The Second Ammendment: Revolution

The second ammendment clearly protects the right to have an armed militia, and not individual rights as its been successfully perverted over the years (wiki):

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

Because let’s face it, its poorly written.  Its essentially conflating “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” with “a well regulated Militia”.  Oops.

But they’ve come to be interpreted as separate, and I’d like to deal with the rational behind the NRA and other gun-toting groups out there.  Why should we have the right to bear arms?

The first reason that pops off the top of my head is Self Defense.  This isn’t that shabby an argument.  Take an etnertaining stroll down the posts at the Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog.  Between scaring off robberies, vigilanteism occasionally resulting in murder, and entirely accidental shootings, it doesn’t make too clear a case in either direction on its own.  But let’s not suppose people guilty before proven innocent, and allow that at least some civilians use guns legitimately as self defense.  That’s not what interests me.

What has me thinking is the idea that our right to bear arms affords us some protection, any protection, against a tyrannical state.

If the United States Government began rounding up “problem reporters“, anarchists, and known peace demonstrators, would you expect:

  1. People would be outraged.
  2. There would be direct action, including massive street protests.
  3. Politicians would take meaningful actions to free the political prisoners and stand up to the government.
  4. There would be armed resistance.

If you answered anything more direct than 1, I think you’d better prepare to be dissapointed.  First of all, its doubtful the arrests would even be covered.  They wouldn’t be directly censored, just ignored.  Most people would never know.  The ones who did, while angry, would they risk arrest themselves to protest?

I think its clear off the bat that however much faith we put in our politicians of choice, 3 is not a realistic possibility.

Which leaves 4, and I ask you.  Even if we throw away the idealism and strategic pragmatism of non-violent resistance, does anyone honestly think there’d be a lick of a chance against a government so much more powerful than its citizens?

This is why when I hear arguments about the second ammendment being necessary to protect against a fascist government I can’t help but laugh.  By the time we’ve gotten that far it will already be too late.

But that begs the important question.  If tomorrow the US went into lockdown, would business change for anyone not directly affected?  Would enough power (people or political) put itself at risk to fight back?  And if not, if this challenge to our liberty is left unmet, what the hell is stopping the government from doing this whenever they want?

And what the hell is wrong with me, when even mentioning armed resistance (despite my opposition to violence as a political means) makes me nervous?


4 Responses

  1. If you rely on the 2nd Amendment to protect your freedom its already to late because they already took all of the others from you. That the other side also has guns, IFVs, tanks, attack helicopters and fighter bombers. Good luck with that.

    Historical Note: American history is riddled with revolts, “wars” and other forms of armed conflict. However most of the time they have been crushed by the local authorities, corporate interest and the federal goverment. The most successful armed revolt was the American Civil War and it only succeeded in creating a goverment that lasted all of 5 years.

  2. Precisely my point. Its an entirely bogus argument that nevertheless crops up in arguments from the NRA crowd.

    That historical note would be a very interesting thing to read.

  3. At the least you can stop whoever is breaking into your house, whether it be cops, or robbers. obviously you cant take on a tank, but I still want the right to own a gun. I wont argue with certain restrictions on purchasing them, as long as I can pass those restrictions. But this is one area where i agree with republicans, taking away the right to own a gun, wont keep people from having guns, especially the criminals. You have a right to self defense.

  4. I agree with you Brian. But this idea that the 2nd Amendment is the only one that matters is ridiculous, especially when you (not you personally, but the right-wing) support a goverment that strips then of every other right, the kinds of rights that the 2nd is supposed to buttress.


    Yes, the US does have a very violent history.
    Settlers vs. Natives,

    Mormons vs. everybody else,

    Corporations vs. Unions,

    Slavers vs. Abolitionist (the Kansas territory was in a virtual civil war a full decade before it engulfed the rest of the country)

    Ranchers vs. Homesteaders (more than just what you see in the movies)

    Separatist vs. the Government (before, during and after the Civil War)

    Not to mention homegrown terrorism, state sponsored terror against minorities (and not just African-Americans in the South; see sun-down towns over at Orcinus), and riots (again not always by minorities)

    A subject that you have covered here before.

    The goverment usually keeps a lid on these things (one of the untold successes of the FBI and one of its primary missions, mostly without expanding their powers or violating the Constitution after J. Edgar Hoover).

    The only reason why people think of American history as generally peaceful is that most of the violence occurs at the edge of it’s field of vision (on the frontier, in the backwoods, inner cities, etc) and dies down or it is contained before it registers in said national though process.

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