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K-Mac

The Right to Keep and Bear Arms

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I read a news item this morning about the election mess in Zimbabwe and this part stuck out at me:

A commentary by Tsvangirai in the British newspaper The Guardian called for U.N. peacekeepers to help prepare the way for new elections. Asked about that in Harare, Tsvangirai said, "What do you do when you don't have guns and the people are being brutalized out there?"

(Bold emphasis mine.)

Then I saw on DrudgeReport.com that the Supreme Court will soon be deciding on the Washington DC gun case which could essentially alter or do away with the second amendment. Scary thought.

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Thoses who are unarmed are subjects, not citizens. A constitution is worthless without the means to defend it.

The right to own a gun is not going to protect us from the most potent threats to the United States today: Dominionism, Marxist Environmentalism and Socialism.

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I disagree, DarkWaters. If the people have the ability to defend themselves and their property, they have the ability to rise up against their evil government in the form of an organized movement or militia. The people of Zimbabwe are defenseless against a home invasion, much less their government. Obviously, Zimbabwe has deteriorated to a point well beyond the current state of affairs in the US, so we still have time to effect philosophical change, hopefully, but when it gets to the point of every man for himself, as in Zimbabwe, how else do you propose defending yourself?

Edited by K-Mac

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The right to own a gun is not going to protect us from the most potent threats to the United States today: Dominionism, Marxist Environmentalism and Socialism.

No, the only protection against ideology is an educated citizenry. The firearms are to protect against the arbatrary use of force, from external sources or internal, through governmental despotism, civil unrest, or individual criminal activity.

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If the people have the ability to defend themselves and their property, they have the ability to rise up against their evil government in the form of an organized movement or militia.
You've forgotten that the evil government is the people. We are not being threatened with socialist confiscation of property, massive theft by taxation, regulation of property and action because of some despotic unelected tyrant, we face these threats because the people themselves demand these conditions. If we are going to pick up the gun, we need to start aiming it not against government employees, but their enablers, the voters who put the likes of Clinton, Bush and Obama in power. In the context of modern America, it's "the people" who you have to worry about -- are you proposing that we start shooting folks who vote the wrong way?
The people of Zimbabwe are defenseless against a home invasion, much less their government.
But that is a fact about Zimbabwe, not a fact about owning guns. Zimbabwe destroyed itself because of the irrationality of the citizenry, not because of a lack of guns. The tragic Mugabe dictatorship is self-inflicted, and turning the country into a killing field like Liberia, Congo, Uganda, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Angola, Sudan will not yield freedom for Zimbabweans.

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-- are you proposing that we start shooting folks who vote the wrong way?

I'm not proposing anything, for now. Should things become as bad as they are in Zimbabwe, however, and members of one political party are out rounding up (and probably imprisoning or killing) members of the other political party, then yes. I am proposing we defend our lives and property by killing the aggressor.

My point in this post was that our gun ownership rights are being slowly chipped away, and therefore, our ability to defend ourselves in a Zimbabwe-type scenario is also being chipped away.

But that is a fact about Zimbabwe, not a fact about owning guns.

I don't think Zimbabwe is in the state its in today simply due to the elimination of private gun ownership. The problems in Zimbabwe have been accumulating over the past 30 years (and more) and the people being disarmed just further exacerbates the situation by making the population helpless when confronted with brute force.

If nothing else, I can use my gun to kill myself when the government comes to drag me away to a "gulag" for failing to conform.

I'm a little puzzled by the attitude here. ;) David and DW, do you think private gun ownership is not important?

Edited by K-Mac

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For what it's worth, as a DC resident and being currently subject to the gun ban, the word on the street here is that the gun ban will almost certainly be overturned. I plan to buy a Glock.

Edited by Moose

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While we here on this forum may value rationality, there are elements out "there" who do not. No amount of rational argument will suffice when one's very life is under threat. If one's primary right is that of life, then it is imperative that one has the means, and the will to defend it. No one is advocating that we start executing political opponents, but, keep in mind that if a marxist/socialist majority came to power and began draconian confiscation of privately owned arms, it would then be a short step to the gulag. History teaches us that it has happened before, therefore, we must be dilligent in the preservation of our liberties. It only takes a small, but committed minority to make a difference. Witness the American Revolution.

