Ever seen The Shootist?
There’s always some six-fingered bustard that couldn’t hit a cow in the tit with a tin cup.
Professionals don’t like amateurs, hobbyists or enthusiasts doing for free what they get paid for. A profession has to have entry credentials, some sort of officially recognized certificate of competency to practice, arcane jargon with which to baffle outsiders, and overweening certitude that nobody can do what they do as well as they do.
Yet it was the bar tender that finally killed The Shootist.
A recent post about the Alaska Territorial Guard in WWII got me to thinking about sub-national military and paramilitary capabilities. Sub-national as in echelons below fedgov.mil. The ATG had to be recruited because the Alaska National Guard had been mobilized for federal service and sent off to Washington State before the war started. That could happen again to your state. The Army National Guard and Air National Guard are Reserve Components of the federal armed forces, paid, equipped, and trained with federal taxpayer money, and if you have a Category 5 hurricane while the best part of your state’s National Guard is in Darfur delivering pizza, well, DoD regrets the inconvenience, I’m sure.
Every state lost their National Guard during both World Wars. The States tried to replace them with State Guard units recruited from men exempt from the draft. They were better than nothing. A little less than half the states still have State Guards or State Defense Forces. Most of those are not armed. My SDF forbids any weapons, especially personally owned firearms. When a buddy was trying to recruit me, he told me my main mission would be to prepare to assume responsibility for the armory of a GAARNG Mechanized Infantry Company in a town south of me. That Company went to Iraq, and the SDF held the fort while they were gone. Not high speed, low drag, but honorable service. Better than nothing.
Because of their proximity to the Nation’s Capitol, Maryland State Guard in 1942 had so many missions Governor O’Conor needed yet another force, The Maryland Minute Men.
To these men, many of whom will be veterans of the last war, who incidentally may have “chafed at the bit” when they have observed their sons and younger men marching away recently to the Country’s defense, let me say that here is an opportunity that will make them truly an important part of the public defense forces. Here is a function of military organizations to which they can address themselves with enthusiasm, because it will be of utmost importance and will thereby release a number of regular Army forces for combat service abroad.
How Obsolete Is The Unorganized Militia? (Scroll down when you hit that link.)
The concept is not obsolete, it’s execution at the state level has become problematic, because self-reliance and the people’s confidence in the competence of local yokels are not as common as they used to be. Only professionals will do, you see. The Guild can always find imperfection in the craftsmanship of the hobbyist.
Back before lawyers litigated common sense out of existence, whoever could, did. Amateurs, hobbyists and enthusiasts with useful skills were officially encouraged to lend a hand, and recognized for their contributions. Certification not required. Professional perfection not required. Good enough was acceptable back then. Not great but Better Than Nothing immediately available was generally accepted as an improvement over Highly Professional Special Response Teams two hours out. This elementary common sense is no longer generally accepted everywhere. The idea that it is better the local citizens do it tolerably, now, than waiting for the Feds or the State to do it perfectly, later, is more credible in Red States, and Red Counties of Blue States, than it is in the rest of the country. It’s part of the rural vs. urban, renter vs. owner Culture War.
UPDATE: Saturday, 07 March 2009 The Militia: In History and Today