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Mass Shooting in America

 
GAD
 
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GAD
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09 September 2019 08:59
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 September 2019 08:43 AM

The argument that an armed population either insures non-infringement of civil rights or is a necessary prophylactic for maintaining them made sense in 1789, where the population would be armed with the same weapons as the standing army, but it is patently ridiculous in modern nation states, where the military has weapons and training so far in excess of the population that armed insurrection of the later against the former is a non-starter.  Every man, woman and child in the US could have a legal weapon and this would only marginally diminish the power of the state relative to “the people.”  For the argument to work, “the people” would need military-grade weapons, and even that wouldn’t offset the lack of military training.  If modern history shows anything, it shows that the failure of the state to monopolize military power makes “the people” worse off, not better.  What made sense as a “well-armed militia” in 1789 is utter nonsense today. Put another way, faith in civil rights is not insured through the barrel of a gun.

I’ve made this same argument with my friends who are big on gun rights, they then default to personal protection and that in a crisis the police or army will never get there in time and always show up after the fact, then it’s straight back to their “right” which they have now justified.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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09 September 2019 10:46
 
GAD - 09 September 2019 08:59 AM
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 September 2019 08:43 AM

The argument that an armed population either insures non-infringement of civil rights or is a necessary prophylactic for maintaining them made sense in 1789, where the population would be armed with the same weapons as the standing army, but it is patently ridiculous in modern nation states, where the military has weapons and training so far in excess of the population that armed insurrection of the later against the former is a non-starter.  Every man, woman and child in the US could have a legal weapon and this would only marginally diminish the power of the state relative to “the people.”  For the argument to work, “the people” would need military-grade weapons, and even that wouldn’t offset the lack of military training.  If modern history shows anything, it shows that the failure of the state to monopolize military power makes “the people” worse off, not better.  What made sense as a “well-armed militia” in 1789 is utter nonsense today. Put another way, faith in civil rights is not insured through the barrel of a gun.

I’ve made this same argument with my friends who are big on gun rights, they then default to personal protection and that in a crisis the police or army will never get there in time and always show up after the fact, then it’s straight back to their “right” which they have now justified.

To a point burt (I think) made, if more people have guns, one of the reasons one needs a gun for personal protection is protection from people who have guns.  Hence one gets a rather vicious cycle.  This incentive and logic is just as valid as the contrary logic, that more guns for personal protection reduces crime in general. 

As for the police or army arriving on time, I’d say any threat on US soil requiring the army means the ship has sailed re anything resembling gun rights making a difference, and I’d point out that the over-use of force by police officers—both in justified and unjustified situations—speaks to just how unprepared non-military personnel absent combat experience are when faced with armed violence.  Even police training is too often inadequate to the task, so a chap at the shooting range twice a week reading Tactical Weapons is hardly going to be more help than running like hell or diving for cover.

[ Edited: 09 September 2019 10:49 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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09 September 2019 10:47
 
burt - 09 September 2019 08:44 AM
Billy Shears - 08 September 2019 09:11 PM
Brick Bungalow - 08 September 2019 08:33 PM

I think that given all the data we have on the link between total proliferation and total shootings its worth considering.

I agree.  Problem is people don’t seem to consider the actual data coolly, rationally, and dispassionately.  They are more swayed by emotional reaction. And maybe that’s the case because one side is not prepared to be completely rational about the matter, but rather insists on engaging in self-righteous moral preening when its arguments are challenged with factual data.

One of the main reasons we don’t have really good data on gun use and gun violence is that under the thumb of the NRA, congress has prohibited the CDC and other agencies from studying gun violence. And your comment about people being more swayed by emotional reaction and not being completely rational cuts both ways, but I’d guess that it’s more characteristic of the folk who are terrified that the government is going to take their guns away and put them in internment camps. People on both sides cook their data and engage in self-righteous moral preening. Do you really believe that background checks, registry, and insurance are going to lead to a totalitarian state, or is that just a slippery slope sophism? The examples you gave (e.g., Venezuela, 1920s Germany) all involve far more powerful economic, political, and other social factors. Here’s my own slippery slope: it I’m worried about a totalitarian government taking over I don’t just need military style assault weapons, I need grenades, mortars, tanks, a few nukes, some cruise missiles and more. So why can’t I have them?

