The Use of the Marines as Riot Control

 In Domestic, History, Military, opinion

This photo from the LA Times in 1992 is nearly identical to one from the riots in Baltimore

Recently there have been a number of meme’s floating around that call for sending in the Marines to Baltimore to quell the rioting. Some obviously meant in jest. Some, on the other hand, seem to be a little more serious. I want to address this issue in this article.  There have been no calls for that from anybody in authority either at the state level or national level, just to be clear.

Posse Comitatus

The first thing I want to do is show you a link to the Law concerning using the Military for domestic disturbances; It’s call “The Posse Comitatus Act.”

The Bill was passed in the House on May 18th, 1878. (130 to 117)

The Bill was passed in the Senate on June 7th, 1878. (29 to 21) With amendment.

The House agreed to the Senate amendment on June 15th, 1878

Signed into law by President Rutherford B. Hayes on June 18th, 1878.

This is the law pertaining to the use of Military on Domestic soil. Our Military is for this nation’s defense from foreign enemies. It is not to be used against our own citizens. These are Federal troops we are talking about: any and all branches of the military.

National Guard

The National Guard is a different matter. They are under the direct command of the individual states. They operate under the state’s Governor. These men and women are not federalized. They cannot be sent outside of their respective states borders unless they have been federalized.

I served with the IN and OH Air Guard. Every time I was sent to another unit in another state, I was a member of an HQ Unit, and was on Government orders. I was Federalized. When I deployed, anywhere outside the borders of my respective state, I had to be on Government orders. (Just for reference as to how the system works.)

The Governor of MD has activated/called up National Guard troops from the state of MD. These are his “troops.” He has the command and control as to their scope of their mission. It is the same as using the National Guard for disaster relief in the event of a natural disaster.


The Marines were called up in 1992- this photo is from May 2, 1992 in Compton, California – LA Times

Marines in times of rioting?

There is a history of the Marines being used in a Domestic Disturbance: in 1992, during the riots in Los Angeles, CA, relating to the Rodney King beating, the Marines were called up.

Personally, I don’t think that using the Marines or any Federalized member of our Military is in the best interest of the U.S. And its citizens. The men and women of our Military are trained in the art of war. They fight our nation’s battles against those that wish to destroy us. They are good at what they do. The best in the world.

They have no place in a domestic disturbance such as we  have seen in Baltimore. Those riots are to be handled by the local law enforcement personnel. They are backed up by the Maryland National Guard. That is where it should stay. Local. Order maintained by the local police.

This is still America

War fighters should not be used for quelling a domestic disturbance. These individuals we see rioting, looting, and destroying property are U.S. Citizens, not enemy combatants. They have all the rights and privileges granted to U.S. Citizens.

Regardless of the fact that they have acted in this extremely violent manner, this is still America. This is the land and the people for whom so much blood has been shed. Lives have been lost protecting the Constitution and the Sovereignty of this great nation. Do not make a mockery of what our brave men and women have fought so bravely and strongly for down through history.

Enraged, yes- but let’s unite

The scenes we see every day on the news and on our social media, anger and enrage us all. Don’t misunderstand me,  I would love to send in the Marines to kick these rioters a new one. I feel the anger and the disgust as you do, however, I think it would be an injustice and a dangerous precedent to use our own military on domestic soil.

Let the local law enforcement and the National Guard use the proper means to quell the violence. Let’s keep this all in perspective.

The best defense we have is to stand as one, united in purpose, and take back our communities and cities. Above all, Pray! The best defensive and offensive stand we can make is the one accomplished on our knees.

  • Phil Millard

    You mention the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, but you FAILED to point out that under BOTH the original act of 1878, and the Posse Comitatus Act as amended in 1956, apply ONLY to the Army and the Air Force, the Marine Corps, Navy and Coast Guard are specifically excluded, though the Navy has regulations in place that “generally’ follow Posse Comitatus.

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