Sunday, February 3, 2008

Please uphold the Committee's ITL recommendation on HB1431

The following was submitted to my NH State Representatives:

Representatives,

HB1431, "establishing a permanent state defense force," is scheduled for a House floor vote on Wednesday, February 6th.

First, I want to stress that I support the concept of a state-based defense force, as well as (not to denigrate the balance of those documents, but specific to this topic) US Amendment 10, and NH Part First, Articles 7 and 10, and Part Second, Article 51, as well as the spirit of the proposed modifications to RSA541-A. However, I have profound concerns about HB1431, and the expressed intentions -- not to mention unsettling censorship -- of some of its supporters and implementers (positions, to be fair, I am unaware if the sponsors share, or of which they are even cognizant).

To borrow comments from one current NH Representative, I had likewise been under the initial impression -- and supported -- that this State Guard was to be "a separate entity from the National Guard and will answer directly to the governor and general court," and be "distinct from any federally controlled body."

However, I learned at a January meeting that the currently evolving incarnation is intended (at least by the current ex-military organizers) to be the "reserve" for the National Guard, and have strong ties to, and potentially come under similar direct control of the US Army. Particularly given the publicly stated aims, the implications of this concerned me, and I helpfully attempted to post the following to the associated Internet discussion group:

"... I think I'd like to see stronger language that, in the eventuality of, shall we say, 'unconstitutional federal action,' or 'actions in direct and egregious violation of State sovereignty,' the Guard's paramount allegiance is to the State of NH, it is always by default under State control, and yields to federal authority only at the expressed direction of the (more easily deposed) Governor. Or something like that. E.g., if the Governor says, say, 'Um, no. The NH State Guard will not assist you in confiscating firearms,' there's no question whose orders the State Guard is to follow. ..."

Or in whose brig the State Guard can end up. I still can comprehend nothing unacceptable about the proposed additional concept, let alone in the open discussion thereof.

The group's moderator blocked the post, however, unilaterally and summarily calling the issue "nonsense" and forbidden political content (although his posting of Committee hearings somehow isn't political), implying it was nothing but partisan conspiracy theory. Subsequent private correspondence produced no further defense of his position -- a curious silence on it, actually -- nor explanation of how my scenario was impossible, or even merely unlikely, for that matter. I was then removed from the group's membership without further comment.

I am very concerned with the apparent willingness to dutifully cede to federal authority that which is ostensibly intended specifically for state defense, even at the very moment our state sovereignty might be most vulnerable. This would appear to be a potential additional local extension of the federal "standing army," regarding which the Founders warned us, at the very least, to use caution.

I simply do not trust those who wish to centralize authority, to push it up a freshly created, even redirected chain of command, especially when it's not out in the open. Therefore, I do not support HB1431 as written, and request that you accept the Committee's ITL recommendation.

I would also strongly request that you keep my concerns in mind when evaluating any similar proposed legislation in the future. Eternal vigilance. Local control. Thank you.

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