Defending the Second Amendment in Theory and in Practice

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By Brandon R.

I once found a gem buried deep within the comments pages of a Washington Post anti-gun agitprop article. The trolls were hard at work churning out their vitriolic hyperbole, hoping to slay each other, wielding their ad hominem swords. As usual, seventy-five percent of the pro-2A crowd was providing thoughtful argument supported by statistics and appeals to principles. The libertarian sympathies of the gun rights crowd’s core were evident, and when someone dared point that out, a certain liberal troll quipped, “Libertarians=Anarchists in Dockers.” That comment, as inaccurate as it may be (I happened to be wearing Patagonia Rock Crafts pants at the time) forced me to ask myself . . .

“How does the broader public perceive gun owners, and how is our message interpreted?” I fear that the pro-2A movement is somewhat hamstrung by associations with the far right, anarchism, and violence. Indeed, we are painted as violent “gun nuts” who, motivated by bloodlust, seek out violent confrontation, believe the government is our enemy, and that all hope to someday relive our apotheosis at Ruby Ridge.

When politicians like Joni Ernst say things like, “I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important,” liberals get antsy. Kirstin Powers’ response to Ernst’s statement highlights my concerns more accurately than Jerry Miculek can shoot a 9mm at 400 meters. She asked, “WHO from the US govt would Joni Ernst shoot?? Be specific. A member of the military? A police officer?” While I agree with Ernst on principle, her message is not only easily misconstrued, but IS dangerous without further qualification. Here’s why.

First, we get linked to actual nut jobs. Just over the past three years, we have seen quite a few cop-killing psychopaths murder police officers in the line of duty. These were not efforts to escape justice, or reprisals for drug war-related vendettas, but targeted, premeditated, and ideologically inspired shootings. Eric Frein’s cowardly murder of Pennsylvania officers follows a string of similar shootings including, but not limited to William Spengler, Christopher Dorner, and Jerad and Amanda Miller.

In each of these cases, we are talking about people who are clearly mentally unstable, and I am in no way saying that the pro-2A movement is somehow responsible for their actions, but we have to understand that people like Bill Cope do. You see, like it or not, we have a responsibility to articulate our message in a way that doesn’t feed the delusional savior complexes of the John Wilkes Booths of the world, or virulent cynicism of the blogosphere’s liberal pundits (read Salon, Mother Jones, and Huffpo). When we have people like Dutchman6 over at the Sipsey Street Irregulars posting things like “Gentlemen, prepare to defend yourselves,” and essentially calling for civil war in the un-Constitutional State, or when James Yeager threatens to “start shooting people,” it may actually be time for some introspection.

We often talk about the right to resist a tyrannical government using weapons, about “Nazi, jackbooted thugs” at the ATF, about how lovely the wound cavity of a .40 S&W Federal HST seems compared to an FMJ. But we must be mindful of how our rhetoric is interpreted, not just by MDA, but by the Eric Freins among us, or even the Christopher Dorners on the left. Thus, it is imperative that we answer Ms. Powers’ question, and do so in a way that clearly articulates the “hows,” “whys,” and “whens” of the protection of our Second Amendment rights.

So when is enough indeed enough? When is it appropriate for Americans, armed with an AR-15 and a sense of duty, to “shoot people?” Two short anecdotes help answer that question; the American and French Revolutions. In the first case, Americans were armed, organized, and prepared – albeit in a somewhat inferior manner – for the use of force. When the British army came to confiscate their weapons, the minutemen reacted defensively and in concert. When they fired the “shot heard round the world” they did it under the supervision of militia commanders, provoked by direct British aggression, and were accountable to a colonial government and a nascent Continental Congress. Certainly, the proliferation of arms among the population presented its challenges. The American Revolution was as much a civil war as it was a rebellion, but the Revolution endured in large part due to its fundamental populism and relatively strong political institutions that predated hostilities.

The French Revolution was entirely different. The people were deprived of arms from the start, so mobs of Parisians stormed the Bastille and the Hôtel des Invalides in order to resist the anticipated crackdown by loyalist troops and foreign mercenaries. Yet the Republic feared its own as much if not more than its enemies. The violence that characterized the Reign of Terror included mass conscription, and the disarming and murder of anyone opposed to the regime, and the trampling of the very essence of liberté, égalité, fraternité. Ultimately, the French Revolution devolved into tyranny, and a series of violent uprisings that would last a half century.

In the end, Americans acted not as an angry mob, but in a highly ordered and coherent way when compared to the mob rule of the early days of the French Revolution. This luxury was only possible because the people possessed the means to resist prior to the moment of conflict. The same must be true today.

Bearing this in mind, we advocates of the Second Amendment’s role as a check against tyranny must remember to clearly state the context in which this right exists. The following three questions offer a test for the validity of Second Amendment invocation:

1. Have I exhausted all legal, personal, and societal means to affect change?
Indeed, this is not the case in America. We still have the courts, although they can be unreliable of late. Likewise, public opinion trends ever more pro-gun. While states like New York, Connecticut, California, and New Jersey are suffering under very real infringement, we have yet to have the door slammed shut by either the legislature or the courts. Redress of our grievances is far from being totally discounted.

2. Are my actions accountable to a higher authority?
Shooting a police officer or BLM agent who is not threatening you is murder. Our founders did not attack the British in their barracks or on the parade ground, but only when the redcoats in Concord were armed and obviously marching to do them harm. Had an American preempted this by shooting and killing a British soldier of his own accord, I am confident that John Adams would have made sure that he receive a speedy and fair trial…followed by summary execution. Any violence must be committed with the oversight and accountability of the rule of law. To act outside it is to bring shame upon the very cause one may be seeking to advance. No one can or should be judge, jury and executioner.

