Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Lest We Forget

I'm just finishing reading an excellent book on the events immediately leading up to the American Revolution, this one -

From the Boston Tea party to the aftermath of the events of the 19th of April, 1775 - a day which saw the battles of Lexington and Concord and the long agony of the British regulars as they retreated from Concord back to Boston.

Mr. Beck tells the story well and I am looking forward to starting his follow on volume, The War Before Independence: 1775-1776, which I purchased the same day as the one above. But today's post isn't a book review (you can chase the links for that and to get a peek at the contents of those books for yourself).

No, Juvat's post yesterday, well the first part anyway, got me to thinking. As I pondered, I was reminded of a television program I used to watch, the opening line of each episode was -
In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: The police, who investigate crime, and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders.
The police, in general, don't exist to protect us, not directly anyway. They exist to enforce the law, and to investigate and apprehend those who break the law. It is the law which protects a society and, by extension, the people who make up that society.

With that being said (and this is where the book depicted above ties in), on the 19th of April 1776, British forces consisting of the Light and Grenadier companies (picked men, the elite of each battalion) drawn from the regiments quartered in Boston, and a force of Royal Marines, were directed to proceed to Concord. They were to move quickly and quietly in order not to arouse the countryside. Their objective was to seize a store of cannon, powder, and shot believed to be stored in and around the town of Concord.

To translate that into modern terms, the British were not so concerned about the personal weaponry of the colonists, but with military grade equipment (the cannon with their associated carriages and limbers - the former had the cannon mounted upon them, the latter to carry the ammunition for the guns) and with a store of ammunition (powder and shot) for those cannons (and muskets) and in such a quantity that the Crown thought exceeded the day to day needs of the colonists. That is, the Crown viewed what the redcoats were to seize as military assets. Things not needed for hunting if you will.

In those days most of the able bodied men of the colonies participated in the militia. They would train perhaps once a month, where they would march and perform the manual of arms. Instruction and practice in discharging their weapons properly was also given. These were not full time troops by any stretch of the imagination. These militia companies may have been the ancestors of today's National Guard units but there is no real similarity between the two beyond the part time nature of their service.

Today's Guardsmen are trained, regulated, and equipped by the regular forces of the United States. The militia companies, while some had veterans of the French and Indian War enrolled, learned their trade from their fellow militiamen. Some militia units were good, none were as good as the regular forces of the British Crown.

Also bear in mind that these were the days before police forces existed. Yes, there were sheriffs and the like to enforce the edicts of the Crown, but not to protect the inhabitants of the colonies. They were there to protect the Crown's interests.

The militia served to protect the people. Originally they were embodied to protect the frontier against marauding natives. (Who were none too pleased to have the whites encroaching on their territories and interrupting their own internecine warfare of raid, abduction, counter-raid, and pillaging. These were not a peaceful people living in harmony with nature. As if humankind anywhere has ever been like that!)

Though the British Crown gained greatly from the French and Indian War (known as the Seven Years War in Europe), mainly by booting the French from Canada and gaining that vast region, not to mention what would be the Midwestern United States someday. (George Washington gained his initial fame and military experience from a disastrous British defeat near present day Pittsburgh.)

But wars, as anyone who pays attention to such things knows, is a very expensive business. Because of the recent war, the Crown was a bit short of cash. So new taxes were created, and though many were dropped due to colonial protests and finding ways to not pay the taxes, some remained on the books. Which pissed off a number of colonists. The sort of colonists who refused to take things lying down.

Now Parliament in far off Great Britain was rather teed off at these colonials. "What, don't want to help pay for the war which removed the threat of raiding Indians and Frenchmen? Those ingrates."

Tea got dumped into Boston harbor rather than let it come ashore where it would be sold, consumed, and (of course) taxed and the Crown was most annoyed.

The Crown was also a bit concerned with all of these militia companies running about, who themselves were concerned with the number of British regiments suddenly appearing in Boston. The former Royal governor had also been replaced with a military man. A general on active service no less. (Though in a bit of historical irony, that general, one Thomas Gage was married to a lady born and bred in the colonies and his political sympathies aligned more with the colonists than with Parliament.)

