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Friday, January 04, 2013

Perceptive to a point

Sam Harris writes what is a surprisingly good article on guns and gun control, at least for the first three-quarters of the article:
Coverage of the Newtown tragedy and its aftermath has been generally abysmal. In fact, I have never seen the “liberal media” conform to right-wing caricatures of itself with such alacrity. I have read articles in which literally everything said about firearms and ballistics has been wrong. I have heard major newscasters mispronounce the names of every weapon and weapons manufacturer more challenging than “Colt.” I can only imagine the mirth it has brought gun-rights zealots to see “automatic” and “semi-automatic” routinely confused, or to hear a major news anchor ominously declare that the shooter had been armed with a “Sig Sauzer” pistol. This has been more than embarrassing. It has offered a thousand points of proof that “liberal elites” don’t know anything about what matters when bullets start flying....

Most liberals responded derisively to the NRA’s suggestion that having armed and vetted men and women in our schools could save lives.  Some pointed to a public-service announcement put out by the city of Houston (funded by the Department of Homeland Security), in which the possibility of having guns on the scene was never discussed. Several commentators held up this training video in support of the creed “More guns are not the answer.” Please take a few minutes to watch this footage. Then try to imagine how a few armed civilians could respond during an attack of this kind. To help your imagination along, watch this short video, in which a motel clerk carrying a concealed weapon shoots an armed robber. The situation isn’t perfectly analogous—the wisdom of using deadly force in what might be only a robbery is at least debatable. But is it really so difficult to believe that the shooter might have been helpful during an incident of the sort depicted in Houston?

Unfortunately, after that very good start, he then hits the home stretch and goes badly awry with regards to the Second Amendment:
One of the greatest impediments to actually solving the riddle of guns in our society is the pious concern that many people have about the intent of the Second Amendment. It should hardly need to be said that despite its brilliance and utility, the Constitution of the United States was written by men who could not possibly have foreseen every change that would occur in American society in the ensuing centuries. Even if the Second Amendment guaranteed everyone the right to possess whatever weapon he or she desired (it doesn’t), we have since invented weapons that no civilian should be allowed to own. In fact, it can be easily argued that original intent of the Second Amendment had nothing to do with the right of self-defense—which remains the ethical case to be made for owning a firearm. The amendment seems to have been written to allow the states to check the power of the federal government by maintaining their militias. Given the changes that have occurred in our military, and even in our politics, the idea that a few pistols and an AR 15 in every home constitutes a necessary bulwark against totalitarianism is fairly ridiculous. If you believe that the armed forces of the United States might one day come for you—and you think your cache of small arms will suffice to defend you if they do—I’ve got a black helicopter to sell you.
It never ceases to astonish me that a document written by a group of individuals who successfully engaged in an armed rebellion against their own government is so often interpreted to mean literally everything but what it quite clearly means. Harris reveals his customary ignorance of history here; I would recommend that he consider more closely the complete inability of the US military to confiscate the weaponry of the Afghan people and its relative vulnerability in the USA compared to its bases in Afghanistan.

I'd also recommend that he think hard about the obvious lesson of Oslo.  The hundreds of thousands of caches of small arms throughout America will not suffice to defend any one individual from the armed forces of the United States, but then, what is defending the armed forces of the United States from millions of armed individuals?

Labels:

86 Comments:

Anonymous JJJ January 04, 2013 12:07 PM  

I'll name four guys who learned this the hard way:

Abraham Lincoln
James A. Garfield
William McKinley
John F. Kennedy

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2013 12:11 PM  

Mr. Harris been shot down shot down shot down.

Anonymous Noah B. January 04, 2013 12:19 PM  

"Given the changes that have occurred in our military, and even in our politics, the idea that a few pistols and an AR 15 in every home constitutes a necessary bulwark against totalitarianism is fairly ridiculous. If you believe that the armed forces of the United States might one day come for you—and you think your cache of small arms will suffice to defend you if they do—I’ve got a black helicopter to sell you."

He makes a good point here. If AR-15s are not sufficient to provide a necessary bulwark against totalitarianism, then clearly the Second Amendment protects the individual right to own weapons sufficient for that purpose.

Anonymous Stilicho January 04, 2013 12:21 PM  

In fact, it can be easily argued that original intent of the Second Amendment had nothing to do with the right of self-defense—which remains the ethical case to be made for owning a firearm.

This takes the idiotic "collective right" theory to a whole new level by claiming that only states have a right of self defense under the 2nd Amendment (what part of "the right of the people" is so bloody difficult to understand?) while simultaneously claiming that the only ethical case for gun ownership is one of individual self-defense. This completely, and blatantly ignores the fact that if, as according to Harris, there is an ethical case for self defense, it must include defending oneself from the government.

Blogger James Dixon January 04, 2013 12:22 PM  

Tad countdown starting now....

You know he won't be able to let this one pass.

Anonymous WinstonWebb January 04, 2013 12:26 PM  

Tad,
In your words the "2nd Amendment does not prohibit sensible regulations of arms".
Does the 3rd Amendment prohibit the sensible quartering of Soldiers during time of peace?
Why or why not?

Thank you,

Anonymous Daniel January 04, 2013 12:29 PM  

Yeah, and those individual fools at the North Bridge actually thought their pop-guns stood a chance against the entire British Empire!

Speaking of the gun-concerned going off the rails, I'll I've got to say is

Heh.

I can't believe the newspaper was so stupid as to present a map of weapons caches and unarmed homes to criminals, and they only charged 75 cents a copy for it.

Blogger Crude January 04, 2013 12:35 PM  

I think one of the nice fallouts of America's overseas military excursions is that we've been given great examples of what small arms and improvised weapons can do in the face of western military might.

Framing the question as 'The US Government on the attack against 1 guy and his AR', or anything close to that, is dishonest.

Anonymous ThirdMonkey January 04, 2013 12:40 PM  

What’s so damn frustrating is that most everyone is using binary arguments for or against an armed citizenry. Like most legal concepts, the 2nd amendment covers multiple reasons for an armed citizenry. It’s not just for self-defense. It also includes deterring a tyrannical government; repelling and suppressing invasions and insurrections; self-defense of ones’ life, liberty, and property; enabling citizens acting through their local government to enforce laws; and organizing militias.

The problem lies in that a number of US citizens are unwilling to assert their rights across the broad spectrum outlined in the 2nd Amendment, and state and federal governments who are forcefully asserting power to not only limit the rights of their citizenry, but asserting rights that the state and federal government should not have.

Blogger James Dixon January 04, 2013 12:41 PM  

> I can't believe the newspaper was so stupid as to present a map of weapons caches and unarmed homes to criminals, and they only charged 75 cents a copy for it.

A class action lawsuit for wanton endangerment might be in order. :)

Anonymous DrTorch January 04, 2013 12:45 PM  

Forget history. What exactly in global current events suggests that armed citizens are not better off?

