Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Liberal Case for Gun Ownership

This is serious business, and I know it.  That's why I was not laughing when some of my friends took the Free Trump Score test.

Their supposed fate?

  • Re-education camps
  • The "Trump Guantanamo Bay Resort"
  • Deportation
  • Being Roughed Up

I'm not laughing.  Trump is dangerous, and we need to talk about that.  What would you do if Hitler raised his head?  Because Hitler did raise his head in Germany and people did nothing until it was too late.

You do what you want. I'm reminding my liberal friends with a brain that there's a place in this world for guns and ammunition, and it may be sooner rather than later.  Yes, let's drag every one we know to the polls, let's vote, let's engage in a serious program of organizing and nonviolent resistance.  Let's do it all. But remember they did all that in Germany too. And Russia.  And Turkey.  And in dozens of other countries that succumbed to madmen who then dragged their country into war, disappearances, dictatorship, and destruction.

To be clear, this is not a new thought. Back in 2007, I wrote The Liberal Case for Gun Ownership:

What were our Founding Fathers thinking when they wrote the Second Amendment?

Well, they were not engaged in narrow partisan politics. They were not posturing for Fox News or trying to “make nice to soccer moms.”

These were serious men who came fresh from the white-hot forge of revolution. A war had just been fought to overthrow the yoke of an oppressive and unresponsive Government that invaded homes without warrant and which exposed the populace to "dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within."

In short, while it was a bit hotter back then, the issues we face today are not so completely different.

As left-wing, NPR-loving Virginia author Joe Bageant notes in his book Deer Hunting With Jesus:

”With Michael Savage and Ann Coulter openly calling for putting liberals in concentration camps, with the CIA now licensed to secretly detain American citizens indefinitely, and with the current administration effectively legalizing torture, the proper question to ask an NRA members these days may be 'What kind of assault rifle do you think I can get for three hundred bucks, and how many rounds of ammo does it take to stop a born-again Homeland Security zombie from putting me in a camp?'

"Which would you prefer, 40 million gun-owning Americans on your side or theirs?"

Bageant is not a new liberal, but an old liberal – the kind that once protested things and took to the streets in opposition to stupid wars, and which stood up to be counted when civil rights were being violated.

The old liberals know the value of guns.

They know that after the Civil War, southern whites denied blacks the right to own guns, because it was easier to lynch an unarmed black man than it was one who owned a deer rifle and 200 rounds of ammunition.

Some gay Americans have discovered this secret knowledge as well. As Jonathan Rauch wrote in Salon magazine back in March of 2000:

"Thirty-one states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible." 

If this sounds like Revolutionary talk, it is. It is the kind of language our revolutionary Founding Fathers might have used if they were gay, or black, or Hispanic, or Muslim, or Jewish and living in America today.

”Don’t Tread On Me,” was not a bumper sticker back then – it was a warning every bit as ominous as the shake of a rattlesnake’s tail.

The notion that our Founding Fathers contemplated armed insurrection inside the United States seems to surprise some people.

But it shouldn’t.

The Good Old Boys of Virginia -- Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington -- knew that power belonged to the people only so long as the power of the state could be met with an equal power organized by the populace at large working in tandem.

Guns were not to be used capriciously, but they were part of the long term plan crafted by our Founding Fathers to protect this great nation from powerful, cunning and patient forces of oppression -- whether those forces came from within or without.

Bottom line: Organize, vote, donate, put up posters and bumper stickers, send out messages on Facebook and Twitter, talk to everyone you know, and drag everyone you know to the polls.

But also read up on how to stuff newspapers inside a sweat shirt to absorb the baton strikes, and buy a gas mask and a couple of wrist rockets. Read up on how to disable police vehicles and how to counter pepper spray.  And don't forget to pick up 200 rounds at Dick's Sporting Goods and pay cash as is still your right under the Second Amendment. Because this is belt and suspenders time. This is serious business, and we will not go gentle into that good night.  Get serious. This election is not a fucking game.  As Michael Moore has noted, there is a very good chance Trump will win, and if that happens, there's going to be a Civil War to avoid a nuclear war. You will thank me later if it gets to that.


Federico said...

You have a point, but the liberal case for gun ownership (or the self defence case for gun deployment) needs to pass the 'courts test' -- unless you plan a revolution directly! I know you are being provocative, so I feel it's only fair if I am provocative back. ;)

PipedreamFarm said...

I have not decided if Trump is simply playing to the mob, telling them what he thinks they want to hear and will rile them up; or (scary as it seems) he truly believes the stuff that spews out of his mouth. In either case, this is not the behavior of presidential leadership. We don't want/need a leader that stirs the mob, we need one that will calm the mob and inspire them to get congress to do their job (which includes each side compromising in order to get the peoples' business done).

PBurns said...

The right of Americans to own guns has been clearly established by the U.S. Supreme Court, and is not in question.

Read the Heller decision, endorsed by everyone from Antonin Scalia to Barack Obama.

This is the law of the land, and it has been for over 200 years.

The way we think about guns and the potential for the rise of dictatorship is a very important way that we are not Europe, and it is a very important check to power outside of the election process.

There are a lot of things that will happen before we get to guns -- speeches, posters, voting, marches, strikes, sit ins. But are guns the "American back stop" to the rise of dictatorship which has occurred in so many other countries? Yes, they are. Our Founding Fathers put it in the United States Constitution for a reason. It't not an irrelevant or archaic passage about sporting goods. The Second Amendment comes right after the First Amendment, and that order is not an accident. Liberals and conservatives need to know this and understand this. What is going on now in this country is not pro-wrestling or reality TV, and it can end in a very, very bad place. Let's talk about that. Let's talk about what happens November 9th if Trump wins, because we need to be prepared for that. No surprises. This is not a game. How fast can we shut down all roads? All airports? The power grid? Because all of that will happen in the first two weeks, and will not end there.

geonni banner said...

