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A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by Mystic1 on Yesterday at 01:25 AM »

Monday July 18, 2016:

Charles Kinsey of North Miami has become the rare living proof that black men can do everything right when it comes to encounters with police, and still end up hospitalized — or worse.

If there was any doubt, after a Minnesota police officer killed Philando Castile, that black men complying with orders from police can still end up at the wrong end of a service weapon, the latest video of an officer-involved shooting should put that to rest.

Charles Kinsey is a behavioral therapist who works at a group home in North Miami, Fla., where he also serves as a caretaker for a 23-year-old man who is autistic. In cell phone video taken Monday evening, Kinsey can be seen lying on the ground, hands raised, informing police officers — who were responding to a 911 call about a possibly armed suicidal man — that his client is carrying only a toy truck, identifying himself as the man’s caretaker, and explaining that his client has autism.

“All he has is a toy truck,” Kinsey can be heard shouting in the video. “A toy truck. I am a behavior therapist at a group home.” He asks his client to lie on the ground as well, though the man can be seen sitting on the ground, rocking back and forth.

Despite Kinsey’s calm, clear compliance, an officer reportedly fired three shots, striking Kinsey in the leg. He told Miami TV station WSVN that after the officer shot him, several others rushed to Kinsey — and put him in handcuffs.

“They flipped me over and I’m face down in the ground with cuffs on, waiting on a rescue squad to come,” Kinsey told WSVN from his hospital bed Thursday. ”I’d say about 20 minutes it took the rescue squad to get there, and I was bleeding, yes, bleeding.”

His autistic client, who is non-verbal, was also handcuffed and reportedly held in a police car for three hours. He has since been hospitalized.

“I was really worried, more worried about him than myself,” Kinsey told the station. “I’m looking at, as long as I got my hands up, they’re not gonna shoot me. This is what I’m thinking. They’re not gonna shoot me. Wow, was I wrong.”

In a press conference Thursday, North Miami police chief Gary Eugene told reporters that the officers involved — who have not been publicly identified — were responding to a 911 call and witness statements that indicated a suicidal man was pointing a gun at his own head.

"Our officers responded to the scene with that threat in mind,” said Eugene. “We had witness statements that there was a gun. We had a 911 call with that same information. However, I want to make it clear, there was no gun recovered."

Eugene confirmed that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement is investigating the shooting, which he said is an effort to assure “our commitment to transparency and objectivity in a very sensitive matter.” The Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office is reportedly also investigating the incident.

Although the police department has not released the name of the officer who fired on Kinsey, it did release a fact sheet through its Twitter account today, noting that “the Officer involved in the shooting is a 30-year-old Hispanic Male and has been with North Miami Police Department for 4 years.” That officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice in officer-involved shootings.

A spokesperson with the Miami-Dade police union said Thursday that the officers acted reasonably, responding to what they presumed to be a threat to Kinsey’s life. He also acknowledged that Kinsey had done everything right in an effort to de-escalate the situation, according to WSVN.

 “The movement of the white individual looked like he was getting ready to discharge a firearm into Mr. Kinsey,” said John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade County Police Benevolent Association. “And the officer discharged, trying to strike and stop the white male, and unfortunately, he missed.”

A pair of cell phone videos depicting the moments before and after the shooting were released Wednesday by Kinsey’s attorney, who said the official narrative presented by North Miami police does not explain why anyone fired a weapon at all.
And CNN reports that moments after he was shot, Kinsey asked the officer why he shot him.

“Sir, why did you shoot me?” Kinsey recalled asking the officer. “He said to me, ‘I don’t know.’”

In other words: The officer was aiming at the AUTISTIC man, MISSED THREE TIMES and ACCIDENTALLY struck Mr. Kinsey. (All I can say to that is: THANK GOD for the lack of marksmanship training in the Miami Police Academy.) Who is clearly compliant. Lying on the pavement, hands in the air, calmly explaining the situation to responding officers. And the only response from the shooter is I DON'T KNOW?

