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Walsingham

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To get back on topic, although I'm not sure that an armed citizenry prevents tyranny, I'm bloody convinced that an armed citizenry could cause one. Albeit by accident.

 

How, I hear you ask? My source material here is, variously, Waco, the Militia movement in the USA, Iraqi insurgents and the cause-and-effect response of liberal democracies to crises.

 

A US militia group, fired up by what they perceive to be a clear and present threat to their civil liberties by the current government (my personal view is that they are misguided, but that's not important right now) gets involved in a minor conflagration with local law enforcement. We can then easily imagine a Branch Davidian / Waco scenario developing, with ham-fisted attempts to resolve the situation. With tanks.

 

Imagine a heavily armed, militant America with lots and lots of these militias. In acts of defiance that aren't unlike Middle Eastern insurgent tactics they react. This brings in of itself a counter-reaction by the Federal Government whereby innocents are hurt, albeit by accident (collateral damage probably looks a bit different if it happens on your own street).

 

Those who were sympathetic to the aims of the militias but who would never lift a finger against the state are galvanised. That is to say, Radicalised. The government enacts emergency legislation. The Media weighs in. An escalating cycle of violence by the aggrieved leads to the mobilization of military units and the further suspension of civil liberties.

 

Whack-jobs like Timothy McVeigh wanted this outcome. Happily, it is unlikely to happen. But my point is that the assertion that a heavily armed populace prevents tyranny is nonsense, the state will always have the monopoly on the tanks and helis and hardware. But it could provoke it. Several thousand insurgents armed with small arms locked down most of Iraq from 2003 to the Surge, the Surge being a massive, well trained military putting a serious smackdown on them.

 

Firearms ownership as a civil liberty? Sure. Firearms ownership to support a wider principle of self-defence from an aggressor. Absolutely. But today isn't the 1700s and the Redcoats this time will be flying helicopter gunships. The 2nd amendment is pretty much bunk as constituted today.

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US armed forces aren't about to fight their own citizens on behest of some leftist, the opposite is likely true.

 

Absolutely possession of arms guarantees freedom, the leftists don't believe in costitutional rights and believe in free speech only for themselves. For an example for how wonderfully peaceful a country is where guns are banned, one needs to look no further than Mexico.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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^ With respect, you are missing my point.

 

The 'people' to whom you refer are in my scenario militia-men. Your federal law enforcement agencies followed orders and assaulted the Branch Davidian compound, killing civilians in the process. I make no judgement on the validity of the operation, in fact my sympathies probably lie with the ATF agents in the field on that day if I'm honest.

 

Nonetheless, the US Government conducted lethal executive action on it's own people that day. The state can and will respond to threats, both external and domestic.

 

In my scenario a process of radicalisation allows the armed citizenry to become a de facto insurgent threat, easily presented as a legitimate threat to the armed forces. I'm not suggesting that the US army would be deployed like a blunt instrument, after all even in Iraq there were flashes of finesse. But an aid-to-the-civil-power operation with the army supporting law enforcement against a clearly delienated domestic foe? That operation creeping into something else, like a cycle of low-level insurgent violence, domestic terrorism and the like?

 

I hope not, this is sci-fi stuff, but I;m trying to build some cause and effect into the idea that an armed citizenry is some sort of rose-tinted pressure valve against tyranny.

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I don't see it, militias have a tiny amount of support, and not all of them are that radical. Something like this is a more likely scenario: http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20100422/wl_time/08599198386500 You'll notice the military isn't involved at all.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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...and not all of them are that radical.

 

True, but that's sort of like saying that not all KKK members are that raciest - some might not be but they're the tiny, tiny minority.

Edited by Deadly_Nightshade

"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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Hmmm I'm warming to my dystopic sci-fi theme which is part JG Ballard and part Mad Max.

 

Eventually, the coastal liberal elites of the USA grow tired of the conservative fly-over states, who have responded to the high-handed way they are governed by turning to the gun, fundamentalist Christianity and the militias. A new Confederacy growls.

 

The Coast Elites turn on the Centre. Forward military bases support civil aid units who attempt to turn the militias away from their supposedly primitive beliefs using hearts-and-minds tactics by day and special forces assassination by night. Militiamen in pickups fight skirmishes with the Government forces, ever watchful of drones.

 

Does this sound familiar?

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^ Calm down, most people on this thread have been exceedingly open-minded about firearms ownership. I was just suggesting that perhaps we should draw the line at anti-aircraft guns or .50 cal machineguns. Or does that make me some sort of Volvo-driving hippy?