The NRA has not simply opposed and sabotaged research at state and federal levels it has blocked the publication of existing studies. Whatever ones considered preference might be I hope that ethical citizens can agree that denying information to the public is not a means of securing liberty.

 

 
Billy Shears
 
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09 September 2019 11:07
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 September 2019 08:43 AM

The argument that an armed population either insures non-infringement of civil rights or is a necessary prophylactic for maintaining them made sense in 1789, where the population would be armed with the same weapons as the standing army, but it is patently ridiculous in modern nation states, where the military has weapons and training so far in excess of the population that armed insurrection of the later against the former is a non-starter.  Every man, woman and child in the US could have a legal weapon and this would only marginally diminish the power of the state relative to “the people.”  For the argument to work, “the people” would need military-grade weapons, and even that wouldn’t offset the lack of military training.  If modern history shows anything, it shows that the failure of the state to monopolize military power makes “the people” worse off, not better.  What made sense as a “well-armed militia” in 1789 is utter nonsense today. Put another way, faith in civil rights is not insured through the barrel of a gun.

Sorry, but this is simply wrong.  It’s also ignorant of history. Even in 1789 a citizen militia would never beat a standing army.  George Washington, who presided over the constitutional convention, knew this better than anybody, having seen the militia in action.  He didn’t win battles against the British until Von Steuben helped him train the continental army into a disciplined force that could go toe to toe with the redcoats, and French aid enabled him to equip the men to a similar standard.  And yet the second amendment was still put in.  Why, if a militia is useless against regulars?

The answer is because the framers of the constitution understood something that seems to have completely escaped your grasp.  Armed citizens may not ever be able to go toe to toe with regular troops—it was true in 1789, and it’s even more true now.  So they don’t!  They engage in asymmetric warfare.  They can’t beat the nation’s military in a straight up fight, but they most certainly can use guerrilla tactics, and make it totally impossible for the government to actually govern the territory under its rule.  Jesus Christ, a mere 20,000 insurgents in Iraq had us chasing our tails for years, and you think many times that number of of rebellious citizens here would somehow not be much of a problem for the armed forces?  Really?  Especially when the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement would be ordered to take action against their fellow citizens.  You think there wouldn’t be widespread disobedience of such orders, up to and including whole units in some cases?  Really?  Why?

What’s more, the political consequences of our waging that unpopular war in Iraq led to protests, even violence on a few occasions (same with Vietnam in the 1960s), and the war’s growing unpopularity certainly resulted in the Republicans losing seats in congress, as well as probably making it impossible for any GOP candidate to have won the presidency in 2008.  And you think the backlash from using the armed forces against Americans on American soil wouldn’t be orders of magnitude worse?  Really?  What do you think the reaction of the fence-sitters in this country is likely to be when they see you rolling M1 tanks down suburban streets, kicking in doors to confiscate firearms, or ordering drone strikes on American citizens in their homeland?  You think that when you drop a Hellfire missile on someone’s cousin Fred he’s not going to take it personally and start sympathizing with the rebels, if not actually joining them?  Again, why? 

This is why I can’t take arguments like this even remotely seriously, because it’s clear you haven’t even attempted to think through the ramifications of what you’re suggesting.  You just assume that the same government that can’t wage a limited war against strangers in a foreign land without provoking massive discontent and ultimately getting turned out of office can somehow go Armageddon on its own citizens and escape any consequences.

No, an armed citizenry will never win set piece battles against Uncle Sam, but what they absolutely can do, if resistance is general enough, is make it completely impossible for government forces to venture safely outside their armed and fortified enclaves.  Taxes can’t be collected, subpoeanas can’t be served, police can’t maintain order, food and fuel and other supplies can’t be shipped into cities, etc, etc.  And I remind you, unlike our bases in Iraq or Afghanistan, our stateside military installations don’t have big, secure perimeters; the only things separating them from the towns that have grown up around all of them is a layer of chain link fence.  Oh, and what’s more, half the military personnel in those bases live off post with their families—scattered throughout those same towns.  Are you beginning to see how complicated this all gets?

