It is not 1776 and the British Redcoats are no longer a threat. However, we still have a well regulated militia. In fact we have several.

My father enlisted in the Ohio National Guard and later earned a position at West Point. Per his advice I enlisted in the Army Reserve. When the Draft Board came knocking I volunteered to go on active duty instead (life and pay at grade E5 beats life and pay at E1.)


Later on, I re-upped for the advantages and served a term in the regular Army (Hey, you try life in a tent with four recruiting sergeants in a port city in Korea.)

After my discharge I served a few years as a Reservist again. I was a civilian again when the Vietnam misadventure began, So I never saw combat.

So what is the point to all this personal history? Well the sale and ownership of weapons of war by civilians is defended by many in the name of Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

Now what does that Amendment say?

“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.”

Like many others I served in the modern version of that militia. But did not use a personally owned weapon at any time when serving in the Reserves. That is not how the modern militia operates. The government provides the weapons.

Now what about the use of personal weapons as a means of learning how to shoot straight? In my experience the basic Infantry training at Fort Ord taught me that skill far more than hunting crows, squirrels, deer or waterfowl.

The recent spate of mass murders by mentally unstable individuals indicates that the Second Amendment rights should be limited to members of militias.

My service on the jury of a murder case involving patients at Springfield State Hospital showed that firearms are not the only way to commit murder.

The murderer on trial was not diagnosed as insane but as suffering from a violent personality disorder and mental deficiency. He was admitted to the hospital multiple times and then released as having received maximum benefit from therapy. When he and another inmate tempted an unpopular female patient to join them in a remote spot on the campus with a promise of sex they beat her to death with rocks.

The jury found him guilty but insane. Only then was he transferred to the hospital for the criminally insane.

The accused persons in the mass murderers in Texas and Ohio were known to be mentally unstable before they committed their crimes. We need to find a way to prevent such individuals from having military weapons. Perhaps the Democrats can find a way if they take over the Senate and the presidency.

In the recent Democratic debates the overall winner may be Donald Trump and the big loser former president Obama. Several candidates are busy trying to defeat Joe Biden and gain popularity by proposing unlikely health care plans. They should instead defend Obamacare propose a public option to that program.

John Culleton writes from Eldersburg. His column appears every other Tuesday. Email him at