In order to keep the peace, someone thought it a capital idea to remove those military stores from the reach of all those undisciplined and unruly militiamen. So things began.

Fortunately for the future United States, the commander of the expedition to Concord, one Lieutenant Colonel Francis Smith, was a bit of an incompetent. His mode of operation was dither and prevaricate, a man of action he was not. The operation got off to a slow start and though General Gage had envisioned the regulars arriving at Concord at the crack of dawn, in reality they didn't get there until the afternoon. By that time everyone in the area knew what was going on and the only man perhaps surprised by what came to pass was the good LtCol Smith.

When the argument regarding the Second Amendment comes around, remember how it's worded, words are important...
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
As we're talking about the militia, we're talking military grade weaponry, not hunting rifles, shotguns, bows and arrows, etc. There is nothing a potential tyrant (or committee of tyrants) fears more than an armed populace. And I do mean a well-armed populace with some familiarity with weapons.

What then is this "militia" of which you speak Sarge? You mean the National Guard right?

Today, as defined by the Militia Act of 1903, the term "militia" is primarily used to describe two groups within the United States:
  • Organized militia – consisting of State militia forces; notably, the National Guard and Naval Militia.
  • Unorganized militia – composing the Reserve Militia: every able-bodied man of at least 17 and under 45 years of age, not a member of the National Guard or Naval Militia. (Source)
So who is the militia? Pretty much everybody between the ages of 17 and 45 who isn't already wearing a uniform. (I extend the courtesy of membership in the Reserve Militia to the fairer sex as well as men. I know some of the ladies are every bit as capable as men at pulling a trigger. And to leave them out would deprive them of a critical right, and responsibility, to defend this Nation.)

The Second Amendment is designed to arm the people so that they might fight invasion and/or resist tyranny. To augment the regulars if you will.

Not so they can go hunting.

And that's my...


  1. I dunno, the legendary 1909 VDB S penny, in that sort of condition, is worth a fair chunk of change.

    (Also that's the same coin, obverse and reverse, so you've simultaneously given us MORE and LESS than $.02 worth.)

    1. Hahaha!

      I'm glad you noticed that, I wish it had been intentional.

  2. And those living among us will use ANY MEANS necessary to disarm the American citizenry (including "for the children") to accomplish that goal,just adding my two cents worth. Agree 110% with you Sarge.

  3. On the recommendation of Ye Olde OAFS (I know that's redundant redundancy,but I like the alliteration) I started reading Mr.Beck's book yesterday. I do like his writing style and I learned more about the Boston Tea Party in the first few pages than I had know in a lifetime of reading. I do recommend Mr. Beck to those with an interest in history. (And, by the way, Paul Revere did NOT ride about shouting "the British are coming" because that would have made no sense. Everybody considered themselves to be British. So, once the regulars were out to seize the arms of the colonists the militia was protecting the people of the colony against the state.

    1. Same here on the Boston Tea Party and the Paul Revere thing (most likely his cry was "The regulars are out!")

      I'm going through the appendices of the book now, lots of good data and notes.

  4. I feel left out, being of a certain age.

    1. Yeah, too old for that whole "Unorganized Militia" thing, aren't we? However, age didn't stop Samuel Whittemore in 1775.

      My point SoCal, we're not "required" to be a part of the militia, but that doesn't mean we can't volunteer, should that prove necessary.

    2. Yeah, the 45 mark went by awhile ago, so for me, not so much runnin' and gunnin' as sneakin' and peakin'.

      Under original intent, the term “well regulated” means working properly and/or well trained. A “free state” is synonymous with “state of freedom”. So try this… A well trained militia being necessary for the security of a state of freedom, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.


    3. I know Sarge....I have the number but certainly do not feel the age.

    4. Since the commas separate the thoughts, wouldn't it be:
      A well regulated Militia shall not be infringed, being necessary to the security of a free State that shall not be infringed, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

      I've always wondered about the wording, and the "shall not be infringed" implied to me that all three were un-infringe-able. Odd reading, but still......