Oh I am sure, if the government were ever to order gun confiscations, and there were resistance, and the military and police were ordered to stomp on the dissenters with both feet, some would.  In any population, there is always a certain number of people willing to put on the jackboots and start herding people into cattle cars.  But a larger percentage will start calling in sick or quitting their jobs, because they don’t feel like getting shot at while they’re supposed to go shoot their plumber and their mechanic or their neighbor for doing something that up until a few days ago was legal and that they were also doing themselves.  And then there’s the percentage of military and police who will will actively help the insurgents, because they hate you and everything you stand for when you try to disarm them.

Consider that in deep blue NY state, the NY Safe Act has a measly 4% compliance rate.  And that’s mostly just people choosing to ignore an onerous and widely disliked law. This is because the farther outside of the big, left-leaning urban enclaves you go, the more people just don’t give a crap about your utopian, social engineering nonsense.  They just want to be left alone.  Its benign neglect, and most Americans are happy to ignore you until you mess with them.

But when you start dropping cluster bombs on American citizens?

And the framers of the constitution understood all this, because they were educated men, well read in history, and they were aware of guerrilla campaigns going all the way back to ancient times, and how difficult and dangerous those are to put down.  Therefore they wanted an armed citizenry to help keep the government honest.

 
 
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09 September 2019 11:16
 
Billy Shears - 09 September 2019 11:07 AM

And the framers of the constitution understood all this, because they were educated men, well read in history, and they were aware of guerrilla campaigns going all the way back to ancient times, and how difficult and dangerous those are to put down.  Therefore they wanted an armed citizenry to help keep the government honest.

Who or what keeps the militia honest?

 
 
Brick Bungalow
 
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09 September 2019 11:27
 

I suspect that, like many other polarized issues, the fundamental fallacy is shared by both sides. Namely that we can have our cake and eat it too. That some particular solution whether legislative or social will keep us simultaneously free and safe.

Maybe no such arrangement exists. Maybe we are simply in the unhappy position of picking a handful of priorities and accepting that they come at the expense of others.

I do believe that the proliferation of guns in America is not serving us. I feel like the policies we have in place are not a coherent effort to secure either safety or freedom but are rather a disorganized array of obsolete relics combined with concessions to corporate interests and sentimental band aids. Not every regulation is like this but the combined effect feels inefficient to me. Especially the disparities from state to state.

Do whatever you can to stay safe out there.

 
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09 September 2019 11:36
 
Nhoj Morley - 09 September 2019 11:16 AM
Billy Shears - 09 September 2019 11:07 AM

And the framers of the constitution understood all this, because they were educated men, well read in history, and they were aware of guerrilla campaigns going all the way back to ancient times, and how difficult and dangerous those are to put down.  Therefore they wanted an armed citizenry to help keep the government honest.

Who or what keeps the militia honest?

Virtue.  They all thought that.

“Human rights can only be assured among a virtuous people.” – George Washington

“Neither the wisest constitution nor the wisest laws will secure the liberty and happiness of a people whose manners are universally corrupt.  He therefore is the truest friend of the liberty of his country who tries most to promote its virtue.” – Samuel Adams

“A vitiated state of morals, a corrupted public conscience, is incompatible with freedom.” – Patrick Henry

“the Constitution is likely to be administered for a course of years and then end in despotism, when the people shall become so corrupted as to need despotic government, being incapable of any other.” – Benjamin Franklin

The militia—and this was clearly understood in the 18th century—are the whole adult male population of military age, who can be called up at need.  In normal times, they are ordinary farmers and merchants and tradesmen and teachers, etc. just going about their lives.  Not much need of an external force to keep them honest, as they are not much threat to anyone as long as their are living their ordinary lives and going about their own ends.  Their own virtue, instilled into them by parents, teachers, preachers, etc. etc. provided the moral foundation for their liberty and their limited government.

