Happiness Is a Warm Gun…

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…lots and lots of them.

A recent survey finds the obvious: Americans own a helluva lot more guns than residents of other countries. Yet the Small Arms Survey 2003, the findings of which were released at a UN confab on the topic, included some surprises, reports the AP:

The country with the second-highest gun ownership is Yemen, with between 33 and 50 firearms per 100 people, followed by Finland with 39 per 100, the new survey said.

"Contrary to the common assumption that Europeans are virtually unarmed, the 15 countries of the European Union have an estimated 84 million firearms. Of that 67 million (80 percent) are in civilian hands," the survey said. With a total population of 375 million people, this amounts to 17.4 guns for every 100 people.

….

[The survey] also said there probably are no more than 30 million firearms among civilians, insurgents and governments of the 44 countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

"This is enough guns to perpetuate fighting in many countries and raise the danger of criminal violence in many others, but it is not enough to render the situation totally beyond hope," the survey said.

Check out Joyce Malcolm's November 2002 Reason cover story on gun control's effect in England before buying the line that the number of weapons in circulation is an indicator of violent crime (it's the distribution of weapons that's more likely to matter).

And check out this (slightly outdated) archive page of our gun coverage for more background. And don't forget that, as William Burroughs and others have observerd, an armed society is a polite society.

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  1. “The only time this century that private citizens joined to take up arms to fight against government oppression was the Black Panthers.”

    never heard of the Weathermen amigo?

  2. Well. . . I dunno. If 200 something million people actually were in armed insurrection, then no, the military couldn’t do anything about it short of WMD. There’s just not enough of them and I doubt they’d be interested in the first place. Doubt they’d obey their orders.

    But, let’s do a hypothetical: Ashcroft calls a press conference and announces that the Constitution was a great idea but it’s not really necessary anymore. The Bill of Rights is hereby suspended. All Hail Dear Leader Bush! (Ok, not too likely. . . it’s more a slow erosion of freedom than something like that). But anyway, how many people would really make a peep about that, much less start shooting stuff up?

  3. Henlein was a rightwing fuck, worse than Ayn Rand. I can’t believe you posted that shit! Ever see the movie Starship Troopers?? Can you say Fascism? no wonder you worship guns, you must have a small penis.

  4. Joe:

    How about the American Revolution, does that count

  5. Anon,

    Try reading the book Starship Troopers instead of the movie.

  6. >>Well. . . I dunno. If 200 something million people actually were in armed insurrection, then no, the military couldn’t do anything about it short of WMD. There’s just not enough of them and I doubt they’d be interested in the first place. Doubt they’d obey their orders.

  7. Joe:

    1) Re Afghanistan. Do you think the fact that the Russians and Americans used their country as a battleground for over a decade, and their civil society as a result was eviscerated, might have something to do with the rate of violence and disorder?

    2) I am suspect of “reasonable” control proposals. Every step in the process makes further steps more feasible. Confiscation of selected classes of weapons is a hell of a lot easier if firearms are already registered. It started with registration in the UK and Australia, you know.

    I was pleased that Joyce Malcolm noted the class motivations for the beginning of gun control in Britain in the 1920s: disarming that damned, dirty, Bolshie working class. Sounds an awful lot like the Stuarts’ motives three hundred years earlier. An armed populace is harder to control.

    In the US, gun control (applied to blacks only) was real popular with southern whites during Reconstruction. As H. Rap Brown said, a black boy can pick up a gun as easy as a white boy. And registration and confiscation of firearms was also popular in states out west during the copper wars, as a part of martial law measures undertaken by governors during strikes. Damn Boslhies, Wobs, WFM’s, all the same thing…

    BTW, ever hear of Robert Williams? He was a member of the NAACP chapter in Monroe, N.C. Unlike King, he didn’t limit himself to passive resistance. He believed in organizing armed resistance against Klan raids. As a result when the Klan (including an off-duty police chief) attacked the chapter President’s house in 1958, they wound up turning tail and running shortly thereafter. Williams wrote “Negroes with Guns” and went on to help organize the Black Panthers Ministry of Defense, I believe.

    And the most strident advocates of gun control today are upper middle class NPR liberal types–you know, social engineers and “professionals” who think the lower orders need managing for their own good. So the class thing is still there. It’s just another aspect of the “professoinalization” of everyday life that places every aspect of our lives under the control of peckerheads with clipboards.

