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I get a lot of email. Dunno why. It’s not like I’m askin’ for it. I’ve got a filtering system from the gates of Hell itself, and still I get a lot. Some of it, I even read. I have a friend that likes to forward things. Have I mentioned how much I hate forwarded emails? Not that some aren’t interesting. It’s just that I hate having to deal with the ones that aren’t. Oh, sure, I could just burn ’em before reading. But if I did I would have missed this one. Which made me stop and think – a pretty good trick when I’m on a jihad against junk mail. This one was different. And I think when you read it, you’ll be thinking about the subject too. Not that completely agree with it, but still…see for yourself:

I have never really thought about this perspective. I no longer hunt but will keep my guns handy! The enemy would surely resign if faced wit 600,000 Boudreaux’s, Thibodeaux’s, Arceneauxs, etc, HA!

America’s Largest Army

The world’s largest army…America ‘s hunters! I had never thought about this…

A blogger added up the deer license sales in just a handful of states and arrived at a striking conclusion: There were over 600,000 hunters this season in the state of Wisconsin. Allow me to restate that number. Over the last several months, Wisconsin ‘s hunters became the eighth largest army in the world. More men under arms than in Iran. More than in France and Germany combined. These men deployed to the woods of a single American state to hunt with firearms, and no one was killed. That number pales in comparison to the 750,000 who hunted the woods of Pennsylvania and Michigan ‘s 700,000 hunters, all of whom have now returned home. Toss in a quarter million hunters in West Virginia and it literally establishes the fact that the hunters of those four states alone would comprise the largest army in the world.

The point?

America will forever be safe from foreign invasion with that kind of home-grown firepower. Hunting – it’s not just a way to fill the freezer. It’s a matter of national security. That’s why all enemies, foreign and domestic, want to see us disarmed.

Food for thought when next we consider gun control.

The anonymous author raises a valid point. It’s not an original one – after all, the original purpose of the militias in Colonial America was to take the shooting skills of citizens and put them to work defending the nation. (And for the record, I did not verify the numbers cited in this email, largely because the accuracy of the data did not really affect the point I’m trying to make here.)

The only fly in the ointment I see is that our hunting population is not really well equipped to go all Red Dawn on an invading force at the border. Yes, I’m sure every patriotic American would do whatever they can to repel any invasion force. And we’re a damn sight better off with an armed populace, no matter who the enemy is – external or internal. But my worry is that we’ll be depending on a lot of guys who aren’t exactly from the Davy Crocket school of guerilla warfare.

Generalizing on the ability of all hunters to translate their existing hunting skills into a vastly different set, including sniping, close combat, and hand-to-hand combat is a fools errand. Some will have what it takes (or are ex-military and will have had some basic training at…um…basic training). Others will be so used to relying on all the little gadgets and extras that turn a basic hunting rifle into some kind of tricked-out hot rod, that they will be ill-equipped to deal with, well – combat.

Now keep in mind, I’m not trying to throw stones here, as I’m painfully aware I’m living in a glass house on this one. But since my shooting skills and training run far more towards personal defense than hunting, I see some challenges for hunters who are suddenly called upon to defend hearth and home. (On the other hand, if the wheels ever do come off, and we are reduced to living off the land, those guys will be eating venison while I’m still trying to figure out how to avoid a diet of school paste and SPAM.)

Too, keep in mind that for every Patrick Swazye and C. Thomas Howell in our Hunter Corps, there’s also gonna be a Charlie Sheen. ‘Nuff said?

There’s a huge difference between an Army and a Militia. An army is well-trained, disciplined, and designed to tackle problems from a strategic point of view. A Militia is loose, undisciplined, and designed to react to defensive situations. Think of it in acting terms as scripted versus improv on open mic night. Translation: Our “hunter’s militia” may be big, but it’s not numbers that make the difference – it’s training, skill and a modicum of luck.

