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Old March 1, 2009, 09:53 AM   #37
Senior Member
Join Date: November 28, 2004
Location: Silicon Valley, Ca
Posts: 7,117

This is one area where we have disagreed before and I can see that neither of us is going to be persuaded to change their mind.

I'm sure a lot of you were taught in school that the U.S. Constitution is remarkable because it has a "balance of powers" amongst three branches of government. This is true to a point, however it is actually a balancing act against four branches of government. We The People are the fourth branch as we have an active, participatory role in our government. We have the right to vote, speak out on issues, go to Congress with petitions, to freely assemble to discuss or listen to others speak out and, lastly, we have a right to use force of our own should the government refuse to uphold the laws or the constitution. This has often been referred to as the 3-box rule: The soap box, the ballot box and the ammo box.

TG, while many ascribe to the notion that "the militia" is a dead letter for various reasons, it is still the one thing that puts fear into politicians and military commanders alike. The 1903 federalization of the select or organized state militias into the National Guard had zero impact on "the militia" which remains the body of the people. Subsequent acts have blurred the role of the select militia until it is nearly the same as the regular army. But the people are still "the militia".

The founders recognized the potential of every citizen to be a solider when needed, but that would require training. Jefferson proposed that military instruction be a part of every school ciriculum and started as early as possible. Unfortunately the people were busy enough hacking out a living, in a bare wilderness in some cases, and the added burden of even one day of monthly drills appealed not.

Scalia is right in the sense that the right to keep and bear arms is not dependent upon militia exercise. However, the existence of a militia does depend upon an armed citizenry. And even if a few men armed with hunting rifles cannot stop a tank, they can certainly slow the progress of its supporting troops and make occupation an expensive proposition.

Militia at home during WW-II
During WW-II I know of two left-coast "actions" in which the un-organized militia turned out. One was around Half-Moon Bay California. A coastal resident spotted a long "tapered cylinder" shape in the water just before dark and telephoned police. It was spotted and believed to be a submarine. Over 200 people came out with hunting rifles of all types. A former WW-I army captain placed men every 200 yards and dispersed some others around the entrance to the bay. By midnight a pair of boats went out and could not find it using searchlights and by 3am the boats retired. The tide came in just before dawn and people began to see an immense shape on the water in the distance. By this time, a Coast Guard cutter from San Francisco was cautiously coming down the coast and boats sent out to guide it. By 7am it was identified as a dead whale. So much for glorious action.

Second was near Santa Barbara. I think it was early '42 in the early evening, a half-hour after dark, and explosion rocked the shore near a then existing oil refinery. Minutes later another explosion damaged an oil derrick. Several volunteer coastwatchers spotted the muzzle flash of a Japanese submarine about a mile offshore. Phones rang and within 30 minutes hundreds of armed volunteers lined the shore area. The Japanese submarine I-17, under the command of Commander Nishino Kozo, had fired 16 shots and many fell short into the surf before the submarine departed and submerged. In April of '42 the IJN submarine I-25 fired on Fort Stevens, Oregon at the mouth of the Columbia river. These incidents, along with the sinking of freighters of the west coast, increased fears of an impending invasion[1]. The result was that the governors of all three west coast states called forth the militia (not the National Guard) to act as coast-watchers, guard bridges and waterways as well as to secure vital infrastructure like power plants. And many of these volunteers brought their own rifles along.

The U.S. went into Iraq, a country with only about 5,000 square miles more territory than California and a population of 5 million less (28M vs. 33M). This conflict has engaged a quarter million troops for six years. Plus 3 divisions from the U.K. and 35 other countries. An estimated 24,000 "insurgents" have been killed and an unknown number still exist, but their numbers have been seriously reduced.

By comparison, the American Revolution was fought by barely ten percent of the population by several accounts. If just 1% of Californians fought an invasion or tyrannical government that would be 338,000 people. Just 3% would be over 1 million and 5% would be close to 1.7 million. Out of such pools come former soldiers, police officers and others with organizational and command experience. The U.S. military's total active and reserves total just about 2.9 million (not all combat qualified).

The military does not have sufficient force to put down a seriously angered U.S. population. It is debatable if they could manage against one or two of the larger states.

The sleeping giant of the fourth branch of government is The People who, as long as they have any spirit of liberty and good arms, will keep the power hungry from taking over.

[1] After the war, one high ranking IJN officer, when asked about invasion plans, said his country was well aware that there was a high density of armed citizenry in America, even state championships for private citizens in the use of military rifles. But the Japanese were not fools enough to set foot in such quicksand.
BillCA in CA (Unfortunately)

Last edited by BillCA; March 1, 2009 at 10:00 AM.
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