SHOULD THE PRESIDENT DECLARE MARTIAL LAW, GOVERNMENT POWERS SKYROCKET, WHILE PERSONAL FREEDOMS AND DUE PROCESS EVAPORATE DURING TIME OF EMERGENCY.
First, humorous memes about washing hands and hoarding toilet paper made the rounds on social media. Then sports events and concerts were canceled amid concerns of large groups of people congregating together. The NBA ended its season, followed by the NHL. Disneyland closed for the first time since 2001 (and before that, 1963). Schools closed. Churches suspended service. Grocery stores are limiting their open hours. The entire country of Italy is on lockdown. New York and California—two states with the highest concentrated number of infected—have restricted restaurants to takeout and delivery only. Many counties in those states have issued shelter-in-place mandates, while even more draconian measures could be forthwith: maybe curfews at night or suspending civil liberties under martial law, which would mean the very act of leaving home for any reason, save a few, would be treated as a crime.
Martial Law in America — Where We Stand Now
Though California governor Gavin Newsome said on Tuesday that there wouldn’t be a need for martial law, he didn’t exactly discount it: “If you want to establish a framework of martial law, which is ultimate authority and enforcement, we have the capacity to do that, but we are not feeling at this moment that is a necessity.” The apt phrase here is “at this moment.” The government might not have a need for it this week, but who knows what will transpire in the days and weeks to come. Of course, rumors and misinformation about what martial law entails has been circulating since early March, even provoking Florida Senator Marco Rubio to complain on Twitter about it, requesting that people “please stop spreading stupid rumors about marshall law. COMPLETELY FALSE.” What was also false was his spelling of martial law.
Then, What is Martial Law?
Under the strictest terms, martial law is when the government replaces civil law with military authority. This means that the United States government can use the military to enforce its will upon the populous. The military becomes the primary law enforcement agency. Under martial law, normal Constitutional freedoms and liberties (think: Bill of Rights) are suspended. On a Federal level, only the President and Congress has the ability to declare martial law, and those states that specifically ordain it in their constitutions are allowed to declare it as well.
What Rights Can Be Suspended?
Based on examples of previous declarations, martial law would be a suspension of portions of the Constitution, specifically the Bill of Rights. The confiscation of firearms, the suspension of Habeas corpus (due process), travel restrictions, road closures, strict quarantine zones, and automatic search and seizures without warrants.
One doesn’t have to look far to find examples of martial law in the United States. One of the first instances was in 1814 before the Battle of New Orleans. Andrew Jackson imposed martial law in a four-mile radius around the city. Strained tension between the Utah territory and the Federal government in 1857 (known as the Utah War) led Utah Governor Brigham Young to declare martial law for the entire territory under the fear that U.S. troops were poised to attack. Young was removed from office.
Chicago mayor Roswell B. Mason declared martial law after the 1871 Chicago Fire and placed General Philip Sheridan in charge of the whole city. The mayor lifted it after only a couple of days. The same thing happened in 1906 after the San Francisco Earthquake. U.S. troops were called in and houses were dynamited to help quell the fire (it made the fire worse).
The longest period of martial law took place after the attack on Pearl Harbor and lasted until October 1944. A Federal judge later claimed that the U.S. Army “…threw the Constitution into the discard and set up a military dictatorship.”
However, during natural disasters, like Hurricane Katrina, guns and supplies were confiscated, people were forcibly removed from their houses, and property was searched without warrants. Remember when the Boston bombers were hiding out in a Boston neighborhood? The police didn’t issue any warrants, but they certainly searched houses, sometimes against the permission of their owners.
How Likely Is Martial Law Under the COVID-19 Pandemic?
In 2006, President George W. Bush signed the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act. It revised the Insurrection Act, expanding the President’s authority to declare martial law so he can take charge of National Guard troops without authorization of the states. Nine years later, President Barrack Obama assembled a task force to create guidelines for a national police.