  8. guns don’t lead to free peoples; free peoples lead to gun ownership. you can ban them all you want, but free people will never give them up.

  9. Stephen Fetchet wrote:

    “they wouldn’t recognize Burroughs as a derivative hack if he hit them on the ass with some pastiche narrative”

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. For a while I was beginning to think I was the only person who viewed that old bastard as a (at best) marginally talented hack.

  10. I always thought that old perv was amazingly imaginative, in a bad trip sort of way. Ever read the Cities of the Red Night, Dead Roads, Western Lands trilogy? That’s his best stuff.

  11. “yeah and the American Revolution was won by voting and singing kumbya.”

    Well, it wasn’t won by naked force, if by that you mean there was a real decision on the field of battle; even the defeat of Cornwallis did not decide the war. What decided the war was the economic, political and social unrest back in Great Britain as a result of the lack of a final decision being made on the field of battle in America by the British. The American strategy was never to defeat the British in head to head battles, that is to use naked force to defeat them; it was to make it not worth fighting over at all.

    “Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.”

    Marraige has settled as many issues as naked force has. Let me give you an example. Louis XIV won as much land in Flanders via marraige as he did by force of arms. Marraige played a similar role in the settling of other issues in European history; in fact, without it, the level of warfare would have likely have doubled or tripled.

  12. Stephen Fetchet,

    The reason they believed him was because he bribed them; remember Burroughs was from the Burroughs typewriter family, they had money coming out their ears.

    BTW, I met Burroughs about two years before he died; in person he was a very likeable man – at least that’s the impression I got from after a couple of hours of conversation.

  13. Ah, but one gun for every American does not mean that every American has a gun. I hate when my two overstuffed gun safes skew the statistics!

  14. BTW, the idea that Europeans don’t own guns is a good example of the myth-making of anti-Europeanism.

  15. the minute men didn’t even need to show up.

    go figure.

    channeling RAH for your marriage idea: “I’m sure that the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that. Wouldn’t you say that violence had settled their destinies rather thoroughly?”

  16. “[The survey] also said there probably are no more than 30 million firearms among civilians, insurgents and governments of the 44 countries of sub-Saharan Africa.”

    Having been to Nigeria, this does not seem credible; in Lagos everyone is armed to the teeth to fight off not only thieves but also the “police.”

  17. The idea that Europeans don’t own guns seems to be based on the foolish idea that laws banning guns actually ban firearms.

  18. Anon @ 2:33,

    I did not write that marraige solved all issues; I did write that it was as important a factor as violence in solving international disputes in pre-modern Europe. And yes, even the Romans used marraige as a means to solve disputes as much as they used warfare.

    As far as the minutemen are concerned, it was never “naked force” which was going to decide the issue for them; they simply were not strong enough to do so.

  19. Anon @ 2:38,

    I happen to have several perfectly legal firearms in France. A couple of shotguns and some handguns. In fact, firearms regulations in France as far as I have been able to tell, are about as onerous as those in the US.

  20. I think one thing not discussed here is the vague definition the UN puts on the definition of small and light arms.

    http://www.undp.org/erd/archives/brochures/small_arms/sa8.htm

    I would say that a society that has legal handguns, shotguns, etc. fosters a different environment than one where anti-aircraft guns, grenade launchers, mortars, and the like are commonplace.

    So, while this does show numbers, the question is what do these numbers represent? Could be apples and oranges.

  21. Evan, if those Marines and soldiers did side with the populace vs. an oppressive government, don’t you think they’d also supply them with weapons? Much more effective weapons than you can get at Wal-Mart? As many have said above, it isn’t the possession of guns that prevents America from become a tyranny, it’s our culture.

    Kevin, I think basing your position re: gun control on your feelings about a certain demographic is wrong, whether it’s done by Tory snobs or wanna-be proles. Which guns should be legal to own, what should disquality a person from owning guns, etc, are questions to be answered on their own merits.

  22. ^see but that means what?

    that you think some people should be able to tell other people what to do for no good reason (i.e. doesn involve violent crime.) and lets not say guns cause violence- if i want to kill you, i’ll do it, whetehr with knife, car, or bare hands.
    “the idea that Europeans don’t own guns is a good example of the myth-making of anti-Europeanism.”
    actually, that idea is generally cited by NPR types in the myht making that europe is a paradise which the barbarian states cannot rival.