Sadly, the corrupted state of our public morality and our education system (which has left the citizenry of this country shockingly, appallingly, indeed stupefyingly ignorant), has edged us close to that end Ben Franklin foresaw, when we would not longer be capable of self government.

 
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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09 September 2019 13:35
 

Dude, I’m not sure how to respond.  You seem to have taken Red Dawn as fact, not fiction.

Your appeal to “asymmetric warfare” to insure civil rights is just as ridiculous as the idea of a “well-armed militia” going toe-to-toe with modern militaries.  Not only does this move the goal post of the argument; it conflates the military insurgencies like Iraq (and similar situations) with what might or might not happen here, i.e. civilians armed with hunting rifles, semi-automatic assault rifles, and handguns lacking even the capacity of law enforcement magazines rising up and ‘defending our rights’ against an oppressive government.  As far as I know, there are no instances in modern history where civilians armed with civilian weapons have caused anything more than a mild headache for an invading army, an occupying army, or a government with a state-supported military.  If even that.  So, unless these US insurgents you’re invoking get their weapons from some outside power smuggling military gear onto US soil—a situation far more problematic than any ‘armed argument’ over “civil rights”—your asymmetric warfare idea and the disaster of military response is just blowing hysterical smoke over an invalid historical comparison.

In any case, the Framers of the Constitution did not have your version of asymmetric, guerilla-style warfare against the government in mind when drafting the Second Amendment.  Quite the contrary, in fact: their hope was to keep the standing army to a minimum such that the militia would outnumber it—meaning the asymmetric warfare they did have in mind was a more powerful militia against a less powerful army, not a smaller militia against a more powerful army.  As Federalist No. 46 makes clear:

“Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.”


So, you’re right the Framers thought the militia would provide for an “asymmetric” insurrection against an oppressive state, but it was asymmetric because the militia would be more powerful than the standing army, not less.

And on this point of “insurrection” in general, it bears noting just how imbecilic it is, in light of “insurrectionary” or “guerilla” violence that has actually occurred in the US, to no effect other than swaying a few seats in an election, or adding pressure to promote a policy. 

In 1972, for instance, there were over nineteen hundred bombings in the US, most of which by today’s standards would be called “domestic terrorism.”  In an 18-month period from 1971 through 1972, there were twenty-five hundred—or about 5 per day.  This violence was, in effect, an insurgence against the government; it was mainly carried about by leftists opposed to racism, and the US government’s role in perpetuating it (though significant bombings were anti-war as well).  And we’re not talking about just pipe bombs, either—trivial, wannabe terrorists, though most were.  We’re also talking about bombs with 20, 30, and even 40 sticks of dynamite; bombs that blew 8-foot holes in re-enforced concrete walls and blew out windows on entire floors.  Oddly enough, these bombings were more or less taken in stride by the public; they became routine, probably because they involved property, not loss of life (less than 1% involved fatalities).  In any case, if that were to happen today—say, if Antifa or their likes starting planting bombs to the tune of hundreds or thousands per year—do you seriously think the typical citizen would object if the military got involved, to support the police and the FBI?  And this for just property damage: imagine if they starting killing people in the name of “civil rights” or “fighting fascism.”  Not only would military intervention be tolerated, I suspect; it would probably be demanded.  Things have changed so much since the 1970’s that what then was merely contentious politics would result in calls for “military” action now.

Of course, there would be the perfectly valid objections over the Posse Comitatus Act, and the military would not be used.  But that principle aside I find it hard to believe the sentiment of the typical American would be against the Special Forces taking out the cells of Antifa-terrorists, should the US turn into something like the West Bank writ large.  I have enough faith in the left still that even registered Democrats would be ok with it—in sentiment, if not law—even as Republican’s howled for it. 

Anyway, that speculation aside, your idea that civilians armed with civilian weapons like those permitted in the US in any way insure our civil rights is just silly.  Like I said—and you have only rebutted it with invalid comparisons fortified with hyperventilation and hyperbole—our faith in civil rights does not stem from the barrel of a gun.