The government doesn’t always have to outright declare martial law. A “soft” declaration of martial law can slowly seep into play without much fanfare or announcements, especially in the wake of a disaster such as COVID-19. For example, “I would call out the military now,” former Vice President Joe Biden said at the Democratic primary debate on March 15. “They have the ability to provide this surge that hospitals need. They have the capacity to build 500 hospital beds and tents that are completely safe and secure.” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested, “At this point, our best hope is to utilize the Army Corps of Engineers to leverage its expertise, equipment and people power to retrofit and equip existing facilities — like military bases or college dormitories — to serve as temporary medical centers,” he wrote.
Although both of these examples are for well intentioned reasons, they are, technically examples of martial law.
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What to Expect Under Martial Law?
If full-blown martial law is declared on a national or even local level, the worse-case scenario will be an environment where the Constitution no longer exists. You will have no rights, to the extent that if you speak out against the government, you will face serious consequences. There will be no free press, only propaganda controlled by the government. Further, guns will be confiscated. The right to assemble denied. Expect checkpoints and tightly controlled travel. The government could also lock the boundaries of your town.
Might this all sound like extreme circumstances, and how could a government based on freedoms and generations of liberty do such a thing. The government will do what is necessary to maintain peace and order during times of National Emergencies. Don’t believe it could happen to you? Ask the 120,000 Japanese-Americans who were denied their freedom, property, and way of life under Executive 9066 in 1942 to 1945.
How to Survive Martial Law in America.
Martial Law – The system of rules that become reality when the military takes over the regular administration of justice in a land.
Okay, let’s say that the scenario that seems so possible actually happens. The United States is attacked with a weapon of mass destruction. A major U.S. city — possibly Washington D.C. — goes up in a mushroom cloud.
Or, perhaps this hits closer to home at this present moment – a national emergency is declared as a new viral pandemic spreads rapidly and gets out of control.
Don’t think that can happen?
If you’re on this page near to the time I updated it (March 21th 2020), the idea of martial law definitely seems like a possibility. It has been discussed by politicians including Marco Rubio (who caused a minor controversy by completely misspelling the word). Even though the context was that Rubio was denying that it was a possibility, the fact that such a denial was necessary in the first place suggests we are closer to martial law today than we were two months ago.
If the pandemic situation here in the USA gets a lot worse (with a death toll in the tens or hundreds of thousands or more), or if some other crisis scenario were to occur (e.g a nuclear or biologica/chemical attack, or a massive supervolcano eruption)… Then the possibility of martial law increases substantially. While we’re still far from that point, it makes sense to educate yourself on the possible scenarios (and how to keep your family safe and sound even in these kinds of circumstances).
Enter Martial Law
These kinds of major crisis situations would almost certainly result in a period of Martial Law. With so many threats and theories about America’s collapse, the U.S. government is likely to take extreme steps in a last ditch effort to hold on to power and order, as all hell breaks loose across the land.
What Martial Law Might Look Like In The United States
First, martial law has been looked at in several films, etc. Along with this, no one really knows exactly what it would mean as the way it would take hold would differ depending on the circumstances. But in a situation of great crisis, we might expect some or all of the following measures to be taken:
Curfew – A curfew at or before dark would no doubt be imposed (this is actually already happening in a number of cities across the US – for example, New Jersey has suggested a “voluntary” curfew, and a number of counties in the Bay Area have ordered a “shelter-in-place”) The reasons are obvious: If the military is in an area, they want as little to deal with as possible in terms of risk and disorder(and people create risk and disorder).
Further, when the military is in charge fun will be less paramount. Restaurants, bars, and other entertainment venues would likely be closed anyways (as they are in many states at this moment). In other words, the government and soldiers won’t want to deal with people out after dark.
Employment to continue soon – Initially, all activity would likely cease if a genuinely major crisis occurred in the US. (With the current pandemic, we seem to be 30/40% of the way there, with some people not working, some people working from home, and some essential governmental or societal functions still operating). That being said, in real martial law, it servers the government for the economy to still appear to be functioning, so depending on the specific circumstances of the crisis, the government would want people to return to work as soon as it was safe for most people.
In other words, we all need work to survive and that’s exactly what the country would want to do: Survive.
Rations And Tribunals Under Martial Law
Rations – The military just might end up in charge of rationing out food and supplies, if needed in the area, during a period of Martial Law.
