Do you think Governor Jan Brewer, or any Arizona governor from this point on, should have a volunteer military force that she can call up and use for any purpose whatsoever?
Well, that's what the governor would have if Senate Bill 1495 becomes law: A blank check to establish a "state guard" that would do her bidding, whatever that bidding might be.
Where are Arizona's Libertarians when you need them? Ernie Hancock and the folks over at Freedom's Phoenix should be raising bloody Cain right now.
Under statute, the governor can already call up a state guard under an emergency situation where the state National Guard has been called into active service by the feds.
But some Republicans, in both the Senate and the House, want to include a phrase that allows the governor to call up a state guard, "for any other reason the governor considers to be necessary."
Both the left and the right should be worried about such broad language. If you're on the right, you may love the idea of Brewer being able to call up a force of irregulars populated by militia members. But what if Janet Napolitano was still governor? Would it sit well with you then?
The left will naturally be concerned that a Brewer Brigade will include wackos such as recently convicted murderess and militiawoman Shawna Forde, who would have leapt at the chance to join such a government-backed enterprise, one where the state will pick up the tab for food, shelter, and liability, should someone shoot the wrong person.
Actually, I would contend that even militia types should be skeptical of this measure for numerous reasons.
Currently, you can have your own group of irregulars that can go out into the desert and patrol with your long guns, just as neo-Nazi J.T. Ready does with his U.S. Border Guard. No law against it.
So why would you want to give up that freedom of operation to be a part of a government entity, that will, inevitably, take all of your personal information, run a background check on you, and even keep an electronic file stored somewhere with your name on it?
Plus, the federal government and the state of Arizona exchange a lot of information, like, say, with the National Guard itself. How do you know that information on the state guard will not make its way into federal hands?
As militias members themselves are aware, both local and federal law enforcement officers regularly infiltrate their groups to gather intelligence on them. But if militia members are part of a state guard and have to cough up their Social Security numbers and allegiances, infiltration won't be necessary.
Crikey, if I were inclined to conspiracy theories, I might think the FBI helped Senator Sylvia Allen, the primary sponsor of the bill, concoct this slippery slope into tyranny.
So far, it's mainly been the lefty Border Action Network that's been raising the alarm. BAN's concerned about right-wing extremists being part of state guard.
But some GOPers have problems with it as well. Republican state Senator Frank Antenori voted to pass SB 1495 out of the Allen-chaired Border Security committee, but he was rightly worried by the language and said he would vote against it on the Senate floor.
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And Antenori, he ain't no liberal.
Another concern, there's no money appropriated for the governor's personal army, and no one has any idea how much it could cost, particularly if the Sunday soldiers who enlist start keeling over of heart attacks or killing people by accident, thus leading to lawsuits.
There's still time to call your state Senator, but you better get on it. It was originally to be voted on in the Senate today, but it looks like it's been pulled. In any case, you can find all the Senate phone numbers, here.
There's also a House version, HB 2070. State Representative Jack Harper's more extensive version of the same idea got replaced in a strikeall amendment for the language in the Senate version. (Sniff, poor Jack.) The House version could move at any time. You can find the info for your Representatives, here.