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Guns and Preventing Tyranny

gun-constitutionLet me start by being blunt:  the silliest argument out there about the necessity of gun rights is that a gun-owning citizenry guarantees liberty, i.e., that a well-armed populace is a bulwark against proto-authoritarians lurking the halls of democratic governments.  You know:  those nascent Hitlers and Stalins who would take us down the road to totalitarianism but are forestalled by the Second Amendment.  Pointing this out, by the way, really has not other implications for the gun debate.  One could be as pro-gun as one wants and that does not change the specious nature of the notion introduced above.  Still, this ridiculous argument needs to be filed away in this debate.

First, there is the rather obvious (or at least it ought to be) fact of the matter:  if there is a true and dominant authoritarian impulse within the government—the type that could actually be turned effectively against the population, this would mean that the coercive power of the state would be turned against the population.  It is quite clear that the coercive power of the United States government would not be taken down by an armed populace.  There really is no argument here.  Further, those who try to argue from within this scenario don’t even understand how authoritarian states emerge.  They do not come about because one day some scoundrel wakes up and decides to impose dictatorship, but rather it is a far more complex process that requires substantial support from within the state and the population.  Of course, this dystopic scenario incubates in a misapprehension of the relationship between government and the citizens in the first place.  That is:  it assumes that “the people” are on one side even now and “the government” is on the other, without understanding that the government derives from people and is not some foreign entity outside of the rest of us.

In continuation of this topic:  there is no example that I can think of in which a fully developed democratic state devolved into authoritarianism.  And no:  Weimar Germany was not a fully developed democratic state.  Not even close.  Other examples of democracies that I can conjure off the top of may head, such as in Latin America, were not  fully developed of cases.  Chile in 1973 might qualify, although the irony of that example for this discussion is that it was a right-wing coup perpetrated by the military to, in its view, save the country from communists and so it was an action that many in the “guns equal liberty” crowd would probably support.*  Of course, the Chilean case, even if it represents an example of democracy going to tyranny of the type that is feared in this context, it also makes my overall point:  the military was quite willing to turn its might against the population and would not have been deterred by armed citizens (and, indeed, its ability to take power was because it had support from a substantial portion of the population).

Second, there is no evidence to suggest that an armed population leads to freedom.   As the Democracy in America blog at the Economist rightly noted back in December:

While “people’s war” militia-based strategies have been employed to wear down invading armies in numerous countries over the past century, not one of those countries (Vietnam, Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, southern Lebanon, etc) is “free”. This is not an accident of history. Freedom is the product of orderly democratic governance and the rule of law. Popular militias are overwhelming likely to foster not democracy or the rule of law, but warlordism, tribalism and civil war. In Lebanon, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Colombia, the Palestinian Territories and elsewhere, we see that militias of armed private citizens rip apart weak democratic states in order to prey upon local populations in authoritarian sub-states or fiefdoms. Free states are defended by standing armies, not militias, because free states enjoy the consent of the governed, which allows them to maintain effective standing armies. Like every other free country apart from Costa Rica, the United States has a standing army in times of peace, and has since 1791, when the founding fathers realised a standing army would be necessary to fight the irregular popular militias of the continent’s Native American peoples. (Guess who won?)

As crummy as popular militias have proven at defending against “sudden foreign invasions”, they’ve been even worse at defending against “domestic usurpations of power by rulers”. There is, I think, not a single case in modern history, certainly not since the invention of the Gatling gun. No popular militia has ever prevented the seizure of power by an authoritarian ruler. In countries with well-established democratic traditions, authoritarian takeovers are rare; when they occur, popular militias do not resist, or are ruthlessly crushed by national armed forces. In countries with weak democratic traditions, authoritarian takeovers sometimes go smoothly, or in other cases touch off periods of civil war, which are resolved when one faction finally defeats the others and imposes authoritarian rule. Name your authoritarian takeover: Germany, Japan, Russia, China, Egypt, Libya, Brazil, Greece, Spain, Indonesia, the Philippines, Iran, Chile, Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Syria—popular militias never resist authoritarian takeover and preserve democracy or civil freedoms. That is a thing that happens in silly movies. It is not a thing that happens in the world.

All of this is quite accurate:  just check the history.

Along the same lines, see Joshua Keating writing at Foreign Policy on this question of the correlation between gun ownership and freedom, as well as the question of the relationship between armed populations and toppling tyranny:

I haven’t been able to find any published academic studies to this effect (if readers know of any, please post in the comments), but from a look at the Small Arms Survey’s international rankings from 2007, it’s hard to detect a pattern. (I wrote about this data in greater depth here.)

The top 10 gun-owning countries in the world (after the United States) include both democracies like Switzerland and Finland, as well as authoritarian countries like Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

With 34.2 guns per 100 people, Iraq is ranked eighth on the survey. More to the point, the country already had a well-established gun culture and a high rate of gun ownership before the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. We can’t know for sure if a well-armed population could have stopped Hitler’s genocide, but it certainly didn’t stop Saddam’s.

Given the advanced deadly weaponry available to governments these days — as opposed to the late 18th century — most tyrants aren’t all that threatened by citizens with conventional weapons. Like the Iraqis, Libyans were fairly well armed under Muammar al-Qaddafi — 15.5 guns per 100 people as of 2007 — but it still took an assist from NATO air power to finally bring him down.

On the other extreme, the country ranked last on the survey — with only 0.1 guns per 100 people — is Tunisia, which as you’ll recall was still able to overthrow a longtime dictator in 2011. With only 3.5 guns per 100 people, the Egyptian population that overthrew Hosni Mubarak was hardly well armed either. On the other hand, Bahrain, where a popular revolution failed to unseat the country’s monarchy, has 24.8 guns per 100 people, putting it in the top 20 worldwide. A relatively high rate of 10.7 guns per 100 people in Venezuela hasn’t stopped the deterioration of democracy under Hugo Chávez.

Now, as Keating notes, this is not proof of anything, as it begs for further and more systematic study.  Still, it is highly suggestive of what anyone who has studied political violence of this type knows:  successful revolts and revolutions are not simply the acts of a bunch of dedicated patriots with appropriate firepower.  Rather, the effective deployment of citizen-based political violence is almost certainly successful, in the rare cases that it is, due to broader and significant structural conditions.  It is not just the domain of a bunch of pissed off dudes with guns.

At a minimum:  there is no evidence to support the hypothesis that an armed citizenry is protection against the failure of democracy and the rise of authoritarianism.  None.  (Indeed, if you think you have some, share away).  And no:  the American Revolution is not an illustration of this notion for a host of reasons including:  a)  it was not a rebellion of a domestic population against a domestic government, but was an anti-colonial rebellion, b) it was fought not by unorganized citizens versus the government, but between two regular armies, c) it was fought at a time when it was possible for the rebellious side to achieve relative technological parity with its opponent, and d) it still required  the aid of a foreign power to be successful (the French, lest we forget).

Again:  none of this is an argument for or against specific gun policies, but it should help underscores the utter folly of the notion that an armed population is the basis for liberty.

*Indeed, there has been a long-running history of certain sectors of the American conservative movement who had a lot of nice things to say about Augusto Pinochet.  I would link to posts about this at PoliBlog, had I not messed up my archive.

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    What an excellent blog post. Congratulations.

    It won’t change any minds on the right because as you know, this is all about fantasy, and most people don’t put their fantasies to the test of plausibility.

    I actually suspect that this fantasy is the single biggest motivator of the serious NRA gun nut. But never forget that the fantasy is not just about tyranny, it’s very much a matter of tribe, of black and white.

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  2. MBunge says:

    There’s another point to be made. Even if you think an armed populace is a bulwark against tyranny, it would be because large numbers of that populace took up arms in resistance. One guy with an assault rifle is not going to take down the entire local police force, let alone the National Guard or the regular army. So, even the “armed populace” idea doesn’t justify letting citizens have any weapon they want because the quality of arms is far less important than the quantity. 100 guys with deer rifles are a resistance group. One guy with an arsenal is just a nut.

    Mike

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  3. legion says:

    Well said, Professor.
    There is no such thing as a right without limitations. Your right to free speech has limits – you can’t get away with libel or slander. Your right to vote has limits – if you commit certain crimes, it can be taken away. Even your right to life itself can be legally and Constitutionally taken by the state, under the proper circumstances. So what the ever-loving wide world of sports makes people think that this one right, unlike any other right in all the world, has no limits that can be placed on it?

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 19 Thumb down 6

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Who wins in the battle of an armed citizenry versus artillery?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 5

  5. Moosebreath says:

    Excellent post. This point:

    “Further, those who try to argue from within this scenario don’t even understand how authoritarian states emerge. They do not come about because one day some scoundrel wakes up and decides to impose dictatorship, but rather it is a far more complex process that requires substantial support from within the state and the population.”

    deserves greater elaboration. In the last few years, we have seen several examples of items which enjoyed substantial support but which were at least arguably anti-democratic (such as the Michigan laws seizing power from elected officials and replacing them with state appointees). And yet, those who suggest people will rise in armed revolt to dictatorship were silent (I suspect because many of the same people supported the action).

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  6. C. Clavin says:

    In over 200 years has nayone ever had to take up arms against our tyrannical Government?
    It’s stupid actually.

    But did you see this?
    http://www.iiicitadel.com/about.html
    The “Citadel” is a clear example of why we should have better mental health screening for gun purchases.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 2

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @legion:

    So what the ever-loving wide world of sports makes people think that this one right, unlike any other right in all the world, has no limits that can be placed on it?

    In truth I don’t think most of the “gun rights” crowd believes they have a right to any weapon they want as I have yet to hear an argument for RPGs (just wait, tho). The question is, and always has been, about where to draw the line. They have been pushing that line back for quite some time.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  8. Stonetools says:

    Cue a bajillion gun rights posters screaming , “Yes, too, my Bushmaster is a defense against US/UN tyranny. Wolverines!”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  9. Tsar Nicholas says:

    You know what’s odd and somewhat amusing about these sorts of articles? Over the course of decades of being a gun owner and knowing many other people who are gun owners I’ve never actually heard anyone make that argument, i.e., that guns are necessary to “liberty.” Never. Nada. Not once.

    I’ve seen over the years various articles by liberals which I must say have done tremendous jobs defeating that argument, or at least seriously undermining it. And since the Internet became de rigueur I’ve observed a few pixels here and there along similar lines. I presume the people making the “gun rights = liberty” argument exist outside of very cocooned media circles on the right, e.g., National Review. But again I’ve never had a conversation with any fellow gun owner in which the “liberty” angle was raised much less advocated.

    In any event, self-defense is the obvious no brainer reason to have vibrant gun rights. Being “progressive” doesn’t help dissuade muggers and home invaders. And when the choice is being eaten by a bear or shooting said bear even liberals presumably could figure out the latter is far better than the former. The recreational value of guns also is a key point, including hunting and target practice and such. The fact they’re an industrial product that employs many people, both directly and indirectly. The fact they’re an exportable product, which directly helps such items as GDP growth and the current account deficit. There is of course the matter of the 2nd Amendment and now after Heller the way in which the SCOTUS has interpreted it.

    The best practical argument in favor of gun rights, however, and the irony of course almost always is lost on liberals, is what’s happened in the places that have deigned it advisable to have “gun control.” The corpses of gunshot victims in those areas for decades have been piling up to the rafters. That’s neither a coincidence nor in Realityville any sort of surprise.

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  10. mantis says:

    The 2nd Amendment was written by guys who did not want a standing army and proposed to govern a frontier nation that was largely wilderness occupied by hostile native tribes, not to mention bordered by British and Spanish territories. The main reason for a right to bear arms was not to protect the people from the government. That wasn’t even high on the list, if it made the list at all. The main reason was to protect the nation from its enemies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  11. Rafer Janders says:

    There’s also a paradox in this fantasy of an armed citizenry that’s never really addressed: it requires, on the one hand, an American government that’s so tyrannical, so lost to democratic processes, that armed resistance is not only justified but necessary.

    But, on the other hand, it requires a government that’s not so tyrannical and ruthless that the first thing it did wasn’t to demand that all gun owners hand over their weapons, with dire consequences for themselves and their families if they didn’t obey.

    And then it requires a tyrannical, nuclear-armed government, backed by the might of the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, the mightiest and most advanced military the world has ever known, that can be successfully overthrown by a few thousand yahoos with AR-15s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  12. michael reynolds says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    You know what’s odd and somewhat amusing about these sorts of articles? Over the course of decades of being a gun owner and knowing many other people who are gun owners I’ve never actually heard anyone make that argument, i.e., that guns are necessary to “liberty.” Never. Nada. Not once.

    Try reading comments at OTB sometime. Or at any of a thousand web sites. Or maybe we just shorten this to: you’re full of b.s. as usual.

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Moosebreath:

    the Michigan laws seizing power from elected officials and replacing them with state appointees). And yet, those who suggest people will rise in armed revolt to dictatorship were silent (I suspect because many of the same people supported the action).

    Curiosity forces me to ask: Weren’t all the local gov’ts usurped majority black? Maybe that is why none of the usual suspects complained.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  14. MBunge says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “Over the course of decades of being a gun owner and knowing many other people who are gun owners I’ve never actually heard anyone make that argument, i.e., that guns are necessary to “liberty.” Never. Nada. Not once.”

    Notice the use of the weasel word “heard” there. This is one of the rhetorical techniques that make it so difficult to engage with conservatives. The “guns = liberty” is a fairly well established trope on the Right, yet the Tsar proclaims ignorance and strongly implies that the whole thing is just a made up liberal scam.

    Mike

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  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Hero fantasies are not required to make sense. You can be Harvey Milquetoast and fantasize that you’re Rambo. But only in this country would we let our politics be driven by this nonsense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  16. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “In over 200 years has anyone ever had to take up arms against our tyrannical Government?”

    Well, there was John Brown. And Nat Turner. I guess we could add the Symbionese Liberation Army and the Branch Davidians. And that worked out so well for all of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  17. Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 29 Thumb down 2

  18. (And BTW, I can think of at least two students of mine who take this view–real, live people).

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  19. Modulo Myself says:

    The right’s reverence for the overthrows of democratically elected leftist governments makes me think that the version of fighting tyranny isn’t about free people vs a powerful dictator with a military, but the legitimate rulers of a country vs those who do not belong.