Anonymous James Madison January 04, 2013 1:04 PM  

It should hardly need to be said that despite its brilliance and utility, the Constitution of the United States was written by men who could not possibly have foreseen every change that would occur in American society in the ensuing centuries.

Harris is correct.
We were also intelligent enough to know this.
That's the very reason we included Article V.

Anonymous Edjamacator January 04, 2013 1:05 PM  

What exactly in global current events suggests that armed citizens are not better off?

The real world or the one in leftists' heads?

OpenID newrebeluniv January 04, 2013 1:06 PM  

Too bad the government restricts the right to own black helicopters so effectively. I'd like to have one of those. With mini-guns on the doors. That would be sweet.

I have always taken exception to the idea that the American armed forces could effectively be used to suppress the population. Those boys and girls in uniform are (mostly) from here. Some day they will go home. it might be a good thing if they were not known to have helped round up cetain people in their hometowns. Under such conditions, even being in uniform would carry an unfavorable stigma. The volunteer army might collapse entirely. No doubt, some would take to their new duties with enthusiasm. But not all of them. We can disagree about the percentages.

--Hale

Blogger Herb Nowell January 04, 2013 1:09 PM  

You know, the Founders didn't foresee radio, TV, or the internet. Given how many reputations have been ruined by the short cycle of such news being used to broadcast loudly then correct quietly incorrect information it's clear our pious regard for the First Amendment is a problem.

We clearly need a 24 hour waiting period for broadcasting and vetting news via these new mediums.

Also, clearly the Founders couldn't see how the internet could lead to flash mobs so we need to outlaw the clearly unprotected assemblies created via these media.

Oh, and since the Founders didn't foresee radar, infrared cameras, and phones the Fourth Amendment clearly doesn't apply to them being used as forms of search.

This is fun. I need to find all the other "technologically irrelevant" parts of the Constitution.

OpenID newrebeluniv January 04, 2013 1:09 PM  

A class action lawsuit for wanton endangerment might be in order. :)

Obvious malicious harassment.

Anonymous Tench and Patrick January 04, 2013 1:15 PM  

Tad,

If you think the NRA and the GOA are radical, maybe we should pay you a visit. When I wrote that "every terrible implement of war is the birthright of an American", I meant it. Wouldn't you agree that an AT-4 could clean out a mess of federal thug troops very easily? That's terrible, as in inspiring terror, isn't it?

Blogger Joshua_D January 04, 2013 1:15 PM  

Noah B. January 04, 2013 12:19 PM

He makes a good point here. If AR-15s are not sufficient to provide a necessary bulwark against totalitarianism, then clearly the Second Amendment protects the individual right to own weapons sufficient for that purpose.


I concur.

Anonymous Tench and Patrick January 04, 2013 1:15 PM  

Tad,

If you think the NRA and the GOA are radical, maybe we should pay you a visit. When I wrote that "every terrible implement of war is the birthright of an American", I meant it. Wouldn't you agree that an AT-4 could clean out a mess of federal thug troops very easily? That's terrible, as in inspiring terror, isn't it?

Anonymous Tench and Patrick January 04, 2013 1:15 PM  

Tad,

If you think the NRA and the GOA are radical, maybe we should pay you a visit. When I wrote that "every terrible implement of war is the birthright of an American", I meant it. Wouldn't you agree that an AT-4 could clean out a mess of federal thug troops very easily? That's terrible, as in inspiring terror, isn't it?

Anonymous Stickwick January 04, 2013 1:20 PM  

If you believe that the armed forces of the United States might one day come for you—and you think your cache of small arms will suffice to defend you if they do—I’ve got a black helicopter to sell you.

This is from a supposedly disciplined scientific mind? He's right that one armed individual pitted against government forces would be irrelevant, but as Vox points out, millions of armed and PO'd individuals is a real problem for the government.

Is Harris unaware that guns are flying off the shelves in almost every state? It's as though people are preparing for civil war. It's unlikely that the majority of the military would comply with orders to engage domestically, so that mostly leaves the alphabet-soup organizations, like the FBI and the ATF, as the government force. These guys are unlikely to have forgotten the lessons of Waco -- even though they eventually prevailed, it wasn't without significant resistance. If they were facing dozens, hundreds, if not thousands, of Wacos, they'd be completely overwhelmed (if they were so foolish as to even try, that is).

Anonymous Loki of Asgard January 04, 2013 1:20 PM  

Perhaps I had too much to drink last night, but it would seem I do not see Tad's comments today.

If that is the case, I should drink as much every night, really.

Anonymous Gen. Kong January 04, 2013 1:25 PM  

The idiocracy who listens to the Ministry of Truth is beneath comment at this point. Honestly, what can be said to folks whose response to an explicit demonstration of Der Staat's complete failure to protect even their own children in one of its numerous indoctrination centers is to demand even more of the same? It's a wonder they know enough to breathe.

As for the leftists who populate the ranks of the Ministry of Truth, the regime and what Moldbug refers to as 'the Cathedral', their desire is nothing less totalitarianism (despite all lies to the contrary). Now and again, their mask slips off, revealing the inner Pol Pot.

Anonymous Heh January 04, 2013 1:26 PM  

I have always taken exception to the idea that the American armed forces could effectively be used to suppress the population. Those boys and girls in uniform are (mostly) from here. Some day they will go home.

Imperial tyrannies have a solution to this problem - "divide and rule". If a given area becomes rebellious, you bring in a military unit largely consisting of troops from a different area, or one consisting of foreign mercenaries. Bring in the Central Asian conscripts to crush the Ukrainians, bring in the East Germans to crush the Czechs, etc. A unit of inner city blacks or Latinos would have no problem keeping suburban or rural whites in check.

Anonymous Just us January 04, 2013 1:31 PM  

"If a given area becomes rebellious, you bring in a military unit largely consisting of troops from a different area, or one consisting of foreign mercenaries. Bring in the Central Asian conscripts to crush the Ukrainians, bring in the East Germans to crush the Czechs, etc. A unit of inner city blacks or Latinos would have no problem keeping suburban or rural whites in check."

Or bring in UN "peace keepers" from Nepal to shit in the local water supply like they did in Haiti and spread cholera.

Blogger ajw308 January 04, 2013 1:32 PM  

Did the assaulted at Waco fire back with their legally owned firearms? I don't think so because I never heard that issue raised. I do recall the caliber of a rifle, or two, being lauded by the MSM as proof the residents at Waco were bad bad men, women, and children.

I think the next Waco may not have such a lopsided body count

Anonymous Stilicho January 04, 2013 1:34 PM  

If that is the case, I should drink as much every night, really.

He was a phantasm of your sober mind, or, put another way, a pink elephant?

Anonymous Stilicho January 04, 2013 1:36 PM  

A unit of inner city blacks or Latinos would have no problem keeping suburban or rural whites in check.