      As to law enforcement.... my old Texas Peace Officer dad used to rail about that term. Those that enforce the law are the ones that remand to prison, probation or take the fines. The po-po mainly keep the peace, and give you entrance to the legal system. His hackles were always up when he was referred to as law enforcement. Although, now, I think revenue officer is more apropos. (ehheh.... 25 cent Texas using a 5 dollar word...)

    5. Apparently the politicians, many judges at all levels, and many of the voting public cannot seem to get their minds around that "shall not be infringed" clause.

      The Bill of Rights describe those things the government has to keep their paws off of, they are unalienable rights. Not granted by man, but by God, and cannot be amended nor taken away.

  5. Thank you for the change in the masthead. Well done and well deserved.

    1. I just noticed them! WELL DONE, THAT MAN! BRAVO ZULU! If I could post pictures here, I fould fire a full broadside of HUZZAHCATs!

  6. Long before the latest shooting I started thinking about where the United States is in the cycle of its existence.

    If I look at our Revolutionary War as the first civil war of the colonies, and I look at the Civil War of 1861-1865 as the second American Civil War, I must then start thinking about the possibility of Civil War III.

    And I wonder where we are in the timeline leading up to what future historians may is the conflict that ended the United States.

    My extremely amateur theory is that there is a point in time when the Revolutionary War could have been avoided. And there is also a point in time where nothing was going to avoid the revolution. I think the same question could be asked of the Civil War.

    The question that makes me lose some amount of sleep is, what time is it?

    Great thought provoking post.

    1. Great comment John, much food for thought. I started a reply comment which was looking like it was going to be very long and perhaps not as well thought out as it should be. Frankly, about a third of the way in my head exploded with the possibilities and permutations of what was and what might be.

      Sounds like another post is needed, but I really need to think on it.

    2. Read somewhere recently on the Interwebs that a civil war starts when one side doesn't accept the results of an election. Twice in this century Democrats have thrown conniption fits when Republican candidates won the presidency. Think about that......

    3. And....As I recall, that last civil war started when the Democrats didn't like the Republican Victory in the Election. Some things never change. (Despite claims to the contrary)

    4. Juvat - Lincoln's election, straw, meet camel, camel, straw...

  7. We should be able to make it more difficult for assholes and those with crazy eyes to get their hands on guns without disturbing the rights of responsible citizens.

    Yes, i know that if someone really really wants to kill a bunch of people they can find a way, but many of these shitheads if they have any difficulty getting their hands on a gun will just give up and play dungeons and dragons instead.

    1. Those laws are already on the books. The problem is with government enforcing those rules. The school shooting in Florida would not have happened if the school district, the sheriff's department, and the FBI been doing their jobs. While the jug-eared shithead pulled the trigger, the politicians put the rifle in his hands.

      I think Suz said it best (among others) this is a mental health problem, not a gun problem. When we as a Nation decided to let the crazies walk the streets with the rest of society, that's when the problems started.

      In truth, there are no easy answers.

    2. Laws requiring the military report dishonorable discharges to the NICS system didn't stop the Air Force from not reporting DHs for a long time.

      No law ever set forth will stop a nutbag.

      Laws against murder are already there. People still murder each other with every imaginable object possible.

      There are laws against assault, threats (especially uttering terroristic threats (oh, like "I'm going to shoot up the school." (yup. That statement right there is a felony, both state and federal. So why wasn't the Florida nutbag prosecuted for it before the shooting, when he first uttered it to just about everyone? Why?)))

      If the school district, if the Sheriff's office, if the FBI, if any one of these agencies had acted appropriately just once, ONCE, then he would not have been able to buy a gun. Instead, he probably would have made bombs, or bought guns illegally (hey, Miami, illegal guns? Naaahhhhhh.) Or used knives, or poison gas, or set a bunch of fires.

      You can't legislate against stupidity, or mental illness. (Though it seems we hire the worst crazies to lord it over us in our legislative houses.)

    3. Well put Andrew. And accurate!

    4. I thought this was an especially disgusting thing. If true, Lynching should start immediately.

    5. It must be true, I have seen multiple sources indicating the same.

      Get a rope.