    It’s not the fantasy of Red Dawn, but the reality of death squads and paramilitary units killing and torturing liberals that the NRA has channeled.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  20. Blue Galangal says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: Maybe you should check out the comment thread on this article:

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/obama-administration-gun-control-congress-executive-order-regulation

    some examples:

    Actually, it is part of the Second Amendment. The historical context of why it was included (and why the US was actually able to win the Revolution, which is why the FFs saw the value in an armed population) points directly to an armed citizenry- aka the well regulated miltia- being able to defend itself from a potentially tyrannical government, aka England. The fact that the US government hasn’t acted tyrannical in the same sense that England did is irrelevant.

    ***

    Does the purpose truly matter with our rights? The fact is, whether people like it or not, is this is a right we have and cannot be taken away or restricted. And my counter argument to your statement of Jefferson’s drafts is this: How, per say, could the people conduct an armed rebellion every 20 years if they were not to own weapons to fight a corrupted government?

    ***

    Actually, having a weapon to defend against a tyranical govt. is the right.

    ***

    Good Answer. As a Ritired 20 yrs US Army Veteran and a Proud Gun Owner, or Gun Nut as some of you would love to call me. Obama by LAW cannot infridge on my Right to Bear Arms, if he tries like Alex Jones and so many other have stated from the NRA and All my GUN Patriots, “We will IMPEACH YOU” So try to Illegally take it away from the Hard Working TAX PAYER? We will not take this lying down, We will Never Conform to this Administration’s B** S%$**.

    ***

    Personally while I don’t see the NEED for an assault style rifle I can understand the WANT. But I think that trying to get rid of most legally owned handguns, hunting rifles and hunting shotguns is unnecessary and only serves the purpose to disarm the public so that they can’t defend themselves. To quote Thomas Jefferson, one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence said that “The beauty of the 2nd amendment is that it won’t be needed until the Government tries to take it away.” The 2nd amendment says the right to bear arms, not the right to borrow them from the government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  21. C. Clavin says:

    Tsar has a very, very, selective memory.
    Someone remind him/her of Sharon Angle and her 2nd Amendment Remedies.
    Is anyone more full of bullshit than Tsar?

    Angle: I feel that the Second Amendment is the right to keep and bear arms for our citizenry. This not for someone who’s in the military. This not for law enforcement. This is for us. And in fact when you read that Constitution and the founding fathers, they intended this to stop tyranny. This is for us when our government becomes tyrannical…
    Manders: If we needed it at any time in history, it might be right now.
    Angle: Well it’s to defend ourselves. And you know, I’m hoping that we’re not getting to Second Amendment remedies. I hope the vote will be the cure for the Harry Reid problems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  22. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: Sorry, I couldn’t get past the idea of Tsar Nicholas with a weapon. The people arguing for unlimited gun rights are really the best argument for strict regulations… or confiscation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  23. wr says:

    @MBunge: “yet the Tsar proclaims ignorance”

    One thing about the Tsar — when he proclaims ignorance, safe money is to believe him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  24. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: The National Review? Are they still pubishing? I’ve never heard of them — do they exist? Sun rises in the east. Oh, the irony.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  25. wr says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “(And BTW, I can think of at least two students of mine who take this view–real, live people). ”

    And you haven’t brainwashed them to the commie-leftie-Islamo-fascist way of thinking yet? What kind of academic do you think you are?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Or maybe we just shorten this to: you’re full of b.s. as usual.

    Alex, I’ll take door number 2.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  27. Rafer Janders says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    It’s not the fantasy of Red Dawn, but the reality of death squads and paramilitary units killing and torturing liberals that the NRA has channeled.

    Bingo.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  28. C. Clavin says:

    If Tsar was a stock I would short him/her.

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  29. Rafer Janders says:

    @Blue Galangal:

    From the comments you cited:

    But I think that trying to get rid of most legally owned handguns, hunting rifles and hunting shotguns is unnecessary and only serves the purpose to disarm the public so that they can’t defend themselves.

    No, I think that remote controlled drones have taken care of that. They should try defending themselves against a drone-fired missile strike and see how well that goes.

    To quote Thomas Jefferson, one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence said that “The beauty of the 2nd amendment is that it won’t be needed until the Government tries to take it away.”

    Oh for god’s sake…can’t they even tell made-up quotes anymore? Thomas Jefferson never wrote that. If they make up quotes, they should at least try to have the language and usage (“the beauty…is”?) approximate that of an 18th-century writer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  30. legion says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    The question is, and always has been, about where to draw the line.

    I’d buy that argument from a sane, rational gun-owner. Unfortunately, “I can use rockets and grenades and machine guns if I want” is _exactly_ the argument being made across the country by both elected members of the Legislative branch _and_ real-life badge-carrying cops.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  31. Paul L. says:

    Please explain how this Progressive narrative logic does not contradict itself.
    Gun nuts would get destroyed by the US military if they tried to rebel.
    So they are not a check on a tyrannical Federal Government.
    Gun nuts should not able to buy full auto weapons RPGs and stingers.
    There is no way that US military can defeat insurgents in Iraq.

    Of course the progressives could use the argument that the media would not be on the side of the gunnuts (like they were for the insurgents in Iraq) and would not report and help cover up/spin any abuses/atrocities.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 12

  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    If they make up quotes,

    Why not? They make up everything else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  33. @Paul L.:

    There is no way that US military can defeat insurgents in Iraq.

    While I am sure someone, somewhere, has said this, this issue is not whether the US military could defeat such an insurgency,but what the cost would be.

    Regardless, you are making two fundamental errors:

    1) You are comparing an insurgency trying to oust an outside military. This is not what we are discussing here. An insurgency of this type is no looking to militarily defeat the army in question, it is simply trying to make it sufficiently costly so that that military will decide leaving is the better end of the cost/benefit analysis. Such tactics no work when the insurgency is fighting the domestic government–the overall calculus is different.

    2) The appropriate question in terms of comparison would be whether the Iraqi insurgency could overthrow the Iraqi government.

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  34. (also this isn’t about “progressives” it is about a proper understanding of history and social science)

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  35. Paul L. says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: ‘
    Like the Jefferson ‘Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.’ quote?
    Thomas Jefferson’s Love of Dissent.-

    Actually, no. He got it from Thomas Jefferson. “This is not the first time in American history when patriotism has been distorted to deflect criticism and mislead the nation,” warned Sen. Kerry, placing his courage in the broader historical context. “No wonder Thomas Jefferson himself said: ‘Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.’ “

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @legion:

    I’d buy that argument from a sane, rational gun-owner.

    You mean me.

    Unfortunately, “I can use rockets and grenades and machine guns if I want” is _exactly_ the argument being made across the country by both elected members of the Legislative branch _and_ real-life badge-carrying cops.

    I honestly have not heard a single elected rep of any branch of gov’t say anything even close to that OR a real life badge carrying cop. In fact, my US Marshall buddy says the opposite (which makes me think you phrased that badly?)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Paul L.:

    Like the Jefferson ‘Dissent is the greatest form of patriotism.’ quote?

    No, like the ‘fact’ that global warming is a myth and that if it isn’t a myth, man has nothing to do with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  38. C. Clavin says:

    Maybe Tsar, faced with his/her own failings, has finally turned tail and run like Jan.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  39. Jack says:

    @legion: Yet none of the examples you state involve a limit of prior restraint. The government doesn’t muffle all movie goers to keep them from yelling fire. It doesn’t preapprove all articles to prevent slander. The acts are committed and then a it is determined if a crime has occurred. As with gunowners, they must all be presumed law abiding until and not before they commit a crime.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  40. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: There was that little thing called the Civil War.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  41. Rafer Janders says:

    @Paul L.:

    Certainly. The key difference is that one case, Iraq, is where a native insurgency, fighting from its homes, is trying to make it so difficult for a foreign invader (that’s us) to stay that the foreign invader eventually decides it’s not worth its while and decides to leave (which is exactly what George W. Bush eventually did).

    In the US case, it would be entirely different, as (a) not only the insurgents, but the government and military, would be fighting on their home turf, and therefore you can’t exactly make the US military up and leave, and (b) the insurgents’ goal would have to be to actually overthrow the government, which is much harder to do than simply resisting an invasion.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  42. @Jack: Except:

    a) The Civil War was not armed civilians rising up against a the government, but rather portions of the country breaking off in opposition to itself, and in the context of established government (the states).

    b) This is a lousy case for your position, if you are arguing the liberty position (and perhaps you aren’t) because the groups that started the fight and acted in rebellion was not on the side of human liberty, but on the side fighting for the right to own other human beings.

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  43. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jack:

    There was that little thing called the Civil War.

    Oh deary me. Yes those wonderful Southern Patriots were fighting for their freedoms and the freedoms of all Dog loving men against that tyrannical Federal government.

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  44. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    As with gunowners, they must all be presumed law abiding until and not before they commit a crime.

    Which is why no one searches me before I board a plane, or enter a state or federal courthouse. It’s presumed that I’m not carrying any weapons….

    And similarly, if I adopt a child, or apply for a job with the government, no one does a background check, looks into my finances, interviews my friends, checks my criminal record, etc. It’s presumed that I’m not a pedophile, or a spy…..

    There are in fact many instances where the authorities place prior restraints on behavior and don’t take the fact of someone’s being a law-abiding citizen on trust.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:Correction:

    Oh deary me. Yes those wonderful Southern Patriots were fighting for their freedoms and the freedoms of all Dog loving WHITE men against that tyrannical Federal government.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  46. JKB says:

    Of course, the only tyranny to be concerned about is established official state authorities. And yes, in a “palms up military action”, armed but untrained resistance wouldn’t hold up and once isolated into rebel cities, artillery, poison gas, aerial bombardment and even Piers Morgan’s fabled nuclear weapons would give government forces the upper hand. Of course, it is from such massacres that true revolution is born.

    But tyranny doesn’t just come marching down the street in snazzy uniforms. It comes late at night wearing the mask of thugs who enjoy official accommodation. In the past, such tyranny came wearing brown shirts or sheets with pointy hats. They come in Iran as the Basij, They visited the homes and towns of Black Americans as the Klan. They are the unofficial violence and they are particularly vulnerable to the exercise of self defense. Odd, how their victims are often denied the right to self defense and are officially sanctioned for defending themselves from such “non-governmental thugs” by the government.

    On the positive side, the possession of firearms, while effective against “non-governmental thugs” are also effective against common criminals and thugs, so it is win-win.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  47. C. Clavin says:

    Jack…you don’t know jack.
    The Civil War was about individuals fighting for liberty? The liberty to own other humans? Really? That’s your argument?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  48. Rafer Janders says:

    Three other un-addressed issue in this fantasy of resisting a tyrannical government:

    1. At best, US citizens could have semi-automatic assault weapons at home, while the tyrannical government would have not only assault weapons, but also heavy machine guns, mortars, missiles, artillery, APCs, tanks, helicopters, fighter jets, submarines, aircraft carriers, etc. etc. It’s a bit of a mismatch.

    2. The government would also have the full panoply of the modern surveillance state, including the powers of the NSA, CIA, FBI, spy satellites, etc.

    3. Even if you own a weapon, you have to constantly train in its use to be effective, and to be effective against a military, you also have to train in combat tactics along with other men. Who’s going to win this firefight: a squad of 10 Marines armed only with assault rifles, or a hundred weekend patriots also armed with assault rifles? The Marines, every time, even though they’re outnumbered ten to one. Why? Because they’re trained and know what they’re doing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  49. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    Of course, it is from such massacres that true revolution is born.

    Stalin massacred about 50 millions of his own citizens. Mao, a similar number. Pol Pot, fully a quarter of his population. How’d those revolutions go?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  50. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: And all you did was list a bunch of BS that aren’t rights.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  51. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: The Civil War was about state governments not being beholden to a Federal Governemnt mandate…similar to Obamacare. Do some reading and get away from your libtard talking pioints.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 22

  52. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Yes, and in Libiya, Egypt, Syria, the revolutionaries started out with only small arms but acquired the larger stuff along the way. It’s funny how our government can be so for the revolutions there that could not happen without assault weapons, but want’s to take our away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  53. C. Clavin says:

    Jack…
    Slavery = Obamacare.
    You stupid f*(&

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  54. @Jack:

    Yes, and in Libiya, Egypt, Syria, the revolutionaries started out with only small arms but acquired the larger stuff along the way.

    The Egyptian cases not been one of armed rebellion.

    The Libyan case required the military intervention of an outside power.

    Neither was a case of an armed citizenry using gun rights to forestall a democracy from becoming a tyranny.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  55. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Good arguement. I’m convinced. Asshole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  56. michael reynolds says:

    @JKB:

    But tyranny doesn’t just come marching down the street in snazzy uniforms. It comes late at night wearing the mask of thugs who enjoy official accommodation.

    And I’d be willing to bet you’ll be one of those people. The problem with fantasists is that they can be convinced to try and make their fantasies real. People like you have an emotional need to prove yourselves as men of action, as heroes. It’s an old fantasy, been around forever. So give some charismatic charlatan a bible and a gun and he’ll convince clowns like you to snatch up your guns and shoot up some negroes or some students. Because in your delusional little world you’ll be saving the country.

    I don’t see you as Nathan Hale. Your intellectual limitations and your gun cult fanaticism mark you as more of a David Koresh acolyte.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 17 Thumb down 6

  57. stonetools says:

    The Civil War was about state governments not being beholden to a Federal Governemnt mandate…similar to Obamacare. Do some reading

    This is hilarious on so many levels. Thanks for the belly laugh, Jack.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  58. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Yes, and in Libiya, Egypt, Syria, the revolutionaries started out with only small arms but acquired the larger stuff along the way.

    First correction, the Egyptian revolution was non-violent.