For what it's worth, as a DC resident and being currently subject to the gun ban, the word on the street here is that the gun ban will almost certainly be overturned. I plan to by a Glock.

Good man, although I perfer a M191A1, .45 APC. Best handgun ever, IMO.

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I don't think that's what our Founding Fathers had in mind, at all, SoftwareNerd.

Every citizen should be a soldier. This was the case with the Greeks and Romans, and must be that of every free state.

For a people who are free, and who mean to remain so, a well organized and armed militia is their best security.

When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

All three quotes from Thomas Jefferson

...It is always dangerous to the liberties of the people to have an army stationed among them, over which they have no control...The Militia is composed of free Citizens. There is therefore no danger of their making use of their power to the destruction of their own Rights, or suffering others to invade them.

Samuel Adams

(The Constitution preserves) the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation...(where) the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms.

James Madison

Suppose that we let a regular army, fully equal to the resources of the country, be formed; and let it be entirely at the devotion of the federal: still it would not be going to far to say that the State governments with the people at their side would be able to repel the danger...half a million citizens with arms in their hands

James Madison

There are a bunch of others, but I'll leave it at that.

I plan to buy a Glock.

You should also check out Smith and Wesson's M&P line. I'm getting the M&P .40 next week. Feels great in the hand (comes with three different sized grips) and has several other nice features. I liked it better than the Glock 19 I used at the range last time.

Edited by K-Mac

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David and DW, do you think private gun ownership is not important?
I do think it is. But I object to the mistaken belief that there is the presumed relationship between bearing arms and freedom. In the context of a oppressive dictatorship, shooting soldiers may be what is necessary to exist, and I would fully support a liberation struggle in Zimbabwe (if it isn't conducted by an alternative dictator -- I don't know anything about Tsvangirai's actual politics). When speaking of free nations like America (or the UK, Canada, even France), drawing an analogy between Zimbabwe and the US is simply wrong. We have open and fair elections -- Zimbabwe does not. If we loose freedoms, it will be through free elections where the lawmakers are enacting the will of The People. There is no possible use of reason in Zimbabwe that leads to freedom: there is in the US. Freedom will only come to Zimbabwe when Mugabe is dead.
Should things become as bad as they are in Zimbabwe, however, and members of one political party are out rounding up (and probably imprisoning or killing) members of the other political party, then yes. I am proposing we defend our lives and property by killing the aggressor.
That's sorta fine -- I agree, I would just say that it should not get that bad. It was obvious that Mugabe was an Amin-wannabe from the get-go, but the Zimbabweans had their first hard-core concretization when he sent the army to dispose of Nkomo and murder tens of thousands of Ndebeles.

The point is, you should stop thinking in terms of force as the means to secure freedom. Zimbabwe got the way they are through plain stupidity. "The People" spoke with their silence in 1982, and embraced a particular aspect of reality, the dictator's reality.

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The point is, you should stop thinking in terms of force as the means to secure freedom.

I am not thinking that way. I am thinking of ways to defend myself, should the need arise. I have no plans to initiate force. I'm not sure how you got that from my post(s)??

Zimbabwe got the way they are through plain stupidity. "The People" spoke with their silence in 1982, and embraced a particular aspect of reality, the dictator's reality.

Do you not see the US heading down this path? I do. Don't get me wrong, I still think we have time to change the course of events and we certainly have the information we need, thanks to Rand, but I'm gonna hang on to my guns just in case. :thumbsup:

Edited by K-Mac

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To start, I agree with everything David said. You may assume that I endorse all of his arguments.

I am not thinking that way. I am thinking of ways to defend myself, should the need arise. I have no plans to initiate force. I'm not sure how you got that from my post(s)?

I do not think David was insinuating that you plan to initiate force. I believe he was just commenting on the mistake of assuming that gun ownership is a primary and sufficient means to secure freedom.

Anyway, I said:

The right to own a gun is not going to protect us from the most potent threats to the United States today: Dominionism, Marxist Environmentalism and Socialism.

