Is the Right to Armed Self-Defense Obsolete?

When the government refuses to stop looting and rioting, armed self-defense is the only deterrent.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

Gun control advocates argue that to the extent the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms was meant to ensure people can defend themselves, that concern is anachronistic in modern times when we have professional police. I couldn't help but notice that this past Summer the police, often on direct orders from mayor and public safety chiefs, often stood by while looting and rioting gripped American cities. This abdication of basic policing responsibilities rather weakens the argument that people should just rely on police, as do calls to defund the police.

So I decided to write an article about it, which is forthcoming in the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy. In the article, I describe the argument that the right to armed self-defense is obsolete, go into the most detail of anything published thus far about this past Summer's violence and the anemic law enforcement response, and then provide examples of individuals and groups that countered the violence with armed self-defense.

I just posted the article on SSRN Saturday night, and it already has over 2,300 downloads (already my second-most downloaded article ever!), so there's obviously a lot of interest in the subject. One thing that struck me in researching this article is that the major national media outlets barely reported the violence and why local governments didn't stop it. The vast majority of the footnotes in the article cite to local media sources, which did a much better job.

I should note that I am not conflating the violence with the peaceful demonstrators. One thing I don't mention in the article, but will put in the next draft, is the increasing evidence, as reported by the New York Times, that much of the violence was planned and coordinated by organized leftist (and overwhelmingly white) anarchists, who used the the cause of racial justice and police reform to promote their own violent agenda.

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  1. The sole factor unifying all jurisdictions with low crime rates is physical, public self help, where criminals fear a corporal punishment by the neighbors far more than the police. Some are rich, some poor, some religious, some secular, some are democratic, some tyrannical, some are urban, some rural, some dense, some sparse. All have serious, physical, public self help.

    In Egypt, if you grab the purse of a tourist, 50 people will chase you, give you a painful beating on the spot, then hand you over to the worthless legal system. Egypt is very poor, and has a very low crime rate. It rebuts most lawyer rent seeking theories of crime management. The low crime rate is verified by a UN sponsored crime victimization survey of the population, the gold standard of crime measurement. Japan has 20000 lawyers for a population of 120 million. Try committing a crime. The neighbors will just kick your ass.

    1. Yeah, that’s been my argument for a while. We do not have police to protect the public. We have them to protect the criminals. Vigilante justice would be far more effective in stopping crime, but likely far less just in the process.

    2. Egypt … has a very low crime rate.

      [Citation needed.]

      1. (An actual citation, not a handwaving one.)

          1. “A different pattern can be observed regarding victims of cheating (consumer fraud) and
            requests for bribes (corruption). Almost one third of respondents (32.4 per cent) said they had
            been cheated by someone who was selling something or delivering a service to them in terms
            of quality or quantity of the goods/service. “

            1. China clamped down on corruption. Its economic growth plummeted. Corruption is complicated. It is not included in the FBI index felonies, which cover the 8 common law crimes.

              Compare. I slip a police officers a $20 bill at a traffic stop. I have to take a half day off, hire a lawyer, and attend traffic court. I accept a plea to avoid points on insurance, and it only costs me a $400 fine in New Jersey, where there is no corruption. There is lawyer rent seeking instead, and states make $billions off traffic stops.

              1. The People’s Republic of NJ is corrupt AF. You clearly don’t live there.

                1. I hear the tyranny in New Jersey is so advanced that they make people stop at red lights, pay taxes even if they don’t want to, and treat gay people just like regular people.

                  Plus, a lot of them go to school.

                2. I saw them make $10000 an hour in NJ traffic court. It is a major source of revenue.

                  1. No, you didn’t.

              2. Ooh boy…. Apparently not being able to bribe the cops to get away with a crime is “rent seeking”.

                1. The heist by the lawyer system is far more lucrative and expensive than any corruption scheme. It is also far less valid in promoting safety.

                  1. Oooh boy. Apparently I was too subtle, and you’ve driven me into agreeing with RAK. Amazing. Let’s try this again.

                    Johnny B is pulled over by the cops after doing 50 mph in a 20 mph speed zone, while passing on the left a stopped school bus that was picking up kids, and nearly smashing into little Sally. What’s the the proper response?

                    A. Try to slip the cop a $20 bill and drive off?
                    B. Complain about the injustice of the system that requires you to show up in court if you want to fight the ticket, and wish you could just pay a bribe a cop instead?
                    C. Plead guilty, don’t fight the ticket, express remorse, and stop speeding passed stopped school buses?
                    D. Keep doing your current behavior and hit and kill the kid next time?

                2. Armchair, the argument being offered seems to be that bribery is better, because it is a non-government, free market system.

                  1. I don’t know what argument is being made, but bribery of government officials is never better and still involves the “government”.

      2. Here’s what the state department thinks:

        “There is moderate risk from crime in Cairo. The vast majority of criminal acts against foreigners tend to be crimes of opportunity, such as purse snatching and pickpocketing that are often carried out by young males. Semi-professional thieves target unaware visitors in restaurants and shops stealing purses, phones, and purchased goods.”

        So that’s pretty inconvenient for DavidBehar’s narrative.

        1. Look at the crime victimization survey, not anecdotes by Deep State operatives. Those biased Deep State Democrats do not discuss what happens to the purse snatchers, either. That is the gold standard of crime measurement.

          Egyptians make $8000 a year, have 8 children. And, prices are the same around the world. Poverty is not the cause of crime.

          1. Your original theory was that the purse snatchers were so afraid of retribution that they wouldn’t commit the crime in the first place. But it turns out that it’s actually super common!

          2. “And, prices are the same around the world”

            Forgot that I missed this gem, which is wildly incorrect:

            https://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/Cost-of-living/Local-purchasing-power

            Prices in Egypt are less than a fifth of those in the US.

            1. Try getting a house with indoor plumbing, a couple of bedrooms. Same as here. Sure, it is cheaper to live in the cemetery, over a grave, or in the stairwell landing with another family, with 8 kids too. It would be cheaper here too.

            2. 1. This isn’t entirely accurate. Your chart accounts for purchasing power parity AND income simultaneously. The chart you have says the following.

              “Local Purchasing Power shows relative purchasing power in buying goods and services in a given city for the average wage in that city. If domestic purchasing power is 40, this means that the inhabitants of that city with the average salary can afford to buy 60% less typical goods and services than New York City residents with an average salary.”

              So, the average person in Egypt can “buy” 24% of what the average person in NYC can. This doesn’t account for differences in quality. The food and housing in NYC will be of far better quality than that in Egypt, on average

              A better comparison is the Big Mac Index, if you want a better comparison on prices.

          3. “And, prices are the same around the world. ”

            How does someone get to be this ignorant?

            Backwater religious schooling?

            Homeschooling involving substandard parent?

            Too much Fox, RedState, Volokh Conspiracy, Instapundit, Stormfront, FreeRepublic, and Breitbart?

            1. More personal remarks. They violate the Fallacy of Irrelevance.

              1. I was identifying the tell that your comments are the worthless words of an ignorant misfit.

              2. How can something violate a fallacy? Do you mean that they constitute the fallacy of irrelevance?

            2. Hi, Rev. You seem upset. Try to calm donw.

          4. Victimization surveys have their uses, but they are hardly the “gold standard” of crime measurement. They tend to dramatically understate the homicide rate, for instance.