[ Edited: 09 September 2019 15:42 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
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09 September 2019 15:43
 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 September 2019 01:35 PM

Dude, I’m not sure how to respond.  You seem to have taken Red Dawn as fact, not fiction.

No, I am telling you that people will not stand back and shrug if a government has decided to shred the constitution and use full blown military force against civil disobedience.  That fact that any sane person person in the government should be fully aware of this is one of the checks that supposed to prevent things from ever going that far in the first place.  What is it about that you find so improbable?  Seriously, again, when we cannot wage a war on foreign soil without it triggering massive protest, what makes you think that the government can start stomping on the faces of its own citizens and nothing? 

TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 September 2019 01:35 PM

Your appeal to “asymmetric warfare” to insure civil rights is just as ridiculous as the idea of a “well-armed militia” going toe-to-toe with modern militaries.

Except it’s actually happened in real history stupid!  Exactly what I described occurred in Ireland from 1919 to 1921, when the Irish rebelled against British rule, and using the exact same guerrilla tactics you insist are unrealistic, and would not work, actually succeeded in forcing the British to grant them semi-independence, which turned in to full independence in 1937.  Just as I described, British forces were rendered totally unable to administer the province.  They had to hole up in Dublin castle and other strongholds, and couldn’t venture out in anything less than armed parties.  Auxiliary forces had to be brought in, and the brutal methods they employed not only brought Britain international censure, they resulted in significant political unrest at home, as ordinary British citizens didn’t approve of such tactics—again, exactly the sort of political backlash you dismiss without consideration.  And all through the conflict, as Irish 2nd in command Richard Mulcahy observed, the Irish rebels never once managed to drive the British out of anything larger than a good-sized police barracks.  It was all guerrilla tactics, the Irish won no battlefield victories, but they still won the war, in the end.

TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 September 2019 01:35 PM

Not only does this move the goal post of the argument; it conflates the military insurgencies like Iraq (and similar situations) with what might or might not happen here, i.e. civilians armed with hunting rifles, semi-automatic assault rifles, and handguns lacking even the capacity of law enforcement magazines rising up and ‘defending our rights’ against an oppressive government.  As far as I know, there are no instances in modern history where civilians armed with civilian weapons have caused anything more than a mild headache for an invading army, an occupying army, or a government with a state-supported military.

Your ignorance of history is not my problem.  In Afghanistan, the British, then the Soviets, and then we have all had a drawn-out, ongoing conflict with goat herders armed with rifles. and other small arms.  All three times, the great power never did manage to bring the conflict to a decisive close.  We still haven’t to this day.

TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 September 2019 01:35 PM

If even that.  So, unless these US insurgents you’re invoking get their weapons from some outside power smuggling military gear onto US soil—a situation far more problematic than any ‘armed argument’ over “civil rights”—your asymmetric warfare idea and the disaster of military response is just blowing hysterical smoke over an invalid comparison.

In any case, the Framers of the Constitution did not have your version of asymmetric, guerilla-style warfare against the government in mind when drafting the Second Amendment.  Quite the contrary, in fact: their hope was to keep the standing army to a minimum such that the militia would outnumber it—meaning the asymmetric warfare they did have in mind was a more powerful militia against a less powerful army, not a smaller militia against a more powerful army.  As Federalist No. 46 makes clear:

“Let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal government; still it would not be going too far to say, that the State governments, with the people on their side, would be able to repel the danger. The highest number to which, according to the best computation, a standing army can be carried in any country, does not exceed one hundredth part of the whole number of souls; or one twenty-fifth part of the number able to bear arms. This proportion would not yield, in the United States, an army of more than twenty-five or thirty thousand men. To these would be opposed a militia amounting to near half a million of citizens with arms in their hands, officered by men chosen from among themselves, fighting for their common liberties, and united and conducted by governments possessing their affections and confidence. It may well be doubted, whether a militia thus circumstanced could ever be conquered by such a proportion of regular troops.”


So, you’re right the Framers thought the militia would provide for an “asymmetric” insurrection against an oppressive state, but it was asymmetric because the militia would be more powerful than the standing army, not less.