3. Is my action defensive or offensive? Does the individual or group upon whom I am considering violently acting represent a grave and existential threat to my life, liberty or property, and does that threat merit or justify the taking of human life?
The beauty of the first two tests is that they will inform the third. Violence MUST be a last recourse, and it must be accountable to a higher authority. In the event that, someday, Americans may have to rise up in arms against tyranny at home, their rebellion must be directed at specific, clearly delineated, and solvable problems, and the action must be taken in harmony with the principles of freedom, justice, and the inordinate value we place on human life. Thus, a revolution MUST maintain the moral high ground to succeed.

Human life is precious and sacred. To take a life is a grave act due the most intense scrutiny and oversight. We, as the “armed intelligentsia” have a duty to articulate our position in a way that doesn’t undermine our cause. Freedom lovers are not “anarchists in Dockers.” We don’t want bloodshed, nor would we glory in it. No one wants a second Civil War to live out our neo-Confederate fantasies. We only condone violence as a last resort, when all legal means are exhausted, when government has ceased to be legitimate and a new authority must be put in its place. The end is not justice through bloodletting, but freedom through regime change. As Thomas Jefferson so eloquently stated in the first of our great founding documents,

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

So no Ms. Powers, while I am unable to speak for Joni Ernst, I will not be shooting anyone. I haven’t yet made it beyond step one. And if I do, will Dockers qualify as tactical pants?

comments

  1. avatar nonames says:

    Chris Dorner was undeniably certifiable. But I seem to recall he had apparently legitimate beefs: his own mistreatment at the hands of superiors and training officers as well as abuses of power by cops when dealing with the public. From what I understand, he was taking retribution for what he felt were injustices meted out to him. Not sure there was any kind of ideological bent to his spree.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      According to Dorner’s manifesto (which is online if you care to read it), he was an antisocial narcissist. And a putz.

      1. avatar CT Resident says:

        Dorner was also anti gun and suggested that Feinstein use his rampage to further gun control. Also if I recall correctly was a Obama, Biden, Hillary Clinton and Christie supporter. How twisted is that?

        1. avatar Alexander says:

          All mass shooters have been Democrats/Liberals/Socialists or children of such, if too young to vote yet. Perfectly makes sense – no morals, disconnect from reality, blame everyone else for their problems and have never grown up. But I’m being redundant- that is the definition of a socialist.

  2. avatar Ralph says:

    When politicians like Joni Ernst say things like, “I do believe in the right to carry, and I believe in the right to defend myself and my family — whether it’s from an intruder, or whether it’s from the government, should they decide that my rights are no longer important,” liberals get antsy.

    The Left gets ansy because the only rights they care about relate exclusively to vaginas, welfare and redistribution of wealth that doesn’t belong to them. The rights that we care about don’t even exist in their so-called “minds.”

    We’re not competing for the middle ground anymore. The left has already abandoned that fight. We are now competing exclusively against the a cabal of billionaries who own America, the galactically stupid who would fellate President Ebola if they had the chance and the pseudo-revolutionary dipsticks who can’t move out of their mothers’ basements because they don’t have a job and blame it on everyone but themselves.

    1. avatar John M. says:

      The Left gets antsy because they know that Joni Ernst is talking about shooting Progressives or their storm troopers. The Left LOVES it when the mob starts shooting “millionaires and billionaires” or members of militaries representing right-wing governments.

    2. avatar DrVino says:

      They are not liberals, to begin with. They are statists with a leftist/Marxist bent.

    3. avatar peter says:

      The rights that we care about don’t even exist in their so-called “minds.”

      Spot on. Last week I was reading http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_the_United_States and noticed that right to keep and bear arms was missing. I added it. My edit lasted only 20 minutes before it was reverted with the comment stating that the right to bear arms is not a human right.

      1. avatar Garibaldi says:

        I clicked on your Wiki link and found “the right to keep and bear arms” right there in the Legal Framework section.

        1. avatar peter says:

          True it is mentioned under legal framework. I was referring to the fact that there is no subsection under section 4 Freedoms. I added a subsection 4.x Right to keep and bear arms. Apparently, it’s not important enough to merit its own section on that page.

    4. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      Thank you, and +1.

      When I read that, I realized that we were in for a navel-gazing session of epic proportions, and my eyes glossed over the rest.

      As for naming specifics: how about police officers who kick your door down without a warrant (even if they have a warrant for some other guy)? Is the homeowner justified in using his gun against that agent of the state? As recent courts have confirmed: yes.

      But I dispute the premise. Why must specifics be articulated in order to justify the principle? How are we supposed to predict the specific agents of the state who will overstep their authority and violate our civil rights?

      Regarding impact of rhetoric, I couldn’t care less what the left has to say. Once they stop wishing murder, rape, and all other manner of opprobrium on law-abiding gun owners, I might consider listening to what they have to say about our rhetoric.

  3. avatar Accur81 says:

    I’ll shoot a police officer if they are trying to throw a flash bang grenade into my son’s crib. I also happen to be extremely right wing. I won’t apologize to the left for either of those. They should be apologizing to me for Holder and Obama.

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Accur81,

      You have highlighted the basic problem. The Almighty State won’t assemble several hundred enforcers to publicly march to a community armory. Rather the Almighty State sends about 10 people in the middle of the night to raid an unwitting homeowner while they sleep. The whole thing is over and the State enforcers leave before the greater public even knows what happened.

      Even more egregious, because judges rubber stamp no-knock raids and the State enforcers have immunity, there is no legal recourse before, during, or after the fact. Of course legal actions after the fact are too late to bring innocent loved ones back from the grave anyway.

