My post about the tragic shooting incident in the Idaho Walmart continues to generate fascinating comments, not always directly related to the post. (Linking publications and websites to the contrary, I took no position on guns or gun control measures, though I have elsewhere on Ethics Alarms. The post’s positions were anti-incompetent gun ownership and anti-irresponsible parenting.) In the inevitable gun-related debates that have emerged, frequent commenter and blogger Shelly Stow opined that the need for guns to resist a government that attempts to crush individual freedom no longer exists.
This sparked the Comment of the Day, a history lesson as well as an explication for the need to have the last resort of armed revolution available, from 2014’s most prolific commenter, texagg04, and here it is, beginning with a quote from Shelly’s comment, on the post, “Comment of the Day: ‘Hard Lesson Of The Walmart Tragedy: Bad Ethics Kills’”:
“I disagree that, should our citizenry today become threatened by a government bent on tyranny, weapons in the hands of that citizenry would right the situation.”
So, you are saying that IF we truly faced a tyrannical government at home THEN we aren’t supposed to do anything about it to overthrow it. And that’s precisely what you are saying if you think weapons in the hands of citizens isn’t the right situation.
What???? God knows in the face of a tyrannical government, sit-ins, hunger strikes, and demonstrations accomplish precisely nothing. Certainly no external forces would come to our succor — the UN, populated by precisely the kind of tyrannies we don’t want? No. Western Europe, which can’t even be bothered to solve it’s own problems? No…
Is your solution to just sit back and be subjugated if worst came to worst? Isn’t that sort of like what Clayton Williams idiotically said when he said that one may as well lay back and enjoy rape if you can’t stop it?
“At what point should they grab guns and storm the seat of government?”
Considering that every rebellion that starts this way doesn’t last or doesn’t end well, I’d say this is a gross mis-characterization of the way revolutions work (real revolutions with good ideals, not the pathetic blood baths some people call revolutions). To be clear, the American Revolution didn’t start this way. It started with petitions & protests, before advancing to petitions & demonstrations, before expanding to petitions & organizing local self-defense (safety) organizations, before getting into petitions & minor acts of sabotage, prior to petitions & open acts of defiance and the inevitable “come and take it” moment. Did I mention petitions?
Even the Founding Fathers programmed into the Federal balance of power the notion that any future insurrections, were they deemed necessary by the citizenry, would not just be “grab the pitch forks and march on Washington, DC” actions. In the Federalist Papers, it is made clear that while the body of citizens has the right to overthrow its government, it should do so only after clearly appealing to reason and due process, much like the Founders did for OVER A DECADE prior to Lexington and Concord. Then, even, the Founders never saw a rabble marching on the capital as a revolution. Explained in the Federalist Papers, it was seen, that as the Militias answered to the State Governments OR to the National Government depending on the situation, that if there came the time to oppose a particular government with Force, then the Citizens would have succor from other levels of government. Should the National Government become tyrannical, then the People could appeal to the Force available to the States… vice versa, should the State Government become tyrannical, then the people could appeal to the Force available to the Nation. [ See
“And how many shoot-outs will they have along the way with those who approve the actions of the government and think those on the other side are alarmists, conspiracy theorists, and home-grown terrorists?”
Probably scant few. Ordinarily those who “approve the actions of the government” don’t rally in arms to support the government until later, they merely sit back and let the government do the fighting.
“There are those who see law enforcement as nothing but an arm of tyranny and would start assassinating policemen at every opportunity–a horrible solution that surely would be met with every attempt to bring down these outlaws by the armed law-and-order citizens.”
Yep, but let’s not obfuscate. There is a line where complex outlawry and legitimate armed insurrection for a good cause differentiate.
“It worked a couple of centuries ago. It would not work now. We are too huge. We are too diverse. We have no single, unified ideology nor a statesman or leader supported by a large majority behind whom to rally. Too many of us are convinced that we and those who think just like us are the only ones who are right. I do support the second amendment, but if we are actually justifying it with the same reasons for which it was originally framed, we are deluding ourselves.”
Nonsense. Did we miss the Ukrainian overthrow a year ago? Did we miss the still in question overthrow of the Alawite regime in Syria? Revolutions are ALWAYS possible. Yes they are also ALWAYS upheavals to economies and communities. So?
As for support, there’s a good rule of thumb for revolutions – 1/3 support, 1/3 oppose, 1/3 don’t care. That was roughly the break down in the American Revolution also…yep, initially the Revolution was NOT a popular action, centered primarily around New England, the Southern States, although discontent with England’s methods were not ready to break with them and generally opposed the break until later in the Revolution.
So no, I don’t think we are deluding ourselves that if it came to it, a body of armed citizens could FORCE change if necessary.