A few months ago, I stood on the State House steps during the Guns Across America rally in Boston when a Marine Combat Veteran recited the following:
Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? It is feared, then, that we shall turn our arms each man against his own bosom. Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American . . . . [T]he unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people.
When I reflect upon the words of Tench Coxe, I can't help but wonder how he’d react to what’s going on today. Nowadays, when the word militia is used, it conjures in the minds of the uneducated, images of overweight men playing Army in the woods, of paranoid folks espousing anti government beliefs or worse, of domestic terrorists.
The venerable Mr. Coxe would no doubt be ashamed of the media treatment of the word militia, but I have a feeling he’d take heart in the crowd assembled today. Today, we come together as citizens, as friends, as family, as neighbors and yes, as militia.
See, for all the bluster about the use of the word militia in the media and in political circles, there is no doubt as to the definition of the word –
Nowhere else in the constitution, does “the people” mean “the government.” Nowhere else in the constitution, does “the people” mean “the police!” Nowhere else in the constitution, does “the people” mean the “National Guard.”
Militia is YOU. Militia is ME.
Militia is every time we see an Amber Alert and actually keep an eye out for that license plate or child gone missing.
Militia is every time we help our neighbors during a hurricane or snowstorm.
Militia is every time we check in on our elderly neighbors during a heat wave, when nobody else goes to do it.
Militia is strong communities of like minded men, women and children, taking a STAND against unjust laws written by unjust politicians.
So I call upon you today, I call upon the true spirit of the militia to band together, go back to your communities, go back to your families, your friends and mobilize.
Take action now, as a community and yes, as militia, as a force for good and fight.
Fight these laws with your words, your letters, your phone calls and your visits to local senators and representatives. Fight these laws with letters to the editor, with blogs, and with your friends at GOAL, the NRA, and other organizations dedicated to the second amendment.
Fight hard, but above all, fight now with your actions – show those in the media and in politics that we are not the sum of their stereotypes.
Tenche Coxe was every bit the Patriot as the Marine Corps Captain who repeated his words at the rally in Boston. Neither relished the thought of war or bloodshed, but both knew the price of protecting our freedoms.
We have an opportunity today at this critical juncture in time to stem the tide of tyranny peacefully.
We can do this now so that we may never again have to take the actions our forefathers took later.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
In the wake of the tragic events in Newtown, CT last year, a lot of the impetus for new gun control has been justified by politicians, activists and pundits saying "if new laws save 'just one life," it’s worth sacrificing the rights of law abiding gun owners.
As someone who is relatively new to the realities of fatherhood, it strikes me as reprehensible that children, more specifically dead children, are used as a rallying cry or podium with which to stand on to justify further infringements of civil rights. Does this mean that if I oppose such legislation, that I am less of a father? Does it mean that I don't care for the safety and welfare of children?
No. Not by a long shot. And its time that gun owners, especially those who have children, come out swinging on this issue and counter these disgusting displays of emotional diarrhea masquerading as common sense and compassion. Gun owning parents need to be front and center on this issue and have a clear, decisive answer to this extremely and irresponsibly loaded question when asked.
And the answer, in no uncertain terms is a resounding no.
Even if your flawed, opportunistic legislation saves one hundred lives, it’s not worth sacrificing the rights and legacy that men and women, people exceedingly more esteemed and honorable than any of these politicians and pundits, fought and died for since our nation's inception. The Second Amendment is a Constitutionally guaranteed civil right, but it is more than that - when the framers put pen to paper establishing the right to bear arms, they recognized that self-preservation and preservation of our freedoms is a concept far greater than being able to possess a rifle - they recognized that its a fundamental HUMAN RIGHT to have the ability to defend life, liberty and yes, property from the evils of tyrannical regimes and the evils inherent in the human condition.
I expect and await disdainful responses to my position: I embrace them. I embrace them not because I don't care about the life of my son or the security and safety of children. In fact, my position is rooted in intense respect for his rights and for the rights of his and successive generations of his peers. I have no idea how Charlie is going to view the politics of the Second Amendment and I will allow him to make up his own mind on the matter. What I will do however, is teach him that life is a precious and fleeting commodity, more valuable than any amount of money and more important than the whims of an opportunistic legislator who says otherwise.
No amount of carnage should ever justify the repression of human and civil liberties. The Constitution made it so these liberties are non-negotiable and not subject to any opinion polls or majority (mob) desires. With all due respect and deference to those whose families have suffered as a result of gun violence, their pain in no way justifies rolling back our rights. What it does justify and require, is a conversation based on a deeply and national introspection of that state of this country and its humanity.
You see, gun violence is not the result of our ownership of firearms or exercise of the Second Amendment, it is the symptom of a society whose reliance and pursuit of material gain has superseded any semblance of humanity or respect thereof. Maybe its technology, maybe it’s the national addiction to reality television and or celebrity worship - better and more advanced minds than mine ought to examine these topics in greater detail. What is patently obvious to me is that we have devolved culturally, to a society that cares only for individual gain. At the height of the Roman Empire, blood sports united all classes to cheer on the mindless carnage at the Coliseum. Today, one can't have a drink at a pub without a crowd of people entertained by the sight of modern day gladiators brutalizing each other in a UFC cage match. As Americans, we glamorize violence and celebrate the worst behavior of our celebrity culture and do so at the cost of our very souls. Ironically, most of those who cheer for the bloodletting would never serve in the armed forces, let alone be involved in a physical altercation themselves - that in and of itself, is very revealing.
Anyone who knows me on a personal level knows that I am not a religious man, in fact, I often identify as an Atheist when the question of religion is brought to bear. As irreligious as I am however, I do have tremendous respect for the teachings and dogma contained in most of the major religions we protect and celebrate under the Constitution. Such beliefs and teachings ought to ground people in the notion of tolerance and respect for their fellow man. It is for that reason, I find it strange, that in a nation so religiously diverse, with so many that are teaching tolerance and the love of one’s fellow man, that we are so insular and uncaring when it comes to those we don’t know. Religious or not, we ought to have the decency to care for one another and to look out for the most vulnerable in our communities, instead of relying on an often inept and callous government “authority” to do it for us. Community is not a special department in any municipality, but an unwritten social contract signed by all members of the human race, American or otherwise.
As a community of gun owning parents, as Americans concerned about the very nature of the freedoms we see threatened every day, we have an obligation to speak for our children. When confronted by emotionally charged questions such as these, we must stand with pride and conviction and deliver an answer that preserves the rights of future generations. I intend to speak for my son, in telling them that no amount of tragedy is worth even considering the sacrifice of his liberties, that his life is worth defending, that his freedoms, all of them, are worth fighting for.
I urge everyone to do the same.