    Second, the Libyans and Syrians were facing the relatively weak Libyan and Syrian militaries. Think there’s a difference between them and the US military? Think the US military, CIA and FBI are going to let you acquire “larger stuff” along the way, or are they just going to sit back, send a drone overhead, and crater your ass?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  59. Rafer Janders says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    And in Libya, the rebels were losing until NATO intervened on their side. They needed modern fighter aircraft and bombers to make any headway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  60. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: You smug asshole. Even you must admit that the line between criminal gangs and the police has been so blurred that you cannot reasonably tell the difference anymore. More government raids occur daily than mass killings by assault weapon. The government comes knocking at 2 in the morning, kicks in your door, assaults your wife and children for the slimist of reasons. God forbid you do, or some anonymous caller sates, that you have a minor amount of weed for personal use and the government decides it wants to make an example of you. And our recourse is supposed to be what? Let them? Tyranny is already upon us, you just don’t want to admit it.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 23

  61. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: I guess there’s no chance that the military or portions thereof wouldn’t decide to switch sides. No that will never happen. Also, you give to much credit to the US intelligence gathering aparatus. You know, the same one you lambasted in Iraq over WMD.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  62. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    They come in Iran as the Basij, They visited the homes and towns of Black Americans as the Klan. They are the unofficial violence and they are particularly vulnerable to the exercise of self defense.

    Oh, please. All those things such as the Brownshirts, Basij, Klan, etc. were auxiliaries of a larger, extremely powerful government. If someone had really attempted “self-defense” against a Brownshirt mob, it would have lasted only a few hours before the Nazi government sent in more heavily-armed forces. Same with the Klan — if a poor sharecropper had faced off Klan riders with his shotgun, it would have bought him only a few more hours of life until the local sheriff and his boys showed up to torture him to death.

    These are just fantasies. And hey, we all have fantasies (mine involve Mila Kunis). The difference between us, though, is that in your fantasies, lots of people get hurt, and in mine, only I do (at the hands of Mila Kunis).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  63. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Neither was a case of an armed citizenry using gun rights to forestall a democracy from becoming a tyranny.

    Has that ever actually happened? Anywhere? Not even the American Revolution was such an instance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  64. Jack says:

    @stonetools: Stonetools, did you remove your hands from your penis long enough to make a post? Go back to your Hentai.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 14

  65. michael reynolds says:

    @Jack:

    Tyranny is already upon us, you just don’t want to admit it.

    Proving my point that you cultists are nuts. Thank you.

    There are widespread abuses in the drug war. It does not come close to rising to the level of tyranny. Your inability to understand the difference is one reason why people like you have no business owning guns.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 2

  66. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    I guess there’s no chance that the military or portions thereof wouldn’t decide to switch sides.

    So that’s what you’re depending on — not that you would actually be able to defend yourself with your own weapons, but that you’d hope to persuade the military to come to your side. In that case, what do you need the weapons for? In Egypt, the military came over to the people’s side without any armed revolution.

    Also, you give to much credit to the US intelligence gathering aparatus. You know, the same one you lambasted in Iraq over WMD.

    You think there’s a mite difference between the US intelligence community being able to figure out what’s going on in a foreign country where they had no on-the-ground assets and couldn’t speak the local language, and the US intelligence community being able to figure out what’s going on in the US? Hell, all they’d have to do is monitor Facebook and Twitter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  67. Jack says:

    @michael reynolds: Luckily for me you don’t get to make that decision. So go piss up a rope.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  68. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    And all you did was list a bunch of BS that aren’t rights.

    The right to travel, to petition my government for a redress of grievances, to have a family, and to have a job, aren’t rights?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  69. @Mikey:

    Has that ever actually happened? Anywhere? Not even the American Revolution was such an instance.

    Exactly-that’s actually part of my point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  70. @Jack: Um, what? What federal mandate? One imposed by President James Buchanan?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  71. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Yes, because just like the average thug who just stole a car, the next revolution will make hourly updates on Facebook and Twitter. One of the first targets of any revolution will be the mass media. Local newspapers, radios, and television will cease to function and wireless nodes will be brought down or destroyed. This is Standard Operating Procedure to insure only one side’s information gets out to the masses.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  72. legion says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    You mean me.

    Yes. People like you I can have a rational debate with about where that line ought to be, We could even agree to disagree on certain details without (I believe) either of us feeling troubled. However…

    I honestly have not heard a single elected rep of any branch of gov’t say anything even close to that OR a real life badge carrying cop.

    Unfortunately, there are people like this:

    The sheriff emotionally said he would be ashamed to have to explain to the Founding Fathers why the United States was currently debating gun control. He insisted everyone had the right to own a firearm, and that everyone would be prudent to carry a firearm to defend themselves against criminals.

    Peyman said he was even open to allowing people to own hand grenades “if it was necessary for self protection.”

    These are the people whose very arguments against gun control make me want to take their guns away from them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  73. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Adoption isn’t a right, boarding a plane isn’t a right, unrestricted access to a statehouse isn’t a right (although I would argue that it is a public place so the public should have some access), applying for a job with the government isn’t a right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  74. mantis says:

    Don’t worry. Soon Jack’s recreational time with the computer will be over and he’ll have to go back to the day room with the other patients.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  75. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    One of the first targets of any revolution will be the mass media. Local newspapers, radios, and television will cease to function and wireless nodes will be brought down or destroyed.

    You’ll forgive me for assuming that between your revolution and the average 14 year old, the average 14 year old will be able to broadcast whatever he wants.

    “First, we seize all the radio stations!” Oh, dear me. Dear me. Do you think we’re still in the 1930s? You do realize, don’t you, that this is the year 2013, and we have a WORLDWIDE and MULTI-DISTRIBUTED information network?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  76. ernieyeball says:

    @Jack The Fortune Teller: One of the first targets of any revolution will be the mass media. Local newspapers, radios, and television will cease to function and wireless nodes will be brought down or destroyed. This is Standard Operating Procedure to insure only one side’s information gets out to the masses.

    Now that you are predicting the future, Swami Jack, please be more specific. Names, dates and places please.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  77. Mikey says:

    @legion:

    Peyman said he was even open to allowing people to own hand grenades “if it was necessary for self protection.”

    Now that’s a guy who knows nothing about hand grenades. My goodness.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  78. @Rafer Janders: Come now, we ALL know that the revolution will not be televised.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  79. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    Stonetools, did you remove your hands from your penis long enough to make a post? Go back to your Hentai.

    Actually, my skills are such that I did not have to remove my hands from my joystick to make that post. Try again, grasshopper.

    More seriously , please do some reading about the causes of the Civil War. I could recommend you a list.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  80. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Adoption isn’t a right, boarding a plane isn’t a right, unrestricted access to a statehouse isn’t a right (although I would argue that it is a public place so the public should have some access), applying for a job with the government isn’t a right.

    Ah, but see, all you’re doing is defining the behavior up to a level where you think a reasonable restriction should apply. I say “right to travel”, you say “right to board a plane.” I say “right to start a family”, you say “right to adoption.”

    So in return, I’ll say that you have the right to bear a musket (hey, I’m a strict constructionist) but not the right to bear an assault rifle. You have the right to a single-shot rifle, but not to a multi-capacity magazine. This can work both ways.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 1

  81. Jack says:

    @mantis: So in your world I can’t exercise my 1st amendment? Are only libtards allowed to post here? Do I have to parrot leftist drivel? Your acceptance of me is right up there with root canal and colonoscopy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  82. mantis says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    So in return, I’ll say that you have the right to bear a musket (hey, I’m a strict constructionist) but not the right to bear an assault rifle. You have the right to a single-shot rifle, but not to a multi-capacity magazine.

    If he can prove he is a member of a well-regulated militia.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  83. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Dipstick, I was responding to your original post! Your original post defined the peramiters not me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  84. mantis says:

    @Jack:

    So in your world I can’t exercise my 1st amendment?

    You’re in my world, and you are in fact speaking, so I guess the answer the that question is an obvious “no.” Moron.

    Are only libtards allowed to post here?

    It ain’t my website, so I don’t set the rules, but it’s obvious your dumb ass is posting here, so you figure it out.

    Anyway, you’re boring. Go shoot yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  85. Jack says:

    @mantis: D.C. v. Heller would disagree.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  86. legion says:

    @Jack:

    The government doesn’t muffle all movie goers to keep them from yelling fire. It doesn’t preapprove all articles to prevent slander.

    But the government _does_ require anyone operating a motor vehicle to demonstrate safety and competence via a licensing procedure. “But,” you are already typing, “you don’t have a Constitutional right to own a car!” Not explicitly, no. But if it’s legal to _sell_ cars, how is requiring a licensing procedure not prior restraint? Because it’s very much in the interest of public safety (and therefore within the Constitutional bounds of state & federal gov’ts) to regulate who is allowed to drive a two-ton block of steel & plastic at 70+ mph. _And_ to enforce speed limits, _and_ have regulations on the design & manufacture of cars, _and_ to take away that license if you show you can’t be trusted with a car. Likewise, it is in the interest of public safety to limit firearms by law. You don’t have to like it, but it _is_ absolutely Constitutional. The devil, as always, is in the details.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  87. Jack says:

    @mantis: Come suck on my barrell asshole.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  88. OK: Enough. Either argue with civility or I am going to stop deleting comments and consider banning.

    Let’s not talk about shooting one another (or inviting others to shoot themselves) and enough with the sophomoric deployment of profanity to no end.

    Argue all you like, but please try to adhere to the site’s comment policies.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  89. wr says:

    @JKB: “But tyranny doesn’t just come marching down the street in snazzy uniforms. It comes late at night wearing the mask of thugs who enjoy official accommodation. ”

    Sorry, but this sure sounds like you’re arguing that the second amendment gives American citizens a constitutional right to murder government employees.

    And you call yourself a responsible gun owner.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  90. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Dipstick, I was responding to your original post! Your original post defined the peramiters not me.

    Yes, I tricked you. You fell for it. I was fairly certain you wouldn’t see what I was doing, referencing the fact that rights may or may not be restricted based on the level at which you define that right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  91. mantis says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Ok, I’ll be nice and refrain from engaging the troll.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  92. Jack says:

    @legion: No, the government only requires anyone operating a motor vehicle on PUBLIC PROPERTY to demonstrate safety and competence via a licensing procedure. Of course we don’t enforce that on illegals…that whole undocumented thing. I can own a vehicle and not register or be licensed and drive it on my property all I want. The devil, as always, is in the details.

    I would love to treat guns like cars…
    I can go out and buy any car I want and I don’t have to ask teh government for permission.
    I can buy a car as long as I have the money, no age requirement.
    I can drive a car in most states at 16.
    I can drive my car from state to state and not worry about leaning the driving laws in other states.
    I can buy a two door or a four door and no one can say boo.
    I can buy a car without filling out a questionnaire confirming citizenship, do not use drugs or abuse alcohol, have never had a conviction for alcohol related incidents or reckless driving or being threatend with 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine if I lie while buying my car.
    I can choose to buy my car new car anywhere, I don’t have to go to the government Bureau of Motor Vehicles to verify my information before purchase.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  93. wr says:

    @Jack: “This is Standard Operating Procedure to insure only one side’s information gets out to the masses. ”

    Well, the good news is that there’s no chance this will work on you. Since no shred of information has every been able to penetrate your mind — starting with the fact that there was slavery in the Old South — I doubt the ebil gummint will have a chance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  94. stonetools says:

    Maybe this can be a teachable moment on how and why the 2Am was adopted. Garry Wills has written an article demolishing the argument that the drafters of the Constitution wrote a right to commit treason into the Bill of Rights.
    Now Steve has written an article showing that historically, armed insurrection by individuals don’t work.
    All that remains is now an article explaining that the right to self-defense ( even if such a right is in the Constitution) is not the same as a right to have any kind of firearm you like, and we are done with the wingnut arguments against gun safety legislation. Now, rational people thought that Heller made that clear, but judging from Jack’s comments, its not clear enough .Indeed, for the gun nuts, it may never be clear enough. We can but try.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  95. Modulo Myself says:

    What’s freaking the gun rights people out is that their passive-aggressive schtick doesn’t work like it used to. Like the rest of the white southern morality movement, few who have had any experience in life are buying it now. It’s just white guy fantasy.

    To find people who are actually interested in liberty and the value of freedom, look at the ones who use their minds, who read, and who act and not those who are buying arsenals, whining about socialism and thuggery, and living in complete mental and emotional isolation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  96. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Adoption isn’t a right! Boarding a plane isn’t a right, unrestricted access to a statehouse isn’t a right, applying for a job with the government isn’t a right. You don’t get to define those as your rights. Claiming flying is right to travel has already been shot down in the courts. There is no right to work for the government. Claiming that adoption is a right to a family doesn’t make it a constitutional right.

    Existing law defines those rights. And existing law defines the 2nd amendment. No requirement to be part of a militia and guns that are in common use. You didn’t trick me, you just argued against yourself.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 11

  97. Jack says:

    @wr: know there was slavery in the south. Don’t be an idiot. I’m from the north. But slavery wasn’t the ONLY reason for the Civil War. Also, you keep ignoring the fact that I was responding to a question of have arms been taken up against our government in the last 200 years. The answer is YES. They did it in the Civil War!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 13

  98. Jack says:

    @stonetools: I don’t need an article to tell me I have the right to self defense. I don’t need a law or a government to tell me I have that right either. I HAVE that RIGHT. What tool I use to defend myself is none of your business. It’s as simple as that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  99. gVOR08 says:

    J. K. Galbraith used to have a standard line that there had never been a successful revolution that wasn’t equivalent to kicking in a rotted door. Doubt I could find it again, but I remember seeing a convincing article several years ago making the case that non-violent protest and revolution are historically way more successful than violent actions.

    And thank you, professor, for an excellent post.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  100. Rob in CT says:

    The funny thing is that it doesn’t actually matter much. Conceding that yeah, the idea of “patriots” with their semi-auto rifles taking on the US government is crazy to the point of hilarity doesn’t change the fact that the 2nd amendment (and related jurisprudence) exists. Denying this just makes people look loopy.

    The thing most likely to protect us from tyranny is the US military itself refusing to follow orders if it came to it. Switching sides, even. If the military sticks with the government, though, the average Joe and his private arsenal is thoroughly screwed. Even with IEDs. The best you could hope for is to bloody the army’s nose a bit. If that’s a check on tyranny, it’s a very mild one.

    Anyway, my read of the Founder’s intent is this:

    1) It was the 18th century, the nation was new and very vulnerable. It had a sparsely populated frontier. There were imperial powers happy to carve it up if they could. There was also slavery. In this environment, with potential hostiles both interior (slave revolt risk) and exterior (native americans, Britain) defense was obviously a priority.

