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What is not often talked about in regards to the 2nd Amendment and its "well regulated militia" is that one of its original purposes was to enforce tyranny. In order to maintain the vast slave empire, the slave states organized "slave patrols", creating what amounted to a vast totalitarian police state over much of the young Republic. Slaves of course were not among those people who had the right "to keep and bear arms."

The slave patrols were among the "well regulated militias" of our early history and contributed to the militarism of that region, a militarism necessary to put down slave rebellions.

Patrollers at work in this 1839 graphic

The slave patrols aka "patrollers, pattyrollers or paddy rollers" had a well deserved reputation for brutality which was extended to whites who displayed anti-slavery sympathies. The Civil War brought an end to slavery, but the patrollers lived on in the form of the KKK and the local police and sheriffs departments who enforced the Jim Crow laws and customs that followed the defeat of Reconstruction.

If you have ever wondered why there are so many military academies south of the Mason-Dixon Line, why the Confederacy had such military prowess during the Civil War and why that region still has a strong tradition of militarism, well now you know.

Today's rightwing militia types, 2nd Amendment fundamentalists, survivalists, NRA hotheads and automatic weapons enthusiasts are pretty much the same type of white people who eagerly joined the slave patrols. They may found in all 50 states: north, south, east and west.

They talk about using their weapons to defend freedom against a tyrannical government, but you know what? I think the quote often attributed (possibly erroneously) to Sinclair Lewis sums it up,"When facism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross."

These folks have nothing to fear. If fascism ever does come to America, they'll be the star spangled brownshirts of the new regime.

Originally posted to BobboSphere on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 07:07 AM PST.

Also republished by Black Kos community and History for Kossacks.

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