Le’ts attempt to synergize a few things.
Glenn Reynolds has a very interesting op-ed in USA Today asserting that many of the problems we face with government today are the direct result of letting the militia system that our Founders revered fall by the wayside. In so doing, we surrendered our power as citizens to the corrupting power of government:
If a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, then where is ours? Because if a well-regulated militia is necessary to the security of a free state, it follows that a state lacking such a militia is either insecure, or unfree, or possibly both.
In the time of the Framers, the militia was an armed body consisting of essentially the entire military-age male citizenry. Professional police not having been invented, the militia was the primary tool for enforcing the law in circumstances that went beyond the reach of the town constable, and it was also the primary source of defense against invasions and insurrection.
Calling out the militia thus meant calling out ordinary citizens, trained in military tactics (that’s the “well-regulated” part), bearing their own arms. The Framers — who had a deep and abiding fear of professional standing armies because of abuses by the British Crown — thought this safer. A professional standing army could turn on the people, placing its loyalty with its paymasters rather than with those it was supposed to protect. The militia, on the other hand, couldn’t betray the people because it was the people.
Even short of revolutions and coups, the militia had a different character in ordinary law enforcement than professionals possess. If called upon to enforce an unpopular law, or to enforce the law in an oppressive or unpopular way, the militia could drag its feet and fail to perform.
Professor Reynolds, it seems to me, is echoing Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, son of one of the Sons of Liberty involved in the Boston Tea Party, who warned of what may occur when the citizenry stopped taking their obligation to participate in the militia seriously.