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Zimbabwe Changed My Mind: Guns Are A Human Right

| 215 Comments | 41 TrackBacks
arms & speech

As many of you know, I'm from Canada. We have a pretty different attitude to guns up here, and I must say that American gun culture has always kind of puzzled me. To me, one no more had a right to a gun than one did to a car.

Well, my mind has changed. Changed to the point where I see gun ownership as being a slightly qualified but universal global human right. A month ago in Yalta, Freedom & The Future, I wrote:

"Frankly, if "stopping... societies from becoming the homicidal hells Mr. Bush described in his Latvia speech" is our goal, I'm becoming more sympathetic to the Right to Bear Arms as a universal human right on par with freedom of speech and religion. U.S. Secretary of State Condi Rice's personal experience as a child in Birmingham [Alabama] adds an interesting dimension; I hope she talks about this abroad."

This week, I took the last step. You can thank Robert Mugabe, too, because it was his campaign to starve his political/tribal opponents and Pol-Pot style "ruralization" effort (200,000 left homeless recently in a population of 12.6 million) that finally convinced me. Here's the crux, the argument before which all other arguments pale into insignificance:

The Right to Bear Arms is the only reliable way to prevent genocide in the modern world.

And Zimbabwe is the poster child for that proposition. So let's start with what's going on:

Zimbabwe's Slow-Mo Genocide

Not only is Mugabe in the middle of a "ruralization" program with clear echoes of the Cambodian genocide, the Washington Post reports that the country's granaries are nearly empty. That means starvation.

"Unless there's food aid," you say.

No. It means starvation. Period. I give you The Daily Telegraph:

"Millions of people are going hungry not, as Mr Mugabe's government claims, because of poor rains but as a direct result of its policy of denying food to opposition supporters and enriching its loyalists....

...An investigation by The Telegraph found that control of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Zimbabwe's state-owned monopoly supplier of commercial maize, was passed this year to one of Mr Mugabe's most loyal henchmen, Air Marshal Perence Shiri, an alleged war criminal.... The organisation, which is meant to supply maize at subsidised prices to all Zimbabweans, has instead been selling maize only to supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party. Backers of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change went hungry.

Worse still was the country's Food For Work programme. Thousands of opposition supporters would provide 15 days' labour only to be told at the end there was no GMB food for them."

But surely we can set up parallel channels for aid groups? Not really. Back to The Telegraph:

"The GMB is so corrupt and politicised that aid groups shipping food into Zimbabwe are being forced to set up their own expensive parallel storage and distribution facilities, rather than using those of the GMB.... There is also evidence that the Zimbabwean government is deliberately blocking the work of these international aid groups....

A warehouse of supplies organised by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace was blockaded for three months by Zanu-PF militants and an attempt to increase the flow of humanitarian supplies by the World Food Programme (WFP) has also been blocked. The WFP relies on recognised agencies to do the final distribution on the ground and aid sources said the mere presence of a British charity, Save the Children (UK), on a list of possible distributors is hindering expansion.

Aid groups are routinely criticised in the state-owned media in Zimbabwe, accused of being tools of the "imperialist, colonialist West".

Zimbabwean Pundit has more along these lines, and Norm Geras (a leftyblogger who has been covering Zimbabwe for a long time) offers Snapshots from the Brink. There is every reason to expect that, just like Ethiopia in the 1980s (and see pictures and description here), aid will continue to be blocked and diverted to Shona tribal areas that support Zimbabwe's murderous regime. Or just confiscated once the aid workers go away.

And PubliusPundit notes that peaceful measures are fizsling, even as reports of "roundups and holding camps" are filtering out from the opposition.

Getting the picture? Even putting aside one's understandable suspicion of this next source's overall judgement, his description from the Telegraph rings true to common sense:

"What we are seeing is nothing but humanitarian torture," an aid worker said. "It takes three months to die of starvation and this is a torture every bit as bad as beating someone with barbed wire or hanging them from handcuffs."

Um, ever studied what dying of starvation actually involves, dude? It's just a little bit worse than hanging from handcuffs - and there's nothing humanitarian about it.

Anyway, the eternal cluelessness of NGO types isn't the issue here. The point is simply this...

Read those reports again - and tell me exactly how sending aid is going to do anything other than make the donors complicit in Mugabe's tribal-political genocide. Because all it's going to do is ensure that those carrying it out are well fed.

This is the collaboration that dares to wear compassion's mask in our culture today. It is NOT the answer. To anything.

Bystanders of the World

Nor will there be salvation from afar. Perry deHavilland writes from London:

"And where are the marchers in the west? Where are the protesters calling for justice in Zimbabwe? Where is the outrage from those tireless tribunes of the Third World, the UN? Why can I not hear the snarls of fury from the alphabet soup of NGOs? What of the legions of Guardian readers finding out about all this? What are they going to call for? Amnesty International is getting a lot of (bad) publicity from having called Guantanamo Bay 'a gulag' whilst now admitting they do not actually know what is happening there, yet why are they not straining every fibre of their being in opposition to this African horror?"

Surely you jest, Perry. Comrade Mugabe is an anti-colonialist hero to many of them. He got his lifetime pass long ago - and he's been using it for a very long time. Or did you miss the massacres of thousands and reign of terror during the 1980s?

Besides, lighten up! Mass forced starvations aren't just a catastrophe, they're an important neo-Marxist tradition! The poor guy is just trying to be part of the club with his comrades in Russia, North Korea, North Vietnam, China, Ethiopia, and Cambodia. Really, it's all just a differently-relevant culture with its own distinct narratives to cherish as it joins the global rainbow struggle for social justice and equality against the global patriarchical capitalist henegmony. Anyway, don't you know the evil U.S. regime is killing Iraqi babies and serving them at White House banquets with hoisin sauce?

In fairness, some of the liberal commeners here over the last year or so appear to be happy to put a bullet or three in Mugabe. They just haven't thought through the implications of their European idols' inaction for the entire premise of their foreign policy approach. If not the USA, who will bell the cat? Overthrow and/or partition is actually an operation that could be executed with just a few thousand troops, as long air and naval support was there. Heck, Italy and Spain (who both have small carriers and harrier jets) could probably get together and do it all themselves.

Why don't they? Why haven't they even threatened to intervene in Zimbabwe, let alone tried? Why have President Bush's approaches to European allies to take a role on the ground in Sudan been left unanswered as Darfur's people are killed?

And if they won't act in these situations, or even make the attempt, why should we believe in [a] any role for Europe as moral arbiters of much of anything (experience at perpetrating genocide isn't a qualification, mes amis); or [b] their ability and/or willingness to be useful military allies in a serious situation.

Pass another shrimp Gerhard, and let's toast our peaceful selves as we hold a conference for the victims. Afterward. Meanwhile, we'll try not to think about the inconvenient fact that far more citizens died at the hands of their governments last century than ever died in its wars (about 169M to 36M). Or what we might do about that outside the walls of this nice hotel.

Belmont Club is more optimistic, and thinks Mugabe will "overreach":

"One way or the other, what is nearly certain is that conditions will continue to worsen. The second probability is that Mugabe will not react gently to Stay Away. He has gotten away with so much, so often from the spineless "International Community" -- you know the one that provides unparalleled "legitimacy" -- that he will odds-on overdo his response. What then? I think Professor Stanford Mukasa, a Zimbabwean teaching journalism at a US college had it right when he said that Zimbabweans could not expect the cavalry to ride over the hill, massacre or no."

Still, he becomes more hopeful when he notes that unlike the Europeans, President Bush is looking for regional powers who might be willing to intervene with American air and logistical support, in order to prevent genocide. South Africa is a natural choice, in his mind. It has the geography, and the military capability too.

Unfortunately, Belmont Club is dead wrong.

First, because Comrade Mugabe is still a hero to many in South Africa's ANC. Second, because South Africa knows, as all African countries know, that deposing Mugabe probably means partition. Should Zimbabwe become the next Yugoslavia, the legitimacy of almost every African border and government would immediately be called into question. Better by far that Zimbabweans should suffer genocide, which would disturb the perks and bank accounts of Africa's leaders hardly at all. At least Perry was realistic about that part:

"But of course the South African ANC government, far from being a possible solution to the rapidly deteriorating situation across the border, is aiding and abetting in the Cambodia-ization of Zimbabwe. I look forward to Saint Nelson Mandela taking a loud, public and sustained stand against Mugabe's madness. Yeah, right.