    2) The Founders distrusted the idea of a standing army. I think they were correct to worry about it. If you have it, you’ll use it, for one thing. Anyway, they wanted to avoid that. But guess what? That went out the window a long, long time ago. For better or worse (I think both, actually), we have a standing army. Arguably the most powerful fighting force in human history. All volunteer. Professional. That’s very, very different than the Founder’s vision.

    Obviously other things have changed as well. We no longer have a frontier, we are much less vulnerable (to being actually conquered by a foreign power), thanks in no small part to that powerful standing army the Founders would probably abhor. Also, we’ve come a long way from muskets, you know?

    So, what now? If you think tyranny is already upon us, as Jack professes to, clearly an armed citizenry was no check on that.

    I don’t want to take away law-abiding citizen’s guns. I would like for it to be harder for a criminal and/or mentally unstable person to acquire them, though. And I would like to see fewer gun owners in the future, via individual choice.

    Seems to me an awful lot of guns get sold illegally. When that happens, somewhere along the line, a supposedly upstanding citizen licensed to sell firearms has sold said firearms illegally. I’d like to see a crackdown on that. Go after the supply side.

    Farmer John with his shotgun for varmints… Office drone Bob who likes to target shoot… whatever. Have your guns. Please do secure them, though.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  101. C. Clavin says:

    Jack…
    Slavery was THE reason for the Civil War.
    Everything else is revisionist history.
    Buy a dog…name it CLUE…then you will have one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  102. Rafer Janders says:

    Jack at 12:46 PM: Existing law defines those rights.

    Jack at 12:50 PM: I don’t need a law or a government to tell me I have that right either. I HAVE that RIGHT.

    Have you two met?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  103. Jack says:

    @Modulo Myself: Yes Liberalism is the future. We know what’s best for you and you’ll like it dammit! You just go to work and allow use to take half your pay. Don’t complain. We know what’s best for you. Go to school and learn only what we want you to learn, nothing that may challenge us. We know what’s best, don’t complain. Oh, those people over there that don’t work…those are the poor, poor pitiful poor. Ignore their 60 inch plasma, there section 8 housing that is better than yours, their, Obama phones and everything else you pay for but they get. Don’t complain, we know what’s best. Oh, have our business regulations caused your business some problems? Not making the profit you used to? Don’t complain. It’s for your own good. We know best. Not getting as many hours at work because your employer cut them to 28.5 a week so he didn’t have to pay for your health care. It’s best. Don’t complain because your healthcare will be free and you also qualify for food stamps. Can’t build on your land because you won’t pay extortion money to the state? Don’t complain, our liberal ideals are best.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13

  104. legion says:

    @Jack:

    I HAVE that RIGHT.

    On this, I do not disagree.

    What tool I use to defend myself is none of your business. It’s as simple as that.

    This, however, is where you jump off into batsh*t insanity. If you don’t know how to safely and properly use a gun, you’re going to get innocent people killed. Period. That _makes_ it my business. Just because _you_ may have training and competence is no guarantee that any other gun-owner is as safe. And if one irresponsible person owning a gun makes everyone around him unsafe, that guy’s gonna have his gun taken away. Or he’s gonna die. It’s as simple as _that_.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  105. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Calvin–go back to diddling you mom. Revisionist history, isn’t that what this whole article is about? Someone doesn’t like the idea that our framers wrote the 2nd amendment and they want to revise it to fit their definition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 11

  106. ernieyeball says:

    @Prophet Jack: I can buy a car as long as I have the money, no age requirement.

    Don’t know what the laws are in Shangri-La but when I wanted to buy my first car at 16 in Illinois my dad had to be involved as I was not old enough to hold title (own) to the vehicle.
    For Government restrictions on drivers in Illinois age 16 see: http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/drivers/teen_driver_safety/gdl.html

    And of course we all know that guns and cars are exactly alike. Anyone can use a gun for transportation from one place to another. It is called car jacking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  107. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jack:

    Statistically, by having a gun in your possession, you are more like to cause harm than by not having a gun. People talk about self-defense as if it is a right unto itself, but the only humane reason for self-defense is to keep oneself (and others) from being harmed. So if your right to self-defense is absolute, then what about the rights of others to not be harmed or have violence done to them? If we go by statistics, then maybe you shouldn’t be allowed to have a gun at all.

    Unless it’s the self-defense part that really turns you on.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  108. Jack says:

    @legion: Not until or before he commits a crime.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  109. JKB says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    and what did the Bolsheviks do right after taking power? Disarm the population, maybe?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 7

  110. C. Clavin says:

    Clearly Jack Slavery=Obamacare has some mental issues and should simply be ignored.
    I am, however, still waiting for Tsar to defend his comment @ 10:30.
    Crickets. Tyrannical crickets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  111. Modulo Myself says:

    @Jack:

    But why would you expect liberalism not to win? Who wants to be you? Or JKB? Or some guy with fifty-eight guns who is upset about the government regulating the size of magazines?

    For all of the talk about liberty, you guys seem like the most constrained and uptight humans alive.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  112. Jack says:

    @Modulo Myself: Statistically, by having a vehicle you are more likely to have an accident than not.

    There is no right not to be harmed or insulted, or offended or any other made up right. Self defense is innate. People will fight to preserve their life and the lives of those they love given the opportunity. As I have argued before, a gun is the great equalizer. An octagenerian, a 90 pound cheerleader, and the mother of three are all equal to the 290 pound thug intent on doing harm if they are armed, trained, and willing to use a firearm. Otherwise they will simply give up and let the harm be done to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8

  113. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: So forcing me with threat of jail or death (government is force) to purchase heralthcare that includes things I do not want or do not need in order to pay for others to have healthcare isn’t slavery?

    Slavery = people benefitting from the labor of others (be they landowners or welfare moms), they both benefit with little to no work on their part off the labor of those that will be punished if they don’t perform the task.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 9

  114. legion says:

    @Jack: Also,

    I would love to treat guns like cars…

    Bull. You’d whine like b*tch. Let’s take a look…
    I can go out and buy any car I want and I don’t have to ask teh government for permission.
    No you can’t – you can only buy a car that is manufactured to federal standards of safety. You can’t even import a car that violates those standards without special permission, and you still couldn’t drive it without restrictions.
    I can buy a car as long as I have the money, no age requirement.
    I don’t have a legal reference, but I’m pretty sure that’s wrong too.
    I can drive a car in most states at 16.
    Again, only if you pass the licensing requirements. And many states are increasing that age because people that young aren’t really safe to drive.
    I can drive my car from state to state and not worry about leaning the driving laws in other states.
    Still wrong. You have to obey the posted speed limit in whatever area you are, not what the limit is in your home state. Also, if (as an example) right turns on red are allowed in your home state, but not in the state you’re driving in, guess what? You’ll still get cited for making a left on red. Not knowing is not a defense.
    I can buy a two door or a four door and no one can say boo.
    True, but still within limits. If you wanted to buy a 30-door car, you’d have to find someone willing to make it & sell it to you. And even if you built in in your own shop, you’d still have to get it certified for safety before you could drive it on a road.
    I can buy a car without filling out a questionnaire confirming citizenship, do not use drugs or abuse alcohol, have never had a conviction for alcohol related incidents or reckless driving or being threatend with 10 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine if I lie while buying my car.
    Still wrong. You can’t get a car loan (or insurance) without those questions being asked. I suppose you could buy the car with pure cash, but there are also limits on how much money you can move in & out of bank accounts…
    I can choose to buy my car new car anywhere, I don’t have to go to the government Bureau of Motor Vehicles to verify my information before purchase.
    Again, wrong. See above for the info you’ll need to provide for a loan or insurance. Also, you still have to get someone to _sell_ you that car.

    Finally, your one line of logical defense is that pretty much all of these caveats don’t apply if you operate the car on your own private property. That’s true. But if your car breaks down on your property, it still stays _on your property_. Bullets and explosives don’t. Your car can’t accidentally kill someone a half-mile away if you accidentally step on the gas instead of the brake. _That’s_ why it is legitimate and Constitutional to regulate firearms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  115. JKB says:

    @wr:

    Please do something to improve your reading comprehension. I was speaking of non-governmental forces that enjoy unofficial support. The do violence while leaving the “government” to keep its PR working as not the instigator.

    And yes, if one opposes these supported groups, any reason will be used to PR the event into an “extremist” stand off. Governments are good at defining the narrative. But if you are to be terrorized, I go for having the ability to bloody the thugs, bringing overt government action. Eventually, some, often minor, protest can spark the wider revolt but not if everyone cowers in fear.

    But go ahead, as you can see some way that resistance might be futile, surrender in cowardice. Or join reality where outcomes are not assured and freedom requires sacrifice.

    But to return to the post’s premise, small arms can defend against the decline into tyranny as the tyrannical cannot act overtly in the beginning lest they provoke resistance. They use thuggish forces against resisting individuals and the “other” created in the minds of the people and those thugs prefer not to get shot going about their work.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  116. stonetools says:

    @Jack:

    I’m not sure whether its worth it to dialogue with someone who lives in a parallel universe USA where the Miller Act doesn’t exist, minors can buy cars, there are no laws requiring that cars come with safety equipment like seat belts, and that you can ignore the different state speed limit laws.
    When you land here on Earth Prime, Jack, then we can have a discussion. Till then, au revoir.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  117. Jack says:

    @Modulo Myself: I’m libertarian in nature. If I’m not doing something that hurts others, then what I’m doing is none of their business. But don’t force me to do something that I don’t want to do so others can live of the sweat of my brow. That of course is the liberal way.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  118. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    and what did the Bolsheviks do right after taking power? Disarm the population, maybe?

    But if the population had arms, how could the Bolsheviks successfully disarm them? Why didn’t the population use those arms to resist Bolshevik tyranny?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  119. Rob in CT says:

    Nope, that isn’t slavery.

    This has been another edition of simple answers to stupid questions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  120. TheColourfield says:

    @Jack:

    Whack and Job

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  121. Rob in CT says:

    But now I see what this is all about. Jack is one of those taxation is theft, transfers of any kind = slavery libertarians.

    Historically illiterate, but fired up and armed. Yay.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  122. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    As I have argued before, a gun is the great equalizer. An octagenerian, a 90 pound cheerleader, and the mother of three are all equal to the 290 pound thug intent on doing harm if they are armed, trained, and willing to use a firearm.

    Sure, just look at Newtown. It made one single solitary man the equivalent of 20 six-year old children and six adult women. Talk about force equalization!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3

  123. Jack says:

    @stonetools: A minor can buy anything they want if they have the money. Parents are only there because children don’t usually have money. Speed limits may be different but the LAWS aren’t.

    au revoir–that explains alot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  124. C. Clavin says:

    Jack…
    Are you really Jan posting under another name?
    Please provide a link to the section of the PPACA that includes DEATH for not purchasing Health Insurance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  125. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: God, you sound just like Piers Morgan. Go stand on those graves some more.

    Had there been an armed individual in the school, a lot less people would have been killed.

    Another study: Mass killing where police stopped the perp 14.5 victims; mass killings where a armed citizen (non military or police) stopped the perp 2.3 victims.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 10

  126. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Adoption isn’t a right! Boarding a plane isn’t a right, unrestricted access to a statehouse isn’t a right, applying for a job with the government isn’t a right. You don’t get to define those as your rights. Claiming flying is right to travel has already been shot down in the courts. There is no right to work for the government. Claiming that adoption is a right to a family doesn’t make it a constitutional right.

    See, this is where you agree with me, but aren’t clever enough to understand it. There are certain basic rights that people have, such as the right to travel, to marry, to start a family, etc.

    However, we as a society recognize that even though we all have those rights, it would be chaotic and unworkable to allow everyone unrestricted access to such rights at all times. Therefore, we restrict them — you have the right to travel, but not to get on a plane without being searched; the right to start a family, but not to adopt any child without a background check, etc. Similarly, you have the right to have own arms, but not the right to any arms in any way. We can mandate background checks, restrict the type of arms available, etc. etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  127. C. Clavin says:

    “…If I’m not doing something that hurts others, then what I’m doing is none of their business…”
    But Jack…the PPACA Mandate prevents free-riders from hurting me…from costing me more money. So you should be for it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  128. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Had there been an armed individual in the school, a lot less people would have been killed.

    There was an armed individual in the school. Had he not been armed, no one would have been killed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  129. Rob in CT says:

    Mr. Clavin,

    You apparently haven’t run into this sort of libertarian online much. It goes like this:

    Penalty for ignoring the mandate: a fine/tax. Ah, but if you refuse to pay the fine/tax? You’re probably ordered to appear in court. Ah, but if you refuse that order? Perhaps you will be arrested. Ah, but what if you resist? They will attempt to restrain you. But if you resist with, say, a firearm? They’ll shoot you.

    There, see, refusing to buy healthcare insurance results in DEATH. DEATH, I tell you! I am not a crank!

    ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  130. mantis says:

    Slavery = people benefitting from the labor of others

    Well, it’s a novel definition, anyway.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  131. JKB says:

    @legion: And if one irresponsible person owning a gun makes everyone around him unsafe, that guy’s gonna have his gun taken away. Or he’s gonna die. It’s as simple as _that_.

    Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the body of firearm laws that exist in every jurisdictions. Endangering others with a firearm is and has been governed by those laws for decades. If one uses or discharges a firearm in a manner to endanger others, he must justify that use/discharge in accordance with those laws, which, as firearms are deadly force, requires a reasonable belief of imminent death or serious bodily injury.

    We even go so far as denying firearm possession to convicted felons and those adjudicated as mentally ill due to their past behavior that may not even have involved firearms.

    So please, pray tell, what are your recommendations to protect us from the irresponsible? Are you, somehow, able to see into the hearts of men to determine their irresponsibility or intentions?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  132. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Slavery = people benefitting from the labor of others

    No, that’s capitalism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  133. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Come on. Don’t be a douchebag. You know damn well I was talking about someone else other than the shooter. When shots are fired people call 911. Why, so the police, people with guns, will respond and stop the shooter!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  134. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    A minor can buy anything they want if they have the money.