      Unless a homeowner manages to get off a lucky shot at a State enforcer throwing a flash-bang grenade into their child’s crib, there will never be an event that looks “justifiable” at the time. What recourse do We the People therefore have?

      1. avatar Justin says:

        Well, as the author has stated, we haven’t even gotten past step one yet.

        So the government will still flash bang babies over “banned” substances while we still the opportunity to go to the courts for legitimate recourse.

        The very people that we would be fighting against are the ones that control the courts. The game is rigged but we can’t see that yet. Maybe that’s the point. Maybe Jefferson was pointing out that they played the game and they proved it rigged and only then they felt justified in rebelling…I don’t know to be honest.

        As easily as the author justifies the American Revolution there are just as many cases made that proves it unjustified.

        Only thing I know is this. We Libertarians have a plan to take over the world…and then leave everyone alone.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          “We Libertarians have a plan to take over the world…and then leave everyone alone.”
          Now that is fantastic.

          As for your comments, we cannot say that the courts are still in operation simply because we can request prosecution of State enforcers after they have harmed children in cribs or even the wrong people in the wrong homes. The problem is that the courts have failed to strike down the policy of no-knock raids in the middle of the night. The problem is the courts have failed to strike down laws that infringe our unalienable right to keep and bear arms. The problem is that the U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear appeals of cases that infringe our right to keep and bear arms.

          We have all heard the honorable progression of action to rectify laws and policies that infringe our unalienable rights: first the soap box, next the ballot box, then the jury box (courts), and finally the ammunition box. As far as I can see, we have exhausted our soap box, ballot box, and jury box … which only leaves the ammunition box. What other recourse do the people of California, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, and Maryland have? What other recourse do the people of the United States have on lesser infringements of our unalienable right to keep and bear arms? Are we supposed to stand around and wait for years or decades on the slim chance that the U.S. Supreme Court will resolve the split in the circuits and overturn all the laws that violate the Second Amendment? The U.S. Supreme Court has already had the opportunity to hear cases on the Second Amendment and turned them down. What else can We the People possibly do?

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          Spot on, uncommon_sense.

  4. avatar mirgc says:

    Good article. It’s away a good idea to refresh the basics of communication to keep on target and deliver the best effective message to the widest audience possible.

  5. avatar JimM says:

    The Left is all about violence and destruction. It is fundamentally nihilist. Those billionaires you speak of come from the Left. Power is their goal. If they had a slogan, it would be “You’ll Take Orders”.

    1. avatar Indiana Tom says:

      Sort of like in Atlas Shrugged.

      1. avatar John Lilburne says:

        Read Atlas Shrugged for the first time just after the 2008 presidential election.

        Rand was scary accurate in her predictions. What was happening then and continues today could’ve been lifted from the pages of the novel.

        A long and sometimes tedious book. However, well worth the read.

        She nails the Progressive/Leftist/Statist agenda.

        1. avatar Diamondback says:

          Now read, “Unintended Consequences” by John Ross. Long but very interesting.

  6. avatar Bob says:

    To summarize this article in just a few words:

    “America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system and too early to shoot the bastards.” – Claire Wolfe

    The author, Brandon R., thinks we can still work within the system, but I think the best we can expect to get from the system is a slow degradation of our rights. If we work hard within the system we will only lose our rights more slowly. I don’t think it is possible anymore to change America back toward what she used to be, except with some ‘revolutionary’ actions, and I’m just waiting for enough good people to realize that.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      I’m afraid you may be correct.

    2. avatar TheRequimen says:

      Spot on. It’s too late for these United States.

      Everything man has created has been flawed, and the Constitution has been no different. You’re delusional if you think we can fix things through something so thoroughly corrupted as the Federal Government. The best we can do is be prepared for the inevitable collapse.

      1. avatar Marcus (Aurelius) Payne says:

        Wow. I just went from happy drunk to dressed drunk in one internet comment.

        1. avatar alexander says:

          Well… one can always put his head back into the sand…

        2. avatar former water walker says:

          It’s worse than that Marcus. The whole world is about to explode. At least our side has tons o’ guns…

        3. avatar Diamondback says:

          Well, at least you ain’t naked.

          Or did you mean “distressed”?

        4. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Diamondback,

          I think he meant “depressed drunk” rather than “dressed drunk”.

    3. avatar TT says:

      What did the United States used to be that it is not anymore that we should get back to?

      1. avatar Call Security! says:

        That is a very good question. The old days weren’t so good for everyone and “Leave it to Beaver” is not coming back, except in re-runs.

      2. avatar John in Ohio says:

        Whatever correct is, it sure as hell isn’t what we have.

    4. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Aye. If only I live long enough to see it.

    5. avatar Diamondback says:

      Here, here.

      There’s nothing worth saving we have to reboot/rebuild but using the founder’s vision applied with more knowledge of universal truths, natural laws and the inherent nature of man.

  7. avatar alexander says:

    You make very good points and they are applicable from a top-view. But if we are to get into the details, things become murky quickly. Let’s take your first “Commandment” – Have I exhausted all legal, personal, and societal means to affect change? Theoretically, one can say that they have never exhausted all legal means, just until they die. At a certain point, “reasonable” people will call it quits. When the courts become kangaroo courts that are designed to exhaust and impoverish a citizen, how far would you expect one to persevere? One study (I believe for 2009) analyzed all the lawsuits in the federal District of Maryland that were based on the Bill of Rights. There were about a thousand; half were deemed frivolous and were extracted. Of the other half, deemed legitimate grievances, zero made it to the courtroom. All were thrown out. Is zero chances out of a thousand sufficient to form a certain opinion of our “justice” system?