If Tony Blair was serious about doing something about poverty in Africa, he would be sending guns to the MDC and to anyone else who is willing to resist and threatening to have some gentlemen from Hereford put a .338 hole between Mugabe's eyes unless things change radically. What a pity Zimbabwe does not have oil or maybe more people would give a damn what is happening there."

Sgt. Mom adds:

"Perry is quite right, in that South Africa, as well as Zimbabwe�s other neighbors, should be taking the lead here. He is a bit wrong on the oil issue though; Sudan has oil, and no-one seems to give a damn there either."

Good point. Perry isn't giving up, though - and here's where he hit me:

"Clearly the only chance for the people of Zimbabwe is for someone, anyone, to help them to rise up and meet violence with violence. They do not need aid, they need guns and ammunition so that supporters of the MDC can start shooting at anyone associated with ZANU-PF or the 'security' services. Time for Mugabe's swaggering police thugs to be met with a hail of gunfire rather than terrified sobbing."

The Dynamics of (In)Action

I think Perry is right. More to the point, I think there's a reason that he's right in ways that go beyond just Zimbabwe.

Which brings us to Chester's Zimbabwe and the Kitty Genovese Incident. The title is derived from Phillip Bobbitt's book "The shield of Achilles," which has one chapter called "The Kitty Genovese Incident and the War in Bosnia." If you don't know who Kitty Genovese was, don't worry - his post explains. This is the key, from Bobbitt:

To summarize, we can say that there are five distinct stages through which the bystander must successively pass before effective action can be taken: (1) Notice: he must become aware that some unusual occurrence is taking place; (2) Recognition: he must be able to assess the event and define it as an emergency; (3) Decision: he must then decide that something must be done, that is, he must find a convincing reason for action to be taken; (4) Assignment: the bystander must then assign some person, himself or another, or some institution to be responsible for action; he must answer the question, "who should act in these circumstances?" (5) Implementation: having decided what action should be taken, he must then see that it is actually done. If at any stage in this sequence, a crucial ambiguity is introduced, then the whole process must begin again. The presence of ambiguity in urban life, not the callousness of urban dwellers, is precisely what makes emergency intervention in cities so problematic...

In international politics, the problems multiply. Worry about commitment traps. Situations that don't engage the bystander's interests, even to the level of the citizen bystander who understands that the duty of mutual protection is the first requirement of shared citizenship. Not to mention the danger of active opposition from others who perceive the situation to be very much in their interests. Or dysfunctional frameworks for action that nearly guarantee failure, as I explained in Congo: the Roots - And the Trap.

The effect is predictable, as is the nearly-unblemished failure of the so-called "international community" over the last 30 years. As Bobbitt notes:

So it was with the horrifying events of the three years 1991-1994 in the former state of Yugoslavia: fascinated, frightened, appalled, the civilized world was anything but apathetic. And yet, like Kitty Genovese's murderer, the killers in Bosnia returned again and again, once the threat of outside intervention dissipated, leaving the rest of us as anguished bystanders.

Cambodia, Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda... the list goes on more or less ad infinitum. When the world wasn't standing by, the U.N. was busy helping the murderers. As A.L.'s post about U.N. doctor Andrew Thomson's experiences noted: "If You See Blue Helmets, Run!" Actually, the whole quote from Thomson is even more instructive:

"Thomson, who spent two years pulling bodies out of mass graves in Rwanda and the Bosnian town of Srebrenica - corpses of people who had sought safety with the U.N. - concludes: "If blue-helmeted U.N. peacekeepers show up in your town or village and offer to protect you, run. Or else get weapons. Your lives are worth so much less than theirs."

Emphasis mine.

Or Else Get Weapons: The Right to Bear Arms

There's another quote in Chester's post from Bobbitt. I'm going to suggest that its real implications aren't the ones Chester is thinking of as he imagines a rescue that in reality, will never come:

"Time and again, numbers have been overcome by courage and resolution. Sudden changes in a situation, so startling as to appear miraculous, have frequently been brought about by the action of small parties. There is an excellent reason for this.

The trials of battle are severe; troops are strained to the breaking point. At the crisis, any small incident may prove enough to turn the tide one way or the other. The enemy invariably has difficulties of which we are ignorant; to us, his situation may appear favorable while to him it may seem desperate. Only a slight extra effort on our part may be decisive...

It is not the physical loss inflicted by the smaller force, although this may be appreciable, but the moral effect, which is decisive."

Notice. Recognition. Decision. Assignment. Implementation. Courage and resolution. The moral effect. And of course, countervailing force. That is what is required to stop genocide.

Are we more likely to find it among those marked for death and persecution, as they begin to realize their fate? In a global hyperpower that will inevitably have competing and compelling responsibilities besides our 21st century "problem from hell"? Or in a fraudulent "world community" that abets mass hatred (Durban), stands by or collaborates with murderers (Rwanda, Srebrenica), allows existing perpertrators of genocide to represent it on Human Rights (UNHRC), and sees world crises mostly as opportunities to fatten their budgets and rack up air miles (tsunami relief, the Toyota Taliban generally).

A look at the U.N.'s record, and indeed that of the world over the last 30 years, answers that question decisively.

I'll leave the last words to this radio speech by Tendai Biti, an MDC member of parliament. Via Belmont Club:

"I can't tell you - and the hundreds of Central Intelligence Organisation officers who I know are listening to me right now - about who is going to provide the leadership, who is going to do what, and so forth - but what I can guarantee you is that the anger is overflowing in the veins of the average Zimbabweans. They will defend themselves. The time for smiling at fascism is over."

Not in Africa, in the U.N., or among the West's liberal-left New Class and NGO set. But perhaps, just perhaps, in Zimbabwe. Facing an armed populace, the rag-tag gangs of thugs that have characterized genocide's recent history are outmatched - and even the armed forces of the state discover that orderly liquidation of their victims turns into a formidable proposition.

Arm Zimbabwe's opposition. Now. Heck, take a leaf from Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, and send HEAPs (Holocaust Education and Avoidance Pods). Then tell the world (and especially our hypocritical Euro "friends") why.

The Right to Bear Arms. It's not just for Americans any more.

UPDATES:

  • Lots of good essays etc. via the Trackbacks. For instance...
  • Wallo World disagrees, but does so by making a coherent argument. I applaud that, but I do disagree and left a few comments to that effect. Feel free to join in - why should all the fun be confined to this place?
  • Eric Raymond of open source software fame has an essay wherein he argues that the bearing of arms also teaches moral responsibility and ideas like: "It all comes down to you." Never count on being able to undo your choices." The universe doesn't care about motives." Right choices are possible, and the ordinary judgement of ordinary (wo)men is sufficient to make them." Provocative and well-written.