Laughed, I did. Your context was clear, but this is hilarious nonetheless.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2013 1:38 PM  

Today I learned that getting me off my game in Black Ops is extremely easy. All you have to do is start taking a pro gun-control stance and spout some idiocy about how we all need to give up guns for the children.

Anonymous Just us January 04, 2013 1:43 PM  

Imperial tyrannies have a solution to this problem - "divide and rule".

Similar to that the idiots that be have been using immigrants and their crappy cultures to engage in Low-intensity conflict (LIC) for awhile now especially in urban environments.

Anonymous Stilicho January 04, 2013 1:43 PM  

What happens when the force is staffed by politically correct and politically obedient, who dare not bite the hand that feeds it in a depressed labor market?

Arbeit Macht Frei happens. We're not there yet, but that is the natural progression for leftists.

Anonymous Stilicho January 04, 2013 1:44 PM  

Today I learned that getting me off my game in Black Ops is extremely easy. All you have to do is start taking a pro gun-control stance and spout some idiocy about how we all need to give up guns for the children.

Tad plays Black Ops?

Anonymous Stickwick January 04, 2013 1:45 PM  

A unit of inner city blacks or Latinos would have no problem keeping suburban or rural whites in check.

ROFL. The idea of these savages forming any kind of cohesive "unit" is laughable in the first place. But even if anyone seriously thinks a mob of gang-bangers would be effective against average people, this video of a lone female senior citizen dealing with five armed young black guys will offer a serious reality check.

Anonymous JartStar January 04, 2013 1:49 PM  

Light infantry and small arms is all that is needed to battle a larger, more powerful force if the larger force is restrained politically which they almost certainly would be in the case of a US civil conflict. Semi-automatic assault rifles, most of which could easily be converted to auto would be the foundation of the rebellion.

The need for nukes and/or tanks isn’t necessary in the beginning if ever. Take a look at the Vietnam conflict and all the way until very late in the war the PAVN was almost entirely light infantry and very effective against a militarily superior force who was constrained by politics.

Modern governments could use WMD on their own populace but to what end? They would simply inherit a wasteland of chemical, biological, and nuclear residue with a shattered economy and infrastructure.

I support the general populace having semi-auto rifles, and with permits for full auto just as we have now. They will be enough if rebellion is needed.

Anonymous Stickwick January 04, 2013 1:54 PM  

It's also worth remembering that many in the alphabet organizations (especially those in the armed divisions/branches) served in the military at one time.

There are generally two types of people who go into military and law-enforcement. The first is the benevolent sheepdog type. Sheepdogs really just want to protect people. The second is what is commonly referred to as the "door-kicker." Door-kickers are guys who live for the rush, who really like to have power over people, and get a thrill out of smashing in doors and cracking skulls. The ratio of door-kicker to sheepdog in the military is relatively low. The ratio in law-enforcement is significantly higher. Those in the military who enjoy having power over other people often go into law-enforcement when they discharge. Regardless, these guys are still in the minority in the military.

No doubt there are those in the military who would comply with government orders to engage American citizens on American soil. There is good reason to believe, however, that when push comes to shove, the majority wouldn't.

Anonymous rienzi January 04, 2013 1:57 PM  

@Heh: A unit of inner city blacks or Latinos would have no problem keeping suburban or rural whites in check.


Inner-city blacks and latinos are where they are, and who they are, because of what they are: left side of the bell curve losers almost totally lacking in self-discipline and organizational ability.

Suburban or rural whites would tear them to pieces should push come to shove.

Anonymous Noah B. January 04, 2013 2:06 PM  

Ironically, JartStar, there are few occasions in which full auto fire from an individual armament is appropriate, and these typically involve hasty engagement of an enemy at relatively close range. Aimed fire is usually more effective than the "spray and pray" tactics that many soldiers instinctively revert to if provided with a fully automatic weapon, so the laws restricting ownership of fully automatic weapons are really just stupid.

And since desperate people often do desperate things, I see the assumption that a rogue regime desperately clinging to power would not use its full arsenal against its own people as a dangerous one.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2013 2:16 PM  

"Did the assaulted at Waco fire back with their legally owned firearms? I don't think so because I never heard that issue raised. I do recall the caliber of a rifle, or two, being lauded by the MSM as proof the residents at Waco were bad bad men, women, and children."

Yes.

The weapons at Waco were in fact legal. Koresh was a Class III legal weapons dealer. He legally owned dozens if not hundreds of class III full auto weapons... and legally sold them. The raid was over his supposed failure to pay a 300 dollar stamp fee on ONE of the guns.

Anonymous Mr. B.A.D. January 04, 2013 2:29 PM  

Was the RUN HIDE FIGHT video supposed to be a comedy? because i laughed.

Anonymous JartStar January 04, 2013 2:35 PM  

Ironically, JartStar, there are few occasions in which full auto fire from an individual armament is appropriate, and these typically involve hasty engagement of an enemy at relatively close range.

Agreed. It is really only appropriate on machine guns. A recent example is the battle at An Nasiriyah 2003 in Iraq involving the USMC. The Iraqi army had a lot of deserters before the battle, but those who stayed showed some tactical forethought by flooding the streets and channeling the Marines into kill zones. Fortunately their reliance on “spray and pray” worked against them versus the expert shooting of the marines.

I see the assumption that a rogue regime desperately clinging to power would not use its full arsenal against its own people as a dangerous one

There just isn’t enough payoff unless your idea of victory is to drink your wine out of the skulls of your enemies before you are disposed of. What would be left of the government which “wins” by nuking/gassing their own people would be reviled worldwide and hated and targeted by the remaining population. It’s one thing to support the status quo during a rebellion, but it’s another to support the status quo when there are thousands of social media pictures of children who were melted by chemical weapons thanks to the status quo.

Blogger ajw308 January 04, 2013 2:50 PM  

Nate,
I recall seeing video that showed muzzle flashes from the Feds positions outside the compound. But did you answer "Yes" to my question that the compounds residents fired?

Jartstar,
The Army of South Africa, due to ammo shortages, converted all their FN's to semi-auto some time in the 80's. They expected to see disastrous results in their body count ratios, but there were none. Full auto is not a tactical advantage, especially on a .30 caliber weapon, where after round 3 you no longer have control over where your rifle is pointed. It's pretty much for when your back is against the wall, you're outnumbered 5:1, and they are charging you from across the room.

Converting your weapons to full auto is just going to waste ammo.

Anonymous Heh January 04, 2013 3:02 PM  

ROFL. The idea of these savages forming any kind of cohesive "unit" is laughable in the first place. But even if anyone seriously thinks a mob of gang-bangers would be effective against average people, this video of a lone female senior citizen dealing with five armed young black guys will offer a serious reality check.

The savages don't need to be an elite military unit, not least because they will be facing isolated and numerically small opponents.