I think the most significant way hunters play into the defense equation is as a deterrent against a government run amok. If we are disarmed, bureaucrats know that if push comes to shove, they can always call in the jack-booted storm troopers (that’s presuming our military wouldn’t revolt if called upon to fire on their own countrymen). In reality, gun ownership is one more check on the power of the government. And it’s a check that is critical to our freedoms – all our freedoms.

It’s been said that the 2nd Amendment is the one that insures the other nine in the Bill of Rights are never taken away from us. I believe that is a fundamentally sound argument. So…what say you? Do you think that our hunters are the last line of defense between here and tyranny?

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  1. Red Dawn was such a goofy movie. Except for this: “Go to the sporting goods store. From the files obtain forms 4473. These will contain descriptions of weapons, and lists of private ownership.”

    On the other hand, deer hunters aren’t going to shoot down a lot of ICBMs or blow up a lot of tanks.

  2. the main advantage of an armed populace is not that it could repel an invading army, but it would make occupation ridiculously expensive and difficult . Negating any reason to come here in the first place. Throughout history, occupying is much mor difficult than conquering

  3. If we’re pulling a Red Dawn to fight invading forces, something, somewhere else in the world has gone really wrong and a good portion of those guys were all ready called to service and are dead.

    But I guess those deer hunters might have a leg up on Russian conscripts from WWII, at least they’ve shot a gun.

  4. To start, a significant invasion of the continental US is unlikely, so your contention that the real value in the armed populace is in relation to our own government is well founded. But I like the thought exercise, so here’s some thoughts:

    Any legitimate modern military force is a well-equipped, well-trained foe. Stepping onto the field in direct opposition to such a force is a good way to sharpen their skills with a little target practice. Modern armies are devastating and only effectively opposed by another modern army.

    But that’s not the real role of an armed citizenry, guerrilla activities are. And for these, a familiarity with firearms, the ability to deploy them effectively, and the skill to move through broken terrain are of vast benefit. Yes, the learning curve from hunter to guerrilla is a steep one, but Americans have demonstrated a remarkable ability to improvise, adapt and overcome throughout our history. I think out of a large population we could field some very effective personnel.

    And let’s not discount the aggregate value of a few hundred thousand armed citizens for two reasons. Yep, we’re inevitably going to have our Charlie Sheens, the foe is also going to be afflicted with their own Gomer Pyles and Sad Sacks. So it’s premature to discount the efficacy of a force because some individuals will fall below expectations (everything fits on a bell curve). Secondly, a bunch of armed citizens running around being a nuisance presents tremendous logistical problems for the commander trying to consolidate control of hostile territory. Leaving aside any effect from our homegrown guerrillas, does the foe have enough bullets to shoot ’em all? No? Dang, where’s the resupply??

    Putting this in the larger context, it is unlikely our own military would be rendered completely ineffective. So what the dastardly foe faces when he plops his ravening hoard down on our dirt is the frighteningly effective, trained and motivated US Military, and when he breaks contact with those friendly folks and starts running around in Anywhere, USA he’s got to deal with a bunch of irritated citizens with a crazy mix of weapons they can resupply at the local Wal-Mart. They haven’t read the military handbook, they don’t fight like they should, and they’re grumpy because football got canceled on account of war.

    And our hapless enemy commander has to keep looking over his shoulder for those friendly folks in the soldier suits. Because they are coming.

    Yeah, I think the armed citizen is a factor in any crazy plan to try and invade the US, they complicate the picture in strange and unknowable ways for the enemy. And that’s a wonderful thing.

    • JustSomeGuy… your argument is quite eloquent although inaccurate. Look at history, “a well-equipped, well-trained foe was mired in a in war for over 10 years against a minimally armed,untrained and disorganized local populace, forcing a withdrawal in defeat… I am speaking of the soviet union’s invasion of Afghanistan. For the sake of argument, lets claim that the Soviet army is a second rate bunch… What about the recent events in Libya, or Syria what is being termed the Arab Spring?