            1. There are 100000 people still missing each year. How many are homicide victims is unknown. The homicide rate may be ten time bigger than the official count.

        2. Actually, no, that’s entirely consistent with DavidBehar’s narrative which is that neighbors protect each other. That premise cannot be automatically extended to neighbors protecting foreign tourists.

          1. Reading is not that hard. DavidBehar specifically talked about crimes against tourists in his original post.

          2. So how does DavidBehar’s narrative work with U.S. cities & guns? Here are some numbers :

            Violent crime per 100,000 inhabitants :
            1. New York City : 333
            2. Houston : 593
            3. San Antonio : 524
            4. Indianapolis : 694.5
            5. Jacksonville : 481

            Murder per 100,000 inhabitants :
            1. New York City : 2.8
            2. Houston : 6.4
            3. San Antonio : 6.4
            4. Indianapolis : 8.3
            5. Jacksonville : 8.2

            Robbery per 100,000 inhabitants :
            1. New York City : 107.5
            2. Houston : 205.2
            3. San Antonio : 107.4
            4. Indianapolis : 194.6
            5. Jacksonville : 106.3

            So is NYC the poster child for DavidBehar’s physical, public self help community?

            1. NYC is the opposite of the self help jurisdiction.

              However, NYC cops have to throw crime reports in the trash, or they get fired. The crime rate of NYC is entirely false. It is likely 10 times higher. You can just walk around Manhattan. The crime meter is whirring at supersonic speed, before your eyes. Even good neighborhoods are Needle Park. The violent mentally ill are on every corner, threatening pedestrians. Drug dealing is now totally in the open. This is true coming out of $50 million mansions. And, you may not even criticize the criminal in front of your $50 million mansion.

          3. The numbers are from 2017. On a whim I decided to check-out Charleston, West Virginia to see how it did as a physical, public self help community, “where criminals fear a corporal punishment by the neighbors far more than the police,”

            I found this : Murders per 100,000 inhabitants (2017) : 20.5

            Yikes!

          4. Let’s compare states, using DavidBehar’s standard of a physical, public self help community, “where criminals fear a corporal punishment by the neighbors far more than the police,”

            Murders per 100,000 inhabitants (2017) :

            1. Alaska : 8.6
            2. Massachusetts : 2.5
            3. Oklahoma : 6.2
            4. Hawaii : 2.7
            5. Alabama : 8.6

            1. Your statistics are racist. They correlate with the number of drunken minority fraction of the population. No white supremacist like you cares about them.

              1. I make you look like an imbecile & that’s all you’ve got?

                1. Those murder victims are the criminals. The murder of each has prevented 200 felonies a year for the lost expected lifespan. These murders of criminals and addicts have also deprived many lawyers of jobs. Thus, you are upset.

    3. All law abiding citizens should be armed. Weapons training should be available in all high schools, as driving lessons are.

  2. The 9/11 Commission was chaired by an American scumbag lawyer, Robert Mueller. It would never mention this as a factor. 9/11 could never have happened on some foreign airlines, such as Israel, Egypt, Japan or Korea. The American passengers were trained to let the lawyer system manage crime, and to just sit there. They were probably afraid of being prosecuted by the scumbag lawyer traitors that have taken hold of our three branches of government if they hurt the hijackers. They did not want to be sued.

    The lawyer hierarchy traitors that run our government must be removed in order to end crime. Crime rates correlate well with the overlawyering rate. For example, crime rates are higher south of the border. Latin America is more overlawyered than we are. China is imitating us, increasing it per capita lawyer number. Its crime rate is now soaring. No one who has passed 1L should ever be allowed in any responsible policy position. They are all working for the rent seeking interests of the lawyer profession, the world’s biggest criminal enterprise.

    1. The 9/11 Commission was chaired by an American scumbag lawyer, Robert Mueller.

      It was not.

      1. David. You are right. Mueller was the head of the FBI. His political correctness had the FBI ignore the reports of a female FBI agent that Arabs were taking jet pilot classes. He refused to even have them interviewed. He then covered up the role of Saudi Arabia in funding and managing the attack.

        1. His political correctness had the FBI ignore the reports of a female FBI agent that Arabs were taking jet pilot classes. He refused to even have them interviewed.

          Wrong again. He was indeed the FBI Director on 9/11. But he had taken office only one week before; her report had already been sidelined before he even had gotten keys to the office.

          By the way, the “female FBI agent” was also a lawyer.

    2. “China is imitating us, increasing it per capita lawyer number. Its crime rate is now soaring.”

      You reversed cause and effect.

      1. First came the bigger law schools classes, then came a crime wave, in time.

      2. They’ve always had a crime problem. The CCP just suppresses information on it.

        1. Whatever rate of suppression of the crime rate, crime went up after the increase in their number of lawyers.

    3. Not sure what your point is here. There is exactly one instance in which passenger collective action defeated a hijacking and it didn’t involve an Israeli, Egyptian, Japanese, or Korean airliner.

      When El Al started having hijacking problems in the late 1960s at the beginning of the “golden age” of airliner hijacking, the solution was to increase security measures such as passenger screening, air marshals, and locking cabin doors, not to rely on passenger self-help.

      Several Japanese airliners were hijacked back in the “golden age” of airliner hijackings. There was no resistance by the crew or passengers. An attempted hijacking of a Japanese airliner by a single deranged individual with a knife in 1999 was defeated by the crew after the captain was fatally stabbed.

      Korean airliners were also hijacked back then with no particular resistance from the passengers. Eleven South Koreans were permanently abducted by North Korea via airliner hijacking.

      1. Your anecdotes are the exception. There is a controlled experiment. the one on 9/11. The passengers of the third aircraft heard the news of the two crashes into the WTC. They stopped the hijackers, and saved thousands of lives.

        1. And how does that show that a similar hijacking “could never have happened on some foreign airlines, such as Israel, Egypt, Japan or Korea”?

  3. A mix of 90% “peaceful” protesters giving cover for 10% looters and rioters just means the 90% are complicit in the looting and rioting. They might have a defense on night one, if the looting and rioting come as a surprise; but not on night fifty-nine.

    Until a few months ago, some could argue “why do you need a 30-round magazine for self-defense?” — but now we see why whenever law-abiding individuals are confronted by a mob.

    1. A mix of 90% “peaceful” protesters giving cover for 10% looters and rioters just means the 90% are complicit in the looting and rioting. They might have a defense on night one, if the looting and rioting come as a surprise; but not on night fifty-nine.

      So all I have to do to stop peaceful protests is commit some crimes and then they are required to stop protesting lest they be “complicit” in my crimes?

      1. I think the point that in most cases the non-violent protesters are in fact complicit. While they might not be throwing rocks and Molotov’s they are giving cover and deliberately making the policing job much harder.

        If the violent protesters really are outmanned 9 to 1, there is not much issue identifying the violent elements to the police and either apprehending them yourself or at least making it clear to police who they are. See pretty much any anti abortion, pro-gun or NRA rally, internal violence is generally squelched quickly due to the fact that everyone at the rally knows there is a double standard for progressives and the marchers will be blamed if things go bad.

