Well, my previous articles on the Second Amendment and how it could be used to implement a non-standing emergency response civilian force given temporary military equivalent powers for each State has gotten me thinking. And that means strange thoughts and ideas and general weirdness to ensue.
First up there appears to be some classes of military addressed by the Constitution:
1) Federal forces under direct Federal control,
2) States Militias (the current National Guard) under Federal control but with State supported oversight,
3) Foreign forces,
While (3) is allowable, I will assume that States would much rather look to their own Citizenry for protection than any Foreign forces, no matter how friendly.
There are 2 categories and deciders on looking at forces in the Constitution that fall within these bounds:
1) Standing - Which is subject to Federal call-up under the Constitutional provisions.
2) Organized/Disorganized - Which applies to active/retired Federal forces, but subject to call-up. And with the Army calling up a 70 year old doctor, one does get the feeling that this can be a lifelong commitment.
A third category is presented in its absence, and as Amendment IX and X guarantee the States and the People get everything not mentioned, the State, being the cognizant holder of lower level, non-national forces get this. These forces get specific mention by the Constitution in Article I:
No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay.So States may not keep Troops, save for those mentioned by Constitution for Standing and Dis/Organized. But the proviso is "unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of Delay."
That brings up the third category: Non-standing, organized.
Non-standing Troops is an oxymoron. They either are or they are not Troops. If they are subject to Federal call-up they are Standing. Non-standing is being known as a 'civilian'. Demobilized troops not subject to recall of any sort or any reason are: civilians. They may have training and such, but they are not subject to call up as a force. They are, indeed, NOT a military force, but an emergency reaction force given basic organization and cognizance by the State to protect the State's right to exist and self-rule.
So, this third category is: Organized Civilians.
I proposed that letting the States use this proviso for actually giving some organization to those Civilians who have the capabilities for lethal force by civilian training be given the mandate to serve as the first line of defense for the case listed for invasion or imminent Danger, such as catastrophes or natural disasters, but also other things defined BY THE STATE. The States would be empowered to do so as long as their requirements did not bar anyone from actually using or owning such arms, as given in Amendment II.
Each Citizen, as I have looked at in the Preamble to the Constitution actually has this responsibility laid upon them by the definition of the intent of the Citizenry in that document. By defining who the People of the United States are and what they are enjoined to do as Citizens, these obligations fall squarely upon Citizens. Note, however, that those under even the most indirect but still responsible for recall to the United States are specifically *not* in this category. Anyone who has served under the Federal Armed Forces *must* have written documentation from the Federal Government that they are under absolutely no obligation to the US Armed Forces in any way, shape or form.
Further, as such times as the Citizens would need to come together to exercise their responsibilities through their rights to bear arms, they would need organizing principles for who is best capable to manage a 'scratch' force of disparate capabilities on the fly. So while this force is not *standing*, capabilities must be recognized within it, and this is best done by the owners and users of each class of weapons as a group and then coming together as a whole to ensure that there is some regularity for such emergency organization. Yes, those Citizens that actually know the use of lethal arms are the ones to actually lay out the capability and recognition of such capabilities.
A system of belts/sashes/badges/insignia or some such that would not be a 'uniform' but would be a clearly identifiable marker would do for this and immediately make known lethal force cognizance, capabilities, and type. In an emergency the folks coming together would have to figure it out for themselves what best to do, under the full power and authority the State gives them. Citizens who know lethal force are given these things and in times of Danger or invasion or other such as defined by the State, are obligated to show such and put themselves out to keep society in their State whole.
The States are now faced with a new class of law: That of directly threatening the State's right to keep itself whole and intact, BUT not under Federal law, but as a State within the United States so that it may properly self-rule. The States, individually, have the right at the Federal level to ensure their integrity and working capability as a State when Federal or State normal directed forces CANNOT RESPOND. This is a class of law that is *above* mere civil law on the illegal use of force, but *below* the Federal recognition save when those using such are foreign nationals that are part of a foreign military structure (actual invasion). Thus, the entire code for the civil illegal use of deadly force would need be moved into this new category and penalties associated with it to fit this much higher class of crime.
Taking up arms illegally threatens the State's right to maintain order in times of emergency or invasion while waiting for more proper forces to arrive. The Amendment II right now is used fully to support the State's emergency right to *exist* as a State. And those most cognizant of the proper *use* of lethal force, are those Organized Civilians that the State has empowered for emergency use to repel invasions or generally, respond to Danger that regular forces cannot respond to adequately.