Pardon my language, I’m sorry, but it needs to be said: WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK!?! Well. that makes two of us; Missouri (Brown), New York (Garner), Ohio (Rice), Louisiana (Sterling) Minnesota (Castile) Mass shootings in retaliation against the police in Texas and Louisiana and this week another police shooting in Miami, Florida. And that's just the ones I can recall. And these are just the ones that make national headlines and get Network coverage. In all honesty, I don't know anymore either.

The latest report of police officers shooting an unarmed black man revives a narrative that first emerged in the wake of Brown’s 2014 death, where protesters chanted “Hands up, don’t shoot.” While there has been some debate over the veracity of witness accounts claiming that the 18-year-old Brown had his hands up when then-Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson shot him a dozen times, cell phone video from North Miami clearly shows that Kinsey was lying on the ground with his hands raised when the officer fired several shots.

Similarly, Philando Castile informed the officer who pulled him over during a “routine” traffic stop that he was licensed to carry a firearm and had it in his car, but that he was going to retrieve his driver’s license as the officer requested. That’s when the officer fired multiple shots into Castile’s arm, as his girlfriend and her young daughter watched the man they loved bleed to death.

And all that the Miami police can offer are ‘condolences and assurances of transparency.’ Really? All the love and support, condolences and assurances do nothing to compensate for the indignity, the suffering and the lack of Humanity.

If that critique of hollow-sounding “thoughts and prayers” seems familiar, it should. Aside from being the go-to milquetoast response for politicians responding to a never-ending stream of mass shootings and police involved "incidents", the phrase feels particularly callous given the continued disregard for the pervasive abject institutional racism in this country and the indifference shown toward a pursuit of justice in these cases.
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by A-FRIEND on July 19, 2016, 07:29 PM »
Well that was a powerful read G. Thank you for the time it must have taken to put that together.

I read them all and I saw a couple of holes in the argument that slave patrols and militias were not the same.
Especially the part were it was said the militias participated in slave patrols and at certain times and areas did the work of the slave patrols, while at the same time trying to make separation between the two.

That's typical apologists double speak. It's like trying to convince a person that if you flip a two headed coin, the head that lands on top is not the same thing as the head that's on the bottom.
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by Mystic1 on July 15, 2016, 04:15 PM »
The Second Amendment Was Not Ratified to Preserve Slavery

Anthony Gregory

An article at Truth Out by Thom Hartmann argues that the Second Amendment was ratified to preserve slavery, particularly to empower the state militia that used arms to enforce the institution through slave patrols. I wrote to Jeffrey Rogers Hummel, an historian who has written at some length about the history of American militia and whose working paper Deadweight Loss and the American Civil War: The Political Economy of Slavery, Secession, and Emancipation extensively discusses slave patrols as a key method by which slaveowners socialized the costs of slavery’s enforcement.

Hummel’s response to the Second Amendment slavery theory? Don’t buy it. Hartmann’s argument is overstated “to put it mildly.” In particular, the argument suffers from “presentism, back-dated from the Civil War, where everything that happened prior in U.S. history was driven by slavery.”

Hummel takes issue with some of the basic historical background in the Hartman piece, particularly “with the claim about ‘hundreds of substantial slave uprisings’ prior to the Constitution’s adoption. This would astonish most serious colonial historians.” Hummel explains the confusion:

    Hartmann lifts this claim from the Carl T. Bogus article he cites, which in turn relies on Herbert Aptheker’s 1949 book, generally considered exaggerated even at the time it was published, before much additional research on slave revolts had made historians curious about their relative infrequency when compared with other slave societies in the New World. Nor were the few serious slave revolts during the colonial period confined to the South, with two in New York City (1712 and 1741).

Indeed, contrary to the reductionists, maintaining slavery was not the primary motivation lurking behind everyone’s actions at the Constitutional Convention.

