Militia Issue

Author and blogger Mike Vanderboegh and I got off to a rocky start toward the end of 2008, but since then we seem to be agreeing much more than we disagree.  Here are Mike's comments on my recent column "Offensive Defense?"
Mike is absolutely right in his take on this and his call to organize.  Neighborhood Watch type groups are a great way to get some structure and logistics in place. 
Here are Mike's comments:
 
 
 mi·li·tia, noun.
1. An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers.
2. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency.
3. The whole body of physically fit civilians eligible by law for military service.

Jeff Knox reports here in an article titled "Offensive Defense," about allegations of the murder of innocents by the Algiers Point militia by A.C. Thompson here.

Here is Knox's summary in full:

The repercussions from Hurricane Katrina continue to roll in like the tidal surge that flooded New Orleans. The latest storm takes aim at guns and gunowners . . .write to PO Box 3313, Manassas, VA 20108..

I concur with Jeff, especially his concerns about the bias and accuracy of the reporter, and the need for further investigation. But we need not wait for the results of such an investigation to draw some lessons from the allegations themselves.

Consider whether or not they would have even been made if the Algiers Point militia had not been some motley crew of volunteers put together on the spur of the moment. Consider, rather, what would have happened if they had been a unit of armed citizens who had trained and prepared for such a moment. What if they had been organized with simple CB communications, a chain of command, a roster and rules of engagement? What if, instead of viewing their black neighbors as potential threats, they had worked with them AHEAD OF TIME in a neighborhood watch? What if, instead of manning barricades and turning away everyone, they provided a little food and water and an armed escort guaranteeing their safety to the relief point? What if they had pledged to secure the safety of everyone in the quarter, standing up to the small bands of white racists that did appear? What then?

I can tell you. Then such incidents would never have occurred, and such allegations — even if false — would never have been made or, if made, would not have been believed. Indeed, had that been the case, the Algiers Point militia would have been one of the finest moments of the modern history of the American armed citizenry. In the aftermath, the testimony of the folks they assisted would have stood out above everything else. Instead, we will have an investigation to determine whether they merely acted as a cover for murder.

Let us have the investigation, certainly. But let the rest of us learn the lesson and put what we learn into practice. There is NO substitute for training and organization. There is no substitute in an uncertain situation for command and control, even if it is small group command and the internal control of an individual armed citizen firmly grounded in principle.

Let us also be clear that leadership is more than rounding up a bunch of guys with guns into a "militia." Militia is a generic term, meaning non-professional armed men operating in a group. The militias of the Balkans, Somalia, Rwanda, the Congo and other hellholes of recent history have besmirched the name. It is up to us, the armed citizenry of the United States, to retrieve the name from suspicion and condemnation. We do that by being "well regulated" in the 18th Century sense of that term. So let us do it.