I stand by this statement. Suppose everyone is legally permitted to own a personal arsenal but nearly all individuals lack a proper intellectual defense of political and economic freedom against any of the three aforementioned threats. Such a society is headed towards swift and uncompromising destruction. Without a proper philosophical foundation, how could the armed individual citizens determine what government actions are just and what actions evil? Should they take a principled stance against any violation of property rights or should they only get involved if their particular property is being seized? How could these individuals even determine what property is? Should these individuals oppose religion in politics or is a political party of religious mystics fine so long as they promise to keep taxes low and to let the citizenry keep their guns?

We can ask a multitude of such questions that can only be properly addressed with sound philosophy. Without the right philosophy to answer these questions, these citizens are helpless in spite of their arms.

Philosophy drives history and you cannot stop bad ideas with bullets. Although rightful gun ownership is certainly important within a certain context, the best thing that gun ownership can accomplish against greater ideological threats is that you can take a few of the thugs with you in your final hour when a mob comes to destroy you.

Instead, I recommend not mistaking the right to bear arms as the primary means to securing one's freedom. If enough individuals cease making this mistake, then hopefully the real dangers to freedom can be stopped before anybody in the U.S. will ever need to draw guns during a final stand.

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While we here on this forum may value rationality, there are elements out "there" who do not. No amount of rational argument will suffice when one's very life is under threat.

If you are referring to emergency situations, then yes, I agree, having a gun can help one protect one's right to life. However, in your previous post, you indicated that a constitution (presumably one that protects one's right to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness along with an established government committed to and capable of protecting these rights) is worthless without the right to private gun ownership. This means that it is worthless in both emergency and non-emergency situations. I certainly disagree with the latter.

History teaches us that it has happened before, therefore, we must be diligent in the preservation of our liberties. It only takes a small, but committed minority to make a difference. Witness the American Revolution.

The American Revolution was a success primarily because of the moral certainty of the American colonists and the power of the truly revolutionary ideas that they were committed to. The fact that many of the colonists had rifles is not sufficient to explain the long-term success of the American Revolution.

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Would the American revolutionists' ideals, no matter how consistent with reality, have availed them had they been disarmed?

Edit: To elaborate, while the proper ideological base is an integral part of becoming free, having the status of disarmed victim will not help you at all. To those who say "But we are still free here!" the answer is "For now." While we are still free, disarmament is a vital part in any statist's plans to instate tyranny. A disarmed people can do nothing when tyranny actually comes - even if its rammed down our throats by a vocal minority (as it always has been.) An armed people can.

The proper ideological base is still a precondition to any successful fight against tyranny - with words or with guns. But without guns any actual physical fight against tyranny is a non-starter.

Edited by sanjavalen

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I am thinking of ways to defend myself, should the need arise.
Yes, to use force against the government, to justly defend yourself. On a percentage scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is "totally certain" and 0 is "not gonna happen", what percentage chance do you think there is that it will be necessary for you take up arms and use force against the US government to secure your freedom and defend your life, within your lifetime? Honest appraisal time.
Do you not see the US heading down this path?
Direction-wise, yes. BTW, I would say "0" to my above question. Slowly but surely, we are headed in the direction of strictly controlled socialist slavery where the notion of "individual rights" isn't even mentioned in the history textbooks, and who know what will happen in 500 years. But not 50 to 100 years. To prevent the grim outcome, we have to correctly identify "what we should be doing". And I'm telling you, stockpiling guns and building mountain strongholds is not it.
I'm gonna hang on to my guns just in case.
Well, assuming you are talking about regular guns and not shoulder-mounted H-bombs, it doesn't matter from a legal point of view why you hang on to your guns. It is your right to make that choice. I am saying that if your reason for hanging on to your gun is to be able to blow off the heads of government soldiers if the need should arise, then that's a nutty reason. Geese and criminals are vastly better reasons to keep a gun, from a moral point of view. There is no fact in the current USA which even remotely points to the need for armed insurrection and the destruction of American society, and I am quite sure that there will be obvious warning signs well before armed insurrection becomes a valid reason to be armed.

IMO, the biggest tell-tale sign will be restrictions on expression, followed by rule of law.

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Do I believe America could fall into a dictatorship during my lifetime? Yes. Do I think it will happen while I'm young enough to do anything about it? No. Do I think it will happen in my lifetime? Probably not.