    The fact of the matter is that the Slave Power had not fully coalesced into a cohesive, dominant special interest by the time of the Constitution’s adoption. Opponents of the Constitution did of course sometimes use proslavery arguments, but this was hardly their primary concern, whether with respect to the Constitution generally or its militia clause specifically. And the change of the proposed Second Amendment’s wording from “free country” to “free State” is making a mountain of molehill. Hartmann doesn’t even get the story right, because as Bogus correctly reports, the change was made by the House committee, not by Madison.

    (The House committee reviewing Madison’s proposed Bill of Rights had 11 members, one from each state. Madison was the representative from Virginia. There is no record of the committee’s deliberations. But since Madison had opposed creating the committee in the first place, preferring that the House consider the amendments directly, and since many of the members of the committee were initially opposed to a Bill of Rights, it is highly doubtful that Madison was responsible for the changed wording in ANY of the amendments as they were reported by the committee.)

The “more fundamental issue” here is the debate over the right to bear arms as an individual right, or a collective right. Hummel continues:

    Bogus (Hartmann’s main source) is one of the prominent lawyers defending the collective-right theory of the Second Amendment. Constitutional lawyers generally write poor history, filled with special pleading (Leonard Levy being a notable exception), and especially when they write about the Second Amendment. Their biggest problem is that they know almost no genuine military history, and so their discussions of the militia are riddled with anachronistic errors.

    At the time of the Constitution’s adoption every state had a compulsory militia for most able-bodied males, which performed military and police functions not just in the South but in the North as well. The voluntarization of the militia did not occur in the northern states until the Jacksonian era, with Delaware, actually a slave state, being the first in 1831. Moreover, while the Constitution authorized nationalization of the militia, this was a contentious political issue, and all serious attempts to implement it with legislation were defeated in Congress until the Spanish-American War inspired passage of the Dick Act of 1902. Thus, Bogus’s claim that the Constitution embodied an immutable definition of the militia is utter rubbish.

Hummel sent me an article by Roger I. Roots, “The Approaching Death of the Collective Right Theory of the Second Amendment,” in the Fall 2000 edition of the Duquesne Law Review (available here as a pdf). Roots specifically criticizes Bogus’s thesis that the Second Amendment was a stealth slavery provision (footnotes removed in quotation):

    [A]ccording to Bogus, the. . . Second Amendment was an avenue for Southerners and Anti-Federalists, who had lost out in the overall design of the Constitution, to assert a buffer provision against the military power of the federal government. Unfortunately for this line of reasoning, a secret or “hidden” history is neither binding nor helpful in interpreting a constitutional provision. Nor is it nearly as clear, as Bogus suggests, that slavery supporters cowed at stating their support openly during the ratification debates. The Constitution does, after all, contain slavery provisions that were expressed (and thus “unhidden”) in the text—albeit in stifled wording. While these slavery provisions may contain “inscrutable language that the people could not readily understand,” they nonetheless were understood by people of the Founders’ era as slavery provisions. Bogus’s own writings yield scant primary evidence (which would be needed to take his argument on its face) of either any similar understanding regarding the Second Amendment or any secret correspondence among slavery supporters evidencing the notion that the Second Amendment was intended to enable slave states to obstruct the federal government should abolitionists ever gain control of it.

Roots also argues that the whole collective rights theory of the Second Amendment requires that we ignore a huge wealth of documentary evidence about what contemporaries thought the Amendment protected.

    In order to operate to the exclusion of an individual right, the collective right doctrine seemingly requires the utter absence of documentary evidence that the Founders considered the Amendment as a protection of the right of individuals. Yet rarely is a collective right scholar brazen enough to assert that such evidence is nonexistent. The collective right argument instead depends upon the suppression, or at least the avoidance, of ratification era statements that described the right to keep and bear arms as a fundamental individual right. Increasingly dogged research has shown that the historical record is relatively rich with statements by both the primary Founders (those who served as delegates to the ratifying conventions) and the secondary Founders (those who contributed ideas, editorials, or writings about the Constitution in public forums) expressing the viewpoint that keeping arms was a fundamental individual right and that the Second Amendment was designed to protect that right.