41 TrackBacks

Tracked: June 10, 2005 12:58 PM
Never Again from Caerdroia
Excerpt: In 1946, the world looked over the wreckage of humanity that the Holocaust caused, and said "Never again." Subsequent decades have shown that the full statement should have been: "Never again will fascists commit genocide against the Jews in Europe unl...
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A Human Right from Dean's World
Excerpt: Joe Katzman has discovered an important human right. Glad you joined us, Joe. I know a refugee from the U...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 2:10 PM
Joe Joins from No Pundit Intended
Excerpt: My blogfather (I'll bet he didn't even know it) and all around good guy, Joe Katzman has "converted". Yes, that's right - he now sees gun ownership as a global and fundamental human right.
Tracked: June 10, 2005 2:21 PM
Dawn Patrol from Mudville Gazette
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Tracked: June 10, 2005 2:24 PM
GUNS, A UNIVERSAL HUMAN RIGHT from Publius Pundit
Excerpt: Joe Katzman from Winds of Change pens how Mugabe changed his mind about an armed populace. As many of you know, I'm from Canada. We have a pretty different attitude to guns up here, and I must say that American gun culture has always kind of puzzled ...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 2:43 PM
Samizdata slogan of the day from Samizdata.net
Excerpt: The Right to Bear Arms. It's not just for Americans any more. - Joe Katzman...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 2:48 PM
Excerpt: Perry de Havilland, in Samizdata: And where are the marchers in the west? Where are the protesters calling for justice in Zimbabwe? Where is the outrage from those tireless tribunes of the Third World, the UN? Why can I not hear the snarls of fury fr...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 4:55 PM
Where's The U.N.? from The Queen of All Evil
Excerpt: What is the U.N actually doing besides "Oil for Food" deals? Shouldn't they be in Africa? First, there was Rwanda, then/now Darfur, and now Zimbabwe. Joe Katzman gives good es...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 5:01 PM
Guns and Genocide from The Indepundit
Excerpt: JOE KATZMAN has a revelation: "The Right to Bear Arms is the only reliable way to prevent genocide in the modern world." This is all the more remarkable coming from a Canadian who confesses, "American gun culture has always kind...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 5:20 PM
Human Rights and Guns from Wallo World
Excerpt: Joe Katzman of Winds of Change.NET has a very interesting post about guns as a basic human right. Apparently, ongoing events in Zimbabwe, in which President Mugabe has trieds to starve his tribal opponents, "finally convinced" Joe (an otherwise mild-m...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 8:43 PM
Excerpt: Although Katzman doesn't mention it, I'm sure a similar dynamic applies in Darfur. It's not often mentioned just how imbalanced the numbers are in the Darfur war. The Janjaweed consists of roughly 20,000 men, fighting approximately 1.8 million Darfuria...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 8:58 PM
Link to a Must Read Post from Unconventional Wisdom
Excerpt: "The Right to Bear Arms is the only reliable way to prevent genocide in the modern world."(Via Instapundit)
Tracked: June 10, 2005 9:21 PM
If Kitty Genovese Had Had A Gun from Transterrestrial Musings
Excerpt: Joe Katzman has an excellent post on why we cannot expect, or (sadly) even hope for, the "international community" to...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 10:46 PM
Excerpt: Here's what's caught my eye this morning: A Fistful of Euros has a post on Hungary's two deficits—budget and current accounts—that you should find interesting. Billmon thinks it's time for Dean to go. Only if you're more interested in winni...
Tracked: June 10, 2005 10:53 PM
Excerpt: It seems to me that the only two countries on earth that are really serious about the right to bear arms are Switzerland and the United States. They are, of course, two of the world's most diverse and stable democracies...
Tracked: June 11, 2005 1:45 AM
Why Gun Rights Are Human Rights from Just Some Poor Schmuck
Excerpt: Joe Katzman explains how Zimbabwe has made him believe that gun ownership should be a universal human right. He gives an overview and analysis of the situation in Zimbabwe and the likelihood of any help coming from outside. He concludes...
Tracked: June 11, 2005 2:06 AM
Excerpt: A very interesting and thought-provoking post by Joe Katzman. I would think that the failure to arm the Bosnian Muslims against the Bosnian Serbs in the 1990's would have settled the issue over whether an endangered national group ought to...
Tracked: June 11, 2005 5:07 AM
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Tracked: June 11, 2005 8:19 AM
Where will I go? from Mark in Mexico
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Tracked: June 11, 2005 12:32 PM
Excerpt: Be prepared to be called many names, from stupid (don't you know guns are evil?), to reactionary, to whatever the left can think of.
Tracked: June 11, 2005 5:05 PM
natural selections from evolution
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Tracked: June 11, 2005 6:26 PM
Excerpt: I have largely enjoyed the discussion engendered by my disagreement with Joe Katzman of Winds of Change.NET over whether an armed civilian populace is "the only reliable way to prevent genocide in the modern world." I thought it might be appropriate t...
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Tracked: June 13, 2005 1:51 AM
Guns and Genocide, version 96.12b from The Duck of Minerva
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Tracked: June 13, 2005 3:03 PM
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Tracked: June 13, 2005 5:15 PM
Global Human Right from The Beagle Express
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Tracked: June 14, 2005 8:17 PM
Excerpt: There have been some interesting discussions across the blogosphere about the role of arms in resisting tyranny, many sparked off by what is going on in Zimbabwe. But whilst I am very much in favour of civilian ownership of firearms that are suitable f...
Tracked: June 14, 2005 8:18 PM
Excerpt: There have been some interesting discussions across the blogosphere about the role of arms in resisting tyranny, many sparked off by what is going on in Zimbabwe. But whilst I am very much in favour of civilian ownership of firearms that are suitable f...
Tracked: June 15, 2005 7:02 AM
Submitted for Your Approval from Watcher of Weasels
Excerpt: First off...  any spambots reading this should immediately go here, here, here,  and here.  Die spambots, die!  And now...  here are all the links submitted by members of the Watcher's Council for this week's vote. Council link...
Tracked: June 16, 2005 6:57 AM
Winds Of Change from Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave
Excerpt: Joe Katzman, at WindsOfChange.NET has changed his position on gun control. He's Canadian, well spoken, intelligent and used to be strongly opposed to gun ownership as a fundamental human right based on the right to life and to defend your...
Tracked: June 17, 2005 9:25 AM
The Council Has Spoken! from Watcher of Weasels
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Tracked: June 17, 2005 1:21 PM
The Council has spoken! from The Glittering Eye
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Tracked: June 19, 2005 3:25 AM
Excerpt: The full results are available here. The Council winner was The Sundries Shack for the post What's the Real Question in America?: On its face, it seems a reasonable question to ask: are we as good as we often say we are? Well, of course weâ€...
Tracked: June 19, 2005 6:32 PM
Arms as a human right from eengstro's blog
Excerpt: In writing about the latest outrages in Zimbabwe, Winds of Change discusses an interesting epiphany, which can be boiled down to this quote: The Right to Bear Arms is the only reliable way to prevent genocide in the modern world. Genocide is ...
Tracked: June 20, 2005 6:18 AM
The Coalition of the Willing from Watcher of Weasels
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Tracked: June 21, 2005 6:23 PM
THE COUNCIL HAS SPOKEN. from The SmarterCop
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Tracked: June 23, 2005 10:52 PM
Guns. Lots and lots of Guns. from The Ziggurat of Doom
Excerpt: From Winds of Change.NET comes this article on gun rights and genocide. I've had Winds of Change on my list for a long time, and it's a consistantly great blog. I happen to be a fan of gun rights (hey, anything that gets rid of people, right?) but ev...
Tracked: June 29, 2005 5:33 AM
One Voice, Zero Solutions from Watcher of Weasels
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Tracked: June 30, 2005 9:06 PM
Changing Canada, one mind at a time. from Argghhh! The Home Of Two Of Jonah's Military Guys..
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Tracked: July 5, 2005 2:58 AM
Excerpt: Carpe Bonum is terribly delinquent on posting Watcher's Council results as usual. Apologies to the winners. I'll keep at it as long as the Watcher will have me. So. Here are the complete results from June 10. The top...

215 Comments

Excellent post, Joe. Bravo. P.J. O'Rourke made much the same point about famine ALWAYS being a political tool in "All the Trouble in the World". A really, really good book, one of the best I've read on politics and economics. Funny as hell too.

The Founders had excellent reasons for every word they wrote, including the Second Amendment. Tyranny has been a way of life for most governments throughout the world for an eternity. An armed populace goes a long way toward preventing tyranny.

Most on the Left refuse to recognize Joe's points. They worry about civil war and shooting in the streets. OK, so who in that position wouldn't rather be armed and have a fighting chance to survive, rather than be starved to death?

BTW, you have a "link overrun" at the "Chester's post link.

It is a coincidence that I am viewing the 1966 movie “Cast a Giant Shadow” regarding the heroic Mickey Marcus. The British government also tried to impose gun control on the Jews of Palestine. Thankfully, they violated this stupid prohibition---or the state of Israel would have never have been brought into existence. Please note that this Kirk Douglas film was made 39 years ago. It was the very last major Hollywood production which glorified Israel. Isn’t that strange?

Mugabe has long been a hero to the leftist liberationist movements in africa and elsewhere. You cannot expect leftists to turn against Mugabe anymore than they would accept the truth about Che, Mao, or Fidel.

I agree with you that I would have rather seen running gunbattles in Rwanda rather than machete massacres of Tutsis by Hutus. In Zimbabwe Mugabe's Shona tribe is favored over traditional enemy tribes. Growing out of tribalism may take africa another few centuries.

Great post, but what an incredibly stupid and uninformed 3rd sentence in the opening paragraph, even for a Canadian (and I'm one now living the US):

"To me, one no more had a right to a gun than one did to a car."

Joe, there is NO constitutional right to own cars. Please see the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution.