Black mobs are perfectly capable of taking down average whites, especially if the authorities deliberately overlook black-on-white mob violence. Case in point: the ongoing genocide of the Boer farmers in South Africa.

Inner-city blacks and latinos are where they are, and who they are, because of what they are: left side of the bell curve losers almost totally lacking in self-discipline and organizational ability.

They will have organization and direction from political commissars.

Anonymous jay c January 04, 2013 3:04 PM  

Semi-automatic assault rifles, most of which could easily be converted to auto would be the foundation of the rebellion.

So then have we conceded the point to the would-be tyrants that "assault rifles" are ordinary rifles that just look scary? I always thought that if it's not capable of full auto, then it can't really be an assault rifle.

Anonymous bloody barbarian January 04, 2013 3:06 PM  

@ajw308 -

Yeah, they shot back. When ATF opened the ball at Waco, there was a 2-hr gun battle:


Sheriff Harwell states in William Gazecki's documentary, Waco: The Rules of Engagement, that the ATF agents withdrew only after they were out of ammunition.[47] ATF agent Chuck Hustmyre later wrote: "About 45 minutes into the shootout, the volume of gunfire finally started to slacken. We were running out of ammunition. The Davidians, however, had plenty." After the ceasefire the Davidians allowed the ATF dead and wounded to be evacuated and held their fire during the ATF retreat.


Wikipedia (yeah, I know) - Waco siege

The Davidians screwed up; they should have shot them all.

Anonymous re allow anonymous comments January 04, 2013 3:13 PM  

To be fair, the military isn't really trying in Afghanistan

Anonymous WaterBoy January 04, 2013 3:14 PM  

ajw308: "It's pretty much for when your back is against the wall, you're outnumbered 5:1, and they are charging you from across the room."

Or for when their backs are against the wall, outnumber you by 7:4, but are unarmed.

It was ostensibly incidents like this to which the NFA was targetted. That it hasn't really stopped them, as evidenced again in more recent times, would seem to provide enough rationale to repeal the NFA.

Anonymous So January 04, 2013 3:16 PM  

To be fair, the military isn't really trying in Afghanistan

Would they be allowed to "really try" in the United States itself - i.e., to use maximum force without any restraining rules of engagement? No. And that's why the argument that "they have tanks, artillery, fighter jets, and attack helicopters" is irrelevant.

Anonymous dh January 04, 2013 3:19 PM  

The premise of the 2nd amendment was, I think, to maintain a check on the government.

But, as we have seen, the government has not been held in check. It acts with no fear of rebellion or armed insurrection. Therefore, one of the stated goals the 2nd amendment has failed.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 04, 2013 3:24 PM  

I've often wondered, tongue-in-cheek, if law enforcement agencies were pushing to abolish automatic weapons because they were tired of tracking down the final destinations of all the bullets associated with all those empty casings.

But then I remember that it was just another knee-jerk response to a symptom (gang activity) without addressing the underlying problem (Prohibition).

Gee, I wonder if there isn't a lesson there for modern legislators vis-a-vis current drug policy?

Anonymous Stickwick January 04, 2013 4:00 PM  

The savages don't need to be an elite military unit, not least because they will be facing isolated and numerically small opponents.

Dude, you were serious? WTF? They're not going to be a unit of any kind. Furthermore, do you know nothing of the history of this country? The men who were fighting against the trained, civilized, and organized British forces in the Revolutionary War were just a bunch of isolated and numerically small opponents, too.

Black mobs are perfectly capable of taking down average whites, especially if the authorities deliberately overlook black-on-white mob violence.

Yes, when there are 30 of them against one unarmed person. You've obviously bought into the mystique of the invincible gang-banger. The reality is, when they are faced with someone who has the means and the will to fight back, they quickly turn tail. Watch the video -- there are five young armed thugs running for the door and falling over each other like a burlesque comedy routine as they're being chased by a little Asian senior citizen with a gun. You really think these "badasses" are going to stand up to armed men who are motivated to protect their families? Ain't gonna happen.

Case in point: the ongoing genocide of the Boer farmers in South Africa.

Not a comparable situation. Whites are only 20% of the population there. Blacks make up only 13% of the population in the U.S., about 70% of those live within the inner cities, and a smaller percentage of those would be willing to be organized and face armed opposition. Whites are still the majority in this country, and when you consider that roughly 40-50% of them have firearms, there's no contest.

Blogger Giraffe January 04, 2013 4:08 PM  

Black mobs are perfectly capable of taking down average whites, especially if the authorities deliberately overlook black-on-white mob violence. Case in point: the ongoing genocide of the Boer farmers in South Africa.

Feckin idiot. Let me guess. The Boer's have been disarmed by gun control laws.

Send in the clowns. They wouldn't last a week.

Anonymous Stickwick January 04, 2013 4:16 PM  

They will have organization and direction from political commissars.

At least you're good for a laugh. Read some Finnish history. Stalin sent 400,000 Soviet losers - organized and directed by their political commissars - to tiny little Finland, thinking they'd be marching on Helsinki within two weeks. After 105 days, the Soviet army sued for truce, having suffered heavy losses, beaten back by a bunch of isolated rural men with rifles. Never, ever underestimate the power of armed, civilized men with the will to protect what is theirs.

Anonymous Noah B. January 04, 2013 4:27 PM  

"But, as we have seen, the government has not been held in check. It acts with no fear of rebellion or armed insurrection. Therefore, one of the stated goals the 2nd amendment has failed."

Proof once again that the 2nd Amendment protects heavier weapons than is commonly acknowledged.

Anonymous Noah B. January 04, 2013 4:34 PM  

"It’s one thing to support the status quo during a rebellion, but it’s another to support the status quo when there are thousands of social media pictures of children who were melted by chemical weapons thanks to the status quo."

Turning off the internet, along with social media, is trivial for this government. In a crisis, you won't be able to rely on the internet for anything. Even the Syrian government was able to do this fairly easily, and as a result, you're not seeing pictures of dead civilians plastered all over the news and social media.

Anonymous redsash January 04, 2013 5:02 PM  

How are a few AK 47s and captured RPGs working out for Assad and his all powerful military and his Russian and Iranian friends?

On a regular basis, two squads of VCs, and no more than a platoon, with AKs firing together downed tens of thousands of US helicopters. In 1976 at the Corpus Christi NAS I saw the results, hundreds of helicopters with hundreds of 7.62mm holes in them.

Just imagine what the VC could have done if the American soldier would have had his wife there, and his children enrolled in a nearby school. Totalitarians might think once about infringing our rights, but they will not be able to think twice about it.

Anonymous kh123 January 04, 2013 5:28 PM  

"[The gov't] acts with no fear of rebellion or armed insurrection. Therefore, one of the stated goals the 2nd amendment has failed."