Madison thought that.  He’s the author of that essay.  Alexander Hamilton, who wrote most of the other Federalist papers (John Jay wrote a handful), knew better, because unlike Madison, he’d actually fought in the Revolution, and served under Washington, who blamed the militia loss of Long Island and Manhattan to the British.  Madison adhered more to Jefferson’s notion of defense, and his Anti-Federalist party policies (indeed, he eventually broke with Washington for that very reason), and like Jefferson (also a man of no military experience), he had some unrealistic ideas about the nation’s defense, and felt the militia would suffice.  Washington and Hamilton both knew better, but the Anti-Federalists prevailed politically (for a time).  Madison eventually learned better when he had to try and fight the War of 1812 with the sort of irregular militia force he thought would be sufficient—and got chased out of the White House, which the British then burned down.  The poor performance of the militia, and the comparative good performance of the small regular army convinced Madison to return to the Federalist values he’d once championed when he and Washington had still been friends, and to thoroughly reform the war department, and provide more funds for a proper army and navy.

TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 September 2019 01:35 PM

And on this point of “insurrection” in general, it bears noting just how imbecilic it is, in light of “insurrectionary” or “guerilla” violence that has actually occurred in the US, to no effect other than swaying a few seats in an election, or adding pressure to promote a policy. 

In 1972, for instance, there were over nineteen hundred bombings in the US, most of which by today’s standards would be called “domestic terrorism.”  In an 18-month period from 1971 through 1972, there were twenty-five hundred—or about 5 per day.  This violence was, in effect, an insurgence against the government; it was mainly carried about by leftists opposed to racism, and the US government’s role in perpetuating it.  And we’re not talking about just pipe bombs, either—trivial, wannabe terrorists, though most were.  We’re also talking about bombs with 20, 30, and even 40 sticks of dynamite; bombs that blew 8-foot holes in re-enforced concrete walls and blew out windows on entire floors.  Oddly enough, these bombings were more or less taken in stride by the public; they became routine, probably because they involved property, not loss of life (less than 1% involved fatalities).  In any case, if that were to happen today—say, if Antifa or their likes starting planting bombs to the tune of hundreds or thousands per year—do you seriously think the typical citizen would object if the military got involved, to support the police and the FBI?  And this for just property damage: imagine if they starting killing people in the name of “civil rights” or “fighting fascism.”  Not only would military intervention be tolerated, I suspect; it would probably be demanded.  Things have changed so much since the 1970’s that what then was merely contentious politics would result in calls for “military” action now.

You want to trot out this, and simultaneously accuse me of invalid comparisons?  Yeah, people might have approved of, and indeed demanded military action against leftists terrorists who were setting off bombs to make a statement.  Most people don’t identify or approve of leftist radical terrorists.  I really shouldn’t have to point that out to you.  Ordinary citizens—millions of them I might add—who have been broken no laws, but were turned into instant felons at the stroke of a pen, and who are now having their constitutional rights violated…  If you can’t see the difference here, I don’t know what to tell you.

TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher - 09 September 2019 01:35 PM

Of course, there would be the perfectly valid objections over the Posse Comitatus Act, and the military would not be used.  But that principle aside I find it hard to believe the sentiment of the typical American would be against the Special Forces taking out the cells of Antifa-terrorists, should the US turn into something like the West Bank writ large.  I have enough faith in the left still that even registered Democrats would be ok with it—in sentiment, if not law—even as Republican’s howled for it. 

Anyway, that speculation aside, your idea that civilians with armed civilian weapons like those permitted in the US in any way insure our civil rights is just silly.  Like I said—and you have only rebutted it with invalid comparisons fortified with hyperventilation and hyperbole—our faith in civil rights does not stem from the barrel of a gun.