 

With all due respect, why can't the average citizen be allowed to buy and own military-grade weapons? Of course, there's a caveat in that question: How many average Americans (with average income of non-governmental employees being $40k per annum) do you think could afford military-grade weapons? How many could afford to purchase, maintain, and arm just one tank? Odds are that those who could afford that would be the least likely to (as America's wealthy have moved more and more to the political left on nearly all issues, including gun control).

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Hmmm I'm warming to my dystopic sci-fi theme which is part JG Ballard and part Mad Max.

 

Eventually, the coastal liberal elites of the USA grow tired of the conservative fly-over states, who have responded to the high-handed way they are governed by turning to the gun, fundamentalist Christianity and the militias. A new Confederacy growls.

 

The Coast Elites turn on the Centre. Forward military bases support civil aid units who attempt to turn the militias away from their supposedly primitive beliefs using hearts-and-minds tactics by day and special forces assassination by night. Militiamen in pickups fight skirmishes with the Government forces, ever watchful of drones.

 

Does this sound familiar?

You realize the US military is almost entirely recruited from the conservative fly-over states, and the Coast Elites don't know which end of a gun is which, don't you?

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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...and the Coast Elites don't know which end of a gun is which, don't you?

 

I'm sure you'll find plenty of liberal people who know how to shoot - in fact there are even left-wing militias (not that they're any better than the right-wing ones).

"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."
-H. H. Munro

 

"Geez. It's like we lost some sort of bet and ended up saddled with a bunch of terrible new posters on this forum."

-Hurlshot

 

 

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Happily, it is unlikely to happen.

 

Very, very, very, extremely unlikely. We are a civilized people, no one would resort to violence except in the extreme last defense of life and home, except for the nut jobs and thankfully, they are few and for the most part easily identified and quietly dissuaded or arrested. But I see where you are going and I just cannot see it happening. It is all together possible of a state(s) seeking to seperate from the US at some point, but I STRONGLY believe if it ever happens no one will fight to stop it.

 

Firearms ownership as a civil liberty? Sure. Firearms ownership to support a wider principle of self-defence from an aggressor. Absolutely. But today isn't the 1700s and the Redcoats this time will be flying helicopter gunships. The 2nd amendment is pretty much bunk as constituted today.

 

But without the 2nd Amendment you would not have any of it.

"What can't be changed must be endured"

Robert Jordan

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You realize the US military is almost entirely recruited from the conservative fly-over states?

 

Indeed.

 

The US military has an excellent record of obeying orders. It is disciplined and with an aggressive, warrior ethos. It will do as it is ordered by it's CiC.

 

My counter-factual has some real world precedent. The US government had no problems using it's military to quell civil unrest in New Orleans post Katrina. Furthermore, when that wasn't enough, your pioneering PMCs provided extra muscle too. I'm sure plenty of 'security contractors' hail from the 'Flyover' states.

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I honestly don't understand at all why a civilian should need a gun. It would be a miserably failed society where people are afraid of walking around unarmed.

"Well, overkill is my middle name. And my last name. And all of my other names as well!"

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To get back on topic, although I'm not sure that an armed citizenry prevents tyranny, I'm bloody convinced that an armed citizenry could cause one. Albeit by accident.

 

How, I hear you ask? My source material here is, variously, Waco, the Militia movement in the USA, Iraqi insurgents and the cause-and-effect response of liberal democracies to crises.

 

You make an interesting point. Up to a point :) We've been talking this through, so my point has developed and I may now be contradicting earlier statements.

 

1. In conventional military terms there is no way that any small-arms armed citizens are going to be able to engage with US regular armies the way they did back in the war of independence.

2. However, a mass rising is always a threat to even heavily armed regimes, and still more so when the citizens have guns. The fact that it would have to be a properly mass rising doesn't worry me, it reassures me.

3. I can't remember my point 3.

 

EDIT: I've remembered. @Wrath of Dagon. If you read Stratfor, the BBC, or Jane's Intelligence Review rather than just following Fox News you'd know that much of the Mexican violence comes about using guns purchased in the United States. Moreover I fail to see how every bastard owning a gun has made Afghanistan any safer.