Kyle

"Ruralization", my ass. It's Year Zero.

And we're not doing a damn thing to stop it.

Kyle (#4):

Um, Joe's point about how his thinking has evolved was clearly stated. You might want to re-read the post's first paragraph.

I'm less sanguine about the benefits of Guns-For-All, especially in the absence of a civil society. See Mogadishu, 1992, and--in some ways--Saddam's 2003 Warehouse Clearance Giveaway Sale.

But, per Joe and Armed Liberal, reality isn't very accomodating to the peaceful dreams I have in common with our NGO friends. If it were my family in Harare today, faced with Mugabe's reprise of Year Zero--I'd prefer the AK-47 to a mess of pottage (or bowl of WFP porridge).

Absolutely brilliant, Joe. An armed populace has always been the best defense against tyranny.

I would like to add about South Africa. Mbeki is actually rather sympathetic to Mugabe's cause, sick as that may be. He is something of a Marxist himself and has been looking to coalition with the communists in SA so that he can run for re-election under the new party.

He is also supporting the same kind of "land reform" program, slow-motion, that Mugabe did. Just the week, the first forced government land-sale went underway. The owner asked for 10. The government made him sell at 1.7. Watch out, that country is slowly slipping away as well.

The left dont want the people to have guns because a defensless population makes typical leftist genocide pogrom far easier to impliment.

Guns alone isnt enough however, a freedom culture is just as important, if guns was the be-all end-all,, then Afganistan would have been freedoms paradise.

The principle of the rights of the single individual, his right to his freedom from predation, is just as important as the right to the tools of revolt

Which is why the left attack individualist culture as well as disarm the population.

Others have pointed at the change in attitude between armed citizens, and unarmed subjects.

Its a different mentality.. to Wit:

The disarming of citizens has a double effect, it palsies the hand and brutalizes the mind: a habitual disuse of physical forces totally destroys the moral [force]; and men lose at once the power of protecting themselves, and of discerning the cause of their oppression. Joel Barlow, Advice to the Privileged Orders, 1793

As to the species of exercise, I advise the gun. While this gives [only] moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise, and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun, therefore, be the constant companion to your walks. -- Thomas Jefferson, writing to his teenaged nephew.

Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power. -- Yoshimi Ishikawa

The left ... Death = good, More the better.

To Wit:

Respected environmentalist, Dr. LaMont Cole, at Yale University said that "To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world overpopulation problem."

Dr. Van den Bosch of the University of California criticized those of us who have concern for "all those little brown people in poor countries."

Dr. Charles Wurster, a major opponent of DDT, was once asked about the possibility that banning DDT would necessitate use of far more toxic and dangerous pesticides. Said he: "So what? People are the cause of all the problems. We have too many of them. We need to get rid of some of them, and this is as good a way as any."

Liberal icon Ted Turner has his own assessment of what the world's population should be: "A total world population of 250-300 million people, a 95 percent decline from present levels, would be ideal."

Mugbe is a leftist .. he is doing what leftist do.. Kofi and Mandella are no different,, I doubt they disaprove.

Pain and suffering abroad, Genocide, mass graves of kids, is only usefull when its a usefull tool to attack the West.

The difference with Kosovo was it lined up with their self hate and hate of the Christian Serbs (leaving out the consideration if it was morally justified or not)

The left shrug past mass graves when they are not creating them, unless there is a political atvantage ...

What do you think Chaves has planned for his 100,000 machine guns ?

So if the target of genocide are Christian blacks like in the Sudan, the left wont care .. thats a targeted for extermination group.

Saddam had his Socialist credentials, Mugbe's are even more authentic.

To the left, what is happening there "is a good thing", dont expect them to care about it much, any more than a mass grave of kids, found clutching their toys.

Fact is, africa is targeted for an engineered population reduction, part of Agenda 21.

So dont expect the UN to be upset, what is happening is policy for the top left globalist eliete.

Think Ted turner was joking ? Nope, and the circles he runs in agrees with him. He is just stating a rather main plank of their groupthink.

They are totaly convinced of this, if the population isnt exterminated, if they dont get the population reduction, the earth is doomed.

That is core to the top preists of the globalist left right now.

AMac (#6):

I see that his thinking has evolved, though it doesn't throughout the 1st paragraph. It evolves in the 2nd para., and that's great. (I'm assuming that big white space indicates paragraphing)

I didn't mean to sound overly strident in my first post, and if I did I'm sorry, but I tend to get excited when people don't seem to understand from whence we get our Rights.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this. Try poo-pooing the 1st, 4th, 13th, or any other Amendment to the Constitution. Claim ignorance of them as you suggest licensing (like a car) is okay for the 1st Amendment. After all, speech CAN be a very deadly thing. Not just theoretically, but actually. Perhaps we should license speech?

Those who want to protect the 2nd Amendment had better be as vociferous about it as would those who would defend any other Amendment!

Kyle, as a Canadian, I'm sure you're aware that guns are NOT a constitutional right in Canada. One literally has no more right to a gun here than one does to a car.

The same is true in most countries of the world.

I was comfortable with that before. I'm not comfortable with it anymore. For the reasons explained herein, it needs to change.

Hmmm...smacks of the Secret Admirers, Avi.
Have you been reading Cryptonomicon?
;-)

"Joe, there is NO constitutional right to own cars. Please see the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution"

But that does not seem to be the point Joe was making, if I understood him properly. The Second Amendment is of relevence only to people in the USA, it has no universal resonance elsewhere. The MDC in Zimbabwe need guns and ammunition and the Second Amendment of the US Constitution does not amount to a hill of beans there.

The whole point is that if rights are something given to you by a legal document, they can be taken away by a different legal document. But if people have a right to own guns because they have a right to defend themselves that is based on moral theories rather than granted by a political process, then the fact that right is enumerated by some document in the USA is great but really only of interests to people interested in legal issues. The truth of it is far greater than a mere constitution however.

Hence his closing line... The Right to Bear Arms. It's not just for Americans any more

Nice :-)

people have the right to overthrow tyranny.

If they need guns to overthrow tyranny, they have the moral right to guns.

If they need to counterfeit money or ID cards to overthrow tyranny, they have the moral right to counterfeit money or ID cards.

That does NOT mean that there is a moral right to counterfeit money or id cards in a democracy, (or in a non-democracy, for purposes other than overthrowing tyranny) It also does not mean that allowing counterfeiting of money or ID cards is good public policy in a democracy.

The same logic applies to guns.

Now you may well want guns cause they make you feel safer against street crime, or cause hunting with them is a deep part of your culture. Fine. Then say so. Dont hide your arguement under something irrelevant about Zimbabwe.

liberalhawk,
The right of self defense is more fundamental than the right of overthrowing tyrannies. Likewise for the right to protect youself from tyranny. Overthrowing and protecting are two different things.

Well, Joe, keep your metaphorical Marshal's .44 handy, as gun-control posts tend to spin out of control.

But I'm with you all the way. You have a right to life. Therefore, you must have the right to defend your life from those who would take it. And thus, you must have a right to the means to defend your life (plainly "Freedom of the Press" implies that government bans on paper and ink are wrong).

So...let's get cracking to defeat the UN's attempt to "control" small arms and make sure that only governments own them.

Anyway, Joe, if you're ever down Virginia way, you can shoot my AK-47.

you may well want guns cause they make you feel safer against street crime, or cause hunting with them is a deep part of your culture.

Um, Joe has made clear that this is NOT true for him. American gun culture (which focuses on hunting and street crime) "puzzles" him, apparently.

Besides, if you don't have a right to arms before tyranny starts, how will you get them after? You can bet the government isn't going to encourage the opposition to arm itself.

I'm somewhere between lberalhawk and lurker, myself.

And yes, Jinn, I've read Cryptonomicon twice now. For the initiated, see esp. the "Holocaust Education and Avoidance Pod (HEAP)" idea... which the USA should produce.

As the Hudson Institute notes in its book review:

"...For instance, the Jewish entrepreneurial leader of the Silicon Valley contingent is obsessed with the prevention of genocide. Accordingly, he and some other savvy techies develop a downloadable plan for making guns out of common household items. With this information, members of groups in danger of extreme repression are able quickly to ensure that their tormentors meet with more than token resistance. In another section of the book, Stephenson describes a new cryptographic system based on the use of ordinary playing cards. Although the puzzle is an interesting plot device, keeping the reader involved as it is deciphered, the author includes detailed instructions on the methodology of the system so that the reader can also use it in the real world. In other words, Stephenson apparently intends to do more than merely entertain. In his book In the Beginning was the Command Line (1999), Stephenson drove this point home:"

"The right of self defense is more fundamental than the right of overthrowing tyrannies. "

If you believe that, fine, but its not Joe's arguement.