    Two, “Are my actions accountable to a higher authority?” Does the “authority” comes from someone wearing a uniform, a robe, a badge, a piece of paper? At a certain point, an individual needs to ask that question and always remember that the Nazi guards only followed legal orders.
    In today’s world, an “enemy” would be unlikely to line-up like the Redcoats did; following the tactics of the Revolutionary War would be nothing less than a suicide. And in the end, the ultimate question whether one is a terrorist or a freedom fighter will be answered by the winning side.

    Three. “Is my action defensive or offensive?” If one is to take arms against evil only when that evil knocks at one’s door, he might as well not bother. That’s would be a bit too late. When you see evil at your neighbor’s door and ignore it, that is exactly what evil wants – divide and conquer. So, the answers are really not so simple and well defined. But, as you appropriately quoted Thomas Jefferson, people should and do rebel when the injustices are clear, obvious and overabundant. The problem is that with the intentional dumbing down of the population, the sheeple are incapable of understanding what is happening until after the slaughter.

    1. avatar Matt in TX says:

      Thank you, you said what I was thinking much better than I could.

    2. avatar JeffR says:

      To be fair, the overwhelming majority of federal cases “based on the Bill of Rights” are pro se prisoner cases which are overwhelmingly bull. Also, only about 3% of all civil cases go to trial, regardless of the nature of the claims.

      1. avatar alexander says:

        The 500 or so out of the 1,000 were those “bull” cases and they were appropriately thrown out. The remaining 500 were judged to be legit, but never made it to the courtroom anyway.

        1. avatar Sian says:

          Probably because at that point they’ll bend over backwards to settle, so as to not set unfavorable precedent.

    3. avatar ReadMore says:

      But if you follow your logic, then YOU get to determine when “enough is enough.” That seems a bit like missing the point.

      1. avatar alexander says:

        There should be a balance, whatever “balance” means. The other side is to determine that enough is enough just as you’re being slaughtered, which would be a bit late and ineffective. wouldn’t it?

        1. avatar ReadMore says:

          But the political/societal endgame comes first. If don’t prepare adequately for replacing the current authority, you have chaos and eventual tyranny just like in France. Shooting people is not enough, nor is it morally right. You can’t simply fight against something, you have to fight on behalf of something, and under the supervision of some authority that makes sure YOUR actions are ethical and legal.

        2. avatar John in Ohio says:

          @ReadMore: Fighting for one’s own life, liberty, and property is ethical and legal enough. At one time that was well understood. One does not need banner, authority, or justification beyond that. It is reflected in basic self defense.

    4. avatar Diamondback says:

      Here, here.

  8. avatar Grindstone says:

    Just hop on to the General Discussion area of nearly any gun forum and you can see that what you propose is a completely lost cause. Hell, my own local forum the racism is often not even subtly hidden.

    1. avatar Accur81 says:

      Anti gunners are just as racist as gun owners. Probably even more so.

      1. avatar Another Robert says:

        I would say “definitely”, not “probably”.

  9. avatar AnCap says:

    Right anarchism is just the view that there should be no state. It is not synonymous with chaos or violence.

  10. avatar Indiana Tom says:

    Gee, I sort of like Joni Ernst.

  11. avatar Scot says:

    Technical point, the American Revolution wasn’t a civil war. In a civil war both parties are trying to gain control of the same government/nation. See for example, the English Civil War.

    1. avatar alexander says:

      Actually, the American Revolution might as well be called a Civil War. A third of the population wanted independence, a third was loyal to the Crown and about a third didn’t care. The loyalists were helped by the Crown, of course, but it was still a Civil War. We just don’t like to call it such…

      1. avatar Scot says:

        While there were loyalists, we were fighting the English government, not for control of England, which would have made it a civil war, but to rebel from the English, to separate from them.

        We weren’t primarily fighting the Tories, we were fighting England who was aided by the Tories.

    2. avatar ReadMore says:

      Incorrect. Study up on the Revolution. The Revolutionary armies could only ever muster about 30,000 men at arms at any given time, even though the population could have provided at least 300,000 if they had all been committed patriots. Likewise, an equal, if not greater number of Americans served as “Tories,” particularly in the South. Historians of the American Revolution often describe the Southern campaign under Cornwallis as a civil war. Only Massachusetts was majority rebel for the duration of the war. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

      1. avatar Scot says:

        The American Revolution was not a war between the Continental Army (et al.) and Tories, it was a war between those in the colonies who wanted to become independent of England and England. It wasn’t Tory Armies that Washington defeated, although the English did have loyalist support, it was English armies.

        We were not fighting to take over England, we were fighting to separate from England.

        1. avatar ReadMore says:

          Sigh…. where Americans shooting at each other? Yes or no? The article doesn’t even argue that it was exclusively a Civil War. You’re trying to argue semantics to what end I am not sure.

        2. avatar Scot says:

          @ReadMore

          I’m always perplexed when people talk about ‘arguing semantics’ as if arguing about meanings isn’t important. What is the whole argument about the Second Amendment if not an argument about meanings; meanings of ‘infringed’ and ‘militia’ (not to mention ‘keep and bear arms’).

          If you want to believe that the American Revolution was a war between different groups of people in the same country (i.e., England), as opposed to a war between rebellious colonists and the military of England, ok, but that seems to be ahistorical.

        3. avatar TT says:

          Loyalists considered themselves British. Ergo British shooting Americans and vice versa.

        4. avatar Scot says:

          @TT

          Probably the Tories considered themselves to be English, not British. As one of the reasons for the Revolution was that those on the side of independence complained that they were being denied the rights of Englishmen.

          But the war was still between the Patriots on one side and England et al. on the other. It wasn’t between the Patriots and the Tories.