    6. Juvat, I read that when it first posted and I just about lost it. Endangering the populace for grant money. That is what it came down to. The idiocy and evil of the previous executive administration is beginning to look like the lodestone around the neck of this drowning nation.

      And, yeah, OldAFSarge. Get a rope. Get lots of rope. Lots and lots and lots of rope. Remember, everything the Broward School Board and the Broward County SO were done by elected officials or bureaucrats put in by elected officials. So the rot goes deep. Yes, the elected officials need to be strung up. So should the faceless bureaucrats who pushed this garbage and did all the paperwork and set the programs up (like mid-rank Nazis,'just doing my job and following orders' doesn't cut it. They knew the evil they were doing.) And... the political parties, especially the executive committees that found these people, shaped these people, backed these people. And then... the individual citizen in that county should look deep into it's own soul, to see the evil that lurks there.

      This whole thing should have, in a reasonable society, have had at least 1/2 of the democrats in that county either ask immediately for the resignation of all involved, or have them switch party affiliations pronto. But democrats, especially from the Debbie Wasserman-Shultz County, never take blame for their failures and their faults. I have seen 3 year olds with better moral values.

      People ask today how Germany descended into NAZI hell and death camps. This is how it happened. The death of a nation, of civility, of personal responsibility, of moral values, of civil rights, by the death of a thousand thousand cuts and regulations and memos and laws and, and, and.

      For shame on the citizens of Broward County. For shame on them. They have the blood on their hands. They have the 30 pieces of silver in their pockets. At least Judas had the decency to hang himself.

    7. Andrew I’d just changeone word in your last. I’d change idiocy to criminality. I no longer believe they were stupid.

    8. Juvat: I can only say the chickens are coming home to roost in Broward County. It could be very interesting to see what this fall's election produces there.

      I can not imagine being a mom of a kiddo in that school system, now hearing about this policy...if I had lost a child in this mess...I would be calling a lawyer so fast the phone would be hot. It will be interesting to see how many folks or entities will be sued for wrongful loss of life (is that a thing? if not, it should be) because of the policy of basically ignoring crimes, even minor crimes, committed by folks under age 18. And yet, everyone has heard a zillion times that smoking pot leads to worse crimes, why wouldn't minor crimes lead to more advanced? And I guess it did, if correct, I heard the shooter had assaulted his mom at least once...

      How do we, as a nation, kick the butts of all the agencies who dropped the ball on this? Especially when everyone else was doing the right thing and saying something since they were seeing something? How do we make the government enforce the laws they have made? Why didn't the FBI, when told about the person with name given, aspired to be a school shooter, not pull the purchase records of folks with that name who were under the age of 25 to see if any of them had recently bought a rifle and then go have a quiet chat with the folks who fit that criteria. Isn't that what detective work involves? I'm guessing it would have pushed the nutjob's crazy buttons and he probably would have wound up being detained then. Because the FBI can certainly do just that if they so choose.

    9. Oh, that left a mark... Ouch.

    10. And as to the change of idiocy to criminality, why do I get the sneaking suspicion that the cats are going to be roaring out of the bag around the midterms, with some really nasty stuff against the previous status-quo somewhere in 2020?

      I mean, it's like watching a poker game. Sucker the other players in with constant low level losses, just barely keeping even, while undercutting their support and getting under their skin, and then, bam, the big pot goes your way. Art of the Deal, maybe? God, I hope so.

      And if indeedy the Commander in Chief is letting the low-level forces ferret out all the bad stuff, then any impropriety from attacking a previous chief executive or candidate is not on his hands, and he escapes, Scot-free.

      Or, my dog's farts are making me hallucinate. Hope it's the former.

    11. First step is to completely rebuild the FBI, fire all of those appointed under the last regime. There has to be jail time for some of those bastards. As to Broward County, fire 'em all.

    12. Good start. Then investigate, bring 'em to trial, maximum sentence, no possibility of parole, general population in a maximum security prison. But that's just me, you know, being charitable.

  8. I'm so tired of the argument 'No one NEEDS an AR-15 to defend their home (or to hunt).' That's not why I need it. I need it because "The Second Amendment is designed to arm the people so that they might fight invasion and/or resist tyranny." It's when the government overstays their welcome that I need it. When the government gets too big for their britches.