You make some good points, but...

"The Good Old Boys of Virginia -- Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and George Washington -- knew that power belonged to the people only so long as the power of the state could be met with an equal power organized by the populace at large working in tandem."

If everyone on the country owned a 30-30 and a shit-pile of ammunition, they would not be able to meet the police/military with "equal power". How is a deer rifle going to stack up against Hueys bristling with missiles, drones, armored troop transports and tanks? Hell, I wouldn't put it past Trump to nuke entire cities if they excited his paranoia.

By all means. Have a rifle, have a 9mm pistol. It's your right. But try to do it without getting on a list and waking up some night with a flashlight in your face and a sudden (and probably brief) lifestyle change coming your way.

PBurns said...

The real military is not going to fight Americans. They have already said they are not going to follow Trump's orders on several points. It's going to be the police that are called out, and perhaps the National Guard trying to stop the shut downs if it gets to that. Nonviolence will probably work, but that hasn't always worked for others in other countries, and it has an especially bad track record for minority groups, even here at home, from blacks to Hispanics, from Japanese Americans to Jews and Hippies. The mafia and most gangs were created to protect the people against the police. The good news here is that Trump is declaring war on every group that is not a rich white male. Hard to see how he comes out whole in an uprising that involves women, blacks, Hispanic, immigrants, young people, and many others. The police do not want to fight a real generalized uprising, and certainly not one where 1/3 of the people own guns as is the case in America. If the police shoot, Americans will shoot back and now the police know it. It's amazing how quickly the folks in blue got concerned about improving community relations after the shootings in recent weeks. Those same police departments might want to think about what they are going to do on November 9th, and put out the word about that now. One way to stand up to Trump is to stand down on November 9th. Police are Americans too; they will get it, and it will only take a few departnents to announce they will "stand down" on November 9th for quite a lot to change. We need to have this discussion NOW. What will a Trump win mean? Let's not be surprised. This is not a joke and we need to have a national conversation to think it through.

geonni banner said...

I hope you are right. There are good and sensible people in law enforcement. There are also sadistic ass-hats that would be only too pleased to take out random women, blacks, Hispanic, immigrants, and young people at any time. And with Trump elected it would not be in pitched battles, it would be in the same way that they are doing it now in Baton Rouge, and all those other head-line-generating places where it is now, but more, and with the tacit approval of the "man at the wheel." (In the event of a Trump win.)

I see it happening the same way you see an oncoming train, in slow motion, and nowhere to dodge. I can't believe it, but yet, here it comes.

A friend of mine said the other day. Why is he still here? Why doesn't someone step up and take a hit for the team. Sad and scary that people are reduced to such thoughts.

I'll see you at the polls. :)

Federico said...

Nobody here is claiming that the 'courts test' has anything to do with firearm ownership. If Drumpf is elected it would mean the majority of voters support him, and the ones who did not voted do not care. Hence, if and when someone decides the US is sliding into fascism and tries to shoot his or her way out of it, they would end up having to face the court and see if they pass the test with 'sure, fight for your liberty' or '20 years, no parole'. I bet money to doughnuts they would get 20 no parole. Turkey is not so slowly sliding into dictatorship, whit a failed coup just a few days ago. It all started with free and fair elections. See a potential parallele? If Drumpf gets elected you betcha the Army Navy and Air Force will get cozy to him (the US Armed Forces staging a anti fascist coup? really?). So will the Police. If Drumpf gets in and fascism takes over the US, you will be outgunned and will be on the wrong side of the law if you try and fight back. If Drumpf gets in and decides to become a dictator you will need more than a gun, you will need a passport, a plane ticket and asylum elsewhere. Thankfully you have friends in Europe! ;)

Donald McCaig said...

Dear Patrick,

Makes me fondly recollect leftist paranoia during the sixties when "Six internment camps had been set up for anti-war protesters".

Some of the Weathermen were talking about guns; a few came to armed revolution somewhat later and those who did are still in jail.

Yes, Scalia's ahistorical interpretation changed the law but has the moral force of the Dred Scott decision. I cannot think that the court won't eventually revert to the traditional understanding of the 2nd amendment.

I have guns and need them to dispatch hopelessly sick animals in pain. I also have a concealed carry permit (research). I think Virginia should ask me why I need a permit and when I can't provide a good answer, they should cancel it. I also think my long guns should be listed in my local sheriff's office and my gun security measures inspectable.

Further, I know of no instance (including our revolution which was won by the French army and navy) where armed citizens have stood up for a long time against trained soldiers. That's why we have a National Guard instead of local militias.

Donald McCaig

PBurns said...

I'm for time, place and manner restrictions on guns, and have said so many times, and written it too, both on this blog and in the print press.

But I am also in Washington, a city which will shut down for months of protests if Trump wins this election. This is a town of bridges and beltways. New York City too can be shut down fast, and it will be too. Not for days -- for weeks and weeks. The protests will be massive and sustained, and then the National Guard will be called out because the police will be exhausted and overpowered. After that, we'll see.... but this is not as before. This election is not like others. Sound like paranoia and the older WU? Maybe. But what comes November 9th, if Trump wins, is not going to be 20 hippies in Madison, Wisconsin. It's not going to be the war protests at the Pentagon. It's going to be something else entirely. Hopefully it will be peaceful. Hopefully it will have discipline. But will it be uncharted territory? You bet. And it's very possible. This morning Trump is ahead in the polls. Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I am not living overseas or in rural Virginia. I am in the Belly of the Beast.