Although a different world now, this was probably much in the same vein as what the military clic in Japan thought about America; an unwilling, unprepared opponent. And partly, they were right. But laziness - or rather, live and let live - coupled with a basic sense of decency in not resorting to guns at the drop of the hat in settling every dispute, are always seen by tyrants as signs of complete inability to fight back, which is a massive mistake.

Anonymous Heh January 04, 2013 5:31 PM  

Dude, you were serious? WTF? They're not going to be a unit of any kind.

Don't count on it. All that is required for political violence to succeed is for the state to withhold the protection of law enforcement from the designated victim. From there it is just a simple matter of pointing the mob in the right direction.

Furthermore, do you know nothing of the history of this country? The men who were fighting against the trained, civilized, and organized British forces in the Revolutionary War were just a bunch of isolated and numerically small opponents, too.

It is YOU who knows nothing. Among the reasons the "Patriots" won was precisely the type of mob political violence against designated opponents ("Loyalists") I am describing here. Loyalists were harassed, intimidated, physically attacked, and finally driven from the country.

You've obviously bought into the mystique of the invincible gang-banger

No, dumbass, I have simply observed that mob political violence has a long track record of success in many countries.

The reality is, when they are faced with someone who has the means and the will to fight back, they quickly turn tail.

The problem is, they will keep coming back, and eventually they will catch you with your pants down. The defender has to win every time, the attackers only have to win once.

Not a comparable situation. Whites are only 20% of the population there.

It is comparable because the mobs are picking off the designated targets one at a time. It is never a case of "all the blacks in South Africa versus all the whites". Nor would it be a case of all the blacks versus all the whites here, especially because the whites here are not united. Indeed, it is one faction of whites using blacks to terrorize the other faction of whites that is the origin of the problem.

At least you're good for a laugh. Read some Finnish history. Stalin sent 400,000 Soviet losers - organized and directed by their political commissars - to tiny little Finland, thinking they'd be marching on Helsinki within two weeks.

Not the same thing, idiot. Stalin used political commissars and "losers" very effectively to terrorize his internal opponents. Mao used the Red Guards very effectively to terrorize his internal opponents.

After 105 days, the Soviet army sued for truce, having suffered heavy losses, beaten back by a bunch of isolated rural men with rifles.

The Soviets got what they wanted out of that war. But that is another issue entirely.

And gee, those same losers led by political commissars crushed Hitler's Wehrmacht.

Never, ever underestimate the power of armed, civilized men with the will to protect what is theirs.

Never underestimate the power and violence of a mob led by a demagogue.

Personally I question the will of white conservatives in this country to fight. They let government agents fondle their women and children - what exactly will they not accept?

The highest expression of conservative courage in this country is what - voting for Romney? Gimme a break. These are not folks who have the courage to rebel. When the Committee for the Prevention of Racism and Child Abuse comes knocking on the door, they will scurry to hand over their guns as fast as they can.

Anonymous kh123 January 04, 2013 6:00 PM  

"After 105 days, the Soviet army sued for truce, having suffered heavy losses, beaten back by a bunch of isolated rural men with rifles."

No doubt, Finns keeping a sea of invaders at bay is impressive. I'd figure being that close to the Empire, they'd have had fighting experience within recent memory.

Maybe someone else can field this, but if I remember correctly, the Red invasion was after a good deal of the Soviet higher military echelons had been purged. Am only guessing, but if political commissars and SMERSH (if they even existed yet) were as sorely needed on a battle front even at that time, it would lead me to conclude that the basic Russian conscript pre-Barbarossa was probably on par, motivation and training-wise, with Belomor Canal workers - that is to say, slave labor. Film reels showing literally hundreds of thousands of Soviet POWs during those first months of German invasion, etc. Some of these scenes are LOTR epic in scope.

The real losers, if they were even needed at that time, would have been the camp guards taken off the VOKhR or MVD rosters in Arkhangel or Karelia and the like, ejected out of their cushy positions in watch towers and pushed westward. Which I think kind of ties in with what was said earlier about ATF and Honor Roll Student Stormtroopers - regulars and hooligans all sort of drifting in the political wind.

If I remember correctly, Hitler was also touchy about Finland being invaded by Stalin, since he was nominally allied to both at the time, or at least dependent upon Finnish natural resources to some degree; there was one instance of him facing off with Molotov on the issue. I'm not sure America has an advocate of this equivalent at the moment.

Anonymous kh123 January 04, 2013 6:05 PM  

"Personally I question the will of white conservatives in this country to fight. They let government agents fondle their women and children - what exactly will they not accept?"

Like I said earlier, never underestimate a people who look to violence as a last resort.

Anonymous Hoss January 04, 2013 7:48 PM  

"A unit of inner city blacks or Latinos would have no problem keeping suburban or rural whites in check."

If this was meant to be satire I apologize for misunderstanding. My first thought was "where does he think most of the guns are, and where do a vast amount of ex-military and police live, and who usually grows up with a gun in their hand." Answer: suburbs and rural areas. My friends laughed when I told them we had hunter/gun safety as part of the curriculum in middle school (rural Indiana), and I assumed everyone did. If you came to my nice middle-class suburb looking for a fight, you'd have your hands full.

And every time a leftist brings up repealing the Second, I want to bring up repealing the Freedom of the Press. I "doubt the forefathers could foresee" (see how easy it is to steal the left's lyrics) a press that were water-carriers for one party as strict adherents to a largely anti-freedom ideology.

Anonymous zen0 January 04, 2013 7:53 PM  

@ bloody barbarian
The Davidians screwed up; they should have shot them all.

An object lesson for the Ages. The State has no compunction about wiping out whole groups of their "own" people. It is only State on State violence that has some rules.

I don't know of many people that were rewarded for taking the United States of America at their word.

Anonymous Tad January 04, 2013 8:32 PM  

One of the things that Mr. Harris gets perfectly correct is the impediment to addressing a myriad of problems this country faces due to the slavish fealty so many feel toward a constitution written by men had no ability to even imagine the circumstances of the 21st century, from either a civic or cultural perspective.

Much of the Constitution is gravely out of date and inhibits us from a number of fixes that would address a proper fealty to the concept of democracy, fair elections and other issues, not to mention the issue of guns in our society.

The founders were smart people, for 18th Centurians. But many of their ideas concerning how a government ought to operate and how the Republic can best serve its people have no business being considered in this century.

Anonymous Shutup, Tad January 04, 2013 8:46 PM  

@ Tad: yaddayaddayaddayaddayaddayaddayadda, etc.

You don't even know what the purpose of a Constitution is, do you, Tad?

Maybe you should shutup.

You don't know the difference between a Republic and a democracy, do you , Tad.

Maybe you should shutup.

You don't even recognize what a total idiot you are, do you Tad?

Maybe you should shutup.

Shutup, Tad.