    1. Yes, the same reason that you and I can, with just a little paperwork and some tax stamps, buy a fully functioning tank with working guns and ammo.

      To be able to fight invasion and/or resist tyranny.

      Man, wish I could get my hands on a Fletcher class destroyer...

    2. Tuna - which they approached in the last eight years.

    3. Andrew - here in Little Rhody we're not far from Battleship Cove, it would take some work (and money), but the Joey P is in pretty decent shape. (She's a Gearing but close enough?) Not sure how much it would cost to get Massachusetts back in battery, though probably less than a Zumwalt.

    4. Exactly Tuna.... it's called "The Bill of RIGHTS".... not the bill of Needs.... well, I'll try to shut up now and go for a walk, it's 41 out now, yowsa!

    5. Oh, to get the Joey P up and running, with a Letre d'Marque to go with it. Show those Iranian bum-boats a little American sumthin-sumthin.

      Hang out around the Korean peninsula and capture some illegal oil tanker transfers and such.

      Go mess with some Somalians, just for fun...

      Intercept 'refugee' ships in the Med.

      Boy, sounds good, doesn't it?

      All of this is allowable under our current Constitution.

    6. I really like the way you think Andrew.

    7. What is funny about a great number of people saying no-one needs an AR-15, or 10 guns, or lots of ammo, is that, if I looked in their house, I would ask who needs 50 pairs of shoes, or 20 dresses or 30 purses or 3 friggin drawers of makeup, 10 electric hair styling tools...

      As to guns, well, I have an AR-7. Does that make it only a little less than half as evil as an AR-15?

    8. I would love to own an AR-7, but I already own 3 .22lr rifles.

      The Big Badger Boat was transferred to NAUTICUS, with the requirement that she be kept in 90 day readiness condition, that is, she could be brought back on line in 90 days. i doubt if that could be done, as where would you find someone who knows how to run a oil fired steam plant nowadays? But she would be the best one to bring back to life.

    9. StheB, can you really have too many .22 rifles? They are all so... cute!

      As to steam-plant swabbies, well, I guess my privateer company will have to go a-raiding at the steam locomotive shops and do some impressing (for the duration, of course.) Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr (dammit, stuck key, hey, sounds positively piratical, I mean Privateerical. Yeah, privateerical.) Speak like a privateer....

    10. Scott.
      I don't think that finding former snipes to run an oil fired steam plant would be all that much of a problem. There are many like me that spend a fair amount of their Navy time in steam propulsion. (not shoveling coal!)
      And now (of course) the but.
      But going to see with a crew of geriatric sailors would be a problem is so many ways.
      Does sickbay have enough space to stock the high blood pressure medicine, let alone the other daily drugs that are keeping many of us out of the cemetery?
      Changing the vertical ladders of the engineering spaces to allow using those electric lift devices that you see on TV commercials is a huge design issue.
      And since life on a destroyer involves a lot of moving around, the sheer volume of "old man noises" will require hearing protection 24/7.
      I am fairly certain that I have only thought about the tip of the iceberg of problems!

      Slightly more seriously, I wouldn't be a snipe on a 600 pound boiler pressure ship that has been left sitting around in a museum status unless it had been reactivated by a competent shipyard.

      Maybe we could find some Pegasus class hydrofoil gunboats instead.

    11. Sounds like you guys have put some thought into this. ;)

    12. Except that "spend" was supposed to be "spent" and the egregious typing of "going to see" instead of "going to sea" make me vow to do a better proofreading job in the future.

    13. If it helps, my mind read it the way your mind thought it. Typing is, at best, a somewhat overrated skill. Particularly for those of us who are no good at it. 😉

  9. Ho hum, same old stuff; an outstanding post followed by equal or better comments. Lex is so proud.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

    1. Thanks Paul. 'Tis humbling to be compared to Lex.

    2. I agree, Lex would be most pleased. ( Note the lack of exclamaition poit, that is because that sentance was a simple declarative staement of fact, and so did not require and exclamation point )


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

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