Friday, April 16, 2010

Oklahoma considers reviving the state militia

Last December, I quoted Russell Longcore when discussing possible Texas independence:

Any state that seriously contemplates secession must reconstitute and rebuild its own Militia. This will be one of the most solemn indications of that State’s seriousness about its own liberty and the liberty of its citizens.

Now on Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that Oklahoma legislators and tea party activists are exploring the idea of reviving the state militia, the volunteer organization that used to defend states from invasion and served as a warning to the federal government against excessive encroachment on the rights of the people.

Thus far, the discussions have been exploratory. Even the proponents say they don't know how an armed force would be organized nor how a state-based militia could block federal mandates. Critics also asserted that the force could inflame extremism, and that the National Guard already provides for the state's military needs.

State militias clearly are constitutionally authorized, but have not been used in recent times, said Glenn Reynolds, a law professor at the University of Tennessee and an expert on the Second Amendment. "Whether someone should get a militia to go toe-to-toe with the federal government ... now, that strikes me as kind of silly," he said.

Some conservative legislators in Oklahoma say talk of a militia, which would be privately recruited, armed and trained, goes too far.

"If the intent is to create a militia for disaster relief, we have the National Guard," said Sen. Steve Russell, R-Oklahoma City, a retired Army lieutenant colonel. "Anything beyond that purpose should be viewed with great concern and caution."

Fair enough. But consider this: Oklahoma (probably subconsciously) may be preparing for independence. No state will be able to make good on secession unless it has a military to defend itself. Consider this also: Even if they are not considering secession, have a state-run militia is a good way to take the steam out of the "unorganized" outfits like the Hutaree militia in Michigan.

Can I imagine Ohio taking this step now? No. But then, I continue to be amazed at the speed with which Ohio has embraced ideas like nullification that used to be unthinkable. Next year, or the year after, who knows?

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