    And yet no one would sell me alcohol, cigarettes or porn magazines when I was ten years old. Huh.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  135. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: No, Capitalism is an agreement to exchange one thing of worth/value for another. People enter into voluntary contracts (short or long term) to exchange goods. I exchange my time/labor and my employer gives me money.

    No one volunteered into slavery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 10

  136. C. Clavin says:

    C’mon Jack…
    Where is the link to the section of the PPACA that includes DEATH for not purchasing Health Insurance.
    Put up…or STFU.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  137. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    And you know damn well that if Lanza didn’t have guns in the first place, there would have been no need to call 911.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  138. ernieyeball says:

    @Jack:..if they are armed, trained, and willing to use a firearm. Otherwise they will simply give up and let the harm be done to them.

    Great! Let’s blame the victum. Where have I heard this before? Oh, yeah…

    Eric Florack says:
Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 10:56
Those people who got shot, those who died, were waiting for the police, thinking they had no need for self-protection… that the government was able to protect them. They were dependent on the falicy that the job of protecting them was the government’s and also that the government’s war on individuals using their second amendment rights to carry firearms, was sufficient for their protection.
    Think, now; what would have happened, had just one armed citizen been in that room? Just one person who wasn’t a sheep? That one armed citizen could have stopped the situation long prior to the arrival of the police. Many lives would have been saved, many injuries averted.
    Here’s the solution. More guns in the hands of citizens. Less dependance on government to do our jobs… including self-protection… for us.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  139. Jack says:

    @Rafer Janders: Do you really believe Angus Jones, Lindsay Lohan, and Macaulay Culkin couldn’t get alcohol, drugs, and porn when they were children?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  140. wr says:

    @Jack: Yes, slavery was the only reason for the Civil War. All the BS about “states rights” is just smoke to obscure the fact the Confederacy was fighting to maintain the right to own other human beings as property.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  141. JKB says:

    @Rafer Janders: No, that’s capitalism.

    Now, you are just being ignorant.

    Have you not, on these pages, argued for increased taxes? Is that not benefiting from the labor of others?

    Worse, the taxes are taken by threat of violence by the State. Whether you would voluntarily render such taxes for the common services is not considered. Pay or face the violence of the State, hopefully, through the judicial system.

    In free market capitalism, you voluntarily trade your labor for remuneration, usually in the form of money, to someone who is likewise voluntarily trading something of value they own for your labor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  142. C. Clavin says:

    C’mon Jack…
    Where is the link to the section of the PPACA that includes DEATH for not purchasing Health Insurance.
    Put up…or STFU.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  143. bk says:

    @Jack: Nothing says that a person is making a learned and rational argument quite like the use of the phrase

    Obama phones

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  144. wr says:

    @JKB: Poor little JKB, so desperately longing for a census taker to come to his door so he can kneecap him and prove what a patriot he is.

    Geeze, the more these gun-lovers talk, the crazier they prove themselves to be. Walking, talking billboards arguing for strict regulation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  145. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Who cares if they could? That doesn’t change the fact that it’s illegal to sell all those things to minors, despite what you claimed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  146. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Threat of jail OR death. Again reading comprehension is a must. Government is force. All laws are imposed by force? You think everyone is willingly giving up half their paycheck becaused the government asked nicely? The ultimate extension of that force is death for non compliance. Either intentional or unintentional because they raid my home in the middle of the night with a SWAT team adn ooops, the gun accidentally went off. Of course Mr. policeman won’t be prosecuted for that negligent discharge. Laws are only for us mundanes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  147. wr says:

    @Jack: “I’m libertarian in nature.”

    Well, let’s see… you make arguments that would embarass anyone over fourteen, you seem to be functionally illiterate, you have absolutely no understanding of American history…

    Yeah, you sound like a libertarian to me.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  148. @JKB:

    In free market capitalism, you voluntarily trade your labor for remuneration, usually in the form of money, to someone who is likewise voluntarily trading something of value they own for your labor.

    Although if one is going to be accurate, capitalism only works if the capitalist is able to profit from the hired labor. If the capitalist can only sell the fruits of the labor of the hired worker (whether that worker makes widgets or throws footballs) at a profit can the system work. If the owner pays the worker exactly what the labor is worth, then there is no profit.

    Now, to a proponent of capitalism, this the miraculous synergy of the marketplace, that brings raw materials, investors, and labor all together. To a Marxist is the essence of exploitation. Regardless of where one falls between those two extremes, one has to admit that capitalism works because one actors benefits from the labor of others in a way that provides profit for the non-laborer.

    Does not a smart businessman pay as little as the market will allow for labor? Why is that?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  149. legion says:

    @JKB:

    We even go so far as denying firearm possession to convicted felons and those adjudicated as mentally ill due to their past behavior that may not even have involved firearms.

    So please, pray tell, what are your recommendations to protect us from the irresponsible?

    We have laws that say that, but their enforcement is left to gun dealers to perform as sporadically as they are able to/care to. We are all put at risk when those regulations are not enforced, and yet governmental (and therefore public) oversight of the dealers (private citizens, not LEOs) charged with carrying them out is deeply flawed, when it’s not outright prohibited. A better set of background/criminal/mental health check system would be high on my list of Things To Do If I Were President. Closing the Gun show loophole too. And yes – restrictions on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.
    None of those proposals will make _any_ Americans less safe.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  150. C. Clavin says:

    Holy shit Rob in CT…I thought you were joking about Libertarians.
    But Jack totally proved your point.
    Un-f’ing-believable.
    Well done.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  151. Rafer Janders says:

    @JKB:

    Whether you would voluntarily render such taxes for the common services is not considered. Pay or face the violence of the State, hopefully, through the judicial system.

    No one is holding you here in the US at gunpoint. You are always free to renounce your citizenship and move to a more congenial no-tax, high gun-ownership state, such as Somalia or Afghanistan.

    If, however, you choose to stay here in the US, and avail yourself of its citizenship benefits, military, court system, regulatory framework, etc., then yes, you are expected to chip in your fair share to help run the place, same as everyone.

    Now I understand that you’d rather be a moocher and live off everyone else’s labor while not contributing any of your own, but that’s just too bad. The United States of America isn’t a street musician and it’s not going to survive off of voluntary tips by a few civic-minded individuals. It’s a big stadium act, and there’s an entrance fee. But you are always welcome to go to another show.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  152. Mikey says:

    @Jack: Those three are clearly not anywhere close to typical representatives of the general body of “children.” If you have to resort to that kind of goalpost-moving to make your point, it’s likely an indication your point is flawed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  153. legion says:

    @Jack:

    A minor can buy anything they want if they have the money. Parents are only there because children don’t usually have money.

    Go to a liquor store and stand next to your 12-year-old while he tries to buy a bottle of vodka. I dare you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  154. mantis says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    But you are always welcome to go to another show.

    Encouraged, even. It would surely be illuminating to those who feel they are living under tyranny here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  155. C. Clavin says:

    “…The ultimate extension of that force is death for non compliance. Either intentional or unintentional because they raid my home in the middle of the night with a SWAT team adn ooops, the gun accidentally went off…”

    Un-f’ing-believable.
    This is the exact reason why we need mental health background checks before allowing the purchase of fire-arms.
    I mean…this clown allegedly owns weapons. Real guns. Yet he has the mental capacity of a child.
    How can anyone read that nonsense and not be in favor of stricter regulations on the purchase of firearms?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  156. legion says:

    @Jack:

    Either intentional or unintentional because they raid my home in the middle of the night with a SWAT team adn ooops, the gun accidentally went off. Of course Mr. policeman won’t be prosecuted for that negligent discharge.

    He _should_ be. If the DA declines to prosecute, that’s a failure of the DA – but it has _nothing_ to do with the Constitutionality of the law.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  157. mantis says:

    Do you really believe Angus Jones, Lindsay Lohan, and Macaulay Culkin couldn’t get alcohol, drugs, and porn when they were children?

    And what about Doogie Howser? He got to be a doctor at only 14 years old! QED, suckas!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  158. anjin-san says:

    We even go so far as denying firearm possession to convicted felons and those cas mentally ill due to their past behavior that may not even have involved firearms.

    Go so far? These are entirely prudent and rational actions.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  159. mattb says:

    @Jack:

    Another study: Mass killing where police stopped the perp 14.5 victims; mass killings where a armed citizen (non military or police) stopped the perp 2.3 victims.

    Calling on that one. Can you provide a link to that study please?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  160. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: But the amount they pay is what the labor force agrees on. If you feel your time or effort is worth more than the prevailing wage for that job then you have a choice not to take that job. No one forces an employee to accept a job.

    It’s the employer/businessmans job to maximize profit. If there is no profit incentive, there is no product.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  161. @Jack:

    It’s the employer/businessmans job to maximize profit. If there is no profit incentive, there is no product.

    Indeed. So go back and reread what I wrote and what inspired it and perhaps you can see how all the puzzle piece fit together.

    Capitalism requires a system in which “people benefit[...] from the labor of others” (which is your rather overbroad definition of “slavery” from above

    Life, it ends up, is kind of complex..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  162. Jack says:

    @C. Clavin: Calvin, you disagree with my posts and you call names. I don’t give a flying crap about your opinion. YOU don’t get a vote in my decision to buy/own a gun.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  163. anjin-san says:

    Interesting story about how a man who helped some of the kids who escaped @ Sandy Hook is being harassed by nutjob conspiracy theorists.

    A man who found six children in his driveway in Newtown, Conn., after their teacher had been shot and killed in last month’s school massacre has become the target of conspiracy theorists who believe the shootings were staged.

    “I don’t know what to do,” Gene Rosen told Salon.com. “I’m getting hang-up calls, I’m getting some calls, I’m getting emails with, not direct threats, but accusations that I’m lying, that I’m a crisis actor, ‘How much am I being paid?’”

    Rosen, a 69-year-old retired psychologist who lives near Sandy Hook Elementary School where the shootings took place, says his inbox is filled with emails like this one:
    How are all those little students doing? You know, the ones that showed up at your house after the ‘shooting’. What is the going rate for getting involved in a gov’t sponsored hoax anyway?

    http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/gene-rosen-sandy-hook-conspiracy-155033813.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  164. Jack says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Yes, but the employee benefits as well. I believe that very few slaves would agree that they benefitted frmo slavery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  165. mantis says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    He isn’t going to understand what you’re saying. He doesn’t even understand what he is saying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  166. Rob in CT says:

    Of course, not, Jack. Being a hired laborer is not slavery. The point is your definition of slavery is ridiculously overbroad. And you can’t even see it.

    Incidently, the old “wage slavery” thing that communists picked up on… if I recall correctly, it was originally used by a guy vigorously defending slavery (against the “free soil” North) in the 1840s/50s. He was wrong and the communists were wrong. Being a cubicle drone is not like being a slave. Or even an indentured servant.

    But profiting off the labor of others = slavery is wrong. Stealing *all* of the fruits of the labor of others, by force, and also allowing them no other rights whatsoever… THAT’s slavery.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  167. Jack says:

    @mantis: Piss off.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

  168. Jack says:

    @Rob in CT: Yes Rob. It was overly braod. I revise it to say: where someone is the sole beneficiary from the labor of others

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  169. Rob in CT says:

    Doh. Nope, “wage slave” goes back to France, 1763.

    So the guy I’m thinking of… DeBow, I think was his name… didn’t coin it. He did use it, arguing slavery (specifically its US form) > free labor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  170. Frank Mingione says:

    To all of you liberal egg heads who believe that an armed citizenry is a silly concept. When the results of the tax and spend policies, the supidity of the democratic party and the loss of any morality in our government finally pays dividends in the destruction of our great nation, you will be looking for help from those of us who are armed and prepared. Hopefully you will find someone who still has feelings for people like you. They may be able to forgive the fact that you were instrumental in the down fall of this once great nation, maybe they won’t care that you supported a govermnment, and policies that brought us to this end. Maybe you’ll get the help from one of those silly people who cling to their guns and their bibles. If its me you find, i’ll be more inclined to lighten the load of ammo that I have by 1 bullet.

    Hope to see you soon :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 15

  171. grumpy realist says:

    It looks like Jack demonstrates all the typical traits of libertarians. Ignorant of history, law, and how humans interact.

    I really wish they would get off their asses and Go Galt, or Create Sealand, or whatever the utopia-de-libertarian-ultra is THIS week. Libertarians whine a lot, but they don’t seem to accomplish much in the way of their desires. Of course, this is because the rest of us Haven’t Seen Teh Troo Light! as opposed to: Libertarians being really effing stupid.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  172. Rob in CT says:

    Not even that, Jack. A slave is someone who gets none of the benefit of their own labor, and is deprived of other rights to boot. Thus, being taxed and having some portion of that tax be used to provide, e.g., food stamps is not slavery. Especially when the taxes are leveled by a representative government.

    But hey, why not casually insinuate that you’ve been enslaved (yet did not use your gun to protect yourself from this enslavement!) because of “welfare moms?”

    ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  173. Rob in CT says:

    @Frank Mingione:

    Hope to see you soon :-)

    You give yourself away.

    You fantasize about other people getting their comeuppance for having the unmitigated gall to have different political views than you do.

    But here’s the thing: your fantasy isn’t reality. In fact, it has almost zero relationship with reality. And so you will continue to be disappointed.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  174. Rob in CT says:

    Bah, tag fail.

    Anyway, Jack, you sound like my Grandfather. 89 years old, bitter as hell, and unfortuantely not well. Medicaid is paying, incidently. He will never see the “liberal egg heads” get their comeuppance, and neither will you.

    Because you’re both delusional.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  175. Rob in CT says:

    Damnit, Frank not Jack. Apologies for that, Jack. ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  176. rudderpedals says:

    @Frank Mingione: Excellent troll. I really felt the Red Dawnishness. “The chair is against the wall. The chair is against the wall” :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  177. Jack says:

    @Rob in CT: Simply say I’ve chosen to put up with it…for now.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  178. anjin-san says:

    @ Frank

    When the results of the tax and spend policies, the supidity of the democratic party

    So we should stick with the “spend, spend, and go broke” policies of the GOP?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  179. ernieyeball says:

    @Frank Prophet of Doom Mingione: Hope to see you soon

    Since Jack the Soothsayer refuses to respond to my challenge, I will ask you since you are obviously clairvoyant, be more specific. Names, dates and places please.