Edited by Walsingham

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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EDIT: I've remembered. @Wrath of Dagon. If you read Stratfor, the BBC, or Jane's Intelligence Review rather than just following Fox News you'd know that much of the Mexican violence comes about using guns purchased in the United States. Moreover I fail to see how every bastard owning a gun has made Afghanistan any safer.
They get a lot of their guns from the US because it's the easiest path thanks to our open borders. Surely if they can smuggle tons of narcotics they would have no trouble obtaining guns from elsewhere if necessary. As far as Afghanistan, that's a civil war, quite different from law abiding citizens being defenseless and at the complete mercy of criminal gangs as in Mexico.

 

You realize the US military is almost entirely recruited from the conservative fly-over states?

 

Indeed.

 

The US military has an excellent record of obeying orders. It is disciplined and with an aggressive, warrior ethos. It will do as it is ordered by it's CiC.

 

My counter-factual has some real world precedent. The US government had no problems using it's military to quell civil unrest in New Orleans post Katrina. Furthermore, when that wasn't enough, your pioneering PMCs provided extra muscle too. I'm sure plenty of 'security contractors' hail from the 'Flyover' states.

Surely I don't need to explain the difference between legitimate law enforcement and suppression of liberty? Btw, I don't think any federal troops were used for law enforcement in NO, as that's illegal. You're probably thinking about the National Guard. Edited by Wrath of Dagon

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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Surely I don't need to explain the difference between legitimate law enforcement and suppression of liberty?
Oooh, I know this one, I know this one!

 

Let's see... perspective?

- When he is best, he is a little worse than a man, and when he is worst, he is little better than a beast.

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Surely I don't need to explain the difference between legitimate law enforcement and suppression of liberty?
Oooh, I know this one, I know this one!

 

Let's see... perspective?

 

 

I'm betting on semantics.

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Legitimate law enforcement is anything that is... legal.

 

Look at the emergency powers statutes of most countries. Most of these concern measures that I'm sure most law enforcement and / or military personnel would prefer not to enact. But most of them would, even if it were with long teeth.

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EDIT: I've remembered. @Wrath of Dagon. If you read Stratfor, the BBC, or Jane's Intelligence Review rather than just following Fox News you'd know that much of the Mexican violence comes about using guns purchased in the United States. Moreover I fail to see how every bastard owning a gun has made Afghanistan any safer.
They get a lot of their guns from the US because it's the easiest path thanks to our open borders. Surely if they can smuggle tons of narcotics they would have no trouble obtaining guns from elsewhere if necessary. As far as Afghanistan, that's a civil war, quite different from law abiding citizens being defenseless and at the complete mercy of criminal gangs as in Mexico.

 

So you're saying that you want Mexicans to all be armed so that there actually IS a civil war, like in Afghanistan? Because so far as I can tell, that's what you are advocating. Armed groups of citizens duking it out with the drug cartels? It's a fantasy! It takes more to create an effective fighting man than just giving him a rifle. The Mexican army and police struggle to engage with the cartels!

 

FFS, remind me how long it is before you are going to sign up? I think you'll be a perfectly sound individual once you get some of this right wing idealism ground off, but right now you're just startling.

 

Look at it this way: serious criminals don't sweat the fact that their competitors are armed to the teeth. And their competitors are armed, oriented and organised to defend themselves. You think they are going to be deterred by a bank clerk with any sort of gun?

 

EDIT: I have been thinking and I believe this is still relevant to and consistent with the OP. A government with despotic tendencies can be deterred by a mass movement for the simple reason that the mass may move on them aggressively. People know where the government is. But individual citizens can only work reactively to crime. In such circumstances the criminal has the luxury of being aggressor and can leverage all the normal factors to come out ahead.

Edited by Walsingham

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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EDIT: I've remembered. @Wrath of Dagon. If you read Stratfor, the BBC, or Jane's Intelligence Review rather than just following Fox News you'd know that much of the Mexican violence comes about using guns purchased in the United States. Moreover I fail to see how every bastard owning a gun has made Afghanistan any safer.
They get a lot of their guns from the US because it's the easiest path thanks to our open borders. Surely if they can smuggle tons of narcotics they would have no trouble obtaining guns from elsewhere if necessary. As far as Afghanistan, that's a civil war, quite different from law abiding citizens being defenseless and at the complete mercy of criminal gangs as in Mexico.

 

So you're saying that you want Mexicans to all be armed so that there actually IS a civil war, like in Afghanistan? Because so far as I can tell, that's what you are advocating. Armed groups of citizens duking it out with the drug cartels? It's a fantasy! It takes more to create an effective fighting man than just giving him a rifle. The Mexican army and police struggle to engage with the cartels!