  23. Well Croeus, I would not say it was not “naked force” that did not win the day. It was “brute force” that did not win the day.

    Enough negatives for ya?

    Force had a huge role in it, but more of a hit and run kinda thing. Along with those many factors that you mentioned earlier, but without the resolve to use force, the U.S. simply could not have broken away.

    I am sure that some well applied usage of force played a major role in the French Revolution as well. Please correct me if I am wrong on that account.

  24. Pshaw. The purpose of the armed populace is not to _defeat_ the Marines.

    An armed populace should never be able to defeat its own nation’s army. Why the heck would they pay for such a slack-ass military?

    The private ownership of guns raises the _price_ of oppression, hopefully higher than the benefits to the oppressor.

    The history of the American Revolution is not about colonists’ military victories; it’s about increasing the cost to the British beyond the benefit derived from rule over the Colonies.

    Ditto the Civil War, ditto the VietNam war, ditto 95% of all armed conflict in history.

  25. bomb bomb,

    Well, the problem with the Heilein qoutation has always been that other methods besides naked force have often been more important in settling affairs. Marraige is the example I gave that is easiest to digest. But even if we accept that naked force was important in the US revolution, other factors were equally important. Its the difference between having 20% of the story, and the rest of it. Domestic turbulence in Great Britain was important to settling the American Revolution as the efforts of the minute men, or Rochambeau were, in other words.

  26. Jacob, true, if you wanted to kill me, you could do it with a knife. If you wanted to kill a whole restaurant full of people, however, a knife probably wouldn’t work.

    And if something in your legal or psychiatric record made it clear that you would likely try to kill a restaurant full of people someday, I wouldn’t be terribly upset if you weren’t allowed to purchase a duffel bag full of firearms.

  27. buzz harsher, good post. you pretty much hit that nail on the head there.

    Croesus. I agree with you, but without the resolve to use force, it would have been a different matter. The Colonialists had taken some huge hits and almost caved in. But they didn’t, and that must have frustrated the hell out of the Brits.

    Dammit, I am too lazy to look it up. What was the big deciding factor in the French Revolution? Sheer brute force? Trickery? Some well placed assassinations? Please don’t say marriage, that will make me sad.

  28. bomb bomb,

    The fact that Louis XVI was a moron. 🙂

  29. bomb bomb,

    Actually, I shouldn’t be so crass. The determining factor was Louis XVI, but it was much more than the fact that he was one of the worst monarchs France ever had. It was that he was so good at digging into the fears of the French of despotism, the sort of despotism that Louis XIV had attempt to create and which many Frenchmen thought they had put behind them. Combined with France’s bankruptcy (made more inevitable by the fight in the American Revolution), Louis XVI’s insistance to on ruling in a fashion that appeared despotic, were really what set the revolution on its course. As he was unable to come to any compromise, no one was willing to compromise with him. So I tend to lay the Revolution at his feet; other factors were important, but his unwillingness to make the neccessary compromises to fix the sorry state of his finances, as well as to allow others have a voice in government, are what doomed him. He failed to really appreciate the level of anxiety Frenchmen still had in the wake of Louis XIV’s death over the return of a despotic monarch. He tried to be the equal of his great-great grandfather, and he was not up to the task; and he certainly wasn’t as savvy politically or militarily as Louis XV either.

  30. apres moi, le deluge.

    hey cro are you a french national or an anglo american immigrant there?

  31. shooting someone isn’t naked force?

    yeah the minute men didn’t have a chance of beating the british army, but they were not throwing cotton balls either.

  32. anon @4:50 only if you shoot someone while naked

    Thanks for the info Croesus.

  33. Jacob:
    I’m a French Nationalist.

  34. are not the two synonymous?

  35. A recent example of civilian uprising against it’s own military would be Yugoslavia. Slovenian and Croatian sepratists fended off the Yugoslavian military well enough to secure independence.
    And in Bosnia, local militias did their best to stave off ethnic cleansing machines. Did it save every town? No. But I know plenty of people that are alive today because they had the means to fight.

  36. “…Burroughs was from the Burroughs typewriter family, they had money coming out their ears.”

    This is a myth.