Beyond those laws that were once civil, but now fall under this category of a threat to the State, there is the case of Invasion and such things as Rebellion, along with disasters, civil disorder and anything the State puts in the 'Danger' to its right to exist via the use of force.
Invasion would actually be a remand to the Federal government, with evidence and such passed along. My first guess would be the FBI, however, this is NOT a civil problem. It is a problem of an invasion of a State of the United States. The organization that handles that is the US Armed Forces, so their jurisdiction would apply unless they demonstrated otherwise. Then the FBI and then the State.
Defining invasion would, of necessity, be of a Foreign or hostile force to the United States, under arms intruding upon the State. This would catch all Foreign Military not here at the invitation of the United States or the State itself via the State Department, and it would also take in all members and spokesmen and fundraisers for Terrorist organizations of all stripes as they do not respect civil nor military laws and are a threat to same.
Under the Rebellion concept would be armed, organized individuals seeking to overthrow or subvert the State or the United States via force of arms or civil conflict. If you don't go through the governmental systems to address your grievances, and seek to overthrow or change government or government policy by force of arms, then this category will contain you. The State may additionally set up minimal requirements to reach this, such as 5 individuals cooperating using the threat of lethal force to achieve unlawful means.
In cases of Danger, being natural disasters, catastrophe's or other similar unforeseen problems, this force would stand in to enforce the law via its strictures and uphold the lawful right of Citizens to keep the peace under State cognizance via lethal force and be answerable, by those strictures, to the State.
Finally, there are other things defined by the State. I would imagine that riots, wanton acts of looting and rapine, and such, all done under the threat of force would hit this category. Peaceful, civil protests need have no worry from this. Violence to assert one's opinion is taken off the board as it is a threat to the peace and the right of the State to exist lawfully and have integrity of rule within the State.
How the States would run this sort of thing I have suggested earlier, based on some form of Military Law, but adjusted accordingly to take in the State's concerns. And as the State would have this obligation fall equally upon ALL user's of lethal force of arms, there would be no discrimination in this against one class of weapons over another. Those that take up lethal arms do so knowing that they have increased their risk of death proportionately by doing so. Accidental death in the practice of lethal force is still death and an extra chance of same over a life without such risk. The State, by telling such Citizens who already know and weigh how and when to use lethal force to help in times of danger, are putting such skills, knowledge and ability to useful ends so as to protect the State's right to EXIST. Any attempt to endanger Amendment II, either by prohibition or power-grab is a direct and immediate threat to the State itself as well as its cognizant and armed Citizens. And the actual penal system of hard labor is one that does soothe my thoughts for those that take up arms illegally to threaten the welfare of the State and the LAWFUL practice of lethal force by Citizens.
I am quite sure that each State would also give a system of death benefits when those who die during such times have put their lives on the line for their society. Further, as with current jury duty, as these Civilians are the ones with the oversight on the use of lethal force, call-ups for special courts run via this system would also be necessary. And the State may want to help defray the costs of events which help in the showing of display of capability and acknowledge mastery of hard to gain and garner skills that the Citizen takes upon themselves to learn. There is honor to be shown for mastery and capability above and beyond that of your fellow Citizens.
I am not a lawyer, but this addresses basic separation of Powers and Citizen responsibilities, and any Citizen may think on such and see what they come up with. I have done so not knowing the law, but seeing that there is a space that has previously not been addressed and that is a viable space within the Constitution and Citizenship practices.
I abhor a vacuum, especially when cleaning as it kicks up dust. The US Code, beyond what it has for Federal Forces, may NOT address this as it is a State's Right to exist problem in cases of invasion or danger. While there may be Federal or State's forces responding, they may not be timely. And as was seen during Katrina, they may be present but not doing a DAMN THING to help. Further, after blackouts and riots, and other riots and lawlessness in which lethal force is threatened, the basic fabric of society is being worn away until you can see through it.
The Federal Emperor has no clothes. The States are being given little to look for their continued survival, especially as the Federal Government does not *wish* to address clear cases of invasion. And with Terrorism, there is no *way* that proper Federal Forces can be everywhere, and even State forces and local forces may have problems.
