Sunday, May 18, 2008

"...as would be a citizen without a pistol..."

"...These cases are really very hard. If we need an army at all we must provide it with the requisites of an army. The first of military necessities, or, if anybody chooses to insist upon the prior claim of ardent spirits, the second, is the game of poker. A well regulated militia being, according to the Constitution of the United States, "essential to the security of a free State," that instrument goes on to provide that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Granted the necessity of a regular army, and the right of its officers to play poker follows with the same inexorable logic that secures the right of a freeman to a hip-pocket. An officer who does not play poker is in the same pitiable position in a frontier post as would be a citizen without a pistol during an excited political canvass in Texas. The penalty of not shooting in Texas, when it is not that of being shot, is the same as that of not betting money at cards or any game of hazard in the army of our country. It is the terrible penalty of "social ostracism." ..."

- Excerpted from a New York Times article titled "Irregularities" And Poker, published: May 24, 1883.

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