    I read a long biography about Burroughs a few years back. In fact, he didn’t have a lot of money, and neither did his family. The original Burroughs from back in the 1800s, who invented the adding machine, at some point went goofy and sold out his share of the company for way too little money, leaving his heirs in the same position.

    Burroughs’ parents weren’t rich, but they did have enough money to give their ne’er-do-well son about $10,000 a year as a stipend. This was a good chunk of money for the times but maybe not so much for a junkie like Burroughs, who in spite of his frugal ways often had to do some scratching to make ends meet. He also chose to live in places where living was very inexpensive, such as North Africa.

  37. much of the pro boomstick and anti broomstick crowds are fighting each other over the same emotion and goal. they just have different notions of what “safety” is.

    but i’m a big burroughs fan, so who the fuck knows what’s going on in my head?

  38. “An armed populace should never be able to defeat its own nation’s army. Why the heck would they pay for such a slack-ass military?”

    I don’t agree.

    Through most of our history, the populace would have been able to beat the US military hands down. The only times in which the US military had forces that could even possibly defeat a large scale uprising was during the Civil War, WW1, and from WW2 to the present.

    When we went to war with Spain in 1898, we had a standing army of only 27,000 men. We still had something of a militia system, and we were able to create an army of over 100,000 in a matter of months. And then we created another army of over 100,000 men in yet a few more months. Sure, the Spanish regulars were probably better soldiers (the quality of the Spanish soldiers was actually quite good). But the “quantity + quality” of the Americans was far superior.

  39. ‘”the idea that Europeans don’t own guns is a good example of the myth-making of anti-Europeanism.”
    actually, that idea is generally cited by NPR types in the myht making that europe is a paradise which the barbarian states cannot rival.”

    Ahh, but the new UN report shows that Afganistan and sub-Saharan Africa (the “barbarian states”) have far fewer guns than the US or Europe (the “civilized states”). More gun control myths are breaking down.

  40. Whoever posted at 4:59 was not me; which should be obvious the poster did not capitalize the name “Croesus.”

    As to my nationality, I don’t see how that really matters.

    Douglas Fletcher,

    Well, when I met him he seemed to be living comfortably, and $10K a year was likely enough to buy off the Mexican justice system at the time.

    citizen,

    Didn’t the Slovenians and Croats also have military equipment as well? I don’t think they were going at it with shotguns.

  41. Joe:

    The point is not the demographic, as some kind of cultural romanticism. Rather, my examples were intended to point to the role of firearms as an equalizer for the little guy, and the association of historical gun control efforts with a desire to control the population.

  42. “Contrary to the common assumption that Europeans are virtually unarmed, the 15 countries of the European Union have an estimated 84 million firearms. Of that 67 million (80 percent) are in civilian hands”

    Hence they are still somewhat free, even if guns are banned by law. In contrast, North Korea probably has laws and no civilian ownership.

    Does this prove the futility of gun control laws or the necessity for civil disobediance in the face of gun control?

  43. The Bosnian Croats and Bosnian Bosniaks tried to fight off an actual military with civilian type arms. The were saved from extinction by the intervention of another modern military.

  44. Didn’t Burroughs shoot his wife dead?

  45. she should have shot him first

  46. wasn’t burroughs’ fault his wife looked like an apple.

  47. The Swiss are as a nation incredibly well armed. And it’s not optional. You have to agree to spend time using select fire battle rifles and keep them in your house. It’s your civic duty. They have secret weapons stashes all over the mountains in cellars. Interesting stuff.

  48. “an armed society is a polite society”

    Like Afghanistan. Or Somalia. Or Beirut. Oh well, at least the Iraqis were able to prevent the government from oppressing them.

    You people are a lot better on defense than offense on this issue.

  49. Yeah joe and the North Koreans today and the Jews in 1940s German were also disarmed. Did you know that in just about every case of genocide the murdered were disarmed?

    And the europeans are quite polite and armed. As is the US and Canada. No genocide here recently either.

    You were saying?

  50. Joe, the owners of the guns make all the difference.

    The big difference between us and them is, we armed ourselves, while somebody else armed them, and only the “thems” that they wanted armed.

    In Iraq, Saddam armed people, and only people that he thought he could trust, in the hope that they would defend him. So, many of the folks raising hell over there were armed by him, and many of those he once oppressed will suffer because of it.

    In Afghanistan, it is not the common man that owns the weapons, it is the warlords and their goons.

