Selective ‘History Lesson’ on Militias Ignores Inconvenient Truths

1200px-Minute_Man_Statue_Lexington_Massachusetts

Evidently, per LTC Robert Bateman, Esquire, and a seeming majority of its readers, Capt. John Parker should have been hanged for treason. (“The Lexington Minuteman” sculpted by Henry Hudson Kitson. Photo: Daderot/Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0)

LTC Robert Bateman presumes to lecture us on the militia and the Constitution, choosing Esquire Magazine as his forum so that, near as I can figure, we can also educate ourselves on the latest fashion tips for men, join in “progressive” attacks on conservatives, and catch up on all-important information about pop star Prince and his surprise concert tour. Bateman’s bottom line: The militia is what the government says it is, and if you join with others to defend against criminal acts of usurpation committed against you by those with government titles, you’re committing treason.

Bateman, some may recall, first came to the attention of many gun rights advocates with a 2013 Esquire piece declaring “It’s Time We Talk about Guns.” Understanding that piece helps us see what he’s up to in his latest screed.

He not only took SCOTUS and Justice Antonin Scalia to task for their Heller decision interpretation of the Second Amendment, but went on to propose citizen disarmament edicts that dispense with false assurances given by some in the gun ban camp that nobody wants to take our guns away.

Bateman does, big time, and makes no bones about it. In a way, he’s done us a service by giving a glimpse of the end game less candid incrementalists are sneaking toward.

That he attained his rank brings an assumed gravitas to his writings. When such a man speaks out, there is a natural presumption of authority. The problem is, his arguments don’t live up to that expectation, and rather quickly fall apart with just a superficial analysis, meaning his metrosexual Esquire hoplophobes are apt to swall… uh, there’s got to be a better way for me to phrase that.

Ah well, the people who watched him take his oath to the Constitution believed him, too. So get a load of what he’s selling now.

The Second Amendment only protects a well regulated militia, he argues. “As of 1903,” he maintains, “the ‘militia’ has been known as the National Guard.”

Actually, the resulting United States Code also recognized the “unorganized militia” to include “members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia,” but Bateman dismissed that, claiming, “Weapons are there for the ‘well regulated militia.’ Their use, therefore, must be in defense of the nation.”

There are two problems with Bateman’s assertions in addition to the obvious one that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about: First, as the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the United States Senate Ninety-Seventh Congress documented, “Congress has established the present National Guard under its own power to raise armies, expressly stating that it was not doing so under its power to organize and arm the militia.”

As for who is protected by the Second Amendment, it’s the people, just like the unmistakably clear wording says. Alexander Hamilton addressed “well regulated” in The Federalist No. 29, conceding “To oblige the great body of the yeomanry, and of the other classes of the citizens, to be under arms for the purpose of going through military exercises and evolutions, as often as might be necessary to acquire the degree of perfection which would entitle them to the character of a well-regulated militia, would be a real grievance to the people, and a serious public inconvenience and loss … Little more can reasonably be aimed at, with respect to the people at large, than to have them properly armed and equipped…”

Hamilton recognized that soldiering is a profession, and knew that people had farms to work, shops to tend, trades to ply. But the value of them being “properly armed and equipped” was nonetheless recognized, even if they weren’t “well regulated” as a body — what regulation they would be subjected to would come if and when mustered, but there was no precondition on arms ownership imposed on what they could possess outside of such duty.

As wrong as Bateman is on chastising SCOTUS for “flunk[ing] basic high school history,” that’s not where he has generated the most applause from his “progressive” fellow travelers and the most contempt from gun rights advocates. That comes when he tells us about laws he’d like to see enacted.

He wants to end the practice of police being able to auction seized weapons. He wants to do a nationwide “buyback.” He wants to nationalize arms manufacturers. He wants draconian and escalating ammunition taxes.

But wait, as late TV pitchman Billy Mays used to say, there’s more.

He wants to limit private gun ownership to “Smoothbore or Rifled muzzle-loading blackpowder muskets … Double-barrel breech-loading shotguns [and] Bolt-action rifles with a magazine capacity no greater than five rounds.”

“We will pry your gun from your cold, dead, fingers,” Bateman threatens. So much for the illusion of civilian control of the military, although it does drive home the fear the Founders had of a standing army.

“That is because I am willing to wait until you die, hopefully of natural causes,” he explains.

“Hopefully,” but not necessarily, Colonel? Will you also wait “hopefully” for my heirs?

“When you die your weapons must be turned into the local police department, which will then destroy them,” he dictates. “Weapons of historical significance will be de-milled, but may be preserved.”

While he doesn’t flesh out how all this will be enforced, he does offer some chilling clues.

“My entire adult life has been dedicated to the deliberate management of violence,” he explains. “There are no two ways around that fact. My job, at the end of the day, is about killing. I orchestrate violence.

“I am really good at my job,” he self-assesses.

Ah, that monopoly of violence the “progressives” are so intent on crushing the Republic under…

Still, since he started the conversation in this direction, it would be helpful if Oberstleutnant Bateman would provide some specifics.

What happens if some of us say “No”? What happens if some of us resist, and do it creatively? Give us some scenarios here, LTC Bateman. I mean, after all, you guys have jets and tanks and nukes and everything.

Flesh your jackbooted terror campaign of national conquest out for us. Tell us about that “really good” violence you will orchestrate, you ridiculous and contemptible totalitarian.

Jeez, Bob, some of us will not roll over for you and, I don’t know how else to say this, but we are everywhere. So your move.

As to his latest contention that Shays Rebellion “proves” citizen militias were never intended to be “allowed,” Bateman conveniently avoids the inconvenient truth of the militias at Lexington and Concord standing against the “government” of King George. And he says nothing about another Founding document which boldly proclaimed “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

The Opposite Day “progressive” collectivists don’t get to subvert and sabotage the work of the Founders and then call those attempting to protect and restore that heretofore unparalleled system for protecting unalienable rights through delegated powers “traitors.” Not on our watch.

Tags: Esquire, militia

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David Codrea

David Codrea blogs at The War on Guns: Notes from the Resistance (WarOnGuns.com), and is a field editor/columnist for GUNS Magazine. Named “Journalist of the Year” in 2011 by the Second Amendment Foundation for his groundbreaking work on the “Fast and Furious” ATF “gunwalking” scandal, he is a frequent event speaker and guest on national radio and television programs.