Much of this evidence can be found in Stephen Halbrook’s The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms, the first book-length, extended rebuttal of the collective rights theory.
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by Mystic1 on July 15, 2016, 04:10 PM »
2nd Amendment Passed to Protect Slavery? No!

(The Root) — Recently Thom Hartmann published an essay on Truthout titled “The Second Amendment Was Ratified to Preserve Slavery.” Hartmann, who is described on the Internet as a radio host, author, former psychotherapist and entrepreneur and a progressive political commentator, said the amendment to the U.S. Constitution was intended, in part, to protect slave-patrol militias.

If Hartmann’s political goal is to argue for reasonable firearms regulations, then he and I are in the same camp. I have long argued that the Second Amendment does not protect an individual’s right to own firearms, and that the purpose of the amendment was purely to guarantee that the states could maintain their own militias. I have also written a great deal on how the Constitution protected slavery (see my book Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson), and I am not shy about pointing out how the founders protected slavery. Indeed, my most recent public comment on slavery and the founding was an op-ed in the New York Times on Jefferson and slavery titled “The Monster of Monticello.”

Still, however committed one may be to a political outcome, it serves no purpose to make historical arguments that are demonstrably wrong, misleading and inconsistent with what happened. Hartmann does not serve his cause well by purporting to write history when his version of history is mostly wrong, and very misleading.

Hartmann begins by arguing that “the real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says ‘State’ instead of ‘Country’ ” was that the framers wanted “to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote.”

Hartmann implies that the Second Amendment was adopted (or at least written) to get Virginia’s “vote” for ratification of the Constitution, which took place in July 1788. But this is not even remotely true. In 1788 the Second Amendment was not yet written and was not part of the debate over ratification of the Constitution.

As everyone familiar with the ratification of the Constitution knows, Virginia’s ratification convention narrowly voted to support the Constitution because of the hard work of James Madison, John Marshall and Gov. Edmund Randolph. George Washington, who had attended the Constitutional Convention but was not at the ratifying convention, lent his great prestige in support of the Constitution. His nephew Bushrod Washington was a delegate and voted to ratify.

Virginia’s ratification took place after New Hampshire had ratified — giving the Constitution the necessary nine states to go into effect. Virginia was the 10th state to ratify. But this had nothing to do with the Second Amendment, which had neither been proposed nor written at this time.

It is possible that Hartmann believes that Virginia only ratified the Constitution because of a promise of future amendments. But this is not the case. The opponents of the Constitution — led by Patrick Henry — wanted Virginia to give a conditional ratification that would require future amendments. But Henry lost on this issue. The Virginia convention ratified the Constitution over the strenuous objections — and absence of votes — of Henry, George Mason and their ilk. Only after the Virginia convention had ratified the Constitution did the victorious federalists — led by Madison — allow the anti-federalists to offer 40 proposed amendments, one of which allowed the states to arm their own militias.

But these proposed amendments were not a quid pro quo for ratification, since none of those advocating amendments, like Henry, voted for ratification. Thus, there is no evidence — no historical record — for Hartmann’s key proposition that the Second Amendment (which was not written until 1789) was somehow a prerequisite for the ratification of the Constitution in 1788.

Perhaps Hartmann thinks that the Second Amendment was necessary for Virginia to ratify the Bill of Rights. But this is also completely wrong. In 1789 Rep. Madison proposed a series of amendments that included what is now the Second Amendment. Congress endorsed 12 amendments, and 10 were ratified as the Bill of Rights. So, maybe Hartmann thinks that Virginia would not have ratified the other nine amendments if it had not been for the Second Amendment. But, each amendment was ratified separately. Thus, if this is Hartmann’s theory, Virginia should have only ratified the Second Amendment. But that did not happen.