    As far as seeing you soon…is this the Biblical soon claiming the return of Jesus will be soon?
    Two thousand years and counting…that would still be too soon to see you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  180. mattb says:

    @Jack:

    Yes, but the employee benefits as well. I believe that very few slaves would agree that they benefitted frmo slavery.

    Ahh, but of course, the pro-slavery movement in the US made the same argument — they argued that slaves *did* benefit from slavery (i.e. – their needs basic were provided for). BTW, there is nothing inherent to the structure of capitalism that suggests that the employees will necessarily realize a profit from selling their labor. And as I just noted the definition of “benefit” is rather flexible.

    BTW, I’d suggest the “forced work” is a key component of slavery that you seem to be missing in your definition.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  181. mattb says:

    @Frank Mingione:

    When the results of the tax and spend policies, the supidity of the democratic party and the loss of any morality in our government finally pays dividends in the destruction of our great nation, you will be looking for help from those of us who are armed and prepared.

    Frank, can you point to a single modern state whose modern form of government collapsed from the inside out into the total anarchy you are imagining? Extra points if you can name one that controlled its own currency.

    What actual evidence (historical or otherwise) do you have for the fall of America?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  182. C. Clavin says:

    Jack…
    Yes…that’s the point.
    If someone like you can buy a gun…IT IS WAY TOO EASY TO BUY GUNS!!!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  183. ernieyeball says:

    @mattb: Re: Oracle Frank M. the Mystic.

    Why cut him slack and ask him to look back. He will find something in the past to justify his lunacy (like the Mayans for instance).
    Both jack and Frank are claiming to predict the future. Let’s make them do it!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  184. stonetools says:

    @mattb:

    What actual evidence (historical or otherwise) do you have for the fall of America?

    Well, that’s an easy one. The voices in his head.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  185. wr says:

    @mantis: “He isn’t going to understand what you’re saying. He doesn’t even understand what he is saying. ”

    That’s not a fair test. I doubt anyone can understand what Jack is saying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  186. scott says:

    Let me just say this has been a really depressing thread.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  187. ernieyeball says:

    @Frank Mingione: If its me you find, i’ll be more inclined to lighten the load of ammo that I have by 1 bullet.

    Apparently Mr. Mingione can’t wait to shoot his political opponents.
    Would it be a fair question to ask if he is part of an insurrection as noted in
    Art.I Sec. 8 of the United States Constitution?

    The Congress shall have Power…To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    Or do we have to wait until he kills someone first?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  188. Rob in CT says:

    Fantasizing about shooting “egg head liberals” in the endtimes. Hey, whatever gets you off, man.

    ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  189. Mikey says:

    @Rob in CT: Well, the smart people will never be on his side.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  190. Rob in CT says:

    Goddamn eggheads! Get off my lawn! Where’s my AR-15 with bump fire stock? Agnus? Have you seen my rifle?

    It’s on the mantle, next to your teeth, dear.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  191. Ken says:

    @Jack: Tyranny is already upon us, you just don’t want to admit it.

    So why aren’t you out there using your guns on the forces of tyranny to restore the democracy you cherish so very much?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  192. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    This is why I don’t like having to justify the exercising of a right. If I want to exercise it, then that is all the reason needed.

    The next step is to challenge the reason, to argue it. We’ve seen this done plenty of times.

    Then it ends up with demanding a reason for the exercising of a right, and if you can’t come up with a reason that is found satisfactory (and they seldom are), the right is denied.

    If you have to justify your reason for doing something, then it’s hardly a right.

    If I want to own a gun, it’s because I want to own a gun. That’s all you need to know. I have no obligation to explain further.

    And you have no right to demand more.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7

  193. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Calvin, you disagree with my posts and you call names. I don’t give a flying crap about your opinion. YOU don’t get a vote in my decision to buy/own a gun.

    Actually, since he’s an American, yes, he does. We all get a vote. It’s called democracy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  194. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You really don’t understand logic, the Constitution, or the concepts of “rights” and “laws”. Here’s a high-level summary:

    If “what you want” is something that the people around you consider dangerous, then they (we) have _every_ right to question why you want it. If we find your explanation lacking, or if you show yourself to be unable to handle it safely, we won’t let you have it. If you get it anyway, we’ll take it from you. If you put up too much of a fuss, we’ll put you in jail or kill you. The Constitution puts a lot more meat onto it, but that’s a pretty fundamental description of how all human society works: you can do what you want, unless it bothers other people. Then we have to talk. What happens after that depends on the kind of society you live in. If you don’t like it, move someplace where there are no other people.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  195. Rafer Janders says:

    @Jack:

    Simply say I’ve chosen to put up with it…for now.

    Ooooh, big tough guy.

    But we all know different. You’re all mouth. Like most of your kind, you’ll put up with it forever. You’ll never take your gun and head up into the hills, fighting for freedom. You’ll just keep sitting in your trailer, cashing your welfare checks, living off the rest of us, while we indulge your pathetic little juvenile fantasies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  196. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @legion: Thank you for the concise summation of “the tyranny of the majority.” And for the description of the belief that we have no Inalienable Rights, just privileges that are granted — and taken away — by the Collective. That was quite eloquent.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  197. C. Clavin says:

    “…If I want to own a gun, it’s because I want to own a gun. That’s all you need to know. I have no obligation to explain further.
    And you have no right to demand more…”

    Indiana Jones proves he has the IQ of a gnat.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  198. legion says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: It may not be poetic, but it’s functionally true. As for the “tyranny of the majority”, I would direct you to the part of my earlier response where I say

    you can do what you want, unless it bothers other people. Then we have to talk. What happens after that depends on the kind of society you live in.

    In American society, we have the Judicial Branch, which is specifically established to protect people from that “tyranny”. Reference California, where something that was passed by popular vote was declared unconstitutional and thrown out. If what you do bothers other people, they may very well have no standing to complain about it – you want to marry someone of a different race? Worship Allah? Wear an ugly shirt? Go right ahead! If you neighbor gets pissed off about it, tough for them.

    American society has decided that Person A’s getting upset by those things is not sufficient reason to bar Person B from doing them. But if, for example, you own a gun, that’s a different story. If you handle your wardrobe poorly, the worst that can happen is you wind up looking silly. If you handle a gun poorly, you can accidentally kill someone. _Because of that_, society has an active interest in making sure that you can and will handle that gun safely and responsibly. How exactly society does that is what we ought to be debating, but the fact that guns _must_ be regulated _somehow_ is not up for argument.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  199. john personna says:

    @Jack: a

    You smug asshole. Even you must admit that the line between criminal gangs and the police has been so blurred that you cannot reasonably tell the difference anymore.

    I was thinking maybe the line between gun advocates and meth addicts had been so blurred …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  200. @Jenos Idanian #13: The rather fundamental problem with your stance is that there is literally no rights, even the ones we hold the dearest, that are absolute.

    Press: I cannot publish knowingly false and harmful information.

    Speech: I cannot stand up and disturb people in a theater and recite the inscription on the One Ring during a movie (especially if it isn’t one of the LOTR films). Nor can I make a joke about bomb while in line at the airport or stand on a street corner and yell all the obscenities in my vocabulary.

    Religion: I can’t sacrifice a virgin at the new moon because I feel the need to appease the Dark God’s thirst for blood.

    And so forth.

    What I find intriguing in this debate (and we see some of this earlier in the thread in the discussion of automobiles) is that for some weird reason, true gun advocates see gun rights as absolute.

    This despite the fact that the First Amendment has the phrase “Congress shall make no law” (and yet they do) but the Second amendment has the phrase “A well regulated militia” in it.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 1

  201. (One phrase seems to preclude regulation at all, while the other invites it).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  202. legion says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    This despite the fact that the First Amendment has the phrase “Congress shall make no law” (and yet they do) but the Second amendment has the phrase “A well regulated militia” in it.

    A billion Internets for you, sir.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  203. C. Clavin says:

    “…well regulated…”

    Indeed, sir.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  204. @Jack:

    Your last comment was deleted for violating the site’s comment policy (found here.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  205. Roger Wildin says:

    @wr: When you come to confiscate mine you better hope that you say your prayers first and kissed your family goodbye. Just sayin…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  206. wr says:

    @Roger Wildin: Oh noes! A tough guy on the internets! I’m scared!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  207. wr says:

    @wr: Oh wait. This guy is the real deal. He’s even got the word “wild” in his name. There’s no way he’s some loser meth head living in a trailer in Loserville, Arkansas. He’s got to be the ubermensch. The real John Galt. Boy, if he and Jenos ever get together, they’ll take care of us, all right. We’d better be quaking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  208. Roger Wildin says:

    @michael reynolds: And your exactly why I wouldn’t want a liberal or progressive by my side in a fight ! Your afraid to stand up and fight for what you believe in even if you die doing it. Never was one of your ilk commended for perserverance, or going beyond what was expected of you to acheive a greater outcome ! Maybe one of these days you’ll look up to one of us that will and say “thank you”. I doubt it though, you’ll probably be too self concious of that long dark stain running down the front of your pants.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6

  209. Rafer Janders says:

    @Roger Wildin:

    When you come to confiscate mine you better hope that you say your prayers first and kissed your family goodbye.

    Why ever would I come to confiscate your rifle? A well trained squad of SWAT officers would take care of that. And between you and them, who do you think would be left standing at the end of the day?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  210. Rafer Janders says:

    @Roger Wildin:

    Never was one of your ilk commended for perserverance, or going beyond what was expected of you to acheive a greater outcome !

    One of us has two honors degrees from an Ivy League university, a doctorate, a high-paying job Wall Street job, another company he just started on the side, and a girlfriend who used to be a model. I’m guessing it’s not you.

    Nope, no perseverance or achieving a greater outcome on my end.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  211. Roger Wildin says:

    @legion: Sure its up for arguement. We Americans have the right to bear arms. It has nothing to do with whether you like it or not. The Constitution and the Law says that we can and that it is our “inalienable right”and that it is not to be infringed upon. That means that it cannot be taken away ? Any part of that that you don’t understand ?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  212. Spartacus says:

    @Roger Wildin:

    When you come to confiscate mine you better hope that you say your prayers first and kissed your family goodbye. Just sayin…..

    I couldn’t agree with you more!

    —Randy Weaver

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  213. Roger Wildin says:

    @Rafer Janders: One of us has two honors degrees from an Ivy League university, a doctorate, a high-paying job Wall Street job, another company he just started on the side, and a girlfriend who used to be a model. I’m guessing it’s not you.

    Nope, no perseverance or achieving a greater outcome on my end.

    The perserverance and acheivement for a greater outcome that I talked about was for the greater good of mankind, not the petulant, selfish, arrogant loudmouthed pat on the back that your talking about.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  214. mantis says:

    @Roger Wildin:

    The Constitution and the Law says that we can and that it is our “inalienable right”and that it is not to be infringed upon.

    The right to bear arms is not among our unalienable rights, which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness according to the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution makes no reference to unalienable rights at all.

    Are you new to this country?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  215. @stonetools:

    If you read the actual secession resolutions passed by South Carolina and other states, you will see that preserving slavery was practically the sole reason they seceded.

    The Civil War was not only about slavery but, as James McPherson wrote, none of the other issues would have made the southern states secede, much less go to war.

    The states-rights justification for secession was a postwar invention by Southern apologists. It is absent from prewar argumentation.

    I am, BTW, a Southerner of multiple generations descent, including Confederate soldiers (and Yankee ones, too, alas). But the “Lost Cause” needed to be lost, for the rationale for the South’s prosecution of the war is utterly indefensible. (Equally indefensible was Lincoln’s prosecution of it, but that’s not related to this post.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  216. Rafer Janders says:

    @mantis:

    AREA MAN PASSIONATE DEFENDER OF WHAT HE IMAGINES CONSTITUTION TO BE

    ESCONDIDO, CA—Spurred by an administration he believes to be guilty of numerous transgressions, self-described American patriot Kyle Mortensen, 47, is a vehement defender of ideas he seems to think are enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and principles that brave men have fought and died for solely in his head.

    “Our very way of life is under siege,” said Mortensen, whose understanding of the Constitution derives not from a close reading of the document but from talk-show pundits, books by television personalities, and the limitless expanse of his own colorful imagination.

    http://www.theonion.com/articles/area-man-passionate-defender-of-what-he-imagines-c,2849/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  217. Rafer Janders says:

    @Roger Wildin:

    The perserverance and acheivement for a greater outcome that I talked about was for the greater good of mankind, not the petulant, selfish, arrogant loudmouthed pat on the back that your [sic] talking about.

    Let me ask you, Sparky, how many jobs were created in, say, the last seven years as a direct result of your efforts? For me the count is about 18 — 18 professionals my firm had to hire to keep up with the work that I generated, jobs that would never have existed without my hard work and dedication. My new company, if it gets off the ground and survives, in’shallah, will hopefully have a dozen or so direct hires to start and will otherwise generate full-time work for several dozen more contractors, suppliers, etc., all jobs that will never have existed without my idea for this company and willingness to take a shot at it.

    I’d say I’m doing my bit for mankind. How about you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  218. bill says:

    maybe a “love in” at the white house will make everyone give up their right to bear arms. invite a bunch of kids too, like a huge benetton ad and have them sing songs and such…. or better yet, get real and enforce the existing laws about gun ownership and illegal possession of said. sure you may trample on some of their rights pertaining to “search and seizure” but who cares, they have illegal firearms and are criminals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  219. @Donald Sensing: Indeed. As has often been remarked: yes, the Civil War was about states’ rights. And the rights in question were to a) hold slaves, and b) expand slavery into new territories.

    It really is that simple, as you note.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  220. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    One of us has two honors degrees from an Ivy League university, a doctorate, a high-paying job Wall Street job, another company he just started on the side, and a girlfriend who used to be a model. I’m guessing it’s not you.

    Ha! Loser! Encumbered and imprisoned by the trappings of wealth and celebrity, while I, with my Classics and Philosophy degree from a blue-collar, urban university and flatlander wife sit here in glorious obscurity!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  221. Eric the OTB Lurker says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    AREA MAN PASSIONATE DEFENDER OF WHAT HE IMAGINES CONSTITUTION TO BE

    I can only imagine at the center of The Citadel, in what passes for their Constitutional museum, will not be an exhibit of a copy of the Constitution behind glass and ropes, but a copy of a Glenn Beck book saying what the Constitution says.