        The violence in places like Portland only continues because they have support both from the local government and the other protesters.

        1. If the violent protesters really are outmanned 9 to 1, there is not much issue identifying the violent elements to the police and either apprehending them yourself or at least making it clear to police who they are.

          “It’s the guy in the mask! No, the other guy in the mask! No, the other one!”

      2. DN, you’ve got a good point but in extreme cases it might be true, even if those assembling aren’t fully complicit or even complicit at all.

        As an example, take a full-up Alabama style lynching with an audience of 1000 assembled. A few dozen are laying on hands and preparing the rope. Maybe a hundred more are actively cheering, encouraging, and blocking escape routes. About eight hundred are just there to rubberneck but haven’t picked a side. About a hundred are appalled but can’t really stop it.

        I think if higher authority showed up they’d be justified in telling everybody to disperse regardless of category.

      3. So all I have to do to stop peaceful protests is commit some crimes and then they are required to stop protesting lest they be “complicit” in my crimes?

        It depends on the form the alleged complicity takes. If it is simply continuing to protest (peacefully) then I would judge the allegation false. If however they are engaging in activities that are themselves not violent, but that aid or otherwise support those who are engaging in the violence (impeding law enforcement, shouting or otherwise voicing encouragement for those committing violence, etc) then they are complicit, and I would no longer consider them simply “protesters”.

        1. Agree….impeding law enforcement to prevent them from arresting the looters and rioters is purposeful. That makes them complicit.

      4. Well, the city of Charlottesville managed to manufacture an excuse to shut down a peaceful protest they’d been forced to permit by a court, by channeling opposing sides together to ensure a fight. So there’s precedent.

    2. A mix of 90% “law abiding” cops giving cover for 10% overly violent and corrupt cops just means the 90% are complicit in the corruption and violence.

      1. Ouch. That argument took a sudden turn JohnSteed didn’t foresee…

        1. In the form of support from an unexpected source, sure.

          1. Nice try, but the 90% law abiding cops have a duty to stop the 10% violent/corrupt ones. The 90% law abiding protesters don’t.

          2. You’re right that the argument is symmetrical. As law enforcement officers, I think cops have a stronger responsibility to prevent illegality than random protestors, and given that in most places there were fairly large protests during the day and much smaller incidents of rioting at night, there’s a reasonable separation between the two groups that isn’t really the case with cops.

      2. Yes. Yes they are.
        That’s been the point from the beginning.

  4. “organized…anarchists”

    Not *true* anarchists, then. Doesn’t discredit pure, Platonic anarchism.

    1. “You may think in describing anarchism as a theory of organisation I am propounding a deliberate paradox: “anarchy” you may consider to be, by definition, the opposite of organisation. In fact, however, “anarchy” means the absence of government, the absence of authority. Can there be social organisation without authority, without government? The anarchists claim that there can be, and they also claim that it is desirable that there should be.”

      Anarchism as a Theory of Organization

  5. I’m speaking as a strong gun control proponent here.

    But — obsolete because of “professional police?” Police are great and all but an effective defense that is available immediately is a hell of a lot more effective and meaningful than a defense that will arrive twenty minutes after a phone call.

    As I am saying I want strong gun control like Canada (well maybe not that far) or Australia but we aren’t going to get it if people who want it try to get it by denying simple logic and reality.

    1. And yet, arguing for Australian-style gun control in the U.S. requires that you deny simple logic and reality.

      1. Yes, you can tell that because of the power of the logic and facts you have included in your argument.

    1. if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

  6. “go into the most detail of anything published thus far about this past Summer’s violence and the anemic law enforcement response”

    And humble, too!

    Also, over 10,000 people have been arrested in activity related to the protest (not to mention all the people beaten, tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, etc.,), that hardly strikes me as ‘anemic.’ (And that figure was put in June!).

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jun/08/george-floyd-killing-police-arrest-non-violent-protesters

    1. How many of them have been repeated games of catch-and-release as has been the norm in Portland for going on 4 months now?

    2. Criminal justice response would have been a better phrasing.

    3. So, you unexpectedly came up with an interesting point. That is, of those arrests, where are they happening, and what’s the relative effect of the protests there, and why?

      Interestingly, over 3,000 of those arrests were in LA. LA has been…relatively quiet…in terms of the Floyd protests. At least by comparison to Portland and Seattle. So, perhaps the arrests had an effect. But what were the arrests for?

      That get more interesting. LA instituted a curfew…and enforced it. This allowed them to break up the protests, by arresting everyone for breaking curfew. This was…amazingly smart. But how did LA get away with such an order (and enforcing it), when mayors in Portland and Seattle and Chicago were telling the police to “Stand down”.

      That gets even more interesting. You see, unlike Portland and Seattle, LA has two major police departments. They have the LA City PD (with over 8,000 officers). They answer to the mayor. But LA ALSO has the LA County Sheriff’s Department (LASD). With over 8,000 officers. And the County Sheriff is an elected position. Which answers not to the Mayor, but to the people in the next election. And the LASD helped play a major role in enforcing the peace and the curfew.

      Perhaps having an independent police organization, which answers to the people and not the mayor is critical here in having peace…

      1. Armchair, I see your point. Having an elected sheriff who answers to the people is better for law enforcement than having an elected mayor who . . . ?

        1. Direct representation for a position is better than indirect representation.

        2. By having one elected position to control the police, and another to control the rest of government, the voters are able to independently influence policy in these areas. Unified government like Portland means you might elect somebody for one purpose, and then find that they directly opposed the public on another topic. Like policing riots…

          Ideally you’d split up government into multiple topics, and have positions and budgets voted on independently for each topic. So if you wanted good roads and police, and libraries, the public wouldn’t be frustrated by the candidates favoring libraries wanting the police defunded.

  7. much of the violence was planned and coordinated by organized leftist (and overwhelmingly white) anarchists,

    I’m having trouble with the concept of “organized leftist anarchists.

    1. The Antifa movement (and organization, but that’s an argument for another thread) is a left-wing, anarchist movement. What’s so troubling about that?

      1. Bernard 11 has trouble accepting reality

        1. And Joe_dallas has trouble with the English language. Since the whole “Biden Dementia” thing expoded in their faces on debate night, a lot of Right-types are trying to make something (anything!) from Biden’s comment on Antifa.

          Over at the National Review they’ve twisted themselves into semantic pretzels trying to “prove” some distinction between Joe’s comment & past/future comments from the FBI. It’s been a funny spectacle, but Joe & the FBI remain in agreement and 100% correct.

          Antifa is an anarchist organization, which means it’s not an organization in any way whatsoever. It has no leadership, no chapters, no cells, no principles, no rules, no structure, no form, no membership, no creed. It’s only a lifestyle brand for thugs who pretend they have political views. Bernard 11 laughs at describing this formless nothing (except unfocused destructive rage) as some sort of mastermind entity, diabolically planning, engineering, orchestrating, manipulating . That’s giving these jackasses way too much credit.

          Reality is on Bernard 11 side about that.

    2. Apparently you never heard of the Spanish Civil War.

      1. Fun stuff, but looks like their main foils were the leftists so I’m not sure what you’re saying.

        1. Care to elaborate? How is it that leftists were the ‘main foils’ of antifa? It seems to me that the police, government buildings, and related assets are their primary targets, in addition to general mayhem being their goal.