Blogger Nate January 04, 2013 9:12 PM  

"Nate,
I recall seeing video that showed muzzle flashes from the Feds positions outside the compound. But did you answer "Yes" to my question that the compounds residents fired?"

Hell yes they returned fire. They pinned the ATF agents down behind the cattle trailer until the agents ran out of ammo and surrendered.

Anonymous DonReynolds January 04, 2013 10:33 PM  

The patriots of 1775 were not fighting for the cause of independence. That thought did not barely pass the Continental Congress until more than 14 months after the shooting war began.

To call them brave is to understate their condition, more like foolhardy. They had the audacity to believe that they could stand toe-to-toe with a professional European army, arguably the most powerful force in the West, without the benefit of artillery, cavalry, ships of any sort (much less warships), without military supplies and horribly outnumbered. To do this battle, they carried the family rifle (or musket, or shotgun), whatever food they could stuff in their pockets, and some warm clothes. The most likely outcome for each one of them was sudden death in battle, disease, starvation, exposure or be hanged as traitors to the Crown. If they were successful and survived what turned out to be a war of more than a dozen years they would receive nothing more than an independent country, free of foreign troops and tyranny. Any wounds or injuries they received along the way were their own responsibility should they make it home alive.

Did such men doubt the importance of each adult male being armed and reasonably proficient in the use of arms or did they imagine the Second Amendment was only a guarantee to the states?

Anonymous Stickwick January 04, 2013 11:16 PM  

Don't count on it. All that is required for political violence to succeed is for the state to withhold the protection of law enforcement from the designated victim.

Are you really that stupid? Law enforcement is useless much of the time, and criminals don't give a crap about the police anyway; the only thing they fear is violent resistance from their intended victims. We're not talking about a bunch of unarmed sheep here -- there are hundreds of millions of privately-owned firearms in the U.S. Law enforcement is welcome to get out of the way for all these ostensible victims care.

It is YOU who knows nothing. Among the reasons the "Patriots" won was precisely the type of mob political violence against designated opponents ("Loyalists") I am describing here. Loyalists were harassed, intimidated, physically attacked, and finally driven from the country.

So what? Certainly that happened, but it wasn't the decisive factor in winning the war by any means.

No, dumbass, I have simply observed that mob political violence has a long track record of success in many countries.

No, peabrain, you really do believe these gang-bangers are a force to be reckoned with. Even though they demonstrate their cowardice in their preference to kill people in drive-bys or attack them when it's 10 against one. I showed you how five big armed thugs were running like a bunch of scared little girls when confronted with one armed senior citizen woman. Do you really think a government-sanctioned gaggle of these pants-shitting morons are going to do anything different once anyone starts firing back at them? They're going to run like the cowards they are.

The problem is, they will keep coming back, and eventually they will catch you with your pants down. The defender has to win every time, the attackers only have to win once.

You've got to be joking. They're not going to come back. Why do you think they presently preferentially kill each other instead of making forays into suburban neighborhoods or rural areas? Because they damn well know they'll be met with violent resistance.

It is comparable because the mobs are picking off the designated targets one at a time.

All it will take is for a few armed suburbanites or rural people to slaughter these guys and I promise you not a single one of your gang-bangers is going to volunteer to be next. You don't seem to understand -- these people are congenital cowards.

Anonymous Stickwick January 04, 2013 11:27 PM  

Not the same thing, idiot. Stalin used political commissars and "losers" very effectively to terrorize his internal opponents. Mao used the Red Guards very effectively to terrorize his internal opponents.

You were making the argument that a bunch of low-IQ losers could be organized by political commissars to be some kind of effective force. I pointed out that there is good historical evidence to contradict this. However, you cannot possibly compare the unarmed backwards peasants of the Soviet states and China to Americans. This is why I brought up the example of Finns, who are much more comparable to Americans in this regard. They have demonstrated that even an overwhelming number of aggressors - who probably aren't as far down the mossy lower slopes of the Bell curve as your average inner city gang-banger - will face what is likely to be decisive resistance from people who are determined to keep their independence.

The Soviets got what they wanted out of that war.

No, stupido, they most certainly did not. As one Soviet general put it after the war, "We have won just about enough ground to bury our dead." They wanted the complete subjugation of the Finnish people, and all they got was a conciliatory scrap of land purchased with 64,000 dead soldiers and another 200,000+ wounded.

And gee, those same losers led by political commissars crushed Hitler's Wehrmacht.

Do you get your facts from the Soviets? It was primarily the winter that killed the Germans. They attacked a month too late, and they got stuck in the snow with summer gear. Hitler was warned, and he went for it anyway. Had he attacked earlier, it's doubtful that they would have been crushed.

Never underestimate the power and violence of a mob led by a demagogue.

Give me a break. This is precisely why I brought up the example of the Finnish people. They were determined to retain their independence, and they fought off a seemingly overwhelming force. This scenario you've cooked up of a bunch of gang-bangers forming some effective unit is ludicrous.

Anonymous map January 05, 2013 12:57 AM  

Sam Harris is wrong on the second part. He does not understand the nature of tyranny.

Tyrannical behavior is designed to reduce a population to a mere means to serve the end of the rulers. It is fundamentally a task of subjugation, humiliation and efficient resource use.

Such tyranny requires "boots on the ground." You need soldiers working in small crews to effectively subjugate a population. You cannot do it with tanks, planes, bombs and helicopters.

Let's assume I wanted to do the following to you: 1) Take your house; 2) send your sons to different fema work camps; 3) give your wife and daughter to a loyal apparatchik; 4) give your house and the stuff in it to "deserving" people.

What's the best way to do that? Do I park a tank or hover a helicopter over your house, both with cannons at the ready? I could, but what are my options? If the residents' refuse, knowing their fate of being homeless, then my only choice is to destroy the house with everyone in it or leave it alone. This is because crew-based weapon systems can wreak massive havoc, but they are not surgical.

The better solution is to send heavily-armed troops into your house to clear the inhabitants, hopefully take them alive, and retain the property for use. It is against this threat that having AR-15's and handguns and other weapons is effective. By arming the public as closely to what an infantryman has, the effectiveness of such stormtroopers, and, therefore, tyranny, is negated, no matter what other weapons are brought to bear.

Anonymous ericcs January 05, 2013 2:54 AM  

An underlying trait of the left and their useful idiots is abrogation of all personal responsibility and making the State responsible. The concomitant result is worship of the State in which all morality is invested, coupled with feigned horror about and demonization of anyone who refuses to bow down with them. Since each leftist refuses to accept personal responsibility, he must tell the State "Go get those evil people for me, because in my projection fantasies I'm sure they will eventually do me harm, and also their mere existence is a constant reminder that I am a wuss and a pussy no matter how many times a day I affirm my fragile self-esteem".

This is the epitome of masturbatory morality, thus making each leftist nothing but an envious, preening little morality masturbator.