We are left with the Citizen. The Armed, Cognizant Citizen who is willing to understand the use of lethal force, do so LAWFULLY and ensure that the society that gives them that benefit will survive. The Right to Bear Arms is meaningless unless exercised to something other than personal ends. When rights only are exercised to personal ends, they become seen as something that has no social function and no social good. Such rights are finally LOST if not exercised in a positive manner. Ownership is necessary, but not sufficient to properly and fully demonstrate a right.
When you see: 'You can only take my gun from my cold, dead hands' Are these folks threatening, or providing a self-fulfilling prophecy?
By not putting their rights to good *use* for *everyone* as we are instructed to do in the Constitution and the responsibilities we are given in it, we are asking to have these rights lost, because they are not seen as of any value to society as a whole. By building upon such a right, society is made stronger, respect is given to the practitioners of lethal arms and we build something no other Nation CAN. And by building in this way you get MORE rights and responsibilities and honor. This *expands* the role of Citizens within society.
"To those that have great power, comes great responsibility." - Paraphrasing Spiderman.
[23 APR 2006 Update]
Dangerous, most dangerous to get me thinking on things like this...
Ok, Amendment II fully supported by the State for the Citizen's right to bear arms.
Article I authorization of the State to use forces outside of Federal control in cases of invasion or Danger, also fully supported.
By marriage of these two Rights by the State, with consent of the Citizenry you get a new Class of Crime by the use of lethal force outside of times acknowledged as lawful. Lawful times will be drafted with the help of the Armed Citizenry, but would include: hunting, self-defense, defense of family, defense of property, target practice, sports use, training. Basically everything you have today codified as absolutely ESSENTIAL for the State to survive by having an Armed Citizenry.
Now, I have blithely glossed over moving Civil armed and lethal force use crimes into a new category because of this. But what, exactly, IS that category? A bit of regularization on the part of the State would help, and, as the Armed Citizenry will be the ONLY ones to actually administer the Justice of this set of laws, my guess is that they will be far harsher than normal, civil crimes. Unlawful use of arms and lethal force threaten's the State's Constitutional right to administer itself during times of invasion and Danger. Any crime which is against *that* is a State level threat, against all of the People of the State.
So lets take a look at a few interesting bits:
1) Armed street crime - Standard unlawful practice of force during Non-State sanctioned and Armed Citizenry cognizant times. And if not registered and the individual involved has not received their placement in the structure set up by the State for the Armed Civilians to administer, then that is an *additional* crime against the Lawful Use of Arms by the Armed Citizens right to bear arms. On Federal terms this becomes a pretty high Federal crime, but on the State side I have no idea. Best left up to the State on this. I punt.
2) Armed street gangs and organized crime - Now here the coordinated effort concept comes into play. This is no longer mere criminal activity, but Terrorism practiced against the State. Of this there are a couple of classes depending upon infrastructure extent:
A) In-State only - Simple Terrorism within the State, punish appropriately.
B) Cross-State - This starts turning Federal, of course. But the State view would be that of any group of Citizens looking to impose their will and extract thing by force of arms. It is, pure and simple: Rebellion against the United States. That is how a State would look at cross-border, Inter-State organized crime that is still wholly within the United States. Suddenly this conception is no longer a laughing or joking matter, is it? What the Federal Government would try to pass off as a mere Federal Civil Crime, the State would look upon as insurrection against lawful rights of the State, itself, to keep control of itself. Yes, Amendment II added to this does EXACTLY THAT. The Citizen's Right to Bear Arms married up with the State Empowering Armed Civilians to keep the peace now sees Organized Crime as Rebellion against the lawful right of the State and its People to act as they will within the Confines and Strictures of the United States.
C) Internationally supported - And this becomes very, very interesting. For if the State sees normal US organized crime as Rebellion, if it is traced back to a foreign sponsor, things get very tricky. At the very least this is then Transnational Terrorism, by elevating up the simple street activity to International scope. Now, if a Foreign State is not actively trying to get rid of this organization, then it becomes tacit acceptance and safe-harbor of same. This is State level sponsorship of Terrorism by neglect. This becomes not a Federal Civil crime, with foreign roots, as Transnational Terrorism is currently viewed. This becomes proxy warfare. Also known as: Invasion. And if there is active State sponsorship, then this is true invasion and seeking to destabilize the United States.
Yes, by changing how a State within the United States views itself and its rights, it changes the entire scope of definitions for itself and the United States as a whole.
This is what happens when one looks to make the Nation *better*.