          1. “Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, and surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to Marxism…..Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.”

        2. The Anarchists’ Union. Learn a little. You could do worse than Wikipedia.

          1. “The common goal of IUA members was the elimination of the state, hired labor, inequality, and private property, along with the widespread replacement of commodity-money relations with relations based upon principles of mutual equality and fraternity.[1] This was to be achieved through the collaborative planning of self-managing teams of workers, tenants and consumers, along with the implementation of business activities in accordance with the principle of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs in the economic empowerment of society … .”

            Yes, sounds kinda left to me.

      2. Funny link, on the Spanish Civil War. Put it in context and you get about a 300-page book, chock full of factions of every description, until keeping track of them becomes out of the question for an ordinary reader. They had multiple kinds of factions for every general tendency, including the monarchists. It was all factions. Even the same factions were different from place to place. Separating anarchists out from that welter is just silly.

    3. Anarchists might not believe in government. It does not follow that they avoid any organization or co-ordination themselves.

      1. That’s it, and that’s why statists of all stripes conflate anarchy with chaos. They are fools.

    4. Most of these “anarchists” are just idiots who heard the phrase, “Bomb throwing anarchist”, and thought, “Cool, I get to throw bombs!”. If you see somebody in public at a protest calling themselves an “anarchist”, chances are they couldn’t tell you the difference between Bakunin and Friedman, and probably are statists of the highest order.

      Really, I think it just boils down to their thinking that “anarchist” sounds better than “communist”.

      1. I think it’s more sinister than that. I think these people are paid and organized by people who are trying to de-establish traditional American values and institutions. They seem too well organized and too well funded and equipped to be a bunch of basement dwelling thrill seekers.

        1. Antifa certainly isn’t just an idea, even if they are organized in cells to make it hard to trace who’s directing their actions.

          But what they seriously are NOT is “anarchists”.

          1. Brett Bellmore : Antifa certainly isn’t just an idea, even if they are organized in cells to make it hard to trace who’s directing their actions.

            Organized in cells, huh? As long as you recognize that’s pure fantasy on your part – refuted by all evidence – then no problem. You can daydream about Antifa as Bond villains and maybe even fantasize you’re the secret agent who penetrates their headquarters hidden deep within an extinct volcano. I’m not trying to hamper your fun, Brett.

            But here – in this forum – maybe reality should take precedence. That’s not asking too much, is it? There are no cells. No organization. No structure. No one is “directing their actions”….

            (We now return you back to Brett’s daydream – where he draws a bead with his laser pistol on Antifa’s arch-evil mastermind – who is busily stroking a white Persian cat)

            1. Not busily. Languidly. Bond villains are always languid, to start with. They get frantic later.

              1. Of course you’re right. That said, I bet every other right-type commenter here is now googling combinations of “George Soros”, “extinct volcano” and “Persian cat” – thinking he finally has a glimpse of that big picture he’s been seeking all along.

                I wonder if this is how QAnon got his start?

            2. “No organization.”

              Rutgers researchers, via the Gray Lady:

              “…systematic, online mobilization of violence that was planned, coordinated (in real time) and celebrated by explicitly violent anarcho-socialist networks…”

          2. Antifa, founded in 1932 as Antifaschiste Aktion by the German Communist Party, to fight anyone who wasn’t a bolshevik.

      2. These anarchists were hired from Craig’s List for $15 hour by Soros front organizations. BLM is just another. They are just unemployed saps trying to pay the bills.

        1. You’ve certainly revealed the extent of your stupidity.

          Personally, I would have tried to pretend I wasn’t a conspiracy nutjob far longer, but you gave up the game early so the rest of us can stop wasting our time pretending anything you say is accurate or sane.

  8. How often do you hear about police actually stopping a robbery or murder? They mostly come along after the crime is committed, and try (not too hard, in my experience) to catch the criminal, so the D.A. can release them.

    1. In fairness, you’d never hear about it just like you almost never hear about other deterrents. It’s not news when nothing happened.

      And that’s the problem. Far too many people mistake news for data. Police do actually stop robberies and murders all the time just be being around, by being in uniform, by being obvious.

      Now, if you’re saying that they actively stop a robbery or murder in progress, I’ll agree that happens much more in Hollywood than in real life.

      1. Unfortunately, the presence of police in places like D.C., Baltimore, and Chicago doesn’t seem to be working very well in reducing crime or murders.

        1. Considering what happened at various points over the last few years when the police scaled back enforcement in those cities, I’d say the evidence suggests pretty strongly that their presence does keep an already unacceptably high rate of violence from being even higher.

        2. We have very little police presence, at least in Chicago. Cops, by habit, orders, or something else, rarely patrol. The existence of beat cops is seemingly zero. Instead cops rely on a responsive hub-and-spoke system of crime response. They hang out at fixed, locations where they are mostly free from harassment and can easily get onto a thoroughfare, the classic example would be “the doughnut shop”, but there are many such places, like police stations, random parking lots, etc. Then they wait for shotspotter or a dispatch and go.

  9. There is no need to explicitly bring guns into the discussion of the right of self defense. Nor is there a need to oversimplify to unilateral arguments.

    Sometimes the police protect us. Sometimes we need protection from the police.

    Breana Taylor’s boyfriend seems to have used justifiable self defense in shooting at the men trying to break into his home. The stand your ground law makes that explicit. The cops used justifiable self defense when shooting back. The right of self defense, including use of deadly force, applies to everyone. There should not be any asymmetry between police and non-police in this regard.

    So, it seems that we are still stuck in the Hollywood model of “High Noon” The survivor in a quick draw shoot out is justified. The dead one is unfortunate.

    If we want asymmetry, where police are almost always protectors and almost never offenders, then we need certain, strict and swift accountability for misbehaving police and no immunity of any kind.

    One of the most constructive suggestions I hears was malpractice insurance for police, analogous to malpractice for lawyers and doctors. It would be forbidden for employers or unions to pay the premiums. The insurance companies could raise the premiums for individual cops thought to be bad actors, thus forcing them out of the profession. We may need to give all police big salary increases so that they could afford the insurance, but the goal is accountability, not affordability.

    1. The Breonna Taylor incident never would have happened absent the War on Drugs.

      Put the latest iteration of that Snafu on Joe Biden’s shoulders.

      1. Its very unfortunate that Breonna taylor was killed. Unfortunately bad things happen when you hang around bad people. It doesnt justify her getting killed. But as I said, bad things happen when you hang around bad people.

        1. OK. Now that we got that out of the way, let’s send the cops that murdered her to prison, and denounce Biden for his role in the war on drugs.

        2. “Unfortunately bad things happen when you hang around bad people.”

          Remember that point when the mainstream backlash stings the gun nuts, religious bigots, anti-abortion absolutists, and other playmates of the recent Republican electoral coalition.

    2. Witnesses have testified that the police, before entering, both knocked and identified themselves. In that case the boyfriend’s shooting at them is not justified.

