Sons of Liberty
August 25, 1994
Having received your recent fax on the " Proper Role of the Militia" I find that although I respect what you are doing, and attempt to disseminate your timely information to as many as possible, I cannot in good conscience promulgate what I believe to be incorrect information as contained in that fax. Although there are many arguments that may be let, I will suffice it to say that the gist of my primary concern is that if we wait for the "whole" community (or even a 51% majority) to agree on the need for action, none will EVER be taken. I would be happy to discuss this with you, an should you show me just cause for changing my mind, will happily recant my position.
Humbly, Your Friend,
I received this letter early this morning (via fax) and responded with the letter that follows. I hope that the opening of this issue will assist others in understanding concepts that have become foreign to us over the past two centuries.
Your point is taken. And, I understand your concern. Your comment is indicative of what, to me, appears to be the product of the conditioning that we have all been subjected to through most, if not all of our lives. My research, however, indicates that the position and role of the militia is more consistent with what has already been discussed in the Sons of Liberty releases. However, this may require clarification.
The Committees of Safety were, firstly, composed of those within the community that perceived the need to establish a " mind" for the community. By joining the Committee that had already acknowledged that the de facto government of the Crown was beyond it"s scope and was denying rights already considered fundamental and God given, and, in most colonies, protected by charter or constitution.
The next step in the process was the appointment of the officers. Sons of Liberty No"s 7 & 8 demonstrate how this was accomplished by Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. This was utilized because the specific wording has survived, but records indicate that this action was modeled after the practices of others, which had been applied up to ten years prior to this particular action.
The militia was never used as an agency for law enforcement. Their activities, beyond training, do not appear to have included battle until 1775 (Lexington and Concord), with the exception, of course, of battles with Indians which might have threatened the community. Their role was defense of community.
There are other concepts in American history that have, from time to time, been employed in the enforcement of law or right. They were, however, distanced from the militia. One historical entity was known as the posse comitatus and has been and still is the power of the county. It is supposed to take it"s direction from the chief executive (generally Sheriff) of the county. I cannot find record a of there being such abuse of the law in the early years, so I do not find record of the posse comitatus being employed in that role.
The other, of course, is the subject of the writings I have been doing lately. The Sons of Liberty were those who never expressed their connection, if any, with the militia. They did, however, take actions they felt necessary to maintain the safety of their community. Their actions were always explained by pamphlet, handbill and other means so there could be no doubt as to the justification of their actions. The actions of the Sons of Liberty would probably be criticized by many today, yet they would be applauded by others. I think that the fundamental element in the acceptability of their actions would lie in the fact that They leave no doubt as to the crime, not as perceived by them, rather as laid out in clear and concise terms in the literature they left at the scene and transmitted to media, government and others sources likely to disseminate the cause of their actions and, Were clearly not aligned with the militia, whose purpose is to protect the community not against violations of law, rather of assault in a more formidable manner, such as an invading army (these would also apply, as it did in Concord, in assistance to neighbors).
Back to the militia. If we were to function as some have suggested we will have failed in one aspect of military that has been recognized for hundreds of years as a necessity. The British officer at the Boston Massacre recognized that public opinion must be maintained to the highest level possible. Further, what is the militia if not an extension of the people? Should it be the extension of one person? Should it be the enforcer of the common law? Should it be the enforcer, without proper consideration and determination of a larger group of concerned people, of perceived wrongs? Or should they stand solely to protect the community from invasion rather than, perhaps, to be the cause of such invasion?
Protecting the community against invasion is the purpose of the militia. Protection against other acts of lesser impact is a duty of the posse comitatus under lawful authority. The question arises as to whether the Sheriff is the executive, since he has taken an oath of improper allegiance, is the lawful authority. The answer is that the Committee can determine, as a concerned body, whether the Sheriff has failed to act on certain aspects of his responsibilities. If that determination is made by the Committee and the Sheriff is not serving in his proper capacity, the Committee has no power, and by that virtue, nor does the militia, to act. They can only report their concerns to the community. This is where certain individuals, Sons of Liberty, would take the legal consequences of their actions upon themselves to render justice. Of course a proper jury would probably never convict them, nor can I find any reference to efforts of apprehension, except by the Crown.
The bottom line, however, is that the purpose of the militia is singular and specific. If we were to decide that militia (military) could be used for law enforcement, then we would acquiesce to the proposed and applied actions of government which have appalled us so much recently. We cannot replace what we believe in by violating those very concepts to achieve our goal. The militia should remain sacred for it"s purpose and subject to the (general) orders of the Committee.
It must be understood that when the time comes for any militia to act in it"s proper role, it has begun a condition that will continue until such time as the task is completed. This period may be just months, but more likely will continue for many years and leave many arts of this nation in near waste. The consequences of the action of the militia are WAR.
If you understand how difficult it is, sometimes, to limit some of these thoughts or lessons into a single page, or even two, you might understand that there may be omissions of information necessary to draw proper conclusions. Ross was satisfied, after the letter and a telephone conversation that what has been suggested is workable. If ever anyone has a similar concern, I would appreciate your doing as Ross has done. Write, call or fax me. [e-mail Gary Hunt]
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