    Same thing in Somolia.

    Most of the countries that find themselves in this boat of chaos and violence had groups of people armed by desperate despots and or outside parties with an interest in what goes on in said nations. Then things really go to shit, and everybody is packing heat except for the people who really need the guns, and that would be the common man.

    One thing I do find rather distressing though. Most of the cops I know, and I know several, really can’t shoot all that well. I know most of them will never fire a shot at a perp, but in the rare instance they have to, I would rather they hit their target.

  51. Two quick points: Burroughs did in fact shoot his wife (he claimed they were involved in a stupefied game of William Tell). Joe cites Afghanistan, et al, as armed societies that are hellholes; note in my original entry that I mentioned the distribution of weapons as being more important than the total number.

  52. Thanks for the reminder Nick.

  53. “Joe, the owners of the guns make all the difference.” Bingo. Both sides tend to make this mistake. Gun control supporters thinking that all private gun ownership is a major threat to public safety, and gun rights advocates thinking that Brady checks and restrictions on ownership by parolees means we’re all going to be herded into camps.

  54. Actually, it was Robert Heinlein who said, “An armed society is a polite society.” Borroughs did shoot his wife. Heinlein did not.

  55. regarding the North Korean/German Jews vs- USA and Canada comparison – My question is this: Is it simply because people in the USA and Canada have guns that we haven’t seen genocide in these countries? I hope that the answer to that question is no and that there are better reasons such as the strength of our civl society, our political system, our values, etc.

    Would an armed Jewish population in Germany made any difference? I suppose that if the Jews had been motivated to fight they might have slowed down the inevitable (inevitable because of the strength of the German military), but in the end it wouldn’t have mattered. Do any of you gun advocates that use the armed populace as a deterrent to tyrany justification REALLY believe that the citizens of this country inclined to fight against the US military could put up any sort of a significant and meaninful defense? Again, it would simply delay the inevitable.

    I’m not saying that people shouldn’t have guns. What am saying is that the best protection of our rights and liberties is not the gun but active participation in our society and our government.

  56. “But in surprise findings, the survey found that Europeans are more heavily
    armed than commonly believed while there are far fewer small arms in
    Afghanistan (news – web sites) and sub-Saharan Africa than previously
    estimated. ”

    It helps to read the survey.

  57. Joe: Brady is on record saying they are against private ownership. when the gun controlleers are also gun grabbers it makes their positions suspect

  58. “Is it simply because people in the USA and Canada have guns that we haven’t seen genocide in these countries? ”

    No. Of course not. It is the culture (and not really the political system) that makes the difference. A culture of freedom will maintain private gun ownership.

    “Do any of you gun advocates that use the armed populace as a deterrent to tyrany justification REALLY believe that the citizens of this country inclined to fight against the US military could put up any sort of a significant and meaninful defense?”

    Of course. Most of the US military is soft underbelly–and that underbelly is exposed in the domestic US. The military couldn’t hold down 10 million anrgy gun owners.

    The real question comes down to culture: do we value freedom as much as our forefathers? Would American gun owners resist a dictatorship using force? If the answer is “yes”, the citizens–and freedom–WILL prevail.

  59. Brian:

    >> Is it simply because people in the USA and Canada have guns that we haven’t seen genocide in these countries?

    It is just one of many factors.

    >>Would an armed Jewish population in Germany made any difference?

    It might have. What did they have to lose? In places like Poland they were numerous enough to make a differnce.

    >>REALLY believe that the citizens of this country inclined to fight against the US military could put up any sort of a significant and meaninful defense?

    In the question of genocide, those groups wiped out put up little to no resistance. The reason genocide doens’t occur more regular is because most choose to fight back with weapons (e.g. the Kurds). Resisting tyranny requires many factors.

    >>What am saying is that the best protection of our rights and liberties is not the gun but active participation in our society and our government.

    I would say it is all of the above. And the Founders would agree.

  60. Brian

    I do believe that if called to arms the citizens would become a formidable deterring force. Assume for a minute that the US military would not be willing to use smart bombs on San Francisco, and a substantial portion of its military capability is eliminated. How enthusiastic is private whoever of the US army going to be about fighting a guerrilla war in the United States. The idea of fighting 238 million armed Americans would raise some eyebrows I would imagine. It becomes a question of how widespread the resistance is.

