Saturday, November 14, 2020

Not Militias


"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."

So goes the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. Nonetheless, at 26:56 of the (very choppy) video below, Max Brooks can be (sort of) seen remarking

The real danger we're facing is homegrown insurgency. Think about it. This is the first time since the 1990s that militia enlistment has gone up during a Republican administration. It always goes up during Democrats, down during Republicans.


Thankfully, Bill Maher asks ""Militia,' meaning"? and Brooks replies "militia meaning any sort of armed government- anti-government group...."

A tweet from Matthew Ingram, self-described as a writer "about digital media for the Columbus Journalism Review," thus presumably a credible individual:


The article, from the solidly left Media Matters For America, to which Miller links is entitled "Militia leader Stewart Rhodes says he has men stationed outside of D.C. ready to engage in violence on Trump's order." Timothy Johnson writes

Oath Keepers militia leader Stewart Rhodes said that he has armed men on standby outside of Washington, D.C., to supposedly prevent the 2020 presidential election from being stolen from President Donald Trump....

Rhodes also indicated his militia will be involved in a rally to support Trump planned for this weekend in the nation's capital.

Johnson goes on to note "the organization’s purpose has shifted from opposing the government to instead act as a pro-Trump vigilante group." However, Johnson twice otherwise invokes "militia" in his article of eight paragraphs.

But it is absurd to refer to such right-wing paramilitary groups as "militias".

The Second Amendment specifically grants to members of a "well-regulated militia"- and to no one else- the right "to keep and bear arms." The framers were not speaking of, nor anticipating, individuals forming an armed anti-government group.

The founders conceived of either "a part of the organized armed forces of a country liable to call only in emergency" or "the whole body of able-bodied male citizens declared by law as being subject to call to military service." They did not mean individuals banding together to upend the government or intimidate the government, or to keep in power their hero against the popular will.

Nonetheless, we have reasonable, well-meaning, even ideologically liberal people referring to the Proud Boys and other armed groups as "militias." 

It is probably a stretch to label them all "terrorists" because their intended target generally are not innocents but the targets of their vendetta. Nevertheless, they do not comprise a "militia." Rather, they are vigilantes and affording them the credibility of "militias" is linguistically nonsensical- and strategically dangerous.

 


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