  5. If nothing else, the large numbers of hunters and other gunowners is “a giant stinkbug (or fly) in the ointment” in the plans of an enemy who would consider invading us or the plans of bureaucrats who would consider usurping the Constitution for “our own good” or whatever “noble” end result that they envision. IMO, that is the true benefit of the videos from Friday’s “Question of the Day: Are Guns Your Hobby?”.

  6. “From whence shall we expect the approach of danger? Shall some trans-Atlantic military giant step the earth and crush us at a blow? Never. All the armies of Europe and Asia…could not by force take a drink from the Ohio River or make a track on the Blue Ridge in the trial of a thousand years. No, if destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of free men we will live forever or die by suicide.”
    A.L. 1-27-1838

  7. I don’t know about armed hunters effectively “repelling” an invading army, but as others above have stated, they could definitely cause some serious problems for the enemy. The biggest problem for American citizens would be finding other serious like minded individuals while avoiding the crazies and all the wanna be “operators” living in their mom’s basement.

  8. Admiral Yamamoto, the WWII Japanese Navy planner of the attack on Pearl Harbor, was the Japanese Naval Attache in Washington, D.C. at one time, so he knew the American people. His comment on an invasion of the United States: “There will be a rifle behind every blade of grass.” He also said after the attack: “I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Both are applicable here. Yes, we have more firearms here than any other nation in the world. The American sense of patriotism is a hugh bond that will overwhelm any invader. Look at how we bonded together after the attack on 9/11.

    Yes, we have a lot of hunters, and a lot of stupid, armed people who wouldn’t last 10 minutes in a combat situation. But many of those armed individuals will band together and organize themselves to become effective fighting units under the leadership of the former U.S. military veterans who have the combat experience and training needed to be effective partisan fighters.

    Look at the armies of the world and evaluate who would be potential enemies with the numbers under arms to be able to invade and conquer the U. S. Russia, maybe, China, pretty good possibility, anybody else, fat chance. No other country in this world has the finances or the heart to have an army with the capability to invade the U. S. and succeed. There is no other military as well trained as the U. S. volunteer Armed Forces. China’s PLA is our biggest threat. So arm yourselves accordingly to fight a long war with the Chinese.

    • The Yamamoto quotes appear to be urban folklore as there are no known primary sources for them. (So if you know of any, historians would love to hear from you.) The second quote about “terrible resolve” first surfaced in the movie Tora! Tora! Tora! in 1970.

      On the Internet, if an anecdote or quotation is too perfect for the writer’s purpose, it’s probably false. Jefferson and Lincoln are favorites for the attribution of fabricated quotes, as is Henry Ford.

        • Thanks, Mike, but I am not here as part of any partisan agenda or to take up sides for or against anyone. I’m here to talk guns with folks I would like to consider friends. In that regard, I probably have more in common with the “pro-gun” folks than with yourself.

  9. The guys we’re fighting against in Iraq and Afghanistan are a perfect example of why no one can ever conquer the U.S. These rebel fighters are poorly organized with little training in third world countries, and they still cause the most powerful army in the world nothing but problems. This proves that if the best military in the world can’t stop a ragtag group of misfits, how could any other nation have even a slim chance of dominating the mighty USA. The British sent their mighty forces to destory us and we kicked their royal butts. Any occupying army on our soil would be killed one by one until they decided to give up and run back home or die.

    • The average insurgent in Iraq or Afghanistan is as mean as a shithouse rattlesnake. The average American whiners, on the other hand, have no willingness or ability to defend anything, not even themselves. They leave that to other, better people — the ones who wear the uniform. Are deer hunters tougher than the average American? I don’t know. Maybe. But I doubt it.

      • Excellent point Ralph, the average insurgent doesn’t fear death but most americans fear their own shadow.

        • Once the herd has been thinned then those that have developed their hunting skills will prevail. Don’t sell America short!

        • Joe, What you meant to say was “Excellent point Ralph, I was completely wrong when I wrote that comment.”