Joe,

A well written post! I linked in from Instapundit. You make clear the subtle intent of our forefathers here in the United States. The armed populace is there to insure that tyranny does not have the chance to arrive, much less thrive.

To some of the comments about other heavily armed countries (Afghanistan, Iraq's weapons giveaway), clearly the population of a nation understands who means them harm and who does not.

People do understand the power they wield by being armed and as such do not abuse it. American troops allowed Iraqi and Afghani civilians to retain their arms for self defense. The number of incidents where this was abused is trivially small.

Likewise, in states where people have the right to carry, crime rates actually declined. Fairly, the same can be said for areas where aggressive "quality of life" policiing (NYC) have taken place. But this speaks to the establishment of firm exercise of law and order.

Bravo!

David Koppel and you are on the very same wavelength.

Found a link to this at:
http://www.transterrestrial.com/archives/005339.html#005339

"Is Resisting Genocide a Human Right?" by David Koppel

http://www.davekopel.com/2A/Foreign/genocide.pdf

"Besides, if you don't have a right to arms before tyranny starts, how will you get them after? You can bet the government isn't going to encourage the opposition to arm itself."

Besides, if you dont have the right to counterfeiting equipment before tyranny starts, how will you get them after? etc, etc.

and why do you assume gun control means zero guns in society? Thats not the case in Canada, or in UK IIUC. You're assuming a total gun ban, which is the strawman the NRA brings out whenever someone calls for ANY gun control, whether its registration, limits on numbers anyone can purchase etc.

Joe Katzman (#10):

Right, I misunderstood you there. Since you had said that American gun culture puzzled you, I assumed you were aware of the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

But a number of my Canadian friends have said the same thing to me, roughly along these lines: "You need a license to drive, why not a license to buy a gun?" I guess these kinds of questions reflect more on the public education system in Canada than anything else (not that PE is any better here). Anyone who is even high-school aware of the Constitution could not ask that question with any seriousness.

Kyle

Joe, I think we should all take Stepehnson's advice, and think subversive.
Isn't that what weblogging is all about?

Kile, denial of the right to drive (because a second class citizen cannot exist) exists only because the horse was the common mode of transport when it went to the HI court.

Thats not the first time the Government has twisted the court opinion.

For a long time, they used it to deny the 2nd amendment, the litigant was dead, and didnt show up in court,, so the court said,,, in the absence of evidence presented that a sawed off shotgun is a MILITARY weapon .....

The Embarrassing Second Amendment

Sanford Levinson, UT Austin School of Law, Yale Law Journal

McReynolds noted further that "the debates in the Convention, the history and legislation of Colonies and States, and the writings of approved commentators [all] [s]how plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense."

It is difficult to read Miller as rendering the Second Amendment meaningless as a control on Congress. Ironically, MIller can be read to support some of the most extreme anti-gun control arguments, e.g., that the individual citizen has a right to keep and bear bazookas, rocket launchers, and other armaments that are clearly relevant to modern warfare, including, of course, assault weapons.

What is protected, at the least, is the right to Military weapons that a solger would carry.

By the same token, the common mode of tranport now is not a horse, its the car,

Page here explains

The forgotten legal maxim is that free people have a right to travel on the roads which are provided by their servants for that purpose, using ordinary transportation of the day.

Licensing cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of a right.

Im not sure that would hold up however, as long as they issue the License on demand, and never refuse without cause, they are not Dening your right to travel.

But its just yet another right the control freaks took away that we need to recover, or rather, more firmly establish.

IN America, the very concept of "Privlege" is offensive to every concept of the document that is the law of the land.

We dont need to look to the Hell under the boot of Mugabe to consider ourselves fortunate, you can look right over the border at our northern neighbor.

Let us reflect on our blessings, and the gift of freedom we inherited.

and why look at Zimbabwe through the lens of gun control, but not Iraq? Where the tyrannical govt handed out guns en masse. Which were then used in an attempt to overthrow the budding democratic society???? And look at how many tyrannies have been overthrown WITHOUT mass gun ownership, from eastern europe in '89, to Ukraine, Georgia, etc. Ultimately if the entire people rise up, the security forces often prove very reluctant to kill everybody. Guns are necessary for SOME uprisings against tyranny. And they are useful for SOME uprisings against democracy. All in all no clearcut case for a public policy of gun ownership, apart from other considerations.

And why does the minimal likelihood of tyranny in a Western country trump considerations of public safety when it comes to guns, but not, say, the Patriot Act or issues of detention without trial?

I mean if you guys are really so concerned about Zimbabwe happening in America, I think youd have other priorities. (I by the way, am NOT hostile to the Patriot Act - but then I think the likelihood of a dictatorship in the US is seriously likely than an asteroid hitting the earth)

and why look at Zimbabwe through the lens of gun control, but not Iraq? Where the tyrannical govt handed out guns en masse. Which were then used in an attempt to overthrow the budding democratic society???? And look at how many tyrannies have been overthrown WITHOUT mass gun ownership, from eastern europe in '89, to Ukraine, Georgia, etc. Ultimately if the entire people rise up, the security forces often prove very reluctant to kill everybody. Guns are necessary for SOME uprisings against tyranny. And they are useful for SOME uprisings against democracy. All in all no clearcut case for a public policy of gun ownership, apart from other considerations.

And why does the minimal likelihood of tyranny in a Western country trump considerations of public safety when it comes to guns, but not, say, the Patriot Act or issues of detention without trial?

I mean if you guys are really so concerned about Zimbabwe happening in America, I think youd have other priorities. (I by the way, am NOT hostile to the Patriot Act - but then I think the likelihood of a dictatorship in the US is seriously likely than an asteroid hitting the earth)

"plainly enough that the Militia comprised all males physically capable of acting in concert for the common defense."

It did. At a time when all males physically capable etc were called upon and trained together on a more or less regular basis. So it wasnt the paid National Guard, but it wasnt everybody living in todays anonymous society, either. I dont think it was just physical capabality. If you were called to the town green, and you were mentally unbalanced, or whatever, I dont think youd be long in the militia. There were social and cultural expectations in say, a New England town that simply dont exist in most of America anymore.

Congratulations on coming to see the light. If you cannot claim the right to continue existing... then any other human right becomes a hollow mockery at best. Now, I'm a settled Texan, so you can guess how I am abotu guns... but here's a real quote.

"You don't have to send troops. We know where the bosses live, up on the hill in their fancy houses. We just don't have any rifles."

Who said it?

My Serbian friend, in reference to Milosevic.

Liberalhawk,

If by "counterfeiting equipment" you mean printing presses, computers, and copy machines, I'd be willing (on a less busy day) to make the case that you do, in fact, have a moral right to those things, based on their usefulness in coordinating both peaceful dissent and violent resistance.

But I'd also distinguish, if necessary, between things that are genuinely useful in defeating tyranny (say, guns and laser printers) and those whose usefulness is quite limited (say, a machine for making ID badges).

Also, if we're talking about guns which are useful for preventing genocide, we aren't talking about beautifully engraved British doubles loaded with #8 shot, OK? Brits have few if any (legal) guns left which are useful for mortal combat. And of course, tyranny rarely arrives full-blown overnight; in countries with fairly strict gun control, a government bent on tyranny would of course ramp it up a few notches such that few guns would remain afterward.

liberalhawk

61 Million people died for their freedom, it wasnt bloodless, and I find holocaust denial offensive.

For you to offer as the alternative "they will get tired of stacking our skulls some day" .. is frankly ... offensive ...

"People do understand the power they wield by being armed and as such do not abuse it. American troops allowed Iraqi and Afghani civilians to retain their arms for self defense. The number of incidents where this was abused is trivially small. "

In fact the rate of crime in Iraq is massive. The US allowed small arms cause it would have been politically impossible not to. And a large minority of Iraqis decided democracy was the main threat. and it was those who were most trained and organized to use arms. Weve paid with over a thousand American dead for that.

liberalhawk

Wrong,, and a lie. (that you are repeating)

And why does the minimal likelihood of tyranny in a Western country trump considerations of public safety when it comes to guns, but not, say, the Patriot Act or issues of detention without trial?