  61. The idea that gun ownership is the only thing (or even the most important thing) that preserves freedom is non-sense. If owning a gun is your only line of defense against a tyrannical government, then you have already lost. The NRA is powerful not because there are bunch of gun owners amongst that group, but because they vote. And as far as I can tell, gun ownership (or the lack thereof) is neither neccessary nor sufficient for a free society – though technological determinists here may differ with me.

  62. yeah and the American Revolution was won by voting and singing kumbya. i am sure the Jews agreed when they were throwing rocks at tanks in Warsaw.

    “Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and their freedoms.”

    Happy B-Day RAH!

  63. “when the gun controlleers are also gun grabbers it makes their positions suspect” Agreed. Just one reason why the gun rights movement makes so many slippery slope arguments; because the bills that general enough support to have a chance of passing are not, themselves, enough to rile up opposition beyond a cadre of true believers. Charlton Heston holding a single shot rifle over his head and saying, “From my cold, dead hands.” Charlie, no one is going to take your dear rifle.

    “The military couldn’t hold down 10 million anrgy gun owners.” Bwa haw haw haw haw haw haw. I’ll take a squad of Marines over any 100 NRA members any day of the week.

    The only time this century that private citizens joined to take up arms to fight against government oppression was the Black Panthers. All they succeeded in doing was motivating the government to deal more harshly with them, and alienating potential sympahizers from the causes that would have benefitted the people they were trying to help.

    Branch Davidians. MOVE in Philadelphia. Ruby Ridge. Montana Freemen. Anyone got a counter-example?

  64. What kills me is that the cops bought Burroughs’ story that the apple was stuck in his wife’s back, and it was rotting, so he had.

    They never asked the key question about the apple, either: when did he throw, and why did he throw it.

    Sheesh, you can always spot the community college criminology program grads — they wouldn’t recognize Burroughs as a derivative hack if he hit them on the ass with some pastiche narrative.

  65. joe is right. anyone see that micheal moore movie? turn in your guns right now. john ashcroft will protect you. you can trust him! just ask the indians at wounded knee how disarment leads to freedom.

    you will be assimilated. resitance if futile.

  66. Have I got this right: the Second Amendment was written to protect individual rights, and had nothing to do with the People as a body, acting in concert to protect society as a whole. Except that is was written to allow the People, acting in groups, to constitute a military force in order to protect society as a whole.

    I see.

  67. individuals are not people

  68. “Have I got this right: . . . ”

    You might want to try a Google search for “Aymette”.

    Aymette v. State, 21 Tenn (1840) was cited in the Miller decision, the “latest & greatest” US Supreme Court decision on the Second. Per Aymette, the right to keep arms is individual, but the purpose for which they are kept is collective, and includes “keeping in awe those in power”. Basically, the Aymette decision defends the private ownership of military arms and arms sutable for military purposes, but allows the regulation of arms “sutable only for personal brawls”. Personally, I think personal defense arms should be protected by the Second, but the Aymette (and by extension, the Miller) decisions don’t uphold that view.

  69. Yeah, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was such a huge success. Didn’t all those people survive? And then Hitler decided to back off and leave the Jews alone? Something like that.

  70. >>Yeah, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising was such a huge success.

    exactly! they should have just herded themselves into cattle-cars and walked themselves into the gas chambers! why bother fighting…

  71. The fighters in the Warsaw uprising weren’t trying to win, or convince the Nazis that the cost was too high; they made the honorable decision to go down swinging. But they weren’t deluding themselves that some lightly armed civilians could preserve their liberty in the face of a state’s military. That would be crazy.

  72. yeah but those in warsaw died free.

    freeman own arms and fight, they don’t turn in their weapons and march themselves to slaughter like domestic animals.

    if enough do decide to fight, the nation remains free. if the majority decide to become slaves, those who fight die in battle as freeman and the rest live as slaves.

  73. Marched off as slaves? Don’t worry, I’m sure they’ll give you a ride on the black helicopter.

  74. Who exactly is going to march people off as slaves? The Marines? The Idaho State Police? The County Sheriff’s Office?

    By a vote of the US Congress? Or maybe by executive order by the President during an election year?

  75. The whole idea is that as long as the citizenry is armed and capable of resistence, things will never get to the point where the government will march people off as slaves. This country is still very young, historically speaking. I am sure that if you talked to people in Germany in 1890 they would have never envisioned their own government killing citizens in the millions.