        5. avatar Alexander says:

          When families are split along the opposite lines (Franklin, for example), that falls into the definition of a civil war.

    3. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Was the war between the states a true civil war? Wasn’t the Confederacy attempting to become a nation independent of the Union; much like the colonies were attempting to become a nation independent of the Crown?

      1. avatar Scot says:

        @John in Ohio

        That’s one of the reasons that I don’t call the War Between the States/War of Southern Rebellion/War of Northern Aggression the Civil War. The South was fighting to separate, not to take over the North, and the North was fighting to stop them from leaving.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          I don’t disagree.

        2. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          I agree in that sense, but I also think that the South lost some of that perspective/narrative when they chose to invade Union territory as a means of delivering a psychological blow to the civilian populace. They should have learned from the failed expedition into Canada during the Revolutionary and War of 1812 that offensive spearheads into enemy territory with vague military and political objectives was going to be a losing tactic.

  12. avatar Mina says:

    Compromising or negoiating any principles of the Right to “get along” with the Left is shear stupidity & insanity.

  13. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

    The beginning of the Declaration of Independence would have been better to end this article with since there is no middle ground for the Leftist statists in this struggle for rights guaranteed by the constitution. This article is a declaration of acceptance that the only recourse We the People have is what someone else will allow us to have, when the second amendment was specifically written to protect us from that kind of government rule.
    Question 1-Legal recourse only works when not dealing with a fiscally tainted kangaroo courts.Example any liberal prosecutor or judge or any law enforcer revenue extractor who murders a citizen and gets paid vacation instead of a prison term. Folks in NY,Ct, Ca, and any other Nazi state being denied selfdefense tools are still my countrymen as Americans and deserve the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
    2. Moral authority is established by each individual man’s own perception of acceptable actions and reactions based on their life experiences and then exercised and expressed around like minded peoples(Community). Asymmetric warfare isn’t pretty but that is how the militia’s won the Revolution not because the were well organized but because of their brutality towards the enemy. This was shown by engaging the british officers first in combat in order to disrupt the brit’s command structure and head shots demoralized the foot soldier red coats.
    3. The political bands that have tied us together are being used to strip one group of Americans the protections of the Bill of Rights. When a group or groups of people try to legislate and guilt away rights guaranteed by the Supreme law of the land then those groups are actively declaring war upon Americans. When these groups can actively call for the murder of innocent Americans with immunity, just because we take self defense seriously and with great responsibility by ensuring our protection with firearms like the Constitution intended. Life Liberty and the Pursuit of happiness, when one of these American ideals is taken, it is necessary to defend the other two even offensively if need be.

    1. avatar ReadMore says:

      So the question remains, “who do you attack?” You can’t just start killing people without being accountable? Isn’t that what this article as about? Even in a Revolution, there still has to be final authority. You can’t have millions of individual Revolutionaries deciding who the enemy is, and what the end game will be. You have to have a plan, accountability, and a vision. Otherwise you’re just a murder. WHAT you replace our government with is more important than simply replacing it. Killing is a serious thing, and as it stands, organizing and promoting a united front is far more important and effective than this lone wolf none sense. BTW, Washington was not a guerrilla commander, but the leader of an organized army.

      1. avatar Roymond says:

        We already have something to replace it with: the Constitution.

        That’s actually what the original Revolution was about: the British constitution of the time guaranteed a number of rights to all Englishmen, but that wasn’t being upheld when it came to the colonists. All they wanted was to have “the traditional rights of an Englishman” respected, and when it was over they tried to fashion a government structure that would guarantee that.

        Overthrow the holders of this government, not the government itself. Then strip away all the crap and go back to the Constitution as intended.

        (Though personally I would add an amendment: that the federal government shall make no law concerning crime save as it directly and strictly impacts the nation as a whole, and/or specifically violates the rights of a citizen in such a way as to make that individual a second-class citizen. So murder and kidnapping, yes; drugs, wetlands, and such, no.)

        1. avatar ReadMore says:

          Ok. Whose interpretation of the Constitution? A libertarian’s? A religious right winger’s? a Neo-Conservative’s? It’s not that simple guys! The end game has to be very clear. You can’t just clean house and start over by appointing the people you want in there. That is a coup and a tyranny in and of itself. You fight a civil war tomorrow, and half the country will still be opposed to you. Even after our Civil War, the country was still divided, and continued to be during Jim Crow or “slavery by another name.” It took 100 years 13-15th Amendments to actually mean anything. Your delusional if you think that a mob of men with guns can just walk into Washington and fix everything. I would not support you in the least. The better way would be for states to secede again, and draft specific and clear goals for reform. Those with guns in NY and CA will just need to hold on long enough for us to get there.

      2. avatar JasonMfromSoDakota says:

        Who do you attack? That is the question that only time will tell us who are greatest enemies are and will also be determined by the type of conflict engaged in. A war in America will be one based on religous, racial, and social class lines and only the winners will decide who was the immoral enemy. The lone wolf shit you mention is for the mental midgets who are not able to control themselves and have delusions of grandeur. Liberty minded Americans are being awoken at an alarming pace fearing a flashpoint and truthfully I don’t want to see what it takes to cause war here because killing is not light spiritual work.The system we have just needs to be restructured back to the Constitutional law and managed by honorable people who will not be corrupted by money. By the way Washington was only allowed to become a commander of an organized army because of commanding guerrillas.

      3. avatar Roymond says:

        We already have a replacement for any holders of government who need overthrowing — the Constitution. Just throw out all the laws and court decisions that have whittled away at individual rights, and replace the corrupt/tyrannical holders of government with people who will actually honor that Constitution.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          Yes. When the usurpation of Marbury v. Madison is corrected and all subsequent results of the unconstitutional power of Judicial Review are withdrawn, the plain language of the Constitution is powerful and decisive, IMHO.

