From a rather early age I’ve taken an interest in the militia. However, in recent years the term has taken on a rather odious meaning. But it was not always that way. In our nation’s founding documents, the militia is mentioned prominently. Consider the Second Amendment in our Bill of Rights. The militia is front and center. I won’t go into interpreting the Constitution lest someone mistake me for a lawyer and quite probably do me bodily harm.
All I’m trying to point out is that the militia is an honorable concept. Many state constitutions and statutes reference their particular form of the militia. And for those that contend the militia is the National Guard, that’s true, but it’s not the whole truth. In recent years it has “branched out”, and the original meaning of the word seems to have been lost. The increasing population of the historically challenged have felt compelled to apply the PC treatment to that venerable term – militia.
What follows is a letter I wrote to an official in the State of Missouri regarding a somewhat interesting memo that went out to their law enforcement folks. I’ve included a copy of the letter and the memo. It’s a little early to tell if I’ll get an answer, but when you send a courteous letter, you often get a response. We shall see what sort of fruit the following email bears (if any).
Note: It’s quite possible that the memo is a complete fabrication, and I’ve been duped! I actually hope that this is the case. Conversely, for a number of reasons, I’m also concerned that it is authentic. I’ll know soon enough.
Well, whaddaya’ know? Looks like Mr. Middleton’s article, and the procedures at MIAC have been repudiated. New oversight has been implemented by the higher-ups. Still no reply from Mr. Middleton. I may have to give up on this one.
Dear Mr. Middleton,
I had an opportunity to read a circular titled, “MIAC STRATEGIC REPORT, 02/20/09, The Modern Militia Movement”, which had your email address in case a comment was offered.
While the report did not contain a great deal of new information regarding militias, and (in my opinion) it had quite a lot of information that wasn’t terribly pertinent to militia groups in general (like bumper stickers ?!?! What was that all about?), I found it to be a somewhat cursory review of the issues driving these disaffected groups. It would make a good basis for a more comprehensive article on the subject in the future, as I think we both agree it is an interesting subject.
I grew up in southeast Nebraska back in the 50′s, and had already left for college when Richardson County had some incidents with folks that referred to themselves as “militia” (you might check whatever law enforcement archives you have access to on this). From what I was able to gather, these folks sounded more like a group of organized homicidal criminals than what my understanding of a militia was. In any event, I didn’t worry about it since I didn’t live there anymore.
Later, as an airline pilot, I was engaged in a discussion in the pilot’s lounge with another pilot who was/is a resident of Missouri (back in the early 80′s). He was bemoaning the presence of these boorish militia members in his home state. I dredged up a bit of ancient knowledge and commented that it seemed like just about every able bodied citizen of the state of Missouri was considered to be a member of the organized or unorganized militia (I include a copy of Missouri Revised Statutes at the bottom of this email for your edification). While he was rather incredulous about this, he did stop me the next time he saw me passing down the concourse, and thanked me for the civics lesson I had provided. Sure enough, he had looked it up and found he was also a member of the militia in Missouri and didn’t even know it. Whataya think about that?
I guess what I’m wondering about is this. Given that your office has circulated this article to Missouri law enforcement, how do you expect the officers of your state to distinguish between the “Unorganized Militia” (of which you are probably a member, according to 41.050), and the “militia” that this article was written about? The report neither mentions the legitimate unorganized militias, nor does it contrast the legitimate unorganized militia to the (apparently) illegitimate militia. Is there a possibility that there might be some confusion, on the part of Missouri law enforcement, as to the difference between these two entities that call themselves militias? Obviously, not all militias are bad, according to your state’s statutes which seems to encourage them.
I mean, if I was a civically inclined member of the “unorganized militia” within the Great State of Missouri, I might take a bit of offense if some member of law enforcement started asking around about me. Seems to me that the Coast Guard Auxiliary or the Civil Air Patrol might merit similar attention in that they are also a paramilitary organization operating within some states. What’s a conscientious law enforcement officer to do if no distinction has been drawn in an official report like the one you’ve sent out?
As one who’s paid some attention over the years to the militia within Missouri, might I suggest that a clarification regarding the difference between militia and the “unorganized militia” as specified in state law, be circulated to your state law enforcement folks?
Not trying to make trouble. Just asking the question. If you have the time, I would appreciate any commentary you might provide, to satisfy my own curiosity on this matter.
Missouri Revised Statutes
41.050. The militia of the state shall include all able-bodied citizens and all other able-bodied residents, who, in the case of the unorganized militia and the Missouri reserve military force, shall be more than seventeen years of age and not more than sixty-four, and such other persons as may upon their own application be enrolled or commissioned therein, and who, in the case of the organized militia, shall be within the age limits and possess the physical and mental qualifications prescribed by law or regulations for the reserve components of the armed forces of the United States, except that this section shall not be construed to require militia service of any persons specifically exempted by the laws of the United States or the state of Missouri.