"We had our own Arab Spring in 1776"
Actually we didn't. One of those things they don't mention much in grade school history classes
, is that the "first battle" at Lexington was an unfortunate accident
. The Lexington Militia were safing their flintlocks after a weekend drill, prior to entering the town pub for a little socializing. All normal village militia activity. Flintlocks and matchlocks I presume, that was the technology of the day. All the drill sincluded firing practice--if the men
or the town were rich enough to afford it, because ammunition was expensive, lead balls were expensive, and many of the farmers were simply lousy shots who never routinely fired a gun.
The only way to safe a flint/matchlock, which may still be loaded, is to fire it. (And folks who have been to any firing range will tell you, it doesn't matter who or how someone calls "Cease fire!" there will always be loaded weapons at that point.
So, there's all these villagers who want to safe their weapons and get into the pub, and they fire 'em off into a sand barrel or water barrel to do so, demonstrating
that it is safe for them to get drunk now.
Co-incidentally, the British troops, consisting of some experienced men
, more unexperienced draftees, some eager-beaver hired mercenaries, all the usual mix in a British Army "overseas in the damned colonies" force at that time...they're approaching Lexington and they hear VOLLEY FIRE!
Presuming the volley fire means there's a battle and troops ahead of them must need help, the leading Brits race
into town firing. The Lexington Militia simply return fire in self-defense.
Oopsie, the war started.
While the various 'founding fathers' were still split on opinion as to how and whether to revolt--we didn't hold an uprising quite the same way. Yes, there were tea parties and many violent incidents, but the "spark heard round the world" was a total accident
, caused by lack of discipline in the British forces.
If the Brits had been a couple of hours faster or slower...who knows, they still might have been denied their goal. But as news of the British "attack" spread though the alarm
riders (Paul Revere was actually a rider who got caught
to make his route) within three days mutual aid from other militias was arriving in Massachusetts
from Virginia and points south. An incredibly fast response, considering it was all by foot or horse.
And one neighboring town? That's right, never got the alarm
, had to learn about it from "southerners" heading for Boston!
These days Americans don't get quite so organized or responsive about much of anything, even though the communications
have gotten much better.
Oh, and the USCG? They're NOT THE MILITARY! Last I heard they're still a dual-hat agency, they are military once transferred to the DoD in time of war, but they're an administrative agency while they operate under the DHS at other times. DHS is an administrative agency, USCG serves under DHS now. That's how they could respond after Katrina, while military
forces like the USN could not.
USCG demands PFDs? That's just the gummint, same as the sanitation department or building code enforcement, or the IRS, till we go to official
But I fully agree with you: PFDs, good idea. The freedom to not use them? Guaranteed to you, as "Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness". (VBG)