      4. avatar Diamondback says:

        And that’s why the federal government back in the day decided to ignore the militia laws and actively started demonizing and otherwise denigrating “militias.” They’ve been quite successful as most “reasonable” amerikans think of “militia types” as nutcases today.

        IF we the people had an organized militia as required by federal law, we’d already be organized against all this BS wouldn’t we?

  14. avatar Ronald Pottol says:

    I like it. More like this, less Republican shills ranting about the evil Obama monster. Aside from guns, I don’t see how he’s all that different than Bush. It’s about bailing out wall street, and keeping us distracted with abortion, gun control, and a few other hot button issues.

    We need a third party that works.

    1. avatar Roymond says:

      The only way to get a third party that works is to do away with congressional districts and elect House delegations proportionally. Do that, and within three presidential elections we’ll have at least a half dozen political parties in the House, and no one will have a direct majority.

      1. avatar John Lilburne says:

        Yep, we’ve got to break down the barrier to entry created by the two-party system.

        It’s rigged, and we’re the losers.

    2. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      Third parties only work in a Parliament system. They will never work in our current system. All they do is consolidate power within the party least-aligned to the third party (see: Greens costing Democrats elections, and Libertarians costing Republicans elections).

      If you want to make change, pick a party, and reform it from within.

      And Obama is evil. If the only difference you see between him and Bush is guns, then you’re not paying very close attention.

  15. avatar Mack Bolan says:

    I really don’t understand what it is about some people who feel awkward when faced with the prospect of someone not liking them or their point of view.

    I really could give 2 scoops if the left thinks I’m a complete whackadoo because I enjoy shooting, my rights, and taking personal responsibility for my safety and station in life. The only opinion of myself that matters is my own.

    So seriously stop worrying. If you don’t vote D they will always find some reason to hate you.

  16. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    According to the Cato institute, those questions get answered quite often, and in micro-seconds.
    I supply you with “no knock raids”

    http://www.cato.org/raidmap

  17. avatar Rob.G says:

    This is a critical discussion that we really need more of.

  18. avatar Roymond says:

    ” I fear that the pro-2A movement is somewhat hamstrung by associations with the far right, anarchism, and violence. Indeed, we are painted as violent “gun nuts” who, motivated by bloodlust, seek out violent confrontation, believe the government is our enemy, and that all hope to someday relive our apotheosis at Ruby Ridge.”

    All you have to do to see why we’re associated with the far right is to look at who gets invited as speakers at the NRA annual meeting.

  19. avatar Nick says:

    I firmly believe that for a lot of liberals crime prevention through gun control is a secondary consideration. Their first impulse is to punish people who they know don’t share their political views and and who they therefore view with disdain and contempt. Their vitriolic hatred of us explains how they rationalize their own bigotry, racism, and lack of tolerance for views that dissent from their own. Gun control laws – no matter how ineffectual in practice – are a way for liberals to “stick their thumb in our eye”. How else do you explain it? The vast, vast majority of “gun violence” in this country is perpetrated by young black and hispanic males killing other young black and hispanic males – it’s not OFWG NRA members committing the murders. But pointing out that simple reality to liberals is unacceptable. It’s much easier for them to blame an imagined threat from “far right wing NRA Tea Party types” than it is to see the world as it really is. They want to pass these laws because they hate us and want to stick it to us, pure and simple.

  20. avatar Steve says:

    Dutchman6 has NEVER advocated civil war.
    But he sees it coming, beginning most likely in Connecticut.
    Neither has he EVER advocated anyone step off the porch in advance of governmental aggression.
    Neither has he advocated random aggression against innocents.

    Mike’s motto form day 1 has always been “No Sumters”.

    So the author should retract his claim, and ask Mike for an interview instead, which I am sure he will happily grant.

    1. avatar Diamondback says:

      Today it’s looking like Washington State may show up the sheeple of Connecticut.

      They’re organizing a “Hell no, I won’t comply” protest in the near future in WA State.

  21. avatar Terrence Maguire says:

    I will wait to shoot until they are actually loading people into boxcars. I think both the left and the right (in government) are capable of it but at least the right wingers will let me keep the guns to shoot them.

  22. avatar Chip in Florida says:

    “…I am in no way saying that the pro-2A movement is somehow responsible for their actions, but…”

    In the future, I would recommend not phrasing your arguments in this kind of terms. I don’t think this BUT I am going to rationalize an excuse for that anyway.

    If you aren’t saying the Pro-2A movement is responsible for the actions of a few whom most would agree are nutters then say it and end the statement. “I am in no way saying that the pro-2A movement is somehow responsible for their actions.” Period, full stop, end of sentence. Any examples to the contrary can be written off to the person making the contrary example as just trying to discredit the messenger and not the message.

  23. avatar John M. says:

    Guys, as long as the US military (and to a lesser extent, local police forces) wants to continue to be a tool of our Progressive overlords, then the war is over before it starts. The colonists won the Revolutionary war in part because Whigs in the UK wanted the colonists to win. If you rise up against your Progressive overlords with your M1A and your 1911, then the Left will not suffer you to live further on the earth, and if the thing catches on, then it won’t go well for your family and acquaintances either.

    Learn the lesson of Hiroshima and Dresden: the Left gives no quarter to the right when the shooting starts.

    Now, if the military wants to rise up against the Left, then it’s game on.

    1. avatar Diamondback says:

      Complete BS!

      1. avatar John M. says:

        Care to give me three examples of successful right-wing guerrilla movements in history?