      1. One witness, after several interviews by cops. All other witnessed denied it.

        1. “According to other recordings, the grand jury heard at least two additional officers who were part of the raid say that they repeatedly knocked and announced themselves before entering Taylor’s apartment, despite having a no-knock warrant. One officer said that they waited “45 seconds, if not a minute” before going inside the premises, while another said it was “a good two minutes” of knocking and saying, “police.”

          However, in 12 interviews of Taylor’s neighbors conducted by the New York Times, 11 said that they did not hear the officers announce themselves, and one said that they yelled “police” just once.”

          So, there you have it. More than one side to the story. What really happened?

          1. That says what Á àß äẞç ãþÇđ âÞ¢Đæ ǎB€Ðëf ảhf says, so I guess you’re agreeing now? The cops say they knocked. All of the witnesses except for one say they didn’t.

            1. Neat, you seemed to have figured out how to prove a negative.
              You don’t think there is a bit of “Idndherenthin” happening here? Not hearing the Police announce themselves is different from the police did not announce themselves. The witness has nothing to lose, and “sticknittotheman” is everyone’s favorite way to pass the time.
              The bigger problem is errosion of personal rights. Warrents need to be much more onerous on govt actors.
              I used to be a big supporter of law enforcement, but over the years, corrupt cops, prosecutors, and judges has swayed me back to a much more strict restriction on govt actors. They have ruined the publics trust,and must be reined in.

            2. And the one exception also said that they didn’t, and then changed his story after repeated pressure from the cops. And the cops had expressly obtained a no knock warrant, so it beggars belief to suggest they’d have decided to abandon that and announce.

              But of course that’s kind of a red herring. Let’s suppose they did once say police. They were conducting a raid after midnight; why would they expect people inside would even hear it? The entire point of a post-midnight raid is to do it when the inhabitants aren’t alert and won’t be ready for it.

              We know that Taylor’s boyfriend didn’t hear it, because he (a) had no reason to shoot at them if they were cops, and (b) frantically called 911 to say that people were breaking into his house, which is not what people who are trying to kill police officers do.

      2. Despite disputed facts, that’s pretty flimsy.

        Home invaders are subject to being shot by the homeowner. If the invaders shout “police” while invading, does that negate the homeowner’s right of self defense? If yes, then the word will spread quickly among wannabe home invaders.

        Plain clothes cops have a weaker case than uniformed cops.

      3. Without video and audio of the purported knock and announce, I’m going to go with the assumption that it was a damn feeble knock, and a muttered ‘police’ at the same instance the door was being bashed in.
        Cops are incentivized to minimize knock/announce specifically because they want the element of surprise on their side. Because of the strong incentive for the police, without strong evidence on their side, then they did not do so adequately is a reasonable presumption.

        1. “Stop resisting,” yelled the cops, while beating their handcuffed prisoner.

      4. “Witnesses have testified that the police, before entering, both knocked and identified themselves.”

        All the evidence suggests that they didn’t identify themselves loud enough for a sleeping couple to hear them. Murder.

    3. Committing a felony removes the right to self-defense from your victims. The Breona Taylor cops were committing a felony under color of law.

      1. No they were not. It was a valid warrant.

      2. Which one?

  10. “When every second counts, the police are only minutes away.”

  11. The answer to the headline question, “Is the Right to Armed Self-Defense Obsolete?” is: No.

    Betteridge’s law of headlines is an adage that states: “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” It is named after Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist who wrote about it in 2009, although the principle is much older.

  12. Wonder how many young men and ladies now want to be cops when they start thinking about careers?

  13. What a straw man.

    Nobody is saying you don’t have the right to armed self-defense.

    1. I agree that there aren’t a lot of people who have come out and said that if you happen to be armed and need to use deadly force to protect yourself, you should be able to (although a few recent high-profile charging decisions raise question as to how sincerely some prosecutors actually are on that point).

      But there certainly is a constituency for the idea that planning to arm yourself in order to be prepared to exercise that right if the need arises is at best archaic and obsolete, and that accordingly there is nothing objectionable about government policies that make it difficult or impossible for ordinary citizens to lawfully arm themselves.

      1. and that accordingly there is nothing objectionable about government policies that make it difficult or impossible for ordinary citizens to lawfully arm themselves.

        The constitution makes it objectionable. The right to self defense is an inalienable human right. Not some invention of politicians.

      2. Noscitur, I may be part of that constituency you mention. My problem with your reasoning is that I do not believe it makes a lick of sense for most people to arm themselves against mere happenstance. In fact, I think that it is so far from sensible that anyone well-acquainted with guns and the hazards that come with them would generally not do it. The few sensible exceptions would be people who know they have some specific risk of being targeted for violence.

        Then there are the other exceptions, and they are legion. I believe that the vast majority of people who choose to keep guns around for self-protection do so for reasons that have more to do with fantasy than sound reasoning—which in turn suggests their experience and judgment regarding both guns and personal safety is thin. No matter how you look at it—from either a public safety point of view, or a personal safety point of view—that is a dangerous mix, and never something to aspire to as a social ideal.

        Just in passing, I also suggest that with regard to the social acceptance of guns, your sense of what is archaic and obsolete is somewhat (not entirely) out of tune with history. It actually fits better with historical-looking presentations from the entertainment industry. Which I think is another problematic point about that vast majority I mentioned—they are mostly better versed in the offerings of the entertainment history than they are in history.

    2. Apparently, you haven’t been following the news. Rather a lot of the Democratic leadership said exactly that during the primary debates.

      1. Name three.

    3. Nobody is saying you don’t have the right to armed self-defense.

      I always wondered what ever became of Baghdad Bob.

      1. He’s currently leaving Walter Reed, with his usual rosy outlook on things.

        1. Did you say “Hi” to Trump while you were there?

    4. ‘Nobody is saying you don’t have the right to armed self-defense.’

      This is not true, and is a variation on the typical gaslighting ‘nobody says that want to take all the guns away.’ Yes, there are people who think there is no need for armed self-defense because they don’t feel the need to protect themselves. Try honesty, it will get you further here.

      1. Try honesty

        You might as well suggest that the Earth stop spinning on its axis.

    5. How do you figure? Heller and MacDonald were both cases where the plaintiff was a person who had been denied the right to own a gun for that exact purpose for over 2 years despite complying with all sorts of conditions and jumping through dozens of legal hoops successfully. Even after all that, they were still denied a permit.

    6. Tell that to Jacob Gardner.

  14. Since the number of people with Concealed Carry permits is quickly nearing 20,000,000, it seems a lot of voters don’t feel “Armed Self Defense” is “anachronistic”. That doesn’t even include all the states that don’t require a permit for carry within their native state.

    Here in “Deep Blue” Illinois, the 16 Hour Concealed Carry classes have an average of a 6 to 8 week waiting list with a significant percentage coming from Cook County and Chicago proper.

    Any gun store outside Cook County (there are only 3 in the entire County and no ranges), from the Mom & Pop stores to the Mega Sporting Goods stores are picked clean of the most popular ammunition (9mm, .380, .45 ACP, 38 Special, .357 Magnum, 5.56, .308, even .22 WMR). The shelves are also cleaned out of most handguns, shotguns and AR15 platform rifles, price not being much of an object.

    Many of the “New” purchasers have been surprised, and frustrated, to find a 3 day waiting period, mandatory background check and a required Firearm Owner ID (FOID) Card. All combined, it might make pitching more gun control a hard sell, come election time.