    Right next to that exhibit, of course, will be a multi-room showcase of “Billy Beer.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  222. An Interested Party says:

    Let me just say this has been a really depressing thread.

    Indeed…from people who want to revise history (slavery was no big deal regarding the Civil War, no siree! It was about state’s rights!) to other people who boldly proclaim their bravery from behind an anonymous alias on the Internet (“Come for my guns and I’ll shoot you dead!”) to still others who want to claim their constitutional rights are absolute (“If I want to own a gun, it’s because I want to own a gun. That’s all you need to know. I have no obligation to explain further.”) even when they aren’t (“A well regulated militia”), the amount of stupidity and ignorance on parade here is quite depressing…

    Meanwhile, this…

    Your afraid to stand up and fight for what you believe in even if you die doing it. Never was one of your ilk commended for perserverance, or going beyond what was expected of you to acheive a greater outcome ! Maybe one of these days you’ll look up to one of us that will and say “thank you”.

    …is priceless…who knew that we would have a deranged movie character posting comments on this site…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  223. Roger Wildin says:

    @Rafer Janders: Have U been coferring with Obama and his shovel ready jobs ? Bit of advice….go solar….I’m sure Obama would lend you a couple billion to get started…..I see that your still insisting on patting yourself on the back, “legend in your own mind” so to say. Try this link Gertrude : http://www.dojgov.net/Liberty_Watch.htm

    The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government.”
    Patrick Henry

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  224. Roger Wildin says:

    @An Interested Party: …is priceless…who knew that we would have a deranged movie character posting comments on this site…

    Not an anonymous name or alias, but never knew that a love for your country and a free way of life made you “deranged”.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  225. @Roger Wildin: You are aware that that quote is a fake and Patrick Henry was opposed to the ratification on the Constitution, yes?

    As quoted in The Best Liberal Quotes Ever : Why the Left is Right (2004) by William P. Martin. Though widely attributed to Henry, this statement has not been sourced to any document before the 1990s and appears to be at odds with his beliefs as a strong opponent of the adoption of the US Constitution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  226. @Roger Wildin: Oh, a real quote from Patrick Henry, this on the Virginia and Kentucky resolutions, and by extension, nullification. According to him, both Virginia and Kentucky:

    “had quit the sphere in which she had been placed by the Constitution, and, in daring to pronounce upon the validity of federal laws, had gone out of her jurisdiction in a manner not warranted by any authority, and in the highest degree alarming to every considerate man; that such opposition, on the part of Virginia, to the acts of the general government, must beget their enforcement by military power; that this would probably produce civil war, civil war foreign alliances, and that foreign alliances must necessarily end in subjugation to the powers called in.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  227. @Steven L. Taylor:

    McPherson, in his seminal book Battle Cry of Freedom, expertly covers the contributing factors, mainly economic, that also raised tensions between the North and the South – increasing industrialization in the North, punitive tariffs that were enacted against Southern economic needs, and so on. But he convincingly argues, I think, that all of them together, absent slavery, would not have brought about the war. Slavery was not the only cause of the rift and the war that followed, but it was pretty much the sole necessary cause.

    What I find interesting in the “anti-tyranny” argument of the 2d Amendment is that military historians such as myself (amateur though I am) know full well that civilian-owned firearms have never been thought adequate to equip soldiers, including in the Revolution.

    Colonial-era civilian arms were simply too fragile to take to war. Compare a Pennsylvania rifle or a hunting musket to a British Brown Bess and you immediately can tell which is designed for extended campaigning. One of Washington’s continuing challenges was finding military-grade rifles for his troops.

    In the Civil War, the South’s most pressing problem as the war began was arms. Not one Southern general thought that civilian guns were suited for the battlefield. Urgently the South began feelers to Britain to purchase their Enfield rifles (the Union was already using a knockoff of them). The South stupidly began the war (I really could stop right there) badly under-provisioned with firearms. Yet the idea of “drafting” household rifles or muskets was never seriously considered.

    The idea that the 2A refers directly to military arms is a pretty modern invention, I think. “Well regulated” in the late 1700s meant to be in proper working order (in this case, organizationally) and its inclusion back then almost certainly referred to the necessity of frontier citizens being assured of their right to keep and bear arms for defense against Indians and the English (and sometimes French) who were still using Indian tribes as surrogate armies. Frontier militia were formed temporarily to hold the line – mainly to defend homes and families – until a regular military formation could arrive.

    Even as late as after WW2, the idea that ordinary Americans would have actual military-grade firearms was not normative (pistols, maybe, since military-issue pistols have never been very different than civilian models).

    However, Steven, I think you probably know that the whole idea of owning such rifles never gained prominence at all, and was rare, until the Congress decided to ban ownership in 1994. That was when the market was created – how ironic, by federal fiat – so that military-quality rifles whose cosmetic features weren’t banned by the 1994 law became huge sellers. When the ban expired 10 years later, sales really took off.

    The whole idea of Joe Dokes having the right to own “assault” rifles is a creation of the Democrats. Be careful what you wish for . . .

    If the Dems really want to reduce the willingness of men (mostly, but not all) to buy AR-15-type rifles, they should use the militia clause and the Article 1, Section 8 enumerated power of the Congress, “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union …” to require that all able-bodied men of sound mind purchase a new, working Ar-15-type rifle with 100 rounds of ammunition and certify annually their marksmanship qualification to Army standards until age 45. Like the Swiss, in other words.

    Only forbidden fruit is thought to be sweet. Once you make it mandatory (and because of the Article 1/8 powers, I don’t think the SCOTUS would even hear a challenge) then its attraction will drop rapidly.

    I mean, if 2d Amendment advocates really want to say that it grants them the right to own a military-type weapon because of the militia clause, Congress should just say, “Yes, it does, and the Constitution grants us the right to regulate the militia.” Then do so. Make sales of “assault” rifles unregulated but everyone who buys one knows that when he does so it automatically makes him subject to the enumerated powers of Congress to regulate the militia.

    BTW, I scare quote “assault” before the word rifle because it is purely a political term. I was serving on the Army staff in the Pentagon when the 1994 ban was passed against “assault” rifles. Being a professional, combat-arms Army officer I had no idea what the law meant. So I opened the DOD official dictionary of military terms to see. No such entry. Just plain absent. As others have pointed out, “assault rifle” simply means “looks scary.” But it is not a militarily useful term. I mean, really: “assault” rifle? As opposed to what, a “defense” rifle?” Give me a break.

    I do not own such a rifle myself and would not buy one for one-fourth the price. As a home-defense weapon they are darn near useless and I don’t hunt. I had to carry one for several years in the Army anyway, and I am actually baffled by what their attraction is. Nonetheless, I think that anyone who wants to buy one should be able to within present law.

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  228. An Interested Party says:

    Only forbidden fruit is thought to be sweet. Once you make it mandatory (and because of the Article 1/8 powers, I don’t think the SCOTUS would even hear a challenge) then its attraction will drop rapidly.

    Let’s apply this line of thinking to drugs, prostitution, gambling, and all other consensual crimes…

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  229. Liberty60 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    I can’t sacrifice a virgin at the new moon because I feel the need to appease the Dark God’s thirst for blood.

    Ever the buzzkill, aren’t ya?

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  230. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Some good points. If I may make a few responses, in a somewhat scattershot manner because I’m tired:

    — Grammatically speaking, the first part of the 2nd Amendment can be viewed as exhortatory, not binding. Further, nowhere else in the Bill Of Rights is the phrase “the right of the people” limited to only groups, but clearly intended for individuals.

    — My argument was intended to simply “take the Fifth” on argument as to why I wish to exercise a right. Nowhere else can I think of is a right subject to such questioning, with the (often explicit, always implicit) understanding that if the reason is found lacking, the right will be denied.

    — I understand, accept, and even welcome that there are limits on rights. What I was attempting to bring up was that I do not accept (and no one else should accept) the idea that a right needs to be justified before it can be exercised.

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  231. Liberty60 says:

    @Roger Wildin:
    It is some new form of Godwin’s Law that as the length of a blog post on gun control grows longer the odds of the topic evolving to mental illness approaches 1.00.

    Which is not much of a conicidence. Any gun control thread has to address the fact that guns in America are not tools, not items of self defense or sport, but are mired in this weird mix of cultural fetishism, like religious icosn or talismans.

    There isn’t one rational thing about people fearing/ wishing for a dystopia where they have to stand armed against the Dark Forces menacing their family, like Ralphie defending his homestead against Black Bart.

    But in thread after thread, we are treated to hysterical assertions that tyranny is imminent, that roving bands of rapacious thugs are massed outside our front yard, and only the Brave Ones like Col. Jessup are standing on the wall.

    So yes, maybe we should pivot to a discussion about mental health, and how to separate out those who see guns as useful tools from those who see them as a passport to the Man Card.

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  232. @Donald Sensing: The Confederates were fighting exclusively for the preservation and expansion of slavery. Don’t believe me? Read what Vice President Alexander Stephens of the Confederate States of American had to say:

    The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions relating to our peculiar institution — African slavery as it exists amongst us — the proper status of the negro in our form of civilization. This was the immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution. Jefferson in his forecast, had anticipated this, as the “rock upon which the old Union would split.” He was right. What was conjecture with him, is now a realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth upon which that rock stood and stands, may be doubted. The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away. This idea, though not incorporated in the constitution, was the prevailing idea at that time. The constitution, it is true, secured every essential guarantee to the institution while it should last, and hence no argument can be justly urged against the constitutional guarantees thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. Those ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the “storm came and the wind blew.”

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner- stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery — subordination to the superior race — is his natural and normal condition. [Applause.] This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

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  233. Pharoah Narim says:

    Look. An armed populace keeps your run-of-the-mill corrupt politicians and police forces “honest”. Its nothing more than a mild deterrent at best. If you left a Best Buy open all night and shut off the security system, many otherwise honest citizens would be watching their favorite show on an 50″ LCD TV while web surfing on the latest Ipad and bragging about their take on the new Samsung Galaxy Smartphone. That said; there are still criminals that in spite of security systems are going to try to smash a grab–the deterrent factor of the store security has been rendered useless.

    Likewise, if the despot scenario that gun worshipers cite so often ever unfolded–their military rifle CLONES are useless–the deterrent threshold is already crossed. Sure you can bleed a superior force, take a few with you, and make their operation more costly…but human nature has shown that most people choose not to and either adapt to the new normal or plot their escape to a new land. Mass genocide is an aberration–most guys kill off their political rivals and are content to skim the country’s GDP. The average joe can still carve out a decent living and be left alone. Heck they have to skim too far for years for the populace to come after them—cause at that point there’s nothing to lose.

    I keep telling these internet Rambo’s that war is a young man’s game. Who was filling the pickup trucks and shoving pikes up Mommar’s a@@ is Libya? Who was demonstrating in Egypt and Tunisia? It ain’t 40 and 50-somethings gentlemen. The war-fighting men in this country are overwhelmingly centrist to liberal–unless that demographic can be violently set against one another nary a shot will be fired in a silly madmax scenario.

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  234. @Liberty60:

    Any gun control thread has to address the fact that guns in America are not tools, not items of self defense or sport, but are mired in this weird mix of cultural fetishism, like religious icosn or talismans.

    Indeed–and I think this hits on the reason some people actual think, contra the evidence, that guns are wards against tyranny. Further, you hit on the thing that I think makes me the most uncomfortable about many in this debate: it isn’t that they believe that they have rights, or that gun ownership has a place in American society, it is that many come across as almost worshiping the things.

    Also: it is amazing how many of the fantasies in question end with a shoot-out when “they” come to take the guns away.

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  235. @Timothy Watson:

    The Confederates were fighting exclusively for the preservation and expansion of slavery. Don’t believe me?

    Um, isn’t that what I said in my comment on the subject? I assume, then, that your comment is intended to reinforce rather than rebut mine.

    And yes, I would take Alexanders Stephens’ declaration as authoritative of the whole Confederacy.

    (Two tidbits about Stephens. Before secession he served in Congress, where he and Abraham Lincoln were very close friends. Second, Alexander Stephens is the great-great-great-great uncle of my wife.)

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  236. mattb (who is in favor of enhanced gun regulation) says:

    @Pharoah Narim:
    While I agree with the second half of your post, it starts out with a strange paragraph that I can’t ignore…

    An armed populace keeps your run-of-the-mill corrupt politicians and police forces “honest”.

    Really? What proof do you have of this?

    Are you saying that in Canada and most of the areas of Europe with no gun control, there’s nothing to keep “run-of-the-mill corrupt politicians and police forces” in check? Also, I find this hard to reconcile with the many third world countries that are frankly both awash with guns and “run-of-the-mill corrupt politicians and police forces.”

    Likewise, are you suggesting that areas of the US that have more permissive gun laws are somehow less filled with governmental corruption and police abuse than places with more restrictive gun laws?

    If you left a Best Buy open all night and shut off the security system, many otherwise honest citizens would be watching their favorite show on an 50″ LCD TV while web surfing on the latest Ipad and bragging about their take on the new Samsung Galaxy Smartphone.

    Again, I don’t get your argument. Are people not looting Best Buys because we allow civilians own guns?!

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  237. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    You know what’s odd and somewhat amusing about these sorts of articles? Over the course of decades of being a gun owner and knowing many other people who are gun owners I’ve never actually heard anyone make that argument, i.e., that guns are necessary to “liberty.” Never. Nada. Not once.

    I hope this thread has been educational then.

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  238. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Grammatically speaking, the first part of the 2nd Amendment can be viewed as exhortatory, not binding.

    Actually, grammatically speaking, you can substitute any dependent clause whatsoever for the militia clause without changing the meaning of the independent clause. To wit:

    A high SAT score being required to attend Harvard, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

    You can easily see that there is no obvious relationship between the first clause and the second, but that nonetheless, the second clause makes sense on its own and is easily understood. Despite the lack of logical connection between the two clauses, the sentence still is sensible in its second part.

    However, reverse the change and the whole sentence collapses:

    A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear baseball cards shall not be infringed.

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  239. grumpy realist says:

    I just can’t help but think the gun fanatics are worshipers of Moloch and don’t care how many people die as long as they can endulge their Mad Max fantasies.