        1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          That’s an impossible question to answer, because there is no concrete one-size-fits-all definition for right or left-wing that transcend age and borders. What is considered “right-wing” in American politics is not the same as “right-wing” Europe, Asia or South America. Also, the passage of time shifts position so that todays “right-wing or left-wing” is not the same as say 1789’s version of it.

  24. avatar Gregolas says:

    Brandon R., you nailed it. Thank you. I’ll add two things: our forefathers resorted to arms only when the Brits attempted to confiscate their stores of arms and ammo.
    Second, Dockers are made by Levi Strauss Co., which has been anti-gun from the gitgo.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      Our government has already successfully confiscated more arms and ammo than our forefathers could have imagined. If that is the criteria then the party has already begun.

  25. avatar Alex says:

    I have to admit, even if the government gets ridiculous and starts confiscation and the like, I will take a hell of a lot of convincing to open fire on US military. Especially with the knowledge that my brother could be in that unit. I like to talk a good game about being ready to protect my rights, but I just don’t like the thought of firing on an American soldier or Marine.

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      If my brother finds himself an instrument of tyranny, he can abandon his post or accept his complicity. The choice is his and the consequences are on his own head.

      1. avatar Diamondback says:

        Here, here.

  26. avatar John in Ohio says:

    But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

    They fought a revolution because of arguably less tyranny over a shorter period of time than the People have tolerated in recent history. Just sayin’…

  27. avatar haiku guy says:

    The purpose of the armed population is to provide a broad and stable base of power. It fulfills its function by merely existing. Would be tyrants are deterred because they know they would be opposed by a rifle behind every blade of grass.

  28. avatar SWAMP DADDY says:

    When dealing with the FEDS, the true power exists within each individual state and only gets stronger as states unite, hence (UNITED STATES). However, most if not all Governors are eunuchs.. Decorum and the appearance of getting along is more important than the truth. Political correctness has neutered modern man and corrupted honest political debate.

  29. avatar Ted says:

    We are fighting this the wrong way.

    In a free society one needs not ask for permission to do things that harm no one else.

    When liberals ask me “Why do you need an AR-15?” I answer with a question – “Why should I not be allowed to have one?”

    The truth is, when you start asking liberals why we should not have the right to bear arms, they really don’t have an answer to that question.

    If you keep asking that question, you eventually get to the point where liberals admit they simply don’t like guns and don’t want anyone to have them.

    -ted

  30. avatar Ian says:

    While not on part with the conflicts mentioned in the article the circumstances recently and currently happening south of our border are another good example. The autodefensas in Mochoacan are a very good example of when it is justifiable to take up arms against your government. While I am sure there are a few individual exchanges that may not have been above reproach that is true of any conflict. The people banning together to prevent their children from being stolen, women raped and fathers murdered either by their military/police or by thugs with the approval of their police is exactly what this discussion is about. And it is happening today. Historical context helps but we need not look back very far, unfortunately.

  31. avatar ADC USN/Ret says:

    I am in a quandary.

    The anti-gun politicians attack us verbally, lie to the public and generally vote to enact laws that restrict our rights. Why is all this being tolerated? There is a reason the attacks are in gun free zones. Perhaps one of the crazies will attack the left leaning politicians? What would that do to their arguments and verbal attacks. Bet the anti-gun crowd (and RINOs) would listen to what we have to say then!

    But you are right. In amongst all our training there is the core values needed to make sure we do not jump the gun, so to speak. They are protected be the very Constitution that they are attacking and ignoring when it suits them.

    There are many issues that take people in different directions. The left counts on these issues by saying “Well what about …” and causes voters to support them. When, in fact, it is nothing more than a smoke screen to take you off the direction you are going. Stand fast! Don’t let them re-direct you. Hold their feet to the fire! I was very disappointed with the results in CA, CT, WA, NJ just to name a few. And the return of those idiots in CO, really got me going…

    1. avatar Scott P says:

      Remember Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona (she is featured prominently on this website)? She was a lefty politician attacked by a whackjob, Jared Loughner.

      Now she and her spaceman husband are using her incident to further promote gun control and the Left is eating it up.

      So your statement is wrong that the Left will come to terms with their own being attacked since they are using her as a pedestal to further erode our rights. If anything their verbal attacks are made even bolder especially since a “government” official was attacked knowing how much the Left loves government.

  32. avatar Bdk NH says:

    The idea that law abiding citizens are going to have to “shoot people from the government” to defend their 2A (and other) rights is a quaint view on the world. Our civil society is devolving rapidly and between the Ferguson, 99%, ISIS, and Cartel crowds. Maybe I am a tin hatter but before long there will be long stretches of time with chaos and lawlessness in the streets in urban areas. Thanks to twitter, facebook and other social media, the ability to organize flash mobs and create chaos is unprecedented. Sandy was the first time that social media was used to organize flash looting and targeted mayhem. The news reports on this long stretch of lawless activity have been suppressed. To this day, I believe that Gov. Christie has softened on gun control because of NJ’s experience with Sandy.

    Look at how the LA riots and Katrina impacted gun ownership. Anti-gun people hate guns until they need one. Today, there are a several groups (Uhuru & New Black Panthers) that are openly encouraging and threatening to burn middle (white) America to the ground depending on the outcome of the Mike Brown case. As unlikely as that is to actually happen, the potential for that type of violent chaos insures that people who are passive 2A supporters and many antis will demand the right to own guns to defend their lives and property.

    1. avatar Alexander says:

      You’re quite right in your assessment. But what happens when those “protests” that you mention are organized by the government? Inconceivable? Casa Blanca had a hand in the Occupy protests and groups connected to it have and will be flaming the Ferguson lawlessness. So far, these have been isolated cases. What if that becomes the method of usurpation of power?