Military Tribunals – Don’t expect a standard jury and trial during such times. A trial? Yes, in a way at least. Basically, members of the military ( a military commission ) would meet to determine a lawbreakers fate during a Martial Law period and this would happen swiftly. in general, this kind of “trial” would favor speed over fairness.
Further, the public would have to expect much more severe penalties for lawbreaking (particularly for those offenses that could in any minor way be tied to violence, disorder, and of course, terrorism).
In other words, if you were found to be a terrorist under military rule. . . Well, let’s face it: The government would probably pass a law putting these people to death.
And remember, during such times the military would not act like local police. In other words, they would probably give possible lawbreakers only one shot before shooting on site if that.
Security – With security the number one directive, expect that leaving a city/ area by car would be an ordeal. We’re talking akin to getting into Canada (actually, a lot worse). Thus, travel, beyond to places of employment, would be severely restricted (possibly by permit only?).
Detention Camps – Some might not like to hear this but detention camps would clearly be warranted if such a thing were to occur. Back on November 13, 2001 the President issued a military order involving the detention, treatment, and trial of certain non-citizens in the war against terrorism. Basically, this order said that the government could detain non-citizens reasonably suspected of being a terrorist or harboring them (as long as they were treated humanely in these detention centers).
Currently, there are many detention centers that already exist to hold illegal immigrants – granted, they aren’t US citizens, but it demonstrates to you that the government (regardless of political party) is definitely not averse to putting people in camps as long as they feel they can get away with it.
Further, there would be a trial (by military commission). In other words, much like the Military Tribunals spoken of earlier.
Beyond this, it is quite clear that the United States has considered such detention situations as Halliburton’s former engineering and construction subsidiary has a contingency contract with the Department of Homeland Security to construct detention facilities in the case of national emergency (according to WorldNetDaily).
An ICE spokesman (ICE being the former subsidiary) further indicated that the detention centers would be used in the event of a mass migration crisis (which it seems we are seeing in action right now). Along with this, it is very hard to know how many people might be detained in such a manner.
A note about detention camps: You might think that after a genuine crisis, if martial law is declared, then the government is merely locking up those who deserve it. People who are either out to harm the country or its citizens, or people who are dangerous, criminal, disorderly, etc.
But without the right to a fair trial, how would you know? The truth is, we should all have a problem with unlawful or illegal detention camps, particularly if those camps hold US citizens. Because if they can justify putting someone else into a camp, they can justify putting you in a camp. Don’t fall into the trap of believing your (or your neighbors) freedom is worth trading for a slightly better sense of security or safety. Even if the ones being put in detention are “bad” people in your estimation, the government has a responsibility to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they have committed crimes – otherwise detention is illegal and unethical. It’s not about who gets locked up – it’s about the process of how they get locked up.
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What Does It Take To Survive Martial Law?
If America ever takes that step, where martial law is enacted by national, state and even local authorities, it will likely be a last ditch-attempt for the government of the United States of America to hold on to power.
Once martial law takes place, America is most likely on a fast slope to complete collapse.
In order to survive genuine martial law (the kind where freedom and democracy are put on pause but never come back), it pays if you’ve been prepping for disaster. While stockpiling survival food would help to an extent, if you want to “escape” martial law, you’ll want bug out. Staying in your home (unless you already live in a remote area and mostly off the grid) is a bad idea because the military will want to have control of the people, so they will have a heavy presence in towns and cities.
You’ll want to bug out to somewhere remote, and have a plan for meeting your needs based on the survival rule of threes. In the short term, that means having emergency blankets for shelter (or knowing how to build a shelter in the wild), and having a plan for water (survival water filters make sense for the short term, you’ll also want to know how to find water in the wild, harvest rainwater and or distill your own).
Also, for food, you should have some emergency food with you as a baseline, but also know how to forage, trap, fish, and/or hunt. Finally, you’ll want to have a survival first aid kit with you (as you should anytime you’re spending an extended amount of time in the wilderness or a remote area).
If you’ve got your rule of three survival needs covered, you should also be thinking about staying off grid, and for comfort’s sake having some kind of portable solar generator might be advisable. Avoid contact with other people where possible, camouflage your camp and shelter, and hope that the military takes no notice of you.