    1. Let’s see how the gun-fondling clingers fare in November, when voters get to choose candidates.

      1. Yeah, be sure and let us know when more Federal gun control ever gets passed. 26 years and counting you whiny loser.

    2. DonP : Since the number of people with Concealed Carry permits is quickly nearing 20,000,000, it seems a lot of voters don’t feel “Armed Self Defense” is “anachronistic”.

      Sure, but a lot of those are probably the same people who piled-up entire rooms with toilet paper at the start of the pandemic. Now they have a shiny new gun & lots of Charmin. At least the toilet paper will be useful eventually.

      The eagerness of people making foolish decisions proves nothing. Let me offer the decision process I’ve developed, which I call the Weedeater Standard:

      I live in a city & do no landscaping, so own no weedeater. Now I can come up with elaborate scenarios where owning a weedeater could be critical – even heroic – but the odds of those occurring are microscopically tiny. I could fall in with all that romance about weedeaters : That owning one makes me a hardy pioneer, gives me independence from the oppressive landscaping companies of the world, even magically adds stature to certain personal body parts.

      But I’m a practical man who tends to laugh at such nonsense (as well as the people who believe it). It all comes down to a simple question : Does a weedeater offer me even the slightest appreciable odds of being a useful tool? No; so that’s that.

      If people bought guns like weedeaters, all those new sales that DonP brags about wouldn’t exist. There would be millions upon millions fewer guns in this country if common sense about a tool was the only standard. The United States would be an infinitely better place.

      1. You are resting your position on need. Fair enough.

        But what we are really talking about is the government defining your personal “need”

        A free society is not ruled by fiat.

        1. I admit not following Professor Bernstein’s link to his article, but per his own summary it was about need. So I’m not the one off-topic here, neither per the original post or that specific comment above I replied to. Granted, the latter whines about “3 day waiting period, mandatory background check and a required Firearm Owner ID (FOID) Card”. Maybe you can sermonize about “free societies” off that, but not very convincingly.

  15. A New Jersey Turnpike State Trooper had a talent. He could profile and catch many drug transporters. He caught a dozen. He was shunned, ostracized, and harassed at the police barrack.

    When you catch a drug dealer, you generate cost and hard work, to prosecute. Prison then costs $50000 a year a bed. When you catch a speeder, you generate a lot of money in a few minutes, with no work whatsoever, since you never show up at court. The judge grants a continuance, and now you have to take another day from work to dispute your ticket. You just pay the fine, which is cheaper than losing 2 days of work.

    Any crime fighting police must be crushed. The real job of the police is to generate $billions in fines.

    1. A New Jersey Turnpike State Trooper had a talent. He could profile and catch many drug transporters. He caught a dozen. He was shunned, ostracized, and harassed at the police barrack.

      Uh huh. Also, you have a girlfriend, but she’s from Canada so nobody here would know her.

  16. “Trump didn’t have time to learn about the coronavirus in March. Seven months later, the virus cleared his schedule.”

    That’s today’s important headline in the Washington Post.

    Gun absolutists, like anti-abortion absolutists, are likely to pay a practical price for hitching their political wagon to the capsizing Republican-conservative electoral coalition. I hope a right to possess a reasonable firearm for self-defense in the home survives the predictable, reasonable backlash to gun nuts’ shoot-’em-up advocacy.

    1. Of course you quote the DNC Newsletter.

      1. Disdain for mainstream institutions — especially strong ones — is a reliable indicator of a disaffected fringe-inhabitor.

        1. Neatly explained your intense dislike for the Bill of Rights, Kirkland.

          1. I like the Bill of Rights.

        2. Huh. I always wondered what Arthur’s disdain for Fox News and the Republican Party indicated.

          1. Disdain for all political parties and all cable news networks indicates good judgment.

    2. Here’s a person I dont want defining reasonable.
      Its always fun to watch, authoritarian leftist insert weasel words into their writings.
      As long as you have gone off topic, how is your leftist authoritarian Governor of Michigan doing? I see she declared her intent to ignore a unanimous Supreme Court ruling.

      Leftist are alway warning about authoritarians cropping up in the GOP, but they have taken root for real in the Democrat Party.

      1. Guys like me will define reasonable.

        Guys like you will whine about it, then comply.

  17. Why is “Summer” capitalized?

    1. This one has been special.

    2. It’s a style convention that treats seasons as proper nouns. After all, we capitalize Monday and October. Why not Fall?

      It’s not a common style choice anymore but it’s not categorically forbidden.

  18. Does the right to self-defense come from the penumbras and emanations of the Second Amendment or would you say it’s more of a Substantive Due Process claim?

    1. “ Does the right to self-defense come from the penumbras and emanations of the Second Amendment or would you say it’s more of a Substantive Due Process claim?”

      Declaration of Independence (“Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness”) made explicit with the 2nd Amdt. Initially, the Federalists believed that the right of self-defense was too basic a fundamental right to have to have called it out specifically in the Constitution, but the anti-Federalists weren’t as trusting of later generations, and added it to the Bill of Rights.

      1. Thank you, Anti-Federalists.

      2. The Declaration of Independence isn’t a document establishing rights and the Second Amendment didn’t make anything explicit regarding self-defense. You have an odd definition of explicit if it includes things not on the page. I think it’s entirely possible that it is a right retained by the people, but it is certainly not an enumerated right.

    2. If the militia is not for defense, exactly what utility does the militia exercise?

      1. Iowantwo — Seen any servile rebellions lately?

      2. The militia isn’t for self-defense and it can be for any purpose, including pacification of Indian tribes and suppression of rebellion.

  19. The whole point is that you are subservient to the mob. That is what they want. They want you to kneel to them (literally and figuratively.) Armed self defense is only “old fashioned” because it is a significant roadblock for the fascists that seek to impose their will via violence on people.

    Your only option is compliance. Just ask AK. That is what he will remind you of many times in every comment section.

    1. Compliance is not the only option.

      There is also ‘going the full LaVoy.’

      Or leaving this society and finding one more congruent with one’s tastes.

      1. Love it or leave it!

        1. I don’t expect your love.

          I expect your compliance.

          1. Good luck with that.

      2. 20 million concealed permit holders, scores more of arms owners that haven’t yet acquired the permit, or their state of residence does not require a permit. Suggest exactly what society accepts as standard practice.

      3. So when people tell you if you don’t like this country then you get ‘git out’ why do you find that so objectionable?

        1. I like this country. I like modern America. Better than obsolete America. Why would I leave a country that continues to improve in line with my preferences?

  20. “I should note that I am not conflating the violence with the peaceful demonstrators. ”

    The only difference between the two is about 15 minutes.

    1. There is mounting evidence that the mostly white AntiFA instigate the nonviolent protests, then hide within the nonviolent protesters, letting them act as cover. Typical asymmetric warfare. The looting too appears to have been significantly instigated by AntiFA – ie multiple examples of white people dressed all in Black breaking windows to stores, then walking off without taking anything, as the Blacks in the area proceeded to loot the stores just opened up. Indeed, as time goes on, it looks more and more like BLM is mostly a front for AntiFA.