Hartmann’s “history” gets even more confused when he argues that the purpose of the Second Amendment was to protect slave patrols (which he confuses with the militia) and that James Madison, Patrick Henry and George Mason all teamed up to do this. He argues that Madison changed the text of the Second Amendment to please Mason and Henry. This is almost amusing. Both Henry and Mason were Madison’s political enemies, and neither was in Congress when Madison drafted the Bill of Rights. In fact the wording changes took place in the House and Senate. Nor did Mason and Henry have much to do with writing the Second Amendment since they were not in Congress. When the Second Amendment was proposed, Henry opposed it (along with the rest of the Bill of Rights).

The idea of Madison, Henry and Mason teaming up in 1787 or in 1789 (when Madison wrote the Second Amendment) would make an entertaining Saturday Night Live skit. Madison and Henry could not stand each other. They were political opponents throughout this period. After 1787 Mason joined Henry in opposing the Constitution (which Madison worked so hard to create), and both Henry and Mason opposed the Bill of Rights. Indeed Virginia was the last state to ratify the Bill of Rights (in 1791) because of Henry’s opposition to the Bill of Rights. Henry wanted to scuttle the whole Constitution and not make it better. So he opposed all the amendments.

Thus, Hartmann’s “conspiracy” falls flat because a conspiracy would require that the people allegedly involved talked to each other.

This is not to say that slave patrols were not important to the South and slavery. They surely were. But the Second Amendment was directed solely at the federal government, which was prohibited from disarming state militias, and thus allowed the states to arm their militias if the federal government did not do so. Even if the amendment did not exist and the national government had abolished the state militias, the states would have been free to create their own slave patrols, just as they can create police departments and other law-enforcement agencies.

Thus, the Second Amendment does not and was never intended to affect local law enforcement at all. It only prohibits the national government from disarming the state militias. The amendment had nothing to do with state police powers, which were the basis of slave patrols, and there was no federal interference with state criminal justice or policing until the 20th century. No one in 1789 would have imagined the national government interfering with state policing powers. However, the framers did imagine that the national government might help recover fugitive slaves, and Congress passed two laws, in 1793 and 1850, to do just that. But these laws supplemented powers of the states to hunt fugitive slaves.

The slave patrols were emphatically not the militia. The militias had just fought in the Revolution. The states wanted to preserve their militias in case they had to defend themselves against a foreign power or against some president who became a tyrant. Thus the Second Amendment promised that the states could keep their well-regulated militias. (See a discussion of this in my article “A Well Regulated Militia.”) Sometimes the militia acted as a slave patrol; sometimes militia service might include slave-patrol duty, but they were emphatically not the same thing.

Hartmann claims that “By the time the Constitution was ratified, hundreds of substantial slave uprisings had occurred across the South.” Does he have any evidence for this claim? Such evidence would revolutionize our understanding of Colonial and early national history. But there is no evidence for such a claim, because these “substantial slave uprisings” never took place. There were some small instances of slave violence in the Colonial period, although escape was the most common form of slave resistance. There was only one true “slave uprising” in the South, the Stono Rebellion in South Carolina, which took place in September of 1739, a half century before the Constitution was ratified. There were not “hundreds” of such rebellions, only very few, and only Stono was “substantial.” On this issue Hartmann is simply wrong.

Hartmann’s statement that Patrick Henry “opposed slavery on principle” is almost amusing! In fact, in opposing ratification, Henry argued that the Constitution threatened slavery. Henry owned slaves throughout his adult life, and did not free them either during his life (like some Southern patriots) or even at his death (like Washington). He made numerous speeches defending slavery at the Virginia ratifying convention and argued against ratification on the grounds that the national government would someday free the slaves of Virginia.

Hartmann argues that the “main concern” of those who wrote the Second Amendment “was that Article 1, Section 8 of the newly-proposed Constitution, which gave the federal government the power to raise and supervise a militia, could also allow that federal militia to subsume their state militias and change them from slavery-enforcing institutions into something that could even, one day, free the slaves.” There is not a shred of evidence that anyone thought this. Moreover, it is hard to imagine under Article I how that would work.