No, our defense of our civil rights is maintained by fighting for them as a last resort.  Rights, as the founding father were aware, had to be wrested away from would-be tyrants, and then vigorously defended, by force if necessary.  King John had to be forced to sign Magna Carta.  The English Bill of Rights of 1689 only came about after an autocratic English King (James II) was deposed in a revolution.  The war for American Independence was fought to assert long-established English rights the colonists felt were being infringed.  Your assertion that the framers of the constitution didn’t think our faith in civil rights hinged upon an ability to fight for them if need be is ludicrous, and simply a denial of history.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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09 September 2019 16:26
 

What were gun laws like in Ireland prior to their war for independence?

 
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09 September 2019 16:41
 
mapadofu - 09 September 2019 04:26 PM

What were gun laws like in Ireland prior to their war for independence?

I’m not sure what the exact state of firearms regulations in Ireland was in 1916.  I know the first gun control measures in Britain were enacted right around this time.  I do know that firearms ownership in Ireland was uncommon, and this led to the rebels making numerous attempted to smuggle arms in.  Some were successful, some weren’t.  Even with what they did manage to smuggle in or capture, they eventually successfully brought the British to the negotiating table via a campaign of guerrilla warfare.  Britain had massively superior firepower, as well as disciplined regular troops, machine guns, artillery, aircraft, armored vehicles etc.  The Irish were pretty much limited to small arms, hit and run raids, and targeting key figures in the British administration of Ireland for assassination.  It worked, because while Britain was technically capable of pouring as many troops in as needed and crushing the rebellion, the political cost of doing this was unthinkable in the face of growing worldwide condemnation, and the lack of popular support among the British electorate for such an endless and brutal campaign, as well as stiffening resistance in Ireland itself as the brutal tactics of the auxiliaries and the “Black and Tans” (so named because they wore a combination of British army khaki and police dark blue uniform) persuaded more and more of the fence-sitters to favor the rebellion, or even join up and fight in it.

 
 
mapadofu
 
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09 September 2019 17:07
 

My take away from the success of the Irish rebellion is that a well armed citizenry is not a necessary condition for a populace to keep the government in check.

 
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09 September 2019 17:50
 
mapadofu - 09 September 2019 05:07 PM

My take away from the success of the Irish rebellion is that a well armed citizenry is not a necessary condition for a populace to keep the government in check.

Some years ago I came across a book written by a Canadian military historian which analyzed six early 20th century coup d’état attempts, including an Irish rebellion that failed. One interesting thing was that in each of the six cases national stereotypes showed up (in the Irish case, their logistics got totally fouled up and the rebel leaders knew it would fail before they even started, but they decided to go ahead anyway to make a poetic statement for the next generation). The Russian revolution succeeded only because the other side was even more incompetent. When the rebel troops captured the Winter Palace they didn’t fortify their position, they broke open the wine cellar and got drunk. Both German attempts failed because, although meticulously planned the people involve were unable to adapt to variations and random events. The scary one was in Serbia: Officers of the Serbian army made their plans, met for breakfast on the appointed day, marched into the palace, dragged the king and queen out and hacked them to pieces with their swords, then went for lunch.

 
burt
 
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burt
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09 September 2019 18:06
 

Billy, I think you’re looking at things through an overly apocalyptic lens that sees big government controlled by leftists as the main enemy. But what we’ve actually got right now is big government controlled by corporations who are generally supporting right wing politicians. So the take over isn’t going to be by leftwing fanatics trying to impose some sort of Soviet style control, it already has happened and is controlled by a wealthy oligarchy. And they don’t need the military to keep the population under control, all the need is control of the media. In one of you posts, however, you put a finger on what will be the main political divide: not left/right but urban/rural (although that tends to corollate with right/left). One statistic I saw was that by 2040 over 70% of the US population will be living in ten states. Consider what that means: 80 out of the 100 senators will be from rural states. On the other hand, the house will be controlled by voters in urban states, and because of the electoral college there will be a hand on the scale favoring presidents who can court rural support. Whatever resistance to the rise of a tyranny occurs won’t be through an armed militia, it will be online through cyber-warfare.  That’s the real home for asymmetric warfare these days.