          “The poorly organized and little trained” Afghanis have been fighting someone or other for generations. Their “poorly organized and little trained” American counterparts would be an embarrassment.

          But, listen to me, this whole post is as silly as that Red Dawn movie was. You guys just love to do that grandiose thing, don’t you.

        • Always heartened when I read about an elderly gentleman scaring off bad guys or taking them out, a teenage girl fending off home invaders while home alone, a young widow with a babe and shotgun in her arms dispatching home invaders, an elderly woman with a shotgun making short work of a guy trying to break into her house. Most of these were in Texas. Guess there is something to the saying “Don’t Mess with Texas” or maybe it should be ” Don’t Mess with Texans”

  10. Honestly, it doesn’t matter how well (or poorly) trained the armed citizens of our country are. Even if half of our nation’s “shooters” were killed in the first few months of an armed conflict, we would still outnumber the enemy five-to-one. And our enemies know that fact very well.

    I’ve traveled to China. They outnumber us by a large margin but their population has no firearms. Their leaders are well aware what trouble an armed population can be to a totalitarian regime. In China, they study not only their own history but ours as well and at this point in time, I believe their strategy is “if you can’t beat them, buy them!”

  11. Don’t forget the large population of ex-military men and women in this country. It’s been twenty-five years since my four year vacation ended as a 325×1 in the USAF but I can tell you that, if called upon, the skills and discipline I learned during my enlistment would return to a useful level very quickly. I believe the same holds true for the vast majority of ex-servicemen and women. That training we all had never goes away.

    That being said, it would be foolish for an invading force to discount the ability of a large segment of ex-military civilians to quickly organized and put forth an unexpectedly strong level of resistance.

  12. 98% of the Americans will go to the concentration camps without a fight.

    Then there is the 2%ers. The havoc they will cause will be epic. As mentioned above, former .mil will be a potent force. Add to that, the knowledge possessed by Americans about the infrastructure of the US and how to shut it down. A couple engineers with some real world experience would make any occupier’s life miserable and short. The US is different in that much of our critical infrastructure is privately owned thus the government doesn’t control who has access to it or access to critical details about it.

    • “98% of the Americans will go to the concentration camps without a fight.”

      Yes, but there would first have to be several public hearings and a committee meeting or two. And of course, the phrase “concentration camp” would have to go. It’s just too insensitive. We would then have to make sure that each traincar load had the proper demographic mix so nobody would be offended. If all the paperwork was up to date, then and only then could anybody be transported. By that time, the occupying enemy would have cut his own head off in frustration.

  13. Interesting to note also is the fact that the rebellion in Libya started with people armed primarily with hunting weapons. Additionally, the 90’s conflict in Yugoslavia was exacerbated, especially in its early stages, by people armed with hunting rifles. The idea of an armed invasion of the US in the lives of anyone currently living is pretty absurd, but the idea that any such invader would suffer horribly at the hands of individual gun owners is not absurd at all.

    I also believe that individual gun ownership deters executive overreach. Cops are pretty **** careful in the USA when they show up to ransack a home. That is a good thing IMO.

  14. The USA has over 270 military bases around the world. The only remaining superpower, its annual military budget is larger than those all the world’s other major powers combined. We have the largest inventory of nuclear weapons on earth, 11 aircraft carriers, 450 Intercontinental ballistic missiles, over 5,000 military aircraft, 75 nuclear submarines, 55 destroyers, etc. and so forth.

    And you guys are war-gaming “them” invading American soil. Sure, like that could happen. I guess this sort of planning falls under the heading of every conceivable contingency. And what is the ultimate deterrent to an armed invasion? You guys with your Kimbers and mad tactical skills. Juvenile fantasy much? Thanks for the laughs.

    • All crewed by human beings capable of disobeying orders….

      take a look at Libya for example.

    • It’s possible I’m mistaken, but I haven’t noticed any war-gaming going on. There are a couple of ideas explored in the original post: the efficacy of armed citizens against invasion (particularly hunters) and as a bulwark against government misbehavior.