If anything, Northern anti-federalists opposed the Constitution because it would force Northerners to march south and suppress slave rebellions. The use of state militias (although not Northern ones) to suppress Nat Turner’s rebellion in 1831, and the use of the U.S. military to suppress John Brown’s raid in 1859, illustrates this issue.

Hartmann asserts that in the “lead-up” to the Revolution Lord Dunmore issued a proclamation freeing slaves in Virginia. In fact, Dunmore issued his proclamation after the Revolution began and fighting had broken out, not in the “run-up” to it. In writing about history, it is important to get the chronology straight. Since British policy supported slavery and British policy was designed (however poorly) to keep the colonists in the Empire, it is hard to imagine why Hartmann would believe that before the Revolution the Royal Governor of Virginia would start freeing slaves.

The Constitution (as opposed to the Bill of Rights) protected slavery in many ways, through the Three-Fifths Clause, the Slave Trade Clause, the Domestic Insurrection Clause, the Fugitive Slave Clause and the amendment provisions. The Fifth Amendment protected slave property, as Chief Justice Taney says in Dred Scott (1857), but most of the rest of the Bill of Rights is not about slavery in any important ways.

Although Hartmann does not discuss this, race plays a big factor in why the Second Amendment was not designed to create an individual right to own guns. No one in 1789 would have imagined that the amendment prohibited the national government from disarming free blacks in the territories or the District of Columbia. The amendment merely prevented the national government from destroying the state militias. But, since the amendment did not apply to the states, they were all free to regulate firearms ownership, as they did. The U.S. Supreme Court has misunderstood this, but that only shows that Justices Scalia and Thomas are not really interested in original intent.

Finally, it is worth noting that the Bill of Rights was hardly the creation of Virginia or the slave-owning South. People in a number of states feared that the national government would abolish the state militias. Madison thought these fears were nonsense, since the national defense at that time rested on a “well-regulated militia.” Thus he answered their concerns with the Second Amendment. He drafted an amendment to protect the right of the states to maintain their militias. Some other anti-federalists wanted a federal guarantee of a right to own weapons for hunting and self-defense and even a federal right to go fishing. Madison wisely ignored these demands and emphatically did not offer an individual right to own weapons.

The Second Amendment and the military clauses in Article I allowed the state to train their militias. This turned out to be important, because in the 1850s Massachusetts, Ohio and a few other Northern states increased appropriations for their militias and beefed up their training. In 1861 the Massachusetts militia would be the first to reach Washington, D.C., to protect the national capitol and help preserve the Union. Later in the Civil War, the Bay State would organize the 54th Massachusetts Regiment — the “Glory Brigade” — made up of free blacks and fugitive slaves from all over the North.

I am sure I agree with Hartmann about many aspects of public policy and the need for significant and reasonable firearms regulation. I suspect he might agree with my writings on the pro-slavery aspects of the Constitution. But, sadly, good public policy will not be helped by constructing a factually incorrect and misleading history of the Second Amendment that does not exist, writing about slave rebellions that never happened and totally misunderstanding the nature of the ratification of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Paul Finkelman, Ph.D., is the President William McKinley Distinguished Professor of Law and Public Policy at Albany Law School. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Slavery and the Founders: Race and Liberty in the Age of Jefferson and recently published an op-ed in the New York Times on Thomas Jefferson and slavery entitled “The Monster of Monticello.”
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by Mystic1 on July 15, 2016, 03:56 PM »
The Second Amendment was ratified to preserve slavery

Thom Hartmann, AlterNet10 Jul 2016 at 11:15 ET

The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states, which was necessary to get Virginia’s vote.  Founders Patrick Henry, George Mason, and James Madison were totally clear on that . . . and we all should be too.

In the beginning, there were the militias. In the South, they were also called the “slave patrols,” and they were regulated by the states.

