By Gregory Mattison (Paul Revere 2.0)
The American Revolutionary War, which began in 1775 and culminated in the United States gaining independence from British rule in 1783, was a pivotal moment in history. The conflict had profound implications for the American colonies and, indeed, the world. One of the most iconic and vital components of the American Revolution was the Minutemen, a group of volunteer citizen-soldiers who played a crucial role in the early stages of the war. In this article, I will explore the positive reasons for the establishment of the Minutemen (with the best rifle of the day, today it would be classified as an “assault rifle”), the protection they provided their neighbors, family, and country, and draw comparisons between their actions and the idea of arming oneself today for the protection of family and neighbors. I will also discuss the erosion of the Second Amendment and the potential dangers this poses for both individuals and the country. Finally, I will discuss the complex issue of how society should address mentally deranged individuals who buy or steal firearms, and whether the focus should be on them or on the law-abiding citizens.
The Minutemen were a response to the growing tensions and discontent in the American colonies in the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. By the mid-18th century, the relationship between the American colonies and Great Britain had deteriorated significantly. British policies, such as the Stamp Act and the Townshend Acts, had provoked widespread opposition and resistance from the colonists. The imposition of taxes without colonial representation in the British Parliament was a central point of the Colonists descension.
The Minutemen emerged because of these tensions. They were not a standing army but rather a militia of ordinary voluntary citizens who could be ready to defend their homes and communities at a moment's notice. The name "Minutemen" derived from their commitment to being ready to fight within a minute's notice. Their primary goal was to safeguard their rights, their neighbors, and their way of life. They embodied a spirit of self-reliance, civic duty, and a commitment to the principles of liberty, some characteristics that we are lacking today.
These citizen-soldiers were predominantly from rural areas and small towns, and they played a vital role in the early phases of the Revolutionary War. Their determination to protect their homes and families from tyranny and oppression was a driving force that propelled the American colonies towards independence.
The protection provided by the Minutemen was twofold. First, they acted as a deterrent to British forces. The knowledge that local communities had armed, organized militias made the British hesitant to take drastic actions. Second, the Minutemen were among the first to respond to threats. On April 19, 1775, the Battles of Lexington and Concord marked a significant turning point in the American Revolution. It was here that the Minutemen faced British troops in armed conflict. While they were not victorious in the traditional sense, this engagement symbolized the determination and courage of these citizen-soldiers. The Minutemen's actions and sacrifice became a rallying point for the American cause.
The concept of self-defense and community protection remains relevant today. While the circumstances and challenges may differ, the fundamental principle of individuals arming themselves to protect their family and neighbors is a shared trait between the Minutemen and those who choose to own firearms today. In a world where threats can come from various sources, including criminals or external aggressors, the desire to be self-reliant and capable of safeguarding one's loved ones is a powerful motivator. Most recently, the terrorist attack by Hamas in Israel has clearly demonstrated that an armed citizenry is vital to community protection, and even one’s own life!
The right to bear arms, enshrined in the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, plays a central role in this discussion. The Second Amendment, ratified in 1791, states, "A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." It reflects the historical context of the Revolutionary War and the importance of an armed citizenry as a safeguard against tyranny and overall protection.
However, in recent years, there has been significant debate and concern regarding the erosion of the Second Amendment. Advocates of gun control mistakenly argue that the proliferation of firearms poses a significant risk to public safety, contributing to high rates of gun violence and mass shootings, but these events have been perpetrated by criminals, not law-abiding citizens.
The United States has indeed faced numerous incidents of gun-related violence by criminals and the availability of firearms has been a source of contention, mistakenly. There is a distinct difference between legal possession of firearms and illegal possession. In response to these concerns, some states and municipalities have enacted stricter gun control measures, leading to varying degrees of regulation across the country, many of which have or will be struct down by Courts for violating the 2nd Amendment. The stricter gun laws statically have not provided increase community safety, quite the contrary, IE. Chicago, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and LA. (See National Institute of Justice Research Brief: https://www.ojp.gov/pdffiles1/173405.pdf.)
The erosion of the Second Amendment raises questions about the balance between individual rights and public safety. While the Minutemen were fighting to secure their freedom, the modern debate around gun control revolves around the trade-off between personal liberties and collective security. Natural Law provides a God-given right to protect your family and property. Stand-your-ground laws (The Castle Doctrine) are becoming more prevalent. (See the National Conference of State Legislatures: https://www.ncsl.org/civil-and-criminal-justice/self-defense-and-stand-your-ground)
One of the most complex aspects of the gun control debate involves addressing individuals who are mentally deranged or otherwise unfit to own firearms. The issue of mental illness and access to firearms is fraught with difficulties. On one hand, there is a legitimate concern about individuals with mental health issues acquiring firearms, as they may pose a threat to themselves and others. On the other hand, there is a risk of stigmatizing all individuals with mental health conditions, which can be unfair and counterproductive. Red flag laws can bypass Due Process Clause in the 14thAmendment. (See Cornell Law School: https://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/amendmentxiv)
Society faces a dilemma: how to prevent potentially dangerous individuals from accessing firearms without unjustly discriminating against those with mental health challenges. A comprehensive solution must involve a nuanced approach that identifies individuals who genuinely pose a risk while respecting the rights and dignity of those who can responsibly own firearms.
Targeting mentally deranged individuals exclusively is not enough. Criminal reform with longer sentences for using weapons (of any type) in the commission of a crime must have longer sentences. Increasing state mental health services must also be done.
In conclusion, the Minutemen of the American Revolutionary War serve as a powerful historical example of citizens coming together to protect their neighbors, family, and country. Their commitment to self-reliance and the defense of their rights played a pivotal role in the fight for independence. This spirit of civic duty and the desire to safeguard one's loved ones persists today, although the circumstances and challenges have evolved.
The erosion of the Second Amendment and the contemporary debate on gun control reflect the ongoing tension between individual rights and collective security. Our sense of self-reliance, civic duty, and personal responsibility need to be re-established. We are the first responder.
Addressing the issue of mentally deranged individuals who buy, or own guns requires a multifaceted strategy that includes mental health support, improved background checks, and sensible firearm restrictions for those who are mentally challenged.
Ultimately, the lessons of the Minutemen and the ongoing challenges in the realm of gun control demonstrate that the issues of self-defense, personal liberty, and community protection remain central to the American experience.
In the end, citizens who properly own and train with firearms add to our mutual protection and well-being. (See NewsNation: https://www.newsnationnow.com/us-news/midwest/how-often-does-a-good-guy-with-a-gun-end-an-attack/).
About the Author:
Gregory Mattison has been politically active for over 30 years. His political passion can be traced back to his 8th Grade Civics teacher, Mr. Martin. He had to memorize the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. His love for this Country and its unique creation under God has continued to grow. Gregory is married to High School Sweetheart, Jewel, for 39 years. He has two grown children and two beautiful Granddaughters. He has been active in the Convention of States, The Federalist 2.0, and the Patriot Academy’s Biblical Citizen. He has mentored numerous adults in sales / marketing as well as working with young children. He is a past Toastmaster and still speaks publicly. Currently, he is launching another business, Efficiency Partners. (www.efficiencypartnersllc.com)