hat or a khaffiyeh on his head. In my estimation, you’d have to be crazy to wish for war. It is not glorious or fun or a game. I don’t know any warfighters who sign up for additional tours because it’s cool. They go back because they are drawn to a duty. We all bear that duty should war come to our doorstep (and it has). When Cyrus allowed the Israelites to return to a Jerusalem surrounded by hostiles, they rebuilt the walls with tools in one hand and a sword in the other. Jerusalem was rebuilt and still stands today. I have the same wish for the United States.

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