      1. I don’t think BLM started out as a front for Antifa, but they may be headed in that direction.

        1. There very much appears to have been a significant increase in the coordination of BLM riots over the last year, and much of that appears to involve white people wearing all black. They are the ones who roll into town with rental trucks drop off pallets of bricks around the riot zones, provide food, water, attorneys, and first aid for the protesters, riot era, and arsonists.

      2. Ask any Lefty around here or in the MSM and FBI and they will tell you those are really white supremacists agitating the violence.

        Its bizarre what they believe.

  21. Armed self defense will only become obsolete when government agents can be held legally liable for failing to protect someone.

    1. No such duty exists. That was ruled by the Supreme Court. The police refused to enforce a judge signed court order to keep away from the former wife. The husband murdered her. No liability. Such decisions should get the Justices impeached, for their decisions, not for any collateral, trivial corruption. Their decisions are the biggest criminal betrayal of our nation. All are for the purpose of lawyer enrichment in rent seeking. Rent seeking is a synonym for armed robbery.

      1. “No such duty exists.”

        My point exactly. The right to armed self defense won’t be obsolete until such a duty is established and enforceable such than any and every person injured by a criminal act has a right to compensation from the police.

    2. I remember when we had active shooter training at my last university. I asked the security officers if they had a legal duty to come in the building where the shooter was if faculty and/or students were trapped.

      He said no, but that they definitely would. Yeah right Officer Doofus.

    3. LOL. Self-defense, armed or otherwise, like defense of other people in distress, will NEVER become obsolete as long as there are Bad Guys (or Gals, rioters, wolves, dogs, bears, whatever) who go on the attack. Therefore, the right to bear arms can never be left to just the militia. That’s the basic argument, right there.

      1. If only the constitution actually said that.

  22. The looters and Antifa are the Red Guards of George Soros. Arresting them, beating them, killing them is a waste of time. He hires them from Craig’s List for $15 an hour, in keeping with the $15 hour minimum wage of the Marxists.

    George Soros must have his assets seized in civil forfeiture. He must be arrested, briefly tried, and sent to federal prison for 10 years, for insurrection.

    1. This is an interesting point for Prof Bernstein to consider. Suppose we extend the right armed self-defense to business owners wanting to protect their assets, would that right extend to shooting/maiming/killing the person(s) who fund and encourage the rioters who do the looting? Should they not at least be held responsible as abetting crimes, but if the prosecutors decline to exercise their obligation in that regard, surely we should have a right to shoot the enablers? Interesting question, what?

  23. Now that it has been established as a solemn duty to protect all others in the community from dangers seen and un-seen, it’s not just an issue of ‘self’ defense, its my duty to defend others proactively, be it with mask from microbes, or with a fire-arm from bigger predators.

  24. From stories I have seen from the UK, the government there is strongly against armed self defense. If you are a victim of a home invasion, you have a choice of getting harmed by the invaders or, if you defend yourself, having the invaders testify in court against you so the government can send you to jail. No wonder cops in UK crime shows are so glum.

    1. The criminal generates worthless make work jobs for lawyer traitors to the nation. Victims generate nothing for them, and may rot.

    2. The Conservative Party of Britain is to the left of the Democrat Party of the US. Their crime rate, including violent crime rate, is far higher than in the US.

    3. “If you are a victim of a home invasion, you have a choice of getting harmed by the invaders or, if you defend yourself, having the invaders testify in court against you so the government can send you to jail.”

      In that case, the homeowner better shoot to kill. Actually all professionals including police and soldiers advice never shooting without the intent to kill.

      1. When it comes to self defense law, that is probably bad advice. Your goal, in self defense use of deadly force, is to neutralize the threat. If they die, so be it. But when they cease being an imminent threat of causing you, or another, to lose your life or incur great bodily injury, the privilege of using deadly force ends. Maybe not absolutely, but fairly quickly. People have been found guilty of a homicide after shooting several shots, disabling the aggressor, pausing then firing some more shots that end up killing the original aggressor.

        The point there is to shoot, reassess, and repeat as long as the threat remains, stopping when the threat is neutralized. Classic example of that was by Officer Owen Wilson, defending himself from Big Mike Brow. He double tapped. Brown shook it off, and started to advance again. Double tap, Brown shook it off and started to advance again. Another double tap, and Brown stayed down. Third time was the charm.

  25. If we don’t allow the death penalty for looting to be imposed by the courts, why should we permit it to be imposed by vigilantes?

    1. We don’t allow the death penalty for person’s who break into someone’s home either, but the home owner has a well established right to self-defense in his/her home, and has a right to shoot and kill the perp. If you are allowed to shoot someone in your home, why not in the store you own from which you make your living, especially when the police are standing by watching the crime in progress? That is the question Bernstein poses.

      1. “If you are allowed to shoot someone in your home, why not in the store you own from which you make your living” — because, knowing nothing about the home intruder, you may well assume he’s after your life, not just your property. He also has an incentive to eliminate the only witness. There has to be a threat to life/health, not only to livelihood.

        1. Phoney baloney. The intruder in my. house may be a simple burglar, and I still have the right to shoot him. Intention is not the question, it’s the forced entry.

    2. Because the burglar or looter that has not committed homicide in the past, during his court appearance, has no chance of going back to the past and effectuating a homicide.

      In real time every violent person has a potential to commit homicide, even if they don’t intend to. That is why manslaughter is a charge prosecutors can bring. Sure, maybe you broke into a home only intending to steal jewelry and electronics, but when that poor woman got in your way and you shoved her, she hit her head on a sharp corner and died of brain swelling.

      Being against self defense with deadly weapons is the equivalent of requiring victims of felonies (and some misdemeanors) to have perfect divination or future sight in real time. Plus they have to prove that future sight in court. Its basically imposing the requirement that you let a violent burglar beat you within an inch of your life, and then when he is going to perform the coup de grace, then you can shoot back. Nevermind you are probably already incapacitated at that point.

      1. Being against self defense with deadly weapons is the equivalent of requiring victims of felonies (and some misdemeanors) to have perfect divination or future sight in real time.

        Which the courts regularly require of victims of felonies and misdemeanors when the criminal is a cop.

        Very common advice for “what to do when a cop misbehaves” is “follow all their unconstitutional and illegal orders, then sue them later”. Even if you would (in a just world) be vindicated for not obeying a cop’s illegal and unconstitutional orders, any such vindication will, quite often, be post mortem. And far more likely is that the cop will get off because it was “justified”.

  26. Most of your examples involve _groups_ of armed citizens jointly organizing a defense. None involve one person needing a massive arsenal for defense. So these examples don’t support the need for _one_ person to be able to kill many people quickly, as has happened in (too many) mass shootings in recent memory.

    1. No one has given a single example of a gay man “needing” a “marriage.”

  27. Gun control advocates are evil people who should be gassed.

    1. What level of gun control support would earn one the Zyklon B shower?

      1. I don’t know what that line is, but I know it when I see it.

        1. So does Prof. Volokh, with respect to his blog’s alleged “civility standards” . . . right, Professor?

          1. The law is full of arbitrary standards, and so are you.

            1. I was referring to conservative hypocrisy as much as to any ostensible standards.

              1. You’re such a fake. And silly, the way you try to get EV’s attention, like a jilted girlfriend.

              2. Why is it you never see liberal hypocrisy? Why is it that you never seems able to discuss anything without your own hypocritical liberal glasses on? Very tiresome, you are, sir.