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  240. BikerDad says:

    Steven Taylor = Tory.

    “Well, nobody has ever successfully overthrown their king and set up a free republic founded on natural rights, so it can’t happen.” Sigh.

    Taylor is basically making exactly the same mistake as the “defending against tyranny” folks, but at least the RKBA activists have historical support for the purpose of the 2nd Amendment. Taylor is speculating about what would happen, drawing questionable comparisons, and reaching an unsupportable conclusion. (Not saying its wrong, simply that the facts on the ground are wayyyy to thin.)

    Does the amount of weaponry in the hands of the American citizenry indicate a strong support and trust of the government, or not?

    Is present day America sufficiently similar to post-WW1 Russia and Germany to draw meaningful conclusions from those experiences?

    Are the differences sufficient to really support the conclusions reached?

    Will “Wolverines” fight the same as others have, or different? Can they? Will it matter?

    What will the people in the military and civilian law enforcement actually do? (How many nasty strongmen have fallen when the military decided to stay in their barracks and not get involved? hmmmmm)

    Can a domestic tyrant turn the full fury of the most awesome military history has ever seen on the American people, and retain sufficient support from whoever remains?

    I’m not a poli sci academic or wonk, nor have I made a deep study of revolutions, but surely there’s a rough % of disgruntle populace beyond which a government can’t stand. Whether or goes gracefully into the night or not is a separate question, probably influenced by the level of discontent.

    What is that percentage? How does it compare to the % of gun owners in this country? Obviously not all gun owners would fall into the “disgruntled” category, but many would, as may many who don’t own guns. How many of the new gun owners of the last few months were simply buying to “beat the bans”, and how many as an expression of disgruntlement?

    Steven Taylor doesn’t have answers to most of those questions. It’s pretty clear from the comments that neither do most of the laughing hyenas commenting haven’t even considered them, much less arrived at answers.

    So, who’s being silly now? Who, with visions of turning the most lethal military in world history loose on fellow Americans, is worshipping at Moloch’s altar?

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  241. BikerDad says:

    Please forgive the lack of editing above. Should be:

    “It’s pretty clear from the comments that most of the laughing hyenas commenting haven’t even considered them, much less arrived at answers.”

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  242. @BikerDad:

    I’m not a poli sci academic or wonk, nor have I made a deep study of revolutions,

    This may be the problem. As it indicates your conclusions are not based on much of anything save fantasy and speculation, which is all well an good, but it doesn’t make for much of an argument.

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  243. ernieyeball says:

    @BikerDad: Taylor is speculating about what would happen,..

    Your’re not?

    Does the amount of weaponry in the hands of the American citizenry indicate a strong support and trust of the government, or not?

    I submit it indicates a large degree of irrational paranoia.

    hmmmmm

    What does this even mean? It does not appear to be a word in the English language.

    …who’s being silly now?

    You are.

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  244. Rob in CT says:

    Who, with visions of turning the most lethal military in world history loose on fellow Americans

    To be clear: nobody wants this. But it is the theoretical result of a rebellion, which certain folks DO fantasize about. That is if the armed forces actually would fight, which is an open question.

    Thing is, one of the key purposes of our system of government is to prevent that scenario (governance via consent of the governed, as channeled through elections). It ain’t perfect, of course. Sometimes your side loses, and that stings. I remember it well. But the alternative is terrible.

    Some folks appear to salivate over the possibility of seeing that alternative come to pass. Hence the reference to Moloch.

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  245. mannning says:

    As a gun owner, I have a vested interest in what gun safety provisions are being made by Obama and what legislation is being considered by the Congress.

    1. So far, I do not see any real difficulties in what Obama is using EOs for. It is rather cosmetic and perhaps useful downstream. Obviously, nothing he is proposing prevents or even slightly hinders shooters from a Sandy Hook sort of event.

    2. I see little chance that the Congress will enact a sloppily defined “assault weapon” ban, nor will they enact a semiautomatic weapon ban that would include most of the hand guns in the nation, as well as semiautomatic rifles and shotguns. This is a bipartisan issue that will not pass, in my opinion.

    3. The idea of excluding rifle magazines that hold more than seven to ten rounds, simply means the shooter would have to carry many more magazines (and more guns!), shoot only 6 or so rounds at a time, and reload each gun more often, that is, if he adheres to the law at all, which is rather problematic. Most modern automatic pistols have magazines that hold upwards of 10 to 15 rounds, which will remain legal, I believe. It would be difficult to enforce a limit considering the number out there. If such a limit does pass, the law abiding gun owners will simply carry more than one weapon when they think it is needed, or more loaded magazines, or both.

    4. All in all, with great angst and fanfare, virtually nothing important seems to be on offer that addresses the school shooting issue at its core: what to do between the time the shooter announces his presence and the time when the police arrive. A thousand or so new officers and a few more resource officers is a drop in the bucket compared to the need. It is most likely that the current tendency for police departments to cover schools more often right now will die down in a short time as the locally perceived need dies.

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  246. mannning says:

    I left out :

    5) I must agree that basing weapons in the hands of the population on prevention of government tyranny is a loser in today’s world if the military confronts the rebels with full force.
    However, a large enough band of rebels, and with some highly publicized losses, would present a calculated event that the nation could not ignore, which just might draw attention to the root cause or causes, and perhaps spark a few changes in the right direction. This is a big country, and the army cannot be everywhere at once…

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  247. ernieyeball says:

    @mannning: …a large enough band of rebels, and with some highly publicized losses, would present a calculated event that the nation could not ignore,..

    If your band of rebels insurrectionists, who will not be elected to any legitimate government, attract that much attention I am counting on the United States Congress to exercise the enumerated power delegated to it by the United States Constitution. The Supreme Law of the Land.

    Article I Section 8 USCon
    The Congress shall have Power…To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    I do not support your vision of unregulated thugs and criminals trying to exceed the authority of the Constitution of the United States.

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  248. An Interested Party says:

    How fascinating that the same kind of people who are now talking about revolutions, an armed populace, vigilance against a tyrannical government, etc. were ridiculing such talk when it came from those on the left when Bush was president…

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  249. mannning says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Actually, as I stated, I do not support a rebellion at all. I was speculating that some bent-out-of-shape characters, Minutemen, or other groups of disaffected idealists, that perceive a real flaw in the government, might attempt some sort of demonstration of their power of numbers only to be soundly defeated by the military, but in the end they would succeed in calling national attention to certain negative acts of the government that need fixing.

    There can be such flaws, as I called them, if overly ambitious presidents and their party supporters take really serious steps to constrain our freedoms as are guaranteed by the Constitution, and to attempt to change our form of government and commerce, and thwart the Constitution. These disaffected idealists I speak of would be trying to rectify the attempt to institute such changes to our nation by the rogue group or party after all legitimate attempts have failed. They would be trying to defend the Constitution against it being dissolved from within, in favor of, say, some weird form of socialism, or even communism to cite two well known ideas…

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  250. ernieyeball says:

    @mannning: I do not support a rebellion at all.

    Then why do you “speculate” about “military defeat” of insurrections by “bent-out-of-shape characters”?
    If your goons are so warped why should anyone look to them to define “negative acts of the government that need fixing”?
    Who is to decide when “all legitimate attempts have failed”?
    You?
    As far as I know you have not been elected to represent anyone nor have you been appointed to any Judicial Office under the United States Constitution.

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  251. mannning says:

    @ernieyeball:

    Your comprehension is seriously lacking. Show me where I assumed any role at all other than pointing out a trend.

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  252. Pharoah Narim says:

    mattb (who is in favor of enhanced gun regulation) says: While comparisons to other countries are helpful, one can not make unilateral one to one comparisons between citizens of different nations believing what plays in one nation also plays in another given similar conditions. Each country on the face of this planet has history, national identitiy, and societal flaws unique to it. Therefore we cannot consider situations there as 100% predictors of how similar policy would unfold here. 3rd world countries are a very poor comparison to America for almost every issue because they lack basic societal foundations, resources, etc–people in those countries have no reliable police or court system for conflict resolution– these institutions (working properly) are a deterent to warlordism so they need guns to provide their own deterrent, active protection, and unfortunately resolve conflicts.

    The nations you referenced do not have a history of police misbehavior and “unofficial” thug groups allowed to operate against groups viewed as outsiders–save Germany–and who can say if Hitlers method to rid the country of Jews would have proceeded is a less aggressive manner had gun ownership been more prevalent thoughout that culture? Not to say it wouldn’t have happened but basically the guy shot fish in a barrel. My point is that your run-of-the-mill corrupt regime is just looking to get paid but if there is an easy way to totalitarian control and/ elimination of enemies–they just might take it… because it’s easy. Likewise–if its easy to loot Best Buy–people typically smart enough NOT to loot WILL loot. Looting or most crimes in general aren’t easy (to get away with anyway) which is why they are rare and smart people typically don’t engage in them. Likewise, a reign of terror isn’t easy but can be alot easier if there is an unarmed populace. Why make it easy–and please don’t think things that have taken place in our country’s history can never happen again. Even though we have acqueised our safety to government, courts and military institutions to great benefit, that by no means completely rids us of personal responsibility of our own safety. Its on us.

    There is a very damaging mindset of this country of forgetting that, although rare, we can and WILL be visited by the darker side of humanity. When it happens we get a bunch of people running around crying “why?” and “how could this happen?” The truth is it has always happened and will continue to happen until the our current American identidy dies and is reborn as something new with differnt flaws (this process takes 100s or 1000s of years btw). Until then, we need to acknowledge our past and ask ourselves how can we best be prepared to deal with it the next time it occurs. Im not saying be a “preper”. Im saying ask how can we deter people and groups from taking on those dark roles–and for the ones that do–how can we minimize their damage.

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  253. ernieyeball says:

    @mannning: Who is to decide when “all legitimate attempts have failed”?
    You?

    Just askin’…if not you then who?

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  254. mannning says:

    @ernieyeball:

    The answer to you question is not so simple. Whomever assumes the role of leader of the opposition group, probably in conjunction with advisors drawn from the legal world, constitutional scholars, and perhaps even some from the congress. It is even possible that they would solicit opinions from the SCOTUS in some manner, and might even approach the President himself with the idea to compromise and keep the threat of violence down. Who knows? I don’t know. It is a function of a future issue, the seriousness of the perceived violation of the Constitution, and the results of the standard channels for redress of greviences, plus the quality of the various individuals involved, and the possible actions that might have occurred, all of which is not possible to guess in advance.

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  255. ernieyeball says:

    @mannning: Who knows? I don’t know.

    I can believe that…

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  256. craig says:

    “It is quite clear that the coercive power of the United States government would not be taken down by an armed populace. There really is no argument here.”

    Nobody is talking about an offensive on the American government just defense. The idea that a ragtag militia cannot defend against the US army assumes that no forts or generals would defect. It is widely known from the recent revolutions that a general is more likely to defect if he sees that the cause is feasible. Without a civilian owning a gun, the feasibility goes down. How much it goes down is up for debate.

    I’m not sure how the report you cited ruled out Libya simply because NATO assisted. How can one be sure that a revolution would not be aided by some other country or organization? The OECD predicts China and India to be bigger than all other countries quite possibly in my lifetime. USA may not be so big and bad as it is today. Rather than being the country liberating other countries we could be the Libya of tomorrow. We’re even starting to emphasize drilling for our own forms of energy.

    “[Totalitarianism] is a far more complex process that requires substantial support from within the state and the population”

    I had to laugh at this considering you are arguing for taking guns away from the population thus giving the government more control. Indeed, how a person turns full statist seems to be a subtle force driven by herd mentality seen in this post and comments section.

    Also, I think the ones arguing a defense against tyranny mean to say any type of armed conflict. In other words, if its useful for any type of armed conflict, a gun owner would use it as a reason. Your desire to limit it to tyranny is an attempt to drill down the data to fit your arguments. I would go back and compile data on that, as well. Maybe start with Mujahideen/Talibans, Viet Minh/Viet Cong, Hamas, PLO etc…

    Warfare and foreign policy is an extremely complicated animal and you have tried to explain everything in one blog post. It is all way too thin.

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  257. @craig:

    “[Totalitarianism] is a far more complex process that requires substantial support from within the state and the population”

    I had to laugh at this considering you are arguing for taking guns away from the population thus giving the government more control. Indeed, how a person turns full statist seems to be a subtle force driven by herd mentality seen in this post and comments section.

    Except, if you read the post you will note that I made no arguments whatsoever about whether the population should have guns or not nor did I make any argument concerning gun policy. I did not argue that guns should be taken away.

    Indeed, in the first paragraph I wrote:

    Pointing this out, by the way, really has not other implications for the gun debate. One could be as pro-gun as one wants and that does not change the specious nature of the notion introduced above.

    (You further make my point of the complexity of the concept of totalitarianism and its origins by the way you discuss it).

    I would note that you are missing the argument, and the examples you cite underscore this fact. The argument I made was that an armed population in a democratic setting is not a bulwark against that country becoming tyrannical.

    Are you suggesting that the “Mujahideen/Talibans, Viet Minh/Viet Cong, Hamas, PLO etc…” all represent pro-liberty, anti-tyranny forces fighting in the context of a democracy gone bad? Surely you are not, so the examples cited indicate that you do not understand what I am saying. Perhaps this is my fault for lack of clarity, but I suspect it is because you are proceeding from a false premise by conflating the fact that guns are used in number of conflicts that involve intra-state conflict without having an understanding of the ways in which these conflict differ or the ways in which the guns are the central variable (which they are not).

    (BTW–the closest example that might fit my discussion would be the Palestinian-Israeli conflict because in that case you at least have a democratic state being the target. Are you painting Hamas and the PLO as the analog to gun-owning American patriots? Of course, even if you want to go down that road the example doesn’t hold because the violence in question is not about holding off the establishment of authoritarianism in the context of a healthy democracy going bad).

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  258. Caleb says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    the better strategist

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  259. rice08 says:

    The arguement against this blog makes no sense. If there was a revolt, all the government has to do is put road blocks on every major highway and turn off the power. 90% of the population now has no way to secure food or water for the long haul let alone a week. The government wins everytime regardless of the strength of military.

    ºproud gun owner and supporter of gun limitations

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