Mexican army and police are outnumbered. Certainly armed citizens would be able to protect themselves far better than they can now.
FFS, remind me how long it is before you are going to sign up? I think you'll be a perfectly sound individual once you get some of this right wing idealism ground off, but right now you're just startling.
Sign up for what?
Look at it this way: serious criminals don't sweat the fact that their competitors are armed to the teeth. And their competitors are armed, oriented and organised to defend themselves. You think they are going to be deterred by a bank clerk with any sort of gun?
Happens all the time here, some criminals try to rob a convenience store, and an armed clerk blows them away.

 

EDIT: I have been thinking and I believe this is still relevant to and consistent with the OP. A government with despotic tendencies can be deterred by a mass movement for the simple reason that the mass may move on them aggressively. People know where the government is. But individual citizens can only work reactively to crime. In such circumstances the criminal has the luxury of being aggressor and can leverage all the normal factors to come out ahead.
But he risks being killed far more if he knows the citizen is an unarmed sheep.

"Moral indignation is a standard strategy for endowing the idiot with dignity." Marshall McLuhan

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Wrath, the argument is more nuanced than you describe. I'm not actually disagreeing with you, just asking you to consider the alternative.

 

Personally, I can't get too worked up about gun control in the US because I don't live there. In the UK, however, it sort of works. It isn't perfect, our gun laws are too prohibitive and led by urban, left-wing ignorance in my view, but that's another story.

 

Aggravated burglaries (i.e. with weapons) are rare here. That's because the sorts of criminals who use guns don't commit burglaries as a rule. Here, it's drug addicts after easily disposable goods. And, as easily disposable goods get cheaper they tend to resort to robberies so thank the assorted dieties that they ain't armed.

 

Here in the UK you are on offer for five years for unlawful possession of a firearm. Period. It concentrates the mind. Criminals choose, carefully, which crimes they use guns on. And quite often, watching the news, this appears to be against other criminals. That's not an excuse to relax, because innocent people sometimes get caught up in it and that's a tragedy.

 

But we don't have guns routinely used in crime. Our police still rarely carry them. I've probably got about 35-odd years of life left and I expect to die without seeing the cops armed here. I know it's a British mindset, but I find that more reassuring than a sign of leftie, sandal wearing surrender of my liberty.

 

And I love guns. A day at the range = happy Monte. Shame I can't do it in my own country any more.

 

Cheers

MC

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^ Yeah, there were two seminal moments in recent British history concerning gun control.

 

Hungerford - 1987 - Nut-job with a semi-auto AK murders lots of people, including unarmed cop. Ban on rifles, semi-autos etc.

 

Dunblane - 1996 - Gun-nut went on a shooting spree in a Scottish school and murdered 16 kids and their teacher. The gunman, Hamilton, wasn't a Columbine-style teenager but a grown man and handgun enthusiast. After Dunblane the almost total ban on handguns came in - pro-firearms lobby argue that the warning signs were there with Hamilton and he should have been managed prior to the tragedy.

 

Gfted, we are a small country. I remember Dunblane vividly, I live at the opposite end of the country and people were crying their eyes out.

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^ Yeah, there were two seminal moments in recent British history concerning gun control.

 

Hungerford - 1987 - Nut-job with a semi-auto AK murders lots of people, including unarmed cop. Ban on rifles, semi-autos etc.

 

Dunblane - 1996 - Gun-nut went on a shooting spree in a Scottish school and murdered 16 kids and their teacher. The gunman, Hamilton, wasn't a Columbine-style teenager but a grown man and handgun enthusiast. After Dunblane the almost total ban on handguns came in - pro-firearms lobby argue that the warning signs were there with Hamilton and he should have been managed prior to the tragedy.

 

Gfted, we are a small country. I remember Dunblane vividly, I live at the opposite end of the country and people were crying their eyes out.

 

Wow, I had no idea it was so recent. So what did they do about all the guns already in circulation? Did they literally go door to door asking people to relinquish their weapons? Wasnt pretty much every citizen armed following WWII?

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No, there hasn't been a big history of civilian, urban firearms ownership in modern British history. There was the longbow, I suppose, but that was muscle-powered.

 

Even in WW2 guns were issued to military reservists, not the civilian population.

 

As for post-Dunblane, all handgun owners were given a surrender period. One friend of mine gave up about

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