Warning About Martial Law: You May Never See Your Family Again
In a time of collapse of as the result of a WMD attack on America by terrorists, or the spread of a pandemic that kills millions, if Martial Law is declared in your region, my advice to you is to keep your head and don’t get caught up with the mass-anger that is likely to erupt as a protest by several strong-willed Americans standing up for the “red, white and blue” when they feel that government troops are now infringing on their Constitutional rights.
Instead of losing your head (as a lot of people will), if some pissed off soldiers show up in your neighborhood or at your door and want to search your home for weapons, don’t get in the way. Let them in. As a survival tactic, keep your cool, don’t make any smart remarks, don’t make any threats, don’t call them “Nazis”, as tempting as it might be. Make their day pleasant. Let them think you are on their side, even if you are not. Hopefully they leave without you pissing them off in any way.
You see, in a time like this, these soldiers may be acting on orders to simply seize anyone that gives any trouble at all — boom, that’s it, off you go to a concentration camp, and there’s a good chance you may never see your family again. Here’s why:
In a time of collapse, there’s no telling what drastic event is going to happen in the coming weeks or months in the community where your family lives while you’re away. What if your family has to flee a new danger that comes to the area? What if they evacuate to a distant town?
If you’re locked away in a concentration camp, you’re not likely to see them again. You might think that you could just look for them online or call them – but in these kinds of circumstances, the internet probably won’t function any longer and access to cell phones will almost definitely be restricted (if they still work at all).
Plus, what if a few weeks from now some rioters, looters, or thugs arrive in town, find out that your wife has “no man” at home to protect her, and decide to pay her a visit one evening. If you happen to have a daughter or two also at home; well, you see where this might go.
So back to that day when government troops show up at your home and put you under house arrest and even demand your guns. Don’t do anything stupid. Be smart. Your family needs you.
Think, Don’t React
Even if they take your guns, it’s not the end of the world. Remember, this is America: A land of guns. Someone, somewhere is going to have a firearm. (For those of you who don’t believe that President Trump would take away your guns, you are sorely mistaken. Like him or hate him, it’s unlikely that he genuinely cares about the second amendment either way. If it was to his advantage, he would definitely take away your guns – it’s just that right now it’s not to his advantage).
Stock some extra gear on hand (you know things that you can barter with) and more than likely at some point you’ll be able to trade for a new firearm or two in the coming days or weeks, should you need to re-arm.
There are a lot of red-blooded Americans pissed off today just at the thought that the government may one day clamp down on assault rifles; I think it’s a safe bet a lot of these guys are going to end up hauled off to concentration camps, others will go down in a foolish blaze of what they think is “glory,” others will end up murdering troops acting on orders and then having to flee on foot, hoping they don’t get caught: Because if they’re caught, there’s a great chance that they’ll be executed shortly after, without even a trial.
Under true, extended martial law where democracy no longer holds, America is likely to become a dangerous land. Surviving in a time like this is going to take intelligent thinking, sometimes calling for a lot of humility at times; I think it will be a great time for people to seek God finally, maybe for the first time in their life. I mean for real: Repentance, faith, the whole she-bang. Finally, this will all make sense. Without God, people are going to die, not knowing or understanding how all of this could happen — how America could one day go from a nation blessed by God to a nation now suffering God’s judgments: Judgments for massive sin. That will be the reason why America falls.
Even if you are a non-believer, in order to survive this kind of extreme situation, you’ll want to play it smart, even if it’s tempting to “go down fighting”. If you want to keep your family safe and sound, then stay cool, calm, and collected, gather your wits about you, and don’t provoke the soldiers who hold your life in their hands.
Avoid Riots: Danger Of Mass Arrests
Avoid riots, protests, and so forth for the same reason as above. The last thing you want to do is be swept up in a mass arrest.
The “mass arrest” is a danger that I think a lot of people underestimate. Readers would be wise to consider that you can be separated from your family for several months, if authorities who are clamping down grab you by mistake, just because you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. In a time of catastrophic collapse, families and children need their fathers and husbands and sons. I think a great strategy for keeping your family intact following a time of collapse is for people to recognize the signs that civil unrest is about to take place and then to simply get out of Dodge before authorities take any kind of action.
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