        2. To paraphrase Marx (the good one, i.e., Groucho, not the other clown): I am full of standards. If you don’t like this one, I have others that you may like better.

  28. Prof. B., I’m late to this thread, but as I know you read the comments section, I hope you see this. I read the article after seeing it linked in an Instapundit feed.

    My feedback, would be you need to address anarcho-tyranny (look it up if you’ve not heard of it). That is, when it is those (like the St. Louis couple) that get the legal system used against them while the looters, rioters, etc. don’t. That is a fairly clear cut situation too! Right now, Rittenhouse is being charged with first degree murder, yet nothing has happened to those who (one with a handgun) attacked him.

    That is the real disincentive to the legal use of guns with the breakdown of society.

  29. I’ve read most of the wayward comments to the post by Bernstein, and wonder why not even one of them discusses Bernstein’s main point. Which is this. There is no debate that there is a right to self-defense of one’s home, this is well established in law. The problem is that it does not extend to defense of non-home property, so a business owner who gets looted by mostly peaceful rioters is not supposed to use a firearm to protect his/her assets. However, the article points out, there are recent exceptions to this, as an owner of a gun store shot and killed one of four looters, chasing the others away. Bernstein wants to extend the right to armed self-defense to non-home property, and uses the recent attacks on and defunding of police as proof that the anti-2nd amendment militia argument Is bunk. Now, those are interesting points of view, one would think. But the commentariat here kinda misses it. It’s like they are not armed properly, metaphorically speaking. Sigh.

    1. “The problem is that it does not extend to defense of non-home property, so a business owner who gets looted by mostly peaceful rioters”

      Looting is not peaceful. Try again.

  30. “The problem is that it does not extend to defense of non-home property, so a business owner who gets looted by mostly peaceful rioters is not supposed to use a firearm to protect his/her assets.”

    I see your point, but it can’t be that simple. What about a gunman trying to break into an elementary school? Defending property and defending the people served by that property are usually related. For example, a private security guard protecting nuclear materials from hijack. Another example, a Molotov Cocktail thrown at a liquor store in a building with 10 stories of apartment tenants overhead.

    There is also the “split second decision” factor that has been used to justify qualified immunity for police. A person faced with danger doesn’t have the luxury of time to make a thorough cost benefits analysis before using deadly force. Nuances like that should be applied equally to citizens as they are to police.

    1. Sure it applies to the defense of property. People do it all the time. Try robbing a bank. the property is money. They are armed and they will shoot you if they have to.

      Try breaking into the capitol after hours. Just property right? You only want to tear down the “racist” paintings and statues” right?

      Sure go try it.

      You’ll get shot.

    2. There is also the “split second decision” factor that has been used to justify qualified immunity for police.

      Ah yes.

      “Well, it was a split-second decision. You can’t hold it against me that I chose to fire.”
      “And why was it a ‘split second decision’?”
      “Because I almost ran the kid over, jumped out of the car, and was practically on top of him. But once I was practically on top of him and he was moving –’cause, you know, he almost got run over– how was I to know he wasn’t going to shoot me?”

  31. If the individual has no right to self defense, does that not make the mob and the government the sole legitimate sources of violence? How is that an improvement?

  32. re: How’s that an improvement?
    Let’s try a thought experiment. You’re a Nazi (or Nazi-sympathizer) in Hitler’s Germany. Your fellow Nazis run the government. If they feel like it, they form mobs and impose “social justice” on Jews and various anti-Nazis (who can’t defend themselves). What’s not to like?!

  33. Gun control advocates argue that to the extent the Second Amendment’s right to keep and bear arms was meant to ensure people can defend themselves, that concern is anachronistic in modern times when we have professional police.

    I am a long-time gun control advocate, and I have never argued that. I have never known another gun control advocate who advocated that. I do question, however, whether armed militias act in, “self-defense,” when they travel to protest venues to present themselves as self-appointed police. Professor Bernstein, do you think that conduct is an example of armed self-defense, or is it an example of political intimidation?

    1. Sophism. *You* may not have argued that, but it’s been said a bazillion times (yes, that’s a scientific term :-)) by the gun control crowd.

    2. I give plenty of citations in the article to prominent (including Supreme Court Justices) and not-so-prominent people making exactly that argument.

      1. No answer for my question about armed self-defense, or political intimidation?

        1. That’s obviously fact-dependent. The article gives examples of armed individuals who defended businesses with looting occurring all around them. That, to me, is obviously ok, and any intimidation is intimidation of looters, not peaceful demonstrators.

  34. Why the distinction between armed self-defense versus just self-defense. Of course self-defense is allowed and there are innumerable situations where in order to be successful in self defense you need firearms.

    So duh, of course its not obsolete and the 2nd amendment is there to make sure you know that.

    1. Also just to clarify “political intimidation” is not self defense. But intimidation is a very subjective word for example open carry is considered intimidation by some. Nope its just open carry.

  35. If someone breaks into your home in the middle of night, shooting guns and shouting, and you shoot back, you may have just committed a federal crime if they’re a police officer (who didn’t declare, aren’t wearing any branding, are using tactics and tools that are meant to confuse and disorient).

    And that is why the “right to self-defense is obsolete”.

  36. I didn’t make it to the end of Bernstein’s paper, but did get to the point where he claims that people “connected with the unrest that followed George Floyd’s death” committed about 13 murders. The first victim on the list is Javar Harrell. Let’s review the facts.

    Detroit police responded to the sound of multiple gun shots and found Harrell lying on the ground with a gunshot wound. Paramedics transported Harrell to the hospital where he died. Protests against over the death of George Floyd were occurring at the time of murder, but there is no indication that that affected the police or paramedic response.

    Police investigated and identified two suspects: Tyjon Casaya-Scott Hites, the alleged shooter, and Omani Bryant who was charged as an accomplice. Bryant was arrested at the time the warrant was issued. Hites had apparently fled to avoid arrest, but was picked up in Monroe, Louisiana a week later. The prosecutor stated that, “The investigation in this case has confirmed that this homicide was unrelated to the George Floyd protests.[1]”

    So “connected with the unrest” just means being in the general vicinity of the unrest. We have an epidemic of gun violence in this country, so it’s not surprising that Bernstein was able to find instances of this. All Bernstein has done is to provide further evidence that there is lots of gun violence in this country, a point which gun control advocates will be happy to concede.

    [1] https://www.macombdaily.com/news/copscourts/warrants-issued-in-fatal-shooting-of-eastpointe-man-during-protest-in-detroit/article_5f48b08e-acdf-11ea-b5a9-abab112cc391.html

  37. The gov’t is not refusing to stop looting and rioting, the gov’t is refusing to use its police powers to kill people who are protesting the gov’t using its police powers to kill people

    1. What? So BLM and their sidekicks ANTIFA events never end up with violence? Mostly peaceful means not peaceful. If you are feeling the need to burn someone else’s property, attack someone whose using their 1A right to disagree with you and loot someone’s property you are not mostly peaceful.

      We don’t have a Covid health crisis we have a cognitive dissonance health crisis.

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