      In response we have a debate about how effective citizens might be, but nobody’s talking about what they’re going to do in the event, and nobody’s advocating what anyone else should do. And therein lies the difference, in my mind: war-gaming revolves around specific contingency planning, not general discussion. Perhaps I’m over-specifying the term. But I don’t think so, when you go on to say “Juvenile fantasy much?”

      As I said above, I like the thought experiment. Conducting such gives us a framework for evaluating the world around us. It allows us to empathize with events in Egypt and Libya, or Bosnia-Herzegovina, or elsewhere and evaluate the impact of similar events on our society. They don’t have to occur, or even be likely, for us to strengthen our society against the disruptions through discourse.

      I’m not sure what sitting in the superior chair and snickering at the discussion allows us…but laughter is good for you.


  15. What kind of guy makes a movie like Red Dawn, you may ask. Well, his name is John Milius, and the Coen brothers based the character Walter Sobchak in the Big Lebowski on him.

  16. To say we are immune from invasion is foolish at best!

    Sure, there is no need to worry about invasion tomorrow, or even the next day, or even next month. But no one can predict the future. Who really knows what state the US finds itself in 5, 10, or 25 years from now.

    For one example one only need realize we are not exactly on the most solid financial ground these days. Though it hopefully does not happen, there are many scenarios in which the US could quickly find itself in economic ruin. If that were to happen, we would likely abandon our defense budget before we gave up the larger amount we spend on welfare and entitlements. We could easily go from the greatest military superpower in the world to a paper tiger with a vast mothballed military machine. And we could do it in less than five years.

    Second, maybe you haven’t noticed but race relations inside our country are not exactly the best they have ever been. While I think the skin color related race issues are not that bad currently, they are not as good as they were just three years ago. But what we I see is we have an American vrs illegal alien issue that could quickly spiral out of control. Or worse, I don’t think Americans are going to sit around and let Muslims hurt us much longer, if there is another 911 or larger scale Muslim based terrorist attack on our soil, I think some Americans will turn on Muslim Americans in our communities. This could trigger other events that could also easily spiral us out of control, if we get involved in destructive in fighting like we are seeing in Libya today, we would sufficiently weaken ourselves to the point someone may want to take a shot at the suddenly vulnerable big kid on the block.

    Ancient Rome felt the same way. They thought surely no one could ever invade Rome; they had the best trained military with the greatest technology and the military spending of every other nation combined (sound familiar). Everyone feared the roman military machine, except the Romans who felt safe behind it. They thought no one could ever invade Rome right up until Rome was sacked, and by then it was too late to do anything about it, so Rome fell.

    As far as hunters vrs invaders is concerned. I think it is true many will voluntarily submit themselves to be conquered, thinking living enslaved is better than the alternative. I think it is also true that many who decide to fight will die really horrible deaths to the invaders amusement, without having accomplished anything. But I think many of you who say we could not mount an effective defense against a modern army are thinking too much towards the individual, instead of the community.

    If 100 individuals take on a 5 man trained platoon, 100 individuals will die. But if 100 individuals come together, train each other, help each other, and become a community that is a team before challenging the 5 man platoon; sure many will still die, but amongst the dead will be the 5.

    This is how we won the Revolutionary war. We didn’t take on the British as a bunch of individuals, we came together as communities and showed British Regular forces that with determination and teamwork we could defeat what was at the time the best trained, most technologically advanced, and best funded military of the world. We had no Army when it started; we grew a citizen’s army and trained them using the veterans of past wars.

    I say, even if our regular military is annihilated, as long as we have the weapons we can and will form a citizen’s army again when and if it is ever needed. And we will do it using the veterans of past conflicts, as communities. And we will push the invaders back into the sea. But alas, a key component is that we retain the right to bear arms because a force armed with sticks, stones, and kitchen knives doesn’t stand a chance no matter how well trained they are.

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