In Georgia, for example, a generation before the American Revolution, laws were passed in 1755 and 1757 that required all plantation owners or their male white employees to be members of the Georgia Militia, and for those armed militia members to make monthly inspections of the quarters of all slaves in the state.  The law defined which counties had which armed militias and even required armed militia members to keep a keen eye out for slaves who may be planning uprisings.

As Dr. Carl T. Bogus wrote for the University of California Law Review in 1998, “The Georgia statutes required patrols, under the direction of commissioned militia officers, to examine every plantation each month and authorized them to search ‘all Negro Houses for offensive Weapons and Ammunition’ and to apprehend and give twenty lashes to any slave found outside plantation grounds.”

It’s the answer to the question raised by the character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained when he asks, “Why don’t they just rise up and kill the whites?”  If the movie were real, it would have been a purely rhetorical question, because every southerner of the era knew the simple answer: Well regulated militias kept the slaves in chains.

Sally E. Haden, in her book Slave Patrols: Law and Violence in Virginia and the Carolinas, notes that, “Although eligibility for the Militia seemed all-encompassing, not every middle-aged white male Virginian or Carolinian became a slave patroller.” There were exemptions so “men in critical professions” like judges, legislators and students could stay at their work.  Generally, though, she documents how most southern men between ages 18 and 45 – including physicians and ministers – had to serve on slave patrol in the militia at one time or another in their lives.

And slave rebellions were keeping the slave patrols busy.

By the time the Constitution was ratified, hundreds of substantial slave uprisings had occurred across the South.  Blacks outnumbered whites in large areas, and the state militias were used to both prevent and to put down slave uprisings.  As Dr. Bogus points out, slavery can only exist in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of the militias.

If the anti-slavery folks in the North had figured out a way to disband – or even move out of the state – those southern militias, the police state of the South would collapse.  And, similarly, if the North were to invite into military service the slaves of the South, then they could be emancipated, which would collapse the institution of slavery, and the southern economic and social systems, altogether.

These two possibilities worried southerners like James Monroe, George Mason (who owned over 300 slaves) and the southern Christian evangelical, Patrick Henry (who opposed slavery on principle, but also opposed freeing slaves).

Their main concern was that Article 1, Section 8 of the newly-proposed Constitution, which gave the federal government the power to raise and supervise a militia, could also allow that federal militia to subsume their state militias and change them from slavery-enforcing institutions into something that could even, one day, free the slaves.

This was not an imagined threat.  Famously, 12 years earlier, during the lead-up to the Revolutionary War, Lord Dunsmore offered freedom to slaves who could escape and join his forces.  “Liberty to Slaves” was stitched onto their jacket pocket flaps.  During the War, British General Henry Clinton extended the practice in 1779.  And numerous freed slaves served in General Washington’s army.

Thus, southern legislators and plantation owners lived not just in fear of their own slaves rebelling, but also in fear that their slaves could be emancipated through military service.

At the ratifying convention in Virginia in 1788, Henry laid it out:

“Let me here call your attention to that part [Article 1, Section 8 of the proposed Constitution] which gives the Congress power to provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States. . . .

“By this, sir, you see that their control over our last and best defence is unlimited. If they neglect or refuse to discipline or arm our militia, they will be useless: the states can do neither . . . this power being exclusively given to Congress. The power of appointing officers over men not disciplined or armed is ridiculous; so that this pretended little remains of power left to the states may, at the pleasure of Congress, be rendered nugatory.”

George Mason expressed a similar fear:

    “The militia may be here destroyed by that method which has been practised in other parts of the world before; that is, by rendering them useless, by disarming them. Under various pretences, Congress may neglect to provide for arming and disciplining the militia; and the state governments cannot do it, for Congress has an exclusive right to arm them [under this proposed Constitution] . . . “

Henry then bluntly laid it out:

    “If the country be invaded, a state may go to war, but cannot suppress [slave] insurrections [under this new Constitution]. If there should happen an insurrection of slaves, the country cannot be said to be invaded. They cannot, therefore, suppress it without the interposition of Congress . . . . Congress, and Congress only [under this new Constitution], can call forth the militia.”

