Hurricane disaster and self-defense
The New York Times reports on the situation in New Orleans:
"In a city shut down for business, the Rite Aid at Oak and South Carrollton was wide open on Wednesday. Someone had stolen a forklift, driven it four blocks, peeled up the security gate and smashed through the front door.....
Some frightened homeowners took security into their own hands.
John Carolan was sitting on his porch in the thick, humid darkness just before midnight Tuesday when three or four young men, one with a knife and another with a machete, stopped in front of his fence and pointed to the generator humming in the front yard, he said.
One said, “We want that generator,” he recalled.
”I fired a couple of rounds over their heads with a .357 Magnum,” Mr. Carolan recounted Wednesday. “They scattered.”
He smiled and added, “You’ve heard of law west of the Pecos. This is law west of Canal Street.”
With no officers in sight, people carried empty bags, shopping carts and backpacks through the door of the Rite Aid on Wednesday and left with them full. The forklift was still in the doorway. As they came and went, the looters nodded companionably to one another.
Paul Cosma, 47, who owns a nearby auto shop, stood outside it along with a reporter and photographer he was taking around the neighborhood. He had pistols on both hips.
Suddenly, he stepped forward toward a trio of young men and grabbed a pair of rusty bolt cutters out of the hands of one of them. The young man pulled back, glaring.
Mr. Cosma, never claiming any official status, eventually jerked the bolt cutters away, saying, “You don’t need these.”
The young man and his friends left, continuing the glare. A few minutes later, they returned and mouthed quiet oaths at Mr. Cosma, and his friend Art DePodesta, an Army veteran, who was carrying a shotgun and a pistol."
UPDATE: This didn't stop a New Orleans group from holding a gun buy-back.
Interesting thought: isn't this the type of situation where a "well-regulated militia," or even a poorly regulated one, would be invaluable? Order could be restored with a radio announcement: "All militia members will report to their captain's house. The officers will organize patrols of the streets and maintain order."
The civil breakdown in New Orleans and the other areas are the direct result of the removal of the right to a well regulated militia in favor of the police and the National Guard. If these looters were listed in the Militia they would be under control of their officers and subject to discipline. The Militia is the people under command of the civil authority at all times. It is not voluntary service and was created for just such times.
"We came equals into this world, and equals shall we go out of it. All men are by nature born equally free and independent. To protect the weaker from the injuries and insults of the stronger were societies first formed; when men entered into compacts to give up some of their natural rights, that by union and mutual assistance they might secure the rest; but they gave up no more than the nature of the thing required. Every society, all government, and every kind of civil compact therefore, is or ought to be, calculated for the general good and safety of the community. Every power, every authority vested in particular men is, or ought to be, ultimately directed to this sole end; and whenever any power or authority whatever extends further, or is of longer duration than is in its nature necessary for these purposes, it may be called government, but it Is in fact oppression….
A moment's reflection upon the principles on which this company was first instituted, and the purposes for which it was formed, will evince the propriety of the gentleman's motion; for it has been wisely observed by the deepest politician who ever put pen to paper, that no institution can be long preserved, but by frequent recurrence to those maxims on which it was formed.
This company is essentially different from a common collection of mercenary soldiers. It was formed upon the liberal sentiments of public good, for the great and useful purposes of defending our country, and preserving those inestimable rights which we inherit from our ancestors; it was intended in these times of extreme danger, when we are threatened with the ruin of that constitution under which we were born, and the destruction of all that is dear to us, to rouse the attention of the public, to introduce the use of arms and discipline, to infuse a martial spirit of emulation, and to provide a fund of officers, that in case of absolute necessity, the people might be the better enabled to act in defence of their invaded liberty. Upon this generous and public-spirited plan, gentlemen of the first fortune and character among us have become members of the Fairfax Independent Company, have submitted to stand in the ranks as common soldiers, and to pay due obedience to the officers of their own choice. This part of the country has the glory of setting so laudable an example: let us not tarnish it by any little dirty views of party, of mean self-interest or of low ambition." – George Mason, Remarks on Annual Elections for the Fairfax Independent Company, April 1775
Posted by: Rudy DiGiacinto at September 1, 2005 10:27 AM
One quibble and then much heartfelt agreement - first the quibble. There is a right to keep and bear arms in the Constitution, Rudy, not a right to a well regulated militia.
That said, militia service is a duty, like paying taxes - one that Americans have delegated to others, much to our detriment. I much appreciate your historical reference as a touchpoint for us to be reminded as to how our system was meant to work. I have a bad feeling that what we are going to get out of this emergency is going to reduce our rights and drive us even farther away from our Constitutional system’s design. You and others like Dave Kopel do a real service in reminding us the way this is supposed to work. We have been doing it wrong for so long that wrong looks right to us. My sense is that the militia is needed now more than ever, and the National Guard is not what I am talking about. What is legally referred to as the “unorganized” militia, which is all male citizens not in the “standing army” (Army, Navy, Air Force) nor in the “organized militia” (aka National Guard) should be equipped (by themselves not the government), trained, organized and “well-regulated.” States are responsible for the senior officers and regulations under the Constitution. It is also true that no state operates a well organized (well regulated) citizen militia today. That they could and indeed should be, is a policy issue without a constituency at this time. More is the pity. How we change that is outside of my reach.
Posted by: RKV at September 3, 2005 07:15 AM
Hey, all - just got linked to this site by a colleague via http://www.userfriendly.org - had a thought I wanted to bring up. First off, I'm sure that this has probably been gone over time and again, but since this is my first post, I claim right of n00bishness to not bother searching before posting ;)
So. Yes, it would be great if there were some civilian-level armed-persons organization that was ready, willing, and able to patrol and protect. However, I am trying to place myself in the kind of state of mind a survivor of Katrina and FEMA would be in, and what I'm coming up with is not entirely the state of mind of a rational person.
I understand and accept that level-headedness and discipline are traits that are both conducive to and required for responsible gun ownership and/or use. I cannot help but wonder, however, how strongly those traits can be engraved into one's mind, especially in the face of such adversity and opportunity.
I'll stop being vague and start being specific; please note that the following questions are more a summary of my total thoughts and not a complete cohesive transliteration thereof.
What's to stop a person, or group (i.e. an individual patrol, assuming that a patrol is comprised of more than one individual :) ), or even a whole organization from going "rogue" and becoming an organized, armed gang of looters? Or, what happens if, while out patroling, one of the members' property is looted? Would the organization provide reimbursement, or...? And what happens if the group can't agree on a valid hierarchy of power? Or if there turns out to be camps or factions with different priorities and ideas about what, of the leader's tasks/orders/requests are worth following or doing, and which are not?
I should state as a disclaimer that I am neither a gun owner nor a gun user, but I do respect the second amendment and am all in favor of the concept of the best defense being a good offense. I have reached the rank of Black Belt (first degree) in Shorei-Ryu karate, so I *think* (and am willing to accept that this is incorrect) that I have some concept of the necessary self-discipline and responsibilty of a gun owner/user who does things in a Good and Right manner.
I don't know if I'll remember to check back, but the email address I provided *is* a valid one, and I welcome responses - this is not intended to be a troll, and I would greatly prefer not to be thought of as one - especially by a group of people who (presumably) *do* own and/or use guns on a regular basis. ;)
Just for the record, that last bit there was a joke. :)
Posted by: Dave at September 8, 2005 10:38 PM
I was just looking at some stuff on google blog search and came across your site. After checking it out for a while I want to suggest the book Thick Black Theory . . . I think you'll find it interesting. :)
Posted by: De Re Militari at November 23, 2012 11:53 AM