By David Tulis
A Tennessee free militia activist says the Bundy family seizure of a federal park facility in burns, Ore., is dangerous and liable to be turned to the advantage of the U.S. government.
“We do not condone *** the taking over of a building,” says J.C. Knott, a building contractor in Carthage, Tenn., who leads the 1st Tennessee Rifles UMIT. “The reason why is because, we also understand that there are agents provocateurs involved inside the compound ‘acting’ as militia and we all know how [the U.S. likes] to operate, get their double agents to do something stupid, all the while good people who are involved get caught up in bad things.”
“If this does not end peaceably, things could turn ugly,” says Mr. Knott, the elected colonel of the group that holds between one and four events or training exercises a month.
Mr. Knott will be giving me an interview today at 10 a.m. at AM 1240 Hot News Talk Radio.
It’s important to note the 1st Tennessee Rifles is UMIT, or the unorganized militia in Tennessee. That indicates that it exists as a liberty among the people under the 2nd amendment to the federal constitution and in the Tennessee constitution in its bill of rights, section 26. “That the citizens of this state have a right to keep and to bear arms for their common defense; but the Legislature shall have power, by law, to regulate the wearing of arms with a view to prevent crime.” The next provisions shelter the people from having to quarter the state’s soldiers and allow for a citizen who refuses to bear arms to “pay an equivalent, to be ascertained by law.”
Despite constitutional guarantees, the general assembly has criminalized the transporting of weapons with its “intent to go armed” statute, an unconstitutionally vague law that targeted black freedmen. It gives the state arbitrary enforcement powers against citizens who aren’t wearing weapons (subject to regulation under the constitution), but carrying and possessing them.
The state’s militia
State government has authority over the militia, or the people shaped by necessity into a force for fighting, peacekeeping and the maintaining of public order. TCA 58-1-301 describes how the government can call the militia into existence. “The governor, with the advice and consent of the general assembly, and pursuant to the laws of the United States, shall call the militia, or any portion thereof, into active service at any time that public safety requires it; provided, that the governor is authorized to have enrollment made of all persons of this state subject to military duty or draft into the military service, and is directed, at such time as the necessity seems imminent, to cause each county assessor to make such enrollment of the assessor’s respective county ***. ” Those who don’t show up are considered deserters.
Gov. Bill Haslam has authority to create a Tennessee guard whenever the U.S. calls into federal service the state’s national guard (TCA 58-1-401). One can enlist between ages 16 and 75 in a body whose work must remain within the state and which is forbidden to interfere with elections. Included in the oath is this promise: “I do solemnly swear that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the state of Tennessee and that I will serve the state of Tennessee honestly and faithfully against all enemies, whomsoever, and that I will obey the orders of the governor and the officers placed over me ***” (TCA 58-1-407).
If called into action, the guard’s members respond with their consent “during times of disaster, or other times of crisis.”
America’s military forces, Mr. Knott says on the group’s website, are outgrowths of the people’s militia from the founding era. The constitution, he says, create no armed federal military force.
Group shuns racists
Mr. Knott and his burly colleagues cite a record of combination, schemes and plots by people in the federal government, warranting the suspicions of Tennesseans. Operation Garden Plot from the turbulent 1960s, exposed in the 1980s, perpetuated a public emergency through “civil disturbance control operations.” Operation Northwoods in 1962 called for “false flag” actions, including terror acts sponsored by Uncle Sam and L.L. Lemnitzer, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, to win support for a war on Cuba.
Mr. Knott’s group declares its purposes are peaceful and aiming toward the public good. It hopes its members will be “at least modestly prepared *** Our purpose is to uphold the United States and Tennessee State Constitutions,” he writes, “defend against foreign and domestic enemies, execute and safeguard the laws of the Union, suppress insurrection and repel invasions. We adhere to the literal and original intent of the United States Constitution and bill of rights as put forth by the founding fathers and hold those principles inviolate. We reject any philosophy of supremacy based on race or gender. We will not tolerate any troublemakers, Jew haters, bigots, racists, dissenters of any type first and foremost.”
The group says it wants to “re-establish the militia’s reputation” as arising from “a formation of communities.”
“Our communities are banding together across this country to form one voice which is getting louder each day. It is not the guns of the militia that our government fears, we have not fired a single shot. The people are uniting together as one to bring out the truth, justice and liberty that we are Americans! The 1st Tennessee Rifles are not a ‘anti-government’ hate club *** of any type.”
The group says it is available to help maintain public order if the state’s “manpower has been exhausted. We stand against enemies both foreign and domestic.”
Half of the Rifles’ members are military veterans, Mr. Knott says.
The most recent U.S. supreme court decision on the 2nd amendment declared the right to bear arms a personal right, but by a 5 to 4 vote. The right is most effectively exercised, however, not as a personal one, but collectively, according to attorney Edwin Vieira, author of two histories of American militias. “I describe ‘the individual right to keep and bear arms’ as legally indefensible because fundamentally it is a right in name only, inasmuch as it lacks an effective remedy if an highly organized and armed tyranny sets out to suppress it, whereas the true ‘right of the people to keep and bear Arms’ exercised in the context of ‘well regulated Militia’ is the Constitution’s own preferred remedy against usurpation and tyranny in their every aspect.”
David’s briefs on the Tennessee militia
Sources: 1st Tennessee Rifles, http://www.1sttnrifles.net/
Anthony Wile, “Edwin Vieira on His New Book, The Sword and Sovereignty, and Where the US Went Wrong,” Feb. 2, 2013, interview with Daily Bell. https://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/02/anthony-wile/edwin-vieira-on-his-new-book-the-sword-and-sovereignty-and-where-the-us-went-wrong-2/
Some of these books are available in Chattanooga at P5, the prepper store on East Brainerd Road.