  33. avatar Skyler says:

    Dan Zimmerman, your Number 3 item to remain defensive is not only wrong, it is damned wrong. If the federal government, or a state government for that matter, exceeds its lawful powers and will not relinquish them, even if they are as passive as daisies, then Americans have a duty to toss them out under force of arms. We need not wait for a dictator to hurt anyone or threaten to hurt anyone before we restore our freedoms and the rule of law.

    1. avatar Scott P says:

      Brandon R. wrote the article not Dan Zimmerman, he just hosted it.

      People need to read the top of the written piece before responding to who wrote it because the main site authors like Farago, Zimmerman, etc. do not always write every single article and are known to host others.

  34. avatar Gunnutmegger says:

    There are the things that we say and write publicly, with the knowledge that Big Brother is watching us.

    And there are the things that we say, do, and prepare for, while outside of Big Brother’s unblinking stare.

    Don’t confuse the two sets of activities.

    1. avatar Taylor TX says:

      Sadly just about ANYTHING we do on the interwebs falls under that first category.

  35. avatar FrankInFL says:

    In theory there’s no difference between theory and practice, but in practice there is.

    Your conditions will never be met because they CAN never be met. The courts are not our vehicles, and they do not serve our purposes. Because of this, at some point, ordinary citizens will start shooting police, the police will react negatively, and the next casualties will be mayors, judges, and senators.

    Nice try, though.

  36. avatar GuntotinDem says:

    There is one way to put an end to this. The citizens of the US need the power of the Referendum. Where the people decide laws by ballot. However, as it stands, only elected officials can initiate laws. It gives them all the power. You want term limits? The guys whose career you are ending has to suggest it. You want finance reform? The guy who is lining his pockets has to vote for it. You want a referendum? then the guys whose power you are going to take have to suggest it and vote for it. Does anyone think that will happen? Does anyone really think politicians represent the people anymore?

    IF you want to change the government by armed insurrection with out the exchange of one tyrant for another. Force the Referendum into existence and return the power to the people.

    A recent study has shown our republic has left the tracks and moved over into an oligarchy http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/at-the-edge/2014/04/21/oligarchy-nation.
    Its also one of the last steps in the downfall of an empire.
    You see it all around us. We have learned to work inspite of our government rather with it.

    Create a referendum party and referendum candidates and we may have a change of saving ourselves.

    1. avatar ReadMore says:

      You don’t want that. Just look at Washington State.

      1. avatar John M. says:

        Yes he does. Check his screen name again.

        1. avatar GuntotinDem says:

          We lost washington, But the people decided it not some numbnuts politician. I like to take personal responsibility in my actions and would love that I would be able to voice my opinion on those laws that would take my rights away. As it stands now you vote for a guy who may or may not stand his ground depending on which way the money blows. Proud to be a liberal because i care about the people in my life. Prouder still to be a gun owner and protect them First hand. You want NFA gone? wouldn’t it be easier to vote for it specifically than to go through the bureaucratic crap and hope it might get to the floor?

  37. avatar angryaz says:

    The liberals get antsy because the gun toting constitutional anarchist are what ensure their communist agenda carries a risk of enactment.

  38. avatar DAN III says:

    Mr. Zimmerman….the fact remains that the Former USA is filled with citizens and fedgov/stategov Marxists who want total control over our lives. While you implore Patriots to exhaust every means short of force, defending against the tyranny of friends, family and neighbors who constitute what folks call “government”, those same people are being PAID with our tax dollars to impart tyranny upon the citizenry.

    I trust not one person in government. While you conjure up examples of Patriots sounding the alarm against the tyranny of those we call government, you intentionally ignore the oppression and murderous actions of the gun-armed, badged thugs enforcing the diktats of our ruling elites of your beloved government.

    Methinks that you Zimmerman are no less a scoundrel than the same folks who tax us, create tyrannous laws, and deny us freedom at every breath the bastards take !

    “Gentlemen, prepare to defend yourself”. And do not forget….there are enemies amongst us. Like Daniel Zimmerman.

  39. Well. well. It seems that I still make prags like Dan Zimmerman nervous when I state the obvious. See: http://sipseystreetirregulars.blogspot.com/2014/11/well-well-it-seems-that-i-still-make.html

  40. avatar Johnny says:

    I think Joni Ernst was quite clear. Anyone who tries to take from me something that I have the God given right to own, operate, or hold in my hand, without good cause, is treading on dangerous ground. I don’t care whether they are a private entity, or represent some “law-maker”.

  41. avatar RLC2 says:

    OK, so this is much ado about nothing, in re: SipseyStreet-

    but Dan, RF, just one customers request-
    can you be more careful when vetting submissions-

    Brandon certainly has a point to make, and makes it well, but
    IMHO, pulling Sipseystreet out as an example of extreme language is very misguided.

    Mike Vanderboegh is a strong voice, and much reviled by some ON THE LEFT,
    and you only have to read his work to get the context in which the blunt and direct language is couched,
    and understand why officials fear his truth.

    He’s also made huge contributions in other ways, for example and David Codrea of Gun Examiner scooping the Lame Stream Press, by helping the whistleblowers at ATF tell the story that opened up Fast and Furious. The guy deserves a medal, and our deep respect for that alone.

    Last thing we need in the world of POTG online is circular firing squads, when we have some momentum, and so much to do together, continuing the many wins to come in the states, and nationwide. Even if the dust up was indirectly caused by an outside writer’s opinion, I’d hope for a bit more discretion from TTAG’s editors.

    “Clean and well lit room” ~ Hemingway

    My $.02, and YMMV.

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