Well, largely because many of us on the pro-gun side think that public safety is enhanced by widespread gun ownership. I've never committed a crime worse than an illegal left turn; I never will. So my guns are not an issue for public safety unless a criminal threatens me or my family, at which point they become a net positive for public safety.

Any gun control which impairs my right to own guns will be a net negative for public safety. Now, maybe I'm some kind of unique, bizarre, and atypical gun owner. But I'm inclined to doubt that. And I'm inclined to resent those who reverse the presumtion of innocence and preventively take my guns "without trial," as you put it.

Furthermore, there are those of us who think that the likelihood of tyranny is minimal in the US (I'm no sure about "Western countries" generally) is partly a result of gun ownership. You have a minimal liklihood of getting run over by a train, but that isn't an argument for removing the signals at railroad grade crossings which help to keep that likelihood low.

liberalhawk: Are you saying that a human right should only be 'allowed' to be exercised if it appears that it's in danger?

Do you only put on your seatbelt if you EXPECT to get in a wreck?

A tradition of widespread citizen firearms ownership in any of the aforementioned countries would have prevented the genocides from ever happening.

"This week, I took the last step."

So, what kind did you buy?

"liberalhawk

61 Million people died for their freedom, it wasnt bloodless, and I find holocaust denial offensive.

For you to offer as the alternative "they will get tired of stacking our skulls some day" .. is frankly ... offensive ..."

where did I say that.

And BTW, my greatgrandfather was murdered by Nazis outside his town in Poland in 1943. Dont you DARE call he a holocaust denier.

"And of course, tyranny rarely arrives full-blown overnight; in countries with fairly strict gun control, a government bent on tyranny would of course ramp it up a few notches such that few guns would remain afterward."

If it happens gradually, there are many opportunities to stop it peacefully, by protest, by defense of rights, by actions in court, etc. I see plenty of examples of budding tyrannies stopped by lawyers, reporters, etc (all those despised groups) but few stopped by widespread gun ownership.

"Well, largely because many of us on the pro-gun side think that public safety is enhanced by widespread gun ownership"

But thats not Joes argument. If you think guns enhance public safety, fine. Make your arguement. Thats got nothing to do with Zimbabwe.

Well, few people think we should go to the barricades without exhausting peaceful remedies first. And of course that's exactly why I put laser printers next to guns as useful anti-tyranny implements. But lawyers haven't stopped Mugabe, have they? So a backstop would be nice.

And of course in most cases, by the time it's worth shooting, the government has already taken all the guns (or limited their possession to the the politically reliable). That doesn't mean they aren't useful; rather, it's proof that they are all too useful and that tyrants recognize this.

Joe mentions Rwanda.

IIUC the mass of the people WERE armed in Rwanda. With machetes. Unfortunately the majority of the people were manipulated by and followed the genocidal govt. I dont know that there even was any gun control in Rwanda - if the tutsi had been better armed, likely so would the genocidaires. widespread gun ownership would NOT have stopped genocide in Rwanda.

thats not Joes argument

I'll let Joe speak for himself, but it seems to me it isn't crazy to think that increased street crime in Zimbabwe would kill fewer people than a deliberate program of starvation.

Maybe because you are an Anglo-Canadian and I am a French-Canadian-we have a difference of opinion-but here goes....

Why lately is the focus so much on Mugabe and Zimbabwe on American and English blogs? The English blogs I get....but it seems somehow they are more afronted by Mugabe and their old colony Zimbabwe than they are the equally gross mess of their old colonial area North and Southern Sudan. As a French Canadian and strategically I am more concerned with Central Africa and countries within the continent that lie closer to the Middle Eastern conflict.

Look there are problems in Eritrea,The Congo, Rwanda, heck throw in Zaire, Chad, Somalia, Dijoubuti,Sudan and I am sure I am overlooking some...

But for once it would be nice to see ANY other country than the US take the lead on something-[sheesh Canada can't even come up with the rest of their promised tsunami relief-or have they?]-ya I am American now...

But why has Zimbabwe started to be so prioritized over the Sudan for example?-I just don't get it.

Probably need to go research it.

liberalhawk,
The US allowed small arms cause it would have been politically impossible not to.
You are right about it being politically impossible to confiscate Iraqi weapons. I'm not sure our military wanted to, or even if they did , whether it would have been moral.

I'm not ready to tell the millions of law abiding Iraqis that their primary means of self defense is being taken away. Are you?

The cliche: "If guns are outlawed, then only outlaws will have guns" is more true in Iraq than here.

Pretty soon, it may be illegal to own long pointy cooking knives in Britain. This is another logical step of your argument. Its logical conclusion will even be worse.

It's another debate as to whether a nanny state implemented via a tyranny of the majority is a transitory step to a more traditional form of tyranny.

Boy! English is not my strength-let me clarify that-

I need to probably go research it-hopefully you don't interpet that I meant you.

You can have my Henckels when you pry them from my cold, dead fingers

Holocaust denial is what you did.

As I said 61 Million murdered, and they did not get freedom untill the rulers grew tired of stacking skulls ....

There jad been all kinds of unarmed demostrations for 50 and 70 years ... they was all killed.

Not to mention those we saw hanging in the razor wire attempting to escape.

To say that their stuggle for freedom was bloodless is offensive ... its holocaust denial

They got their freedom when the butchers grew weary of stacking skulls .... let us not deny that the pile already had 61 million of them.

They stuggled for freedom as long as 70 years, to ignore those that gave their lives in that struggle is offensive.

"Well, few people think we should go to the barricades without exhausting peaceful remedies first. And of course that's exactly why I put laser printers next to guns as useful anti-tyranny implements. But lawyers haven't stopped Mugabe, have they? So a backstop would be nice.

And of course in most cases, by the time it's worth shooting, the government has already taken all the guns (or limited their possession to the the politically reliable). That doesn't mean they aren't useful; rather, it's proof that they are all too useful and that tyrants recognize this."

Fine, but then whats the implication for public policy in a developed democracy - like, er, the US or Canada? (and BTW, I dont buy that ID badge making machines wouldnt be VERY useful to a democratic insurgency - IIUC the French resistance, etc made extensive use of ID counterfeiting)

The same conditions in Zimbabwe (a govt that came to power on the back of an armed guerilla movement, a racial history that could be used to delegitimize opposition, a single dominant party, tribal splits, a regional tendency to one party rule, low levels of literacy, etc) that made it hard for protests, lawsuits, etc to stop Mugabe ALSO meant that guns werent likely to be successful either, and that it was easy to alter any "democratic" gun laws. The notion that gun laws are a substitute for the work of building the social AND political conditions for liberal democracy is laughable.

Lets face it, this is just a garbage arguement for policy change in developed democracies. Its no more relevant than the arguments lefties use about the Patriot Act, or implying that any deviation from wall of seperation leads to the Taliban.

madawaskan

Its because we get less news from there, Zimbabwe we hear of his thugger more often, like the recent story that prompted this thread.

As for slavery and genocide of in the Sudan .. the Christian right on both sides of the pond have been calling atttention to it for two years before the leftist media ever took any notice

....

"Holocaust denial is what you did."

Joe,

Is accusing someone of holocaust denial something taken lightly on this site? I didnt think so in the past. You can read my posts, and see what I said. If you think I did anything like holocaust denial, please let me know, cause if i did anything that even looks like that I need to do Pkuach nefesh for that. If I did not, then I think you need to examine the atmosphere certain posters are creating.

Darn it! Let me also defend Wretchard here...

You say Belmont Club is dead wrong because-

Second, because South Africa knows, as all African countries know, that deposing Mugabe probably means partition. Should Zimbabwe become the next Yugoslavia, the legitimacy of almost every African border and government would immediately be called into question.

who's to say the motivation would not be different and that they would welcome an oppurtunity to acquire ap art of Zimbabwe.

As for being optimistic-what other choice is there?

If you do not have hope you do not get much accomplished...

As for me I am hoping for money or any other application of political will/force by any other entity besides the US going it alone to somehow fix the problems.

the christian groups were mainly concerned about the South Sudan, where christians are oppressed, than about Darfur. The man most responsible for calling attention to Darfur in the US is Nicholas Kristoff, of the New York Times.

