The Militia We Must Maintain

Tom Oyster is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. His columns will post weekly on Tuesdays.

Tom Oyster is a contributor to The Brenner Brief. His columns will post weekly on Tuesdays.

The Second Amendment is not about guns. Our right to bear arms is no more about arms than our right to free press is about paper. The founding fathers knew that a country that was disarmed and not trained and prepared was a sitting duck. They knew that the rights of Americans to keep arms was a necessity for the nation’s survival. Interestingly enough, they went a step further, providing for a “well regulated militia” along with the rights of citizens to bear arms.

The second amendment is about liberty. It is about our duties as defined in the Bill of Rights. The first ten amendments to our constitution are not a list of things that we may do. They are a list of things what we must do — duties prescribed by our government for every American. “A well regulated militia, being necessary to a free state…” Those words are not a pass to own a firearm. They are a directive to not only own a firearm, but to be trained in its use, and maintain a readiness in the event of national need.

Does that mean that every American should own a machine gun and go destroy targets every sunny afternoon? Of course not. It also does not provide for the average citizen to own devices that should be reserved for the military. Who really needs grenades, tanks, and plastic explosives? Not Joe Schmoe. Whereas these things are necessary for our national security, they should certainly not be in the hands of the average citizen.

What the second amendment provides is a framework that our current society and government do not understand. It directs us to keep a standing militia. Every American should take part in this in some way. In a militia, as the founders defined it, Americans would train in military drill and procedures in order to help the military defend our nation. At the time of our nations founding, children were taught from an early age to shoot, to hunt, to clean and process game, to plant and reap, and basic first aid. They were also taught religion, respect and honor; but alas, that also is another discussion for another day.

Our militia should be run as our military is. Every member of our armed forces are taught basic soldiering skills; however, very few of them are front line combat troops. We have cooks, supply clerks, truck drivers, medics, mechanics and many other support troops. The correlation between our military and our citizen militias should be just that. The need is there for every American to learn a trade that is necessary for the protection of our nation. In time of great need, our country will call upon its citizens to help. We must be prepared to answer that call with action, not just a warm body.

As Americans, we are not only letting down our country, we are letting down our fellow citizens. We have become a dependent society that relies on our government and others for our very survival. Is it possible that millions, if not billions of dollars could be saved simply by learning a trade? How much money could be saved annually if we simply went to our neighbor to help fix a broken car part, and in turn, that neighbor helped till a garden? Could we save money by learning a few herbal medicines that could help treat illness instead of running to the ER on the public dime? How much could we help a neighbor if we just all pitched in?

There will always be a need for professional services such as doctors, lawyers, auto mechanics and the like, but the framers of our constitution knew something that we have forgotten. They knew that a society that was held together with the ties of mutual aid and friendship was “necessary to a free state.” Yes, a militia is a group of people who train periodically for military action, but that action does not totally mean shooting guns at enemies. That action means being a part of the machine that runs our military. It means being prepared for emergencies that arise at home, and it means having the necessary skills to be a productive member of society.

Take the time now to learn a skill. Learn how to shoot a gun. Train in first aid. Grow a garden. Help your neighbor learn what you have learned, and have them teach you what they know. Every person can make a difference. That, my friends, is the true militia we are directed to maintain.    

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