March on Washington…With Guns (updated)
8:25 PM EDT on April 15, 2010
On Hardball with Chris Matthews (no relation) yesterday, an Oklahoman named Al Gerhart of the "Oklahoma Constitutional Alliance" spoke about the militias forming and already formed within our state's boundaries. Truthfully, I expected to think this guy was a complete nutcase, but for the most part he was pretty reasonable. For one, he actually had a great grasp of what the second amendment actually says, and seemed to truly embrace the "well regulated" adjective placed in front of the term militia.
Sure, I could argue with his statement about the "Founding Fathers" not envisioning a standing military, but only because it was an issue of debate, not something all the founders agreed upon, as he suggested. (For instance, John Adams fought hard for a permanent naval force while Thomas Jefferson fought to disband it after the Revolutionary War.) One point I hoped I could contend was his citation of "our law" that supposedly states that all men ages 17 to 70 are members of the state militia.
If that's true, I'm a deserter, and not just because it is news to me that I am a member of the military. At minimum, I'm AWOL at heart and I refuse to be even a conscientious objector. I will not handle a weapon and I will not assist others in killing people...especially if that cause is to take arms against my own country as gubernatorial candidate Randy Brogdon wants.
As we lead up to the fifteenth anniversary of Timothy McVeigh's militia inspired terrorist attack on the Murrah Building in downtown Oklahoma City, many residents in this state are gearing up to reform a state guard that was disbanded in the wake of the explosion. Brogdon, along with state representative Charles Key have voiced approval of plans by "Tea Party" protestors to create their own army to fight over encroachment by the Federal government...in other words, preparing for a modern day Civil War.
For his part, Brogdon has given lip service to backing down from this position. He claims that the Associated Press misquoted him and that he never used the word "militia." Of course, this is like a guy telling his wife he didn't call her "fat," he just told her she needed to lose weight. In explaining how he never intended to imply he wanted to take up arms against the federal government he said this:
I'm talking about protecting ourselves. As governor of this state, I will do everything in my constitutional power to keep congress within their constitutional authority.
In an interview televised live on News9, he went a step further saying he would use his constitutional authority to "hold congress at bay," and agreed that people were "probably right" when they associate Timothy McVeigh with the word militia. Perhaps that isn't a blatant statement that he would use military force to block things like, you know, requiring health care coverage, but it was certainly a thinly veiled threat. The more he talked about not wanting to give the impression he wanted troops, the more his language made me picture him leading a platoon toward the congressional building in Washington D.C.
The timing of Brogdon's interest in raising a militia for this state could not be more interesting. In that live interview on KWTV, he asked the state legislature to specifically help him in wrestling power back from the federal government so that it could wielded instead by this state's governor. And who does he think should be that governor with expanded power? If you guessed Randy Brogdon, you win a gold star.
How is Brogdon's current crusade any different from Pancho Villa raising forces to overthrow the Mexican government, or Napoleon escaping from the island of Elba with an army to take back power in France? The Tulsa World seems to recognize the self serving interest and has begun calling the gubernatorial candidate "Colonel Brogdon." Maybe (hopefully) I am being paranoid, but if this man even sniffs the governor's office, the sequel to the Civil War is going to begin here in Oklahoma.
As for my concern about whether I am a militiaman, I have some relief to know that the constitutional article that Senator Brogdon cited does not exist. He mentioned that Article XLIV (44, for those who are rusty with their Roman numerals) of the state consitition is where the power of the militia is held, and the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma contains only 29 articles. Whew!
(Edit. Damn, I am a member of the militia. Turns out it wasn't an article of the state constitution--as self proclaimed constitutional scholar Colonel Brogdon insisted--but there is a law that was correctly cited by Mr. Gerhart which reads:
§44"‘41. Composition of Militia "‘ Classes.
The Militia of the State of Oklahoma shall consist of all able"‘bodied citizens of the United States and all other able"‘bodied persons who shall be or shall have declared their intentions to become citizens of the United States, who shall be more than seventeen (17) years of age and not more than seventy (70) years of age, and said militia shall be divided into three (3) classes: The National Guard, the Oklahoma State Guard, and the Unorganized Militia.
 Laws 1951, p. 115, art. 3, § 1, eff. May 16, 1951; Laws 1957, p. 422, § 1, eff. May 24, 1957; Laws 1968, c. 299, § 1, emerg. eff. May 3, 1968; Laws 1981, c. 136, § 1; Laws 1985, c. 96, § 1, eff. Nov. 1, 1985.
Thanks to Representative Joe Dorman for assisting with this.)
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