See, people CAN learn. Congratulations on figuring it out.

Few who have actually survived genocide, or been present during one, need teaching. Genocide is one thing that popular armament CAN prevent, because committing genocide is pretty labour intensive. You have to identify the targets and either kill them as found or round them up and remove them. In both cases an armed population of victims is difficult to kill.

ONCE THE TARGETS REALISE DEATH IS COMING, it's very difficult for the murderers to prevail. As long as the targets are armed and realise they are doomed, an "each one kill one" mentality will quickly deter the murderers.

The Warsaw Ghetto is just one example.

As to intervention, the U. S., Britain. or any other advanced country could stop it today. Mugabe is easy to find and cruise missiles are cheap. The problem is that the west has been crying the tears of the white man so long that it is political suicide to violently intervene in Africa. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Hillary Clinton will remain silent while millions die, but kill one tyrant and watch them go ape.

#48 Raymond

Oh my Raymond-so true I'm near tears.

That is exactly it.

The notion that gun laws are a substitute for the work of building the social AND political conditions for liberal democracy is laughable.

I'm not sure anyone has made this argument; I know I never intended to. The argument isn't that guns magically = democracy. The argument is that you can't raze huge portions of cities and force their residents to starve in the countryside if those residents can shoot the people on the bulldozers. Or, at least, the cost of razing goes way, way up, as you first need to send in troops to clear out the armed residents. And of course midnight snatchings of dissidents get really expensive if you have to shoot it out with them in their own homes.

And yes, Mugabe could have "democratically" altered his gun laws. Which is exactly why Joe proposes an international right to arms: such a move should earn the condemnation of the international community and possible sanctions of some kind. When I say that most tyrannies have disarmed their victims before getting started with the killings, I'm explaining one possible reason why armed rebellion against tyranny has be relatively rare. But if the valus of the "world community" (whatever that is) change, then two possible effects are 1) more rebellions (more guns), or 2) fewer tyrannies (because the guns raise the price).

And perhaps you're right about ID badge machines. Fine. Put them on my list of "items the government may not ban."

staghounds: You have to identify the targets and either kill them as found or round them up and remove them.

In the USSR and North Vietnam, they did it by quota

or anyone who once upon a time had an above average income, or anyone whose ancestors had had an above average income.

The lower class peasants were instructed to choose which of their fellow villagers fell into this category, and kill them.

The central government laid down a death quota- 5 percent of the population of each village were to be killed.

If they did not comply, the entire Village was exterminated ..

#52 staghounds

Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Hillary Clinton will remain silent while millions die, but kill one tyrant and watch them go ape.

That and if you bring up the Sudan you might get people to remember Clinton's failure to stop the genocide in Rwanda

There is Ayn Rand quote at Wretchard's left by george1776 that so fits-

"Observe the nature of today's alleged peace movements. Professing love and concern for the survival of mankind, they keep screaming the the nuclear-weapons race should be stopped, that armed force should be abolished as a means of settling disputes among nations, and that war should be outlawed in the name of humanity. Yet these same peace movements do not oppose dictatorships; the political views of their members range through all shades of the statist specturm, from welfare statism to socialism to fascism to communism. This means that they are opposed to the use of coercion by one nation against another, but not by the government of a nation against its own citizens; it means that they are opposed to the use of force against armed adversaries, but not against the disarmed. "Consider the plunder, the destruction, the starvation, the brutality, the slave-labor camps, the torture chambers, the wholesale slaughter perpetrated by dictatorships. Yet this is what today's alleged peace-lovers are willing to advocate or tolerate-in the name of love for humanity"

From Caplitalism the Unknown Ideal. 1966.

Look out- I think Wretchard has already posted a response to you....

liberalhawk, I appreciate your standing up in this forum and giving your opinion. Hopefully, it doesn't feel like you're being ganged up on to bad, but you're the only one here to argue with! So, go get your friends and let's have some real fun!

"And yes, Mugabe could have "democratically" altered his gun laws. Which is exactly why Joe proposes an international right to arms: such a move should earn the condemnation of the international community and possible sanctions of some kind."

Or you could have internationally enforceable human rights of all kinds, including freedom of the press, right to a fair trial, etc. Would achieve much the same thing, without forcing developed democracies to adopt gun policies THEY dont want. Hell, the world community cant even agree on sanctions on Sudan, which is commiting genocide, which has been against international law for years. Why would sanctions suddenly become effective on your issue?

The problem with Rwanda, Sudan, etc was NOT a shortage of applicable international law. It was a shortage of the will to enforce it.

Liberalhawk,

I think Iraqis should have guns, too. In fact, I was particularly tickled by Chrenkoff's coverage of the Iraqi shopkeeper who was being harassed by terrorists, so he and his family got our their AK-47s and proceeded to shoot about 5 of them dead in a 30-minute gun battle.

5 kills, no losses. Now THAT's gun control!

Joe,

Since youre reading these comments, could you please let me know if anything I posted in any comment appeared to be holocaust denial?

To be honest, liberalhawk, I think international rights are nice in theory, worthless in practice. So I guess for me this whole thing is a purely academic exercise.

Except, of course, even as we speak there is a >UN-led movement to force the US to adopt a gun policy it doesn't like, and to have the opposite of an international right to arms: an international right to disarmarment. So I'm not at all moved by indignation at a counter-movement.

re Iraq.

IIUC US military policy in Iraq is to allow AQ-47s, no more than one per household, and no weapons heavier than that. IE they instituted moderate gun control, at a level appropriate to the conditions of Iraqi society.

rob, i check the site you linked to, and ISTM youve mischarecterized the site. Its entirely concerned with the illicit international trade in small arms - stuff like smuggling guns into places like Sierra Leone, etc where they are used to devastate peoples rights.

Arming the 'ndebele today would be rather futile. The people who consigned them to starvation live in London and NY and DC and in every other western city with a large group of liberals guided by thought as shallow as their emotionalism is deep. The aim of the ANC hasn't changed in fifty years. There is very little difference between Mugabe and Mbeki and the outcome in SA will be the same as it is in Zim. Those who supported sanctions against both countries thirty years ago are as responsible for starving the 'ndebele today as is Mugabe.

The Rhodies were quite well armed. They still lost Rhodesia to the forces of tyranny dressed up as "a caring world", murdering with sanctions rather than machetes.

Arming yourself is probably a wise choice, Joe. Properly identifying the friends of tyranny is probably a bit more difficult and naming them perhaps even more so. They're such "good" people with such "moral authority". Generally you can tell them by the boot polish on the lips though.

Here's some good news on the gun control front:

Scotland to get tougher airgun laws

Those deadly airguns.....

liberalhawk,

I haven't read anything you have said to amount to holocaust denial. Another case of words being put into your mouth.

"Every country in West African has experienced widespread violence in which small arms featured.
Firearms have particularly fuelled overlapping and uncontained conflicts in Sierra Leone, Liberia and most recently Cote D’Ivoire, as well as non-conflict related crime and violence. Small arms remain the primary weapons of intra- and inter-communal feuds, local wars, armed insurrections, armed rebel activities and terrorism throughout the region.

As a result of the armed conflict in the region, hundreds if not thousands have already been killed, hundreds of thousands displaced or made refugees, and an immeasurable amount of property destroyed. In addition, small arms have been used to grossly violate human rights, to facilitate the practice of bad governance, to subvert constitutions, to carry out coup d’états and to create and maintain a general state of fear, insecurity and instability."

Liberalhawk,
And look at how many tyrannies have been overthrown WITHOUT mass gun ownership, from eastern europe in '89, to Ukraine, Georgia, etc.
Maybe somebody with more tact (and time) than I have can explain to you about the US Military, the US nuclear arsenal, and (in particular reference to eastern Europe) those horrible, arms-race-escalating IRBMs that the warmongers Reagan and Thatcher had installed in Europe over the objections of the peace-loving citizens. That is the context in which the peaceful dissolution of the Warsaw Pact occurred.

As far as the US goes, I'm with you in thinking that the likelihood of a dictatorship here is vanishingly small. However, unlike you, I'm not willing to start jettisoning some of the reasons why that is so!

Liberalhawk,

I don't see holocaust denial in anything you've written. Comment #51 pissed me off, though.