Anonymous Unending Improvement January 05, 2013 3:35 AM  

Actually, the same Red Army that lost to the Finns was not the same Red Army that crushed Germany.

THAT Red Army was pretty much constructed from scratch, and filled with officers who basically won what is best considered as Social Darwinism writ large.

A Red Army that outnumbered it's opponents at pretty much every turn. In the US, it is the military that would be outnumbered.

Anonymous VryeDenker January 05, 2013 4:04 AM  

Am I right in remarking that Sam Harris is showing obvious signs of branwashing?

Anonymous The Great Martini January 05, 2013 4:26 AM  

"In fact, it can be easily argued that original intent of the Second Amendment had nothing to do with the right of self-defense—which remains the ethical case to be made for owning a firearm. The amendment seems to have been written to allow the states to check the power of the federal government by maintaining their militias."

It didn't have anything to do with the right to self defense, but it wasn't about checking the power of the federal government either. That's a right-wing propaganda myth that has been carefully fostered over the years by the NRA, etc.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.


The second amendment is about creating a mandate to arm the citizenry to protect the nation from insurrection and rebellion, as someone partly mentioned earlier. The Articles of Confederation prevented the federal government from creating a standing army, and the year before the constitutional convention, Shay's Rebellion, which had to be put down by a private army financed by wealthy Bostonians, was a wake up call to Washington, signaling just how vulnerable the nation was. In lieu of a standing army the second amendment was a stopgap to secure the country against armed rebellion. It was never about encouraging rebellion against a central government. In fact, treason or "levying war against" the United States is one of the few crimes defined in the Constitution.

Blogger papabear January 05, 2013 5:57 AM  

"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State."

State refers to the sovereign States, not to the Federal Government, or the "nation" or the "country."

Anonymous The Great Martini January 05, 2013 6:10 AM  

So, just to be clear, what you're proposing is that the 2nd amendment provided for armed militias so that states could wage war against a rogue federal government? But at the same time stipulates that "levying war against" the United States equals the crime of treason? I think I see a contradiction.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 05, 2013 6:22 AM  

"That's a right-wing propaganda myth that has been carefully fostered over the years by the NRA, etc."

Christ, it never stops with you, does it. Where on earth is your 'off' switch?

TGM: That's a right-wing propaganda myth...

MYSELF: Objection, your honor. Mere assertion without evidence. What we in the business, in fact label 'propaganda'.

JUSTICE TWINFEET: Sustained. And, I might add, I intend to attach a series of rather stinging objections of my own. Court clerk! Bring me my hilarious old-fashioned manual typewriter with the two-tone ribbon, and a roll of overly-sturdy paper!

TGM: The second amendment is about creating a mandate to arm the citizenry to protect the nation from insurrection and rebellion...

MYSELF: Objection, your honor. The second amendment is about a lot of things, and is not strictly limited to being "about" whatever this clown happens to insist it is about.

JUSTICE TWINFEET: Objection sustained. But I sternly caution the learned counsel, in future, to refrain from using such mild epithets as "clown" when something rather more stinging is called for.

TGM: In lieu of a standing army the second amendment was a stopgap to secure the country against armed rebellion.

MYSELF: Obj---

JUSTICE TWINFEET: I'm already on it, counselor. The Great Martini is hereby enjoined to desist from selectively quoting history so as to paper over his, as it were, paper-thin understanding of history. Now somebody bring me a Cointreau, I am begininning to grow cranky.

TGM: It was never about encouraging rebellion against a central government.

MYSELF: Objection, your honor. No one has discussed encouraging or enabling. To most reasonable men, even ones in government, a wink and a nod and a well-armed populace ought to suffice.

JUSTICE TWINFEET: Which of you nitwits brought me a Cointreau with no ice?!? Oh, and also, sustained, counselor.

TGM: In fact, treason or "levying war against" the United States is one of the few crimes defined in the Constitution.

MYSELF: Objection, your honor. The learned martini is clearly completely ignorant of American history. Without getting into all the facts and mechanics which would keep us hear for days--

JUSTICE TWINFEET: Heaven forbid. And will one of you lagards bring me some ice for my cordial?!

MYSELF: -- I will merely cite the crucial passage from the document which provides the theoretical substructure and background: "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." I submit to the court that a people disarmed, is a people incapable of discharging said duty as set forth above. Quod erat demonstrandum.

JUSTICE TWINFEET: Stop! Stop! I'll be the one who throws the Latin around in this courtroom, counselor, thank you very much. The learned martini is hereby dismissed with extreme prejudice, not to mention a chuckle or two. And now let's sing a good old-fashioned come-all-ye if you don't mind too much, lads.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 05, 2013 6:44 AM  

TGM: "I think I see a contradiction."

I think I see a person who is unfamiliar with Emerson and Whitman, who were famously in a basic sort of concordance on the subject of contradiction. But be that as it may; let it rest.

TGM: "But at the same time stipulates that "levying war against" the United States equals the crime of treason?"

Sigh. Most of the men in the room who were debating that document, had just finished successfully committing "treason" against their former overlords. They held certain philosophical opinions on the matter, and there's also the well-known adage "if it prosper, none dare... etc etc" which they knew well from their classical educations. Also, if you will recall, it was a rather hot-blooded generation even in peace (e.g. the Alien and Sedition Acts), and people went around accusing one another of "treason" and what-not all over the place. Which is a long way of saying that they were at pains to define quite specifically what they took to be treason as a matter of constitutional law, so that rampant accusations of same would not go spinning around in circles and smashing into each other like bull-dykes at a roller derby.

This does not mean that they did not recognize a legitimate right of rebellion; the Constitution posits the government and the People as opposing forces, more or less. The fingerprints of such thinking are all over the document. They did of course also recognize such things as prudence ("Prudence will indeed dictate... BUT"). Recall how much they were at pains, and with such philosophical rigor, to explain and defend at length the nature of their own rebellion. The Whiskey Rebellion, not so much.

I think I see a world-view, not a contradiction.

Anonymous The Great Martini January 05, 2013 7:08 AM  

"Mere assertion without evidence. What we in the business, in fact label 'propaganda'."

Well, is or isn't it a prevalent interpretation? Is or isn't the NRA in the habit of promulgating it, and long before DoC v. Heller, I might add.

"The second amendment is about a lot of things, and is not strictly limited to being "about" whatever this clown happens to insist it is about."

Asserted, I note, without evidence.

What I said, "The second amendment is about creating a mandate to arm the citizenry to protect the nation from insurrection and rebellion..." was the conclusion of an argument that the 2nd amendment was motivated by fears of disorder without adequate means to quell it. You don't have to agree with it, but that is the argument.

"No one has discussed encouraging or enabling."

Okay "encourage" was the wrong word, but I like "enabling" since that is exactly what it is, per the mythical reasoning the NRA would have us believe. What else could you call it?