And why was that such a concern for Patrick Henry?

“In this state,” he said, “there are two hundred and thirty-six thousand blacks, and there are many in several other states. But there are few or none in the Northern States. . . . May Congress not say, that every black man must fight? Did we not see a little of this last war? We were not so hard pushed as to make emancipation general; but acts of Assembly passed that every slave who would go to the army should be free.”

Patrick Henry was also convinced that the power over the various state militias given the federal government in the new Constitution could be used to strip the slave states of their slave-patrol militias.  He knew the majority attitude in the North opposed slavery, and he worried they’d use the Constitution to free the South’s slaves (a process then called “Manumission”).

The abolitionists would, he was certain, use that power (and, ironically, this is pretty much what Abraham Lincoln ended up doing):

    “[T]hey will search that paper [the Constitution], and see if they have power of manumission,” said Henry.  “And have they not, sir? Have they not power to provide for the general defence and welfare? May they not think that these call for the abolition of slavery? May they not pronounce all slaves free, and will they not be warranted by that power?

    “This is no ambiguous implication or logical deduction. The paper speaks to the point: they have the power in clear, unequivocal terms, and will clearly and certainly exercise it.”

He added: “This is a local matter, and I can see no propriety in subjecting it to Congress.”

James Madison, the “Father of the Constitution” and a slaveholder himself, basically called Patrick Henry paranoid.

“I was struck with surprise,” Madison said, “when I heard him express himself alarmed with respect to the emancipation of slaves. . . . There is no power to warrant it, in that paper [the Constitution]. If there be, I know it not.”

But the southern fears wouldn’t go away.

Patrick Henry even argued that southerner’s “property” (slaves) would be lost under the new Constitution, and the resulting slave uprising would be less than peaceful or tranquil:

    “In this situation,” Henry said to Madison, “I see a great deal of the property of the people of Virginia in jeopardy, and their peace and tranquility gone.”

So Madison, who had (at Jefferson’s insistence) already begun to prepare proposed amendments to the Constitution, changed his first draft of one that addressed the militia issue to make sure it was unambiguous that the southern states could maintain their slave patrol militias.

His first draft for what became the Second Amendment had said: “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed, and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country [emphasis mine]: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms, shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

But Henry, Mason and others wanted southern states to preserve their slave-patrol militias independent of the federal government.  So Madison changed the word “country” to the word “state,” and redrafted the Second Amendment into today’s form:

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State [emphasis mine], the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Little did Madison realize that one day in the future weapons-manufacturing corporations, newly defined as “persons” by a Supreme Court some have called dysfunctional, would use his slave patrol militia amendment to protect their “right” to manufacture and sell assault weapons used to murder schoolchildren.
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by A-FRIEND on July 14, 2016, 10:00 PM »
Thanks G. I'm looking forward to when it comes out.
A-Friends Cafe / Re: Black History
« Last post by Mystic1 on July 14, 2016, 09:08 PM »
The trailer for the highly anticipated film Loving (November 4) has finally been released.

The film portrays the story of Richard and Mildred Loving (Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga), an interracial couple who fought to keep their family together in Virginia, which lead to the historical Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia in 1967.
Today / Re: Today
« Last post by A-FRIEND on July 14, 2016, 01:18 PM »
Thanks for putting this up for us.
Daisy's Boutique / Re: 2016
« Last post by A-FRIEND on July 14, 2016, 01:17 PM »
My deepest sympathy Marsha. There are no right words to say in times like these.
I hope you can find comfort in this promise.
Daisy's Boutique / Re: 2016
« Last post by daisyxo on July 14, 2016, 07:56 AM »
September 17, 1952 --July 14, 2016, RIP Gary Franklin, my big brother
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