  76. germany as a country is about 100 years yunger than the US- if you say 1776, then it is 95 years younger

  77. “an armed society is a polite society”

    Rewrite that to say:

    An armed society that is worth a shit in the first place is a polite society

  78. It apparently does not take a nation-state very long at all, historically speaking, to abandon reason and embrace tyranny. Scary stuff.

  79. joe fully trusts john aschcroft and the goverment for his civil liberties. i’ll remember that next time he rants about chimpy taking away his rights.

  80. Apparently the freeper militias are still alive. As much as I hate what Aschroft has done to innocent muslims, I will be very glad when we win in 2004 and put a stop to the far right-wing potential domesitic terrorists here, who are threat to minorites and basic civil liberties such as welfare and healthcare. These black helocopter nutballs are way worse than Al Queda (remember Ok City?) and are dupes for the fascist corporate rule that passes for democracy.

    Al Jaziera has nonthing on Talk Radio, Faux and Freeper interent sites (such as this one). In 2004 we will put a stop to it.

  81. Wow. That last transmission from Planet Democrat must have crossed some kind of interdimensional barrier to get to Planet Earth. The Democrats will win in 2004? Right wing militias are a bigger threat to freedom and democracy than Muslim fanatics? And what, pray tell, is a “potential domestic terrorist” who should apparently be dealt with, and how will dealing with them differ from what Ashcroft has been doing?

  82. I wrote:
    “An armed populace should never be able to defeat its own nation’s army. Why the heck would they pay for such a slack-ass military?”

    Don sez:
    “I don’t agree.”

    And backs it up.

    You’re historically right, of course. Consider Costa Rica as another example (no military a-tall). I had hoped that the use of the term “slack-ass” would indicate the lack of complete seriousness of this paragraph.

    Still… A modern nation-state, required to defend itself against other modern nation-states, in which the civilian populace possesses more military capability than its formal armed forces, could be accused of improperly allocating its resources…

    If the militia is more powerful than the army, why not just disband the army, and stop wasting money?

    Also, remember that military capability is more than just headcount. The primary force multiplier is coordination, which a formal army possesses, and the militia does not.

  83. “A modern nation-state, required to defend itself against other modern nation-states, in which the civilian populace possesses more military capability than its formal armed forces, could be accused of improperly allocating its resources… ”

    This would probably be true for a nation state such as Germany or France, which depends upon a large standing army. Historically, the US had the advantage of several large oceans, which provided the time to organize the militia. This, incidently, caused the Germans to misjudge us on several occassions. The Europeans really missed the point, in 1898, that the US shouldn’t be judged by its standing army. Frankly, the time it takes to send large land forces accross an ocean hasn’t significantly changed this.

    “If the militia is more powerful than the army, why not just disband the army, and stop wasting money?”

    Well. Much of it COULD be disbanded (an elite core would have to be retained), and be replaced by an active militia. The military wouldn’t want to be partially disbanded. And the politicians wouldn’t want it. And most citizens wouldn’t want to serve in a militia (although, frankly, no one has a RIGHT to be protected by others, so I don’t see militia service as a violation of any rights). So it’s less likely than Social Security reform.

    “Also, remember that military capability is more than just headcount. The primary force multiplier is coordination, which a formal army possesses, and the militia does not.”

    Historically, the militia was capable of good coordination at the company level and below (without their light AFVs and heavy support weapons, a squad of Marines would not be worth much more than a squad of militia {NRA?}, but a division of Marines would be worth much, much more than a division of militia). However, these militia companies can be organized at a higher level when necessary. One of the reasons for the small professional army is to provide a cadre that understands the requirements of higher level organization, to provide the high level command and control functions of the militia.

  84. “joe fully trusts john aschcroft and the goverment for his civil liberties.” Exactly wrong. I don’t trust Ashcroft. Like you, I trust our society and Constitution to reign in people like Ashcroft. I just don’t believe that that is achieved via Rambo fairy tales.

  85. “I just don’t believe that that is achieved via Rambo fairy tales.”

    Sometimes, armed resistance is necessary. It isn’t a “Rambo fairy tale”. It looks like the only argument left to gun control fascists is the strawman. Oh, yeah, and lies.

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