 
TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher
 
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09 September 2019 20:16
 

You’re moving the goal post again.  No one here is arguing that guerrilla or asymmetric warfare isn’t often instrumental in political revolutions, or resistance to foreign invasion or occupation.  It is.  Nor is anyone arguing that political revolutions don’t occur by force.  Most do.  What’s at issue, instead, is armed citizens having civilian weapons to insure their government doesn’t become oppressive in the first place; the idea that the threat of citizens using them is what keeps the US government—or any government, for that matter—honest.  The first two observations are as true as the third speculation is delusional, and the problems of fighting the former have no bearing on the possibility of the dealing with the latter (what your repeated examples imply).  Simply put, if you think the officials in our government don’t even contemplate ‘shredding up the Constitution’ and ‘stomping on the rights of Americans’ through something akin to marshal law because of the Second Amendment, as opposed to all-but insurmountable cultural and political norms rooted in American identity…well, if you believe that then you understand nothing about American politics.

As for your history, the Irish War of Independence was a political revolution decades—even a century—in the making, one successful because of prior concessions from the British, overwhelming popular support within the Irish government itself, overwhelming popular support among the Irish people (including widespread civil disobedience), and the refusal of the British government to bring the full power of the British military to fight the independence movement in the first place (it used more paramilitary forces of its own than the regular Army).  In any case, suggesting that the guerrilla warfare and its domestic terrorism in the final year is the principle cause of its success is both spurious and overly simplistic; likening it to potential American “militias” enabled by the Second Amendment even more so.  As the IRA knew all too well, civilian weapons were insufficient to take on the British Army, in the relatively few cases it was faced directly.  Hence their acquisition through various means of military weapons.

The case of the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan is even more clearly not a case of civilians using civilian weapons against an established government to insure their civil rights.  In their case, the money for the insurrection was supplied by the US, the military weapons were brokered by the Saudis, and the Pakistanis supplied the training.  Its success in driving the Soviets out was as much due to foreign involvement and foreign hardware as their own “indigenous” resources.  Again, no comparison to what might happen in the US—or if it is, then like I said, this involvement of foreign governments in a military or paramilitary conflict on our own soil means a far worse ship has sailed than armed contests over our “civil rights.” 

Our current problems in Afghanistan are no comparison either, and the problems the British faced are the same problems imperial powers have faced since the time of imperial powers.  Those fall under problems one and two, not problem three above.

Yeah, people might have approved of, and indeed demanded military action against leftists terrorists who were setting off bombs to make a statement.  Most people don’t identify or approve of leftist radical terrorists.

This is just your obvious political biases talking.  Typical Americans are no more tolerant of Timothy McVeigh and our crop of right-wing nut jobs than they are intolerant of “leftist terrorists”; they would react the same way if the violence came from the right. Indicating that domestic terrorism proved futile in the 1970’s and would have been even more counter-productive with loss of life is therefore apt.  In fact, I could have suggested that opposition to this leftist violence fueled the ‘Reagan revolution,’ as an example of how counter-productive this kind of extremism tends to be here.  But that would be only partially true…

Our defense of our civil rights is maintained by fighting for them as a last resort.

No it is not.  Once it comes to armed citizens fighting its own military for them, their basis is already lost. 

Per what I already said above, political revolutions by force of arms are neither here nor there for what the Second Amendment does or does not represent in the US.  Any revolution would require weapons not allowed under the Second Amendment, along with some kind of military training.  As such, your references to Magna Carta and the American Revolution—like your references to the Irish War of Independence and Afghanistan—are irrelevant to the issues raised in this thread.

(Incidentally, Madison is both the chief architect of Bill of Rights, and the proponent without whom they wouldn’t have been included in the Constitution.  As such, what he wrote and what was believed prior to drafting the amendment (like FederalistNo. 46) bears on why the “right to bear arms” was included, and what it likely means.  In other words, the naiveté of Jefferson, the views of Hamilton, and even his own views after 1812 are neither here nor there).
 
I’m checking out now because unlike another poster here, I don’t think anymore that you can do any better.  But best of luck in the rest of this debate.  Believe it or not, I like seeing you in it.

 

[ Edited: 10 September 2019 12:41 by TheAnal_lyticPhilosopher]
 
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