Hurricane Harvey Revives Citizen Militia

A natural disaster “of Biblical proportions,” Hurricane Harvey, plus technology and American Spirit have revived a long lost concept in America: the citizen militia. In the early days of America, the militia was our main form of defense. Regular citizens, armed and willing to leave their daily lives to defend their fledgling nation. In the Old West, where law enforcement was scarce, regular citizens formed posses to aid local sheriffs in running down and capturing bad guys.

Welcome to the 21st century citizen militia. Using modern technology, the modern citizen militia was able to coordinate rescuers and victims during Hurricane Harvey. In many cases, long before state or federal resources could respond. A recent story in the Fort Worth Star Telegram outlines many such stories, Texans don’t trust government, so they rescued each other when things got desperate. Facebook, Zello, Google Docs and Google Maps all allowed average citizens to connect and direct help where it was needed in near realtime.

During his trip to Texas, President Trump urged state and federal officials to make the response a model for the future. “It’s a real team, and we want to do it better than ever before,” Mr. Trump said. “We want to be looked at in five years, in 10 years from now as, this is the way to do it.” He was speaking of the great coordination between state and federal officials, but the “team” effort and model for the future may well be found in the citizen militia response. While the government does have resources that the general public does not, We The People can put more “boots on the ground” much faster. When time is of the essence and lives are on the line, that may just make all the difference in the world.

The waters have not yet fully receded in Texas, but the latest death toll stands at about 60 lives lost. Considering the magnitude of the devastation, the lack of evacuation in many areas and the prolonged deluge, the response of average citizens may have been the reason for the relatively low casualty rate. Hurricane Katrina, 10 years ago, claimed over 1800 lives and Hurricane Sandy, a category 1 just 5 years ago claimed 147.

The experience of Hurricane Harvey and the response of average citizens has implications for far more than simply disaster response. We live in a time where, for just about anything under the sun, “there’s an app for that.” The short-lived FOX television show, APB, featured an app for people to report crimes, send descriptions, even photos and video of crimes in realtime. While much of the technology featured in the show was futuristic, the seeds of genius may have been planted just the same.

Could the citizen militia or posse help fight crime with something like the FOX show, APB app. Image Source: FOX

There are numerous apps for people to get crime reports in their neighborhoods, locate local pedophiles, etc. Much of this already happens on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, so it’s just a matter of bringing it all together. So, how long before the Old West (New Tech) Posse rides again, aiding law enforcement like in days of old?

Will an involved citizenry with government oversight and coordination be the new model going forward? It remains to be seen whether the response to Hurricane Harvey was just a “Texas Thang” or whether it could be the new American model. The response in Texas was not JUST Texans, though. People from all over responded, from the Cajun Navy in neighboring Louisiana to private citizens and first responders from all across the country.

It also remains to be seen whether the citizen involvement in the relief efforts was a response to tragedy or whether it can transition to involvement in everyday life. There was much fanfare for the way people set aside their everyday differences and simply helped those in need. That’s not uncommon in dire circumstances, but rarely lasts long after the fact.

Considering the divisiveness of late, the unity in Texas was a welcomed reprieve from all the negativity. However, with Hurricane Irma threatening the east coast, unfortunately we may have a chance to test the new model all too soon and see if it was, in fact, just a “Texas Thang.”

With resources depleted after Harvey, the citizen militia may be more crucial than ever if Hurricane Irma gets as big as they are expecting and makes landfall. The government can only do so much, but Bubbas with boats, housewives with smartphones, tech geeks and Americans in general can do SO MUCH MORE!

About the Author

Jon Britton
Author, Advocate, Blogger & Zombie Aficionado. Air Force veteran and jack of all trades, with a wide range of experience with many different cultures around the world as well as working alongside both CEOs and average Joes. "Writing was never a goal or even vaguely contemplated as a career choice, it just happened, an accidental discovery of a talent and a passion." A passion that has taken him in many directions from history to zombies to advocacy to News especially in this day and age of "Fake News" and "Alternative Facts." The Truth Is Out There!

1 Comment on "Hurricane Harvey Revives Citizen Militia"

  1. Keep on keeping on !
    My buddy !!

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