Is that the fundamental reason for citizens in a free society to own guns? Yes. Is that the primary reason I own a gun? No. (I own my gun for personal protection. I've been robbed before and I have no intention of begging a thug for my life ever again.)

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Do I believe America could fall into a dictatorship during my lifetime? Yes. Do I think it will happen while I'm young enough to do anything about it? No. Do I think it will happen in my lifetime? Probably not.
I really did want that number. When you start saying that America could fall to dictatorship in your lifetime, I have a really hard time reconciling that with the fact as I know them, and the concept "possible". I'm not really asking you to justify your conclusion, I just want to know whether you're saying "It's only a formal, mathematical possibility, not a real possibility", or do you really think there's a credible chance.
Is that the fundamental reason for citizens in a free society to own guns? Yes.
This, on the other hand, requires a bit more explanation. Especially the difference between "fundamental" and "primary". I'm not getting it.

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Yes, to use force against the government, to justly defend yourself. On a percentage scale of 0 to 100, where 100 is "totally certain" and 0 is "not gonna happen", what percentage chance do you think there is that it will be necessary for you take up arms and use force against the US government to secure your freedom and defend your life, within your lifetime? Honest appraisal time.

75 or so I'd say. Depends on how the next 10-15 years go.

I am also "100 percent certain" that this exact same argument was used in virtually every instance that a tyrant took power. It is a slow process up to the point at which the government holds enough arbitrary power that a vocal minority can grab the reins of government long enough to change all the rules in their favor. At that point its only a matter of time and it will happen frighteningly quickly.

Those unhappy circumstances do not exist in America today. We are creeping closer and closer, though - and I think we are far closer than you'd realize.

I am saying that if your reason for hanging on to your gun is to be able to blow off the heads of government soldiers if the need should arise, then that's a nutty reason. Geese and criminals are vastly better reasons to keep a gun, from a moral point of view. There is no fact in the current USA which even remotely points to the need for armed insurrection and the destruction of American society, and I am quite sure that there will be obvious warning signs well before armed insurrection becomes a valid reason to be armed.

IMO, the biggest tell-tale sign will be restrictions on expression, followed by rule of law.

They will ban guns long, long before they severely restrict your freedom of expression. Is your plan then to beg for mercy?

Edit: This thread needs a little humor interjected into it.

1208956866386mi8.jpg

Edited by sanjavalen

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I really did want that number.

Uh, I guess I think there's a 50/50 chance or so, so I guess that's a 50 on the Odden scale? If things keep going the way they are, maybe as high as 75? If the American people wake up a bit and take a few steps back from their current path, 25? Hell, I'm not sure. I'm no actuary. ;) I'm going to be prepared either way. Prepare for the worst, work towards the best.

Especially the difference between "fundamental" and "primary". I'm not getting it.

The primary reason I own a gun (the first and foremost reason) is for personal protection. The fundamental reason for the right to keep and bear arms in the Constitution, is to protect men from government. (From Thomas Jefferson as referenced in my above post, "When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.")

I'm dumbfounded that this thread is so controversial. :thumbsup: Some of you are responding as though I don't think philosophical change can happen. I know it can. I also realize that it can sometimes happen rather quickly, as with the Abolitionist movement. That's not what I'm talking about here and I don't have a problem or argument with that.

Edited by K-Mac

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Heller gets announced tomorrow morning at 10:00am EDT. SCOTUSBlog does live blogging of decisions, using a nifty little chat-like text box doo-hickey that doesn't require any mad pounding of the F5 button to get the very latest.

Interesting vote-counting tidbit: Heller is the only case left from the March session left to be decided, and Scalia is the only Justice who hasn't written a majority opinion from that session. Usually, the workload gets balanced, so many analysts are predicting a very high probability that Scalia will be writing the majority opinion in Heller. I don't know if I agree, but it is interesting. SCOTUS vote-counting is rather like trying to count hedgehogs while blindfolded.

~Q

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[W]hile the proper ideological base is an integral part of becoming free, having the status of disarmed victim will not help you at all.

Nobody here said that it would.

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Heller gets announced tomorrow morning at 10:00am EDT.

Thanks for the good info, Q! :thumbsup:

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