Thursday, September 01, 2005

Disaster And The Armed Citizen

Now that the hurricane has passed through New Orleans, the residents have the aftermath to deal with. Of course there is clean up and rebuilding that will take quite a while to plan and carry out. But the immediate future is the main concern. People have been advised to stay away from their homes for at least a week. In fact, the Governor of Louisiana, Kathleen Blanco ordered the evacuation of New Orleans.
Predictably not everyone complied. "On New Orleans' Canal Street, the main thoroughfare in the central business district, looters sloshed through hip-deep water and ripped open the steel gates on the front of several clothing and jewelry stores. 'The looting is out of control. The French Quarter has been attacked,' said Jackie Clarkson, a New Orleans councilwoman. 'We're using exhausted, scarce police to control looting when they should be used for search and rescue.'"

Let's focus on that statement.

A councilwoman said that looting was out of control and she bemoans the fact that the police are being used to control it instead of search and rescue. That is what they should be doing. In a disaster of this magnitude, the police and national guard units should be patrolling the streets to prevent this type of lawlessness. Unfortunately some people believe they shouldn't. Now there are concerns about the people in the area, but many other groups are available to do the search and rescue. And in a city the size of New Orleans there should be some type of department to handle these situations. By all means use some of the units available, but leaving the city unprotected is foolishness. Evildoers don't stop doing evil just because of some disaster befalling the city. Indeed it's more likely that people will engage in criminal behavior if they believe the conditions would allow them to escape punishment for their actions.
What then is the responsibility of the armed citizen in times of emergency? This is a very important point for those who are concerned about the safety of their local area. What can you do where you live? What do the authorities want you to do? Are you allowed to take action to protect yourself and others? Do you even know what you're allowed to do? These points should be addressed by those who exercise their second amendment rights.
I reviewed my state's constitution and it says that "The militia of the State is composed of the...National Guard and, when called into active service by the Governor, the...National Guard Reserve and any volunteer organizations licensed by the Governor." It later states, "If a volunteer organization is formed and becomes licensed by the Governor, it shall consist of an organized body of able-bodied residents of the State between the ages of 17 and 64 years who are not serving in any force of the...National Guard and who are or who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States. (Added to NRS by 1967, 1292; A 1975, 798; 1999, 6 )"
Seems pretty clear to me that the constitution of my state follows the true meaning of militia. The governor can call up the militia at any time. All citizens so described are part of the militia. Therefore any group can apply to the governor to be recognized and allowed to serve the state in an armed capacity. In times of extreme emergency such as Katrina these are the people who should be protecting businesses from looting and the remaining citizens from criminal activity. They can also be used to help search for survivors and locating the injured and deceased.
I have contacted my governor, county commissioner and the mayor of my city and asked them these questions: "Would you call up the state militia (not including the National Guard units)to protect citizens from looters? Under what circumstances would you authorize private citizens to organize and arm themselves to patrol and secure disaster areas? Do you believe the state's gun owners are an integral part of state protection? Why or why not?
When I receive responses, I'll post them.
Now I'm challenging all the gun owners who read my blog or who have been told about this post. Find out what your state constitution says about the militia. Also contact the politicians in your locality and find out their stand on citizen self protection during times of extreme disaster. Then post their responses on your blogs. Let's see what different states think about armed citizen response to large scale disasters.


Bairuide said...

In Bangladesh floods and after the tsunami the police there did not have to put their first resources into shooting looters but into saving the citizens......

ScottG said...

So why the difference? What is it about the Bangladeshis and our own citizens? They are poorer than those who raped and looted in New Orleans. Perhaps their society isn't all about taking from others to repay some imagined slight. Our "heroes of the left" spend an imordinant amount of time doing just that. Those who think they are entitled to take what they want are always ready to take advantage in a crisis. That's what they've done. They cannot be allowed to tear apart society because of their hate. That's why we must put down their anti-social activities.

GUYK said...

Good write! I have linked it.