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I found the following to be quite thought provoking:

A Well-Regulated Militia:  Necessary to the Security of a Free State

President Bush has called our nation to war, and pledged to harness “Every resource at his command” to win a difficult and protracted battle against terrorism. But as he reshapes our military forces, rebuilds our intelligence services, expands flight security, tightens international financial controls, and provides the FBI enhanced legal tools, the President also might take a page from the British when they confronted a massive internal security crisis during World War II.

Facing the realities of potentially thousands of German agents roaming the British Isles, Axis troops that could storm the shores momentarily, and inadequate police and military forces within the U.K., England instituted the “Home Guard.” On May 14, 1940, the government called for 150,000 volunteers to train and arm themselves to repulse a German invasion. Within a month, 750,000 men volunteered.  By June over 1 million had enlisted.  Its members received weapons, and  the Guard’s mission was to delay an enemy invasion until regular troops could establish a defensive line.

As always, our Founding Fathers had it right:  “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…”   It is time to form a well regulated citizen militia to fight our terrorist foes.

This is a war that already has come home to our shores.     For the first time in almost 200 years, Americans face a foreign enemy that has brought the battle to us. And no matter the competence and readiness of our conventional military forces, it is simply not possible for them to form a line of defense to protect us at home. They can, and doubtless will, carry the battle to our enemies. But in this war, defense is every citizen’s job.

Every new war brings lessons that must be learned quickly and well.     One lesson from the Battle of September 11 is that citizen actions in defense of our nation do make a difference. Four planes were hijacked. Only three hit their target. One missed, thanks to the courage of ordinary citizens who gave their lives to defend their country.

Here are just some of the reasons immediately to launch a Citizen’s Militia:

1). Terrorists count on passivity in their victims, but a Citizen’s Militia changes the calculus of confrontation.    Every terrorist should know that in any crowd of Americans, a significant number of “ordinary citizens” will be both armed and trained to use their weapons responsibly and effectively.

2). Training matters. A “well-regulated Militia” doesn’t mean that everyone starts packing guns on airplanes.   It means that we recruit, enlist, and train citizens with the physical, emotional, and intellectual skills to form a first line of defense. Set any standard; place the bar as high as you like. Written tests; physical conditioning;  psychological profiles; security screening.   No matter how high the bar, there are sure to be millions who exceed it.   Require a month of “basic training.”  Two months.  Three.  Require a weekend every month for updates and security briefings. No uniforms, no military pay, perhaps a small expense stipend.   Millions will enlist, hundreds of thousands will make the grade.

3). A Citizens Militia need not be a monolith.   It can and should have specialty units, with advanced training for specialty assignments.    Sky Marshalls?    Surely a good idea.  But what, after all, distinguishes a paid Sky Marshall from an unpaid member of a “Sky Militia” unit who has received effectively the same training with the same techniques and weaponry?  We could have tens of thousands of well-regulated, well-trained “Sky Militia” in place.  This is the lesson of the fourth plane.

4). A “well-regulated Militia” directed by the new Homeland Security Office, and administered at the state level (similar to the National Guard) will maintain sustained awareness and commitment to the war against terrorism.  It will also provide a new, significant avenue for citizens of all ages to serve their country.

In the clear light of day, as the shroud of smoke that briefly cloaked the Statue of Liberty has dispersed, our greatest challenge is to preserve those liberties enshrined in our law while providing a new concept of internal security for our nation. A Citizen’s Militia grounded in defense of a society of law, of the sanctity of individual liberties, and operating within Constitutional guarantees, can be the best and most effective example of the practical imagination that has been the hallmark of the United States of America.

Will we remain the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave?”     We will, if we allow ourselves to be.

Karl Borden and Roger Davis are professors of financial economics and history at the University of Nebraska/Kearney, and are libertarian-Republican and liberal-Democrat, respectively. They can be contacted at [email protected] and [email protected] .  
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