"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

I'm sure it hasn't escaped your attention that this is directed specifically at England, but assuming it is a general theoretical prescription, how does that bear, across time and documents, to arming individuals so that they may effectively rebel against the new government that the document intends as a fix to the problem? You're going from a general statement to a specific remedy without justification. You just broke about a half dozen rules for historical interpretation.

Anonymous Stilicho January 05, 2013 8:41 AM  

I'm sure it hasn't escaped your attention that this is directed specifically at England,

There's a whole new level of stupid: insinuating that the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and property can only be preserved by armed rebellion when that rebellion is directed against England. Rabbits gonna hop I suppose, but servile fawning over pretty chains will always be disgusting.

Anonymous scoobius dubious January 05, 2013 8:58 AM  

"assuming it is a general theoretical prescription, how does that bear, across time and documents, to arming individuals so that they may effectively rebel against the new government that the document intends as a fix to the problem?"

If you remove the word "new" so that your remark just reads as "so that they may effectively rebel against the government" then your question answers itself. HINT: the present-day government does not respect the document, and it does not fix the problem, but rather exacerbates the problem. Time's arrow, and so forth.

The founders and the framers were men of the world: they believed in the reality of entropy, decay, distortion, deception, corruption. Granted they didn't quite see the Jews coming with quite the force which they should from experience have well anticipated, but hey, nobody's perfect. IOW, they weren't worried about the "new" government (although in fact they were) so much as they were worried about "the government" in general, over time. Which is what validates my claims and invalidates your own.

Remember Doctor Franklin's words: "A republic, if you can keep it." They had their fixed eternal principles, but they knew all too well that the affairs and institutions of men are built on the shaky ground of "if". And that, my good fellow, (since you asked for evidence) is the true basis of the second amendment.

Always keep in mind: "the security of a free state" does not mean the public safety of a free state; it means the on-going, never-ending act of securing the freedom of the state. (I draw your attention to the phrases "to secure these Rights" and "[in order to] secure the blessings of Liberty" -- neither of these is in reference to the nature of a policeman, they refer to the nature of a free citizen.

Anonymous FrankBrady January 05, 2013 11:32 AM  

You are wrong. Are you projecting?

Blogger Tiny Tim January 05, 2013 11:48 AM  

Only an ignoramous could argue that the founders did not recognize and accommodate the individual the necessary prerequisites to defend himself against a tyrannical government.

Anonymous Aeoli Pera January 05, 2013 1:45 PM  

Jartstar,

Light infantry and small arms is all that is needed to battle a larger, more powerful force if the larger force is restrained politically which they almost certainly would be in the case of a US civil conflict.

I'm a big fan of yours, but this is clearly wrong when applied to intrasocietal conflicts. In a homogeneous society a bloodthirsty tyrant will usually rely on starvation to "make his first million", but in a heterogeneous society he will usually rely on some majority to cleanse minorities in ascending order of population count.

In either case, nothing warms a reptilian heart more than the chance to oversee a civil war, because it offers the chance to kill a million enemies and spend a million allies. And then you're a shoo-in for the history books.

Anonymous Heh January 05, 2013 3:25 PM  

Law enforcement is useless much of the time, and criminals don't give a crap about the police anyway; the only thing they fear is violent resistance from their intended victims.

This is true for ordinary criminals. Not true for political mobs.

So what? Certainly that happened, but it wasn't the decisive factor in winning the war by any means.

Wrong, idiot. Given that the majority of the people in the colonies were loyal to the crown and disposed to assist the British Army, the decisive factor in "Patriot" success was mob violence that disarmed, murdered, intimidated, robbed, and drove out the loyalists.

Do you really think a government-sanctioned gaggle of these pants-shitting morons are going to do anything different once anyone starts firing back at them? They're going to run like the cowards they are.

They will come back and burn the house down around the homeowner's ears.

Why do you think they presently preferentially kill each other instead of making forays into suburban neighborhoods or rural areas? Because they damn well know they'll be met with violent resistance.

Oh puhleaze. They are not the least bit scared of race-whipped suburbanites. Right now they are restrained by the prospect of police and prison. If that restraint were lifted by the government, then the mob rules. Do you think the black mobs in Rhodesia and South Africa are unaware that the government doesn't give a shit if they kill whitey? They know the white farmers are armed but they come for them anyway.

All it will take is for a few armed suburbanites or rural people to slaughter these guys and I promise you not a single one of your gang-bangers is going to volunteer to be next.

What will happen is the suburbanites will be arrested, prosecuted, and imprisoned.

I brought up the example of Finns, who are much more comparable to Americans in this regard.

The example of the Finns is stupid and irrelevant. The Finns were soldiers in an organized army with the full support of the Finnish state, not individual homeowners defending their property. The Finnish army in 1940 is in no way analogous to the situation homeowners in the USA will face.

They wanted the complete subjugation of the Finnish people,

No, dumbass, the Soviets did not want that.

Do you get your facts from the Soviets? It was primarily the winter that killed the Germans.

Wrong, dumbass, the German army suffered crippling losses in men and equipment in July and August.

This is precisely why I brought up the example of the Finnish people. They were determined to retain their independence, and they fought off a seemingly overwhelming force.

As I said, the Finns were an organized army and had a state at their back. Victims of mob violence will not be organized into an army; they will be picked off one at a time. Victims of mob violence will not have the state at their back; indeed, the state will punish them for resisting.

Your example of the Patriots in the American Revolution is equally inapplicable for much the same reason. The Patriots opposed the British Army with an organized army, and thanks to that Patriot mob violence that drove out and intimidated the loyalists, the government (such as it was) supported the Patriots. This will not apply for bitter clingers protecting their homes today.

Blogger James Dixon January 05, 2013 3:40 PM  

> Much of the Constitution is gravely out of date and inhibits us from a number of fixes that would address a proper fealty to the concept of democracy, fair elections and other issues, not to mention the issue of guns in our society.

There's a simple solution to that, Tad. It's called leaving.

Blogger papabear January 05, 2013 9:05 PM  

"So, just to be clear, what you're proposing is that the 2nd amendment provided for armed militias so that states could wage war against a rogue federal government? But at the same time stipulates that "levying war against" the United States equals the crime of treason? I think I see a contradiction."

Contradiction? (1) Levying war against the United States is applied to individuals, not to the States. (2) Secession is not the same as treason, nor is war to secure independence from the federal union. (3) If the Federal government becomes illegitimate then war upon those who hold power is no longer treason.

Anonymous DD January 05, 2013 11:01 PM  

The government will not need to send political mobs to the houses of those who disagree with it. People no longer live on self-sufficient small farms; they live in towns or cities, and they are employees. Therefore, to enforce obedience, the government need only do some combination of (a) shutting off the water and power to your house (b) freezing your bank account, and (c) getting you fired from your job. Most people prefer cash to liberty, and would readily (for example) hand over their guns if faced with such threats.

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