Christian groups focused on southern Sudan when Darfur had not happened yet. It went on for a long, long time... and as others noted, when black people were being literally enslaved, the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons of the world were nowhere in sight. No, check that - Jesse was busy helping to keep murders in charge across the continent in Liberia.

If Kristoff is really the person responsible for putting Sudan on the radar screen, you have to ask some hard questions. Starting with - why is that?

If those Christian groups had been listened to for all those years, instead of just dismissed by the Left as a bunch of crazy Christians while 2 million black people were killed or enslaved, Darfur would not have happened because the government that sponsored it would be gone.

Summed up in three words: "not our people." Are they?

But Kristoff sure is.

I'm just hoping that your comments aren't meant as disparagement of those Christian groups who did campaign so long and hard to stop the atrocities in Sudan. Or as a dismissal of Christians generally as legitimate political actors with values that go beyond parochial concerns.

Damn. Great post, Joe.

Joe, I too am a Canadian. Thanks for your thoughtful post.

While there is the usual heated exchange on a contentious topic in this situation, I think it brought several things clearly into focus. Since most of the commenters seem much more well informed, I will make a couple of observations that seem to spring from your post and then ask some questions and hope that some of the thoughtful readers have data to bring to bear.

1. In arguments about the merits of widespread gun possession, it seems must be very careful about what issue one is addressing. E.g. against unorganized crime, organized crime, domestic terrorism, government repression, a fallback defense against foreign invasion when a regular army has been defeated or is not available to protect you.

2. Further to that point, whether or not the victims are armed is one example of the attributes of victims that affect outcomes. Presumably there are other important attributes, such as communication, organization, and information. Seems that the defeat of Apartheid was brought about by largely peaceful means, and at least one contributing factor was the organization of the foes of Apartheid.

3. It seems that there are also attributes of the aggressors that matter. On this point, two obvious ideas come to mind. One is Gandhi's use of passive resistance against Britain - it worked because Britain was a civilized nation. Many people of argued (and I would say convincingly) that that technique would not have been effective against Ceaucescu, Stalin, Hitler, etc. The second idea is the organization of the aggressor. In most cases holocausts have been perpretrated with a formal chain of command. The case of Rwanda is much more disturbing because it was largely perpetrated by individuals (obviously motivated by a central group). I'm sure the Milgram experiments are relevant here but I guess the point is that not all oppressors are equal, and different tactics might be called for.

3. Your reference to the Bobbitt article is very compelling, but I would want to be very careful about discussing the behavior of entire nations as if they were individuals. I.e. The Kitty Genovese situation looks like the situation where the "international community" does nothing about Zimbabwe, but the actors are nation states in the latter case.

4. Finally, I think you make an excellent case that waiting for the "international community" to step in is probably not a tenable solution in most cases. I don't, however, think that as a consequence it necessarily follows that having an armed populace, prior to the start of any oppression or genocide, is exactly and only what's needed.

As I said, I would be curious if someone who has studied a variety of situations has a really good handle on what could prevent genocide, and what victims could do to stop one in progress. In order to be compelling, one would need to find situations where the variable in question changes and the outcome changes, but other things remain equal.

Thanks again Joe for your thougtful post.

Joe, I think we need to get rid of the UN. It has devolved to an organization whose only industry is Misery. Why stop it? Kofi and the rest of his gang are misery pimps, they make all their profits adminstering "aid" and "peacekeeping". Where is the incentive for the UN to stop any of it?

hmmm...expecting the UN to get rid of Misery is like expecting divorce lawyers to find a solution for divorce. ;)

The problem with Rwanda, Sudan, etc was NOT a shortage of applicable international law. It was a shortage of the will to enforce it.

Which is why an international right to bear arms is a good thing. It is a last-resort. If a government tries to disarm their population, even if the 'international community' doesn't impose sanctions, the government will still have an armed populace to deal with - something far more costly than having the U.N. on your case.

How is defending yourself against a tyrannical government morally any different from defending yourself or your family against criminals?

Ok, Joe, let me respond on 51.

"the christian groups were mainly concerned about the South Sudan, where christians are oppressed, than about Darfur."

This is absolutely correct. Yes Darfur had not happened yet. When it DID happen, I recall hearing nothing particularly loud from them about it.

As for Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, I have no reason to defend them. I despise Sharpton, and dont particularly care for Jackson.

"The man most responsible for calling attention to Darfur in the US is Nicholas Kristoff, of the New York Times. "

Note - I said calling attention to DARFUR - I did NOT say calling attention to the SUDAN. I chose my words carefully. Attention had been called to the Sudan before - by the Christian groups, among others (I think Human Rights Watch and others played a role as well, though they certainly did NOT focus on Sudan like the Christian groups did)

I did not post this to disparage anyone. But someone was crediting the Christian groups with calling attention to DARFUR. Which, AFAICT, was not the case. I was merely trying to set the record straight. Im sorry if it pissed you off.

And I cant see that it is anything like holocaust denial.

Which again, I think is a very serious charge. Do you agree?

"Maybe somebody with more tact (and time) than I have can explain to you about the US Military, the US nuclear arsenal, and (in particular reference to eastern Europe) those horrible, arms-race-escalating IRBMs that the warmongers Reagan and Thatcher had installed in Europe over the objections of the peace-loving citizens. That is the context in which the peaceful dissolution of the Warsaw Pact occurred. "

If you think Im one of those naifs who thinks the victory of the cold war could have been won by pure gandhian pacifism, youve got me mispegged. Gee, youd think somebody would actually read the nick ive selected for myself. I was not arguing against the need for a strong US military. I WAS pointing out that tyranny was overthrown without mass private ownership of firearms in the countries concerned

Liberalhawk (#75)

Definitely a serious charge. As I said before in #68, I didn't see it either.

You background explanation was very clarifying and helpful. Seems I read a tone into it that wasn't there. My apologies.

Rights cannot exist without responsibilities.

Tyranny cannot exist with an armed citizenry.

All you have to do is look at the Holocaust to see a modern society gone mad.

You are responsible for what you do, the founders knew this, it is still true today. Or it should be, but since the education system has been appropriated by liberals, who knows. Heck 2/3 think today's economy is rotten.

"Definitely a serious charge. As I said before in #68, I didn't see it either."

thank you, but i guess Im waiting for something that Im not seeing.

Oh well. Your site has plenty of good info (esp the Darling posts,etc) I suppose I dont need to wade into the morass of comments.

As many of you know, I'm from Canada. We have a pretty different attitude to guns up here, and I must say that American gun culture has always kind of puzzled me. To me, one no more had a right to a gun than one did to a car.

I've never understood why anyone raises that analogy as an argument against gun rights or for gun control. Constitution or no, can you imagine what holy hell Americans and Canadians alike would raise if both countries suddenly started regulating cars the way Canada regulates guns?

Liberalhawk, my guess is you're waiting for an apology from the person concerned. Only that person that issue it.

Bill and I (and indeed, any commenter) can look at the situation and say "you're right" - but that's all. My stance on comments in my threads is clear in the comments policy, and I don't edit for what I perceive as true or not true (nor, I suspect, would you want me to).

RE: insulting others, Bill R. and I have different approaches, but in my threads the rule is (a) you better have more to offer than just insults; and (b) go right ahead if so, just understand the credibility loss that can follow and be prepared to take as well as dish.

An excellent and very thoughtful post, though I think proclaiming that Zimbabweans must be provided and have a right to take up arms is a bit of a misnomer.

What you are really talking about is empowerment.

As others have already said, Afghanistan lived under the Taliban for years... every Afghani had a Kalishnikov... did that save them from the Taliban?

If we somehow put rifles in the hand of every North Korean do you really think there would suddenly be revolution?

Of course not.

What you are talking about is empowering people to take matters into their own hands. Zimbabweans need to feel that someone has their backs. Right now, they are lost.

Iraq after the first Gulf War is an example of a population seizing the moment and feeling empowered. Yet they were failed by the UN and Coalition when they didn't receive the support they needed to depose Saddam. Eventually, the Kurds succeeded where the Shia got massacred.

Putting a gun into the hands of those who are oppressed will do nothing to help them overthrow their oppressors. What they need is the confidence that if they take the initiative, they will have the support of the world behind them.

That is where the UN, US, EU, NATO, AU and so many others have failed so many times before.

In order for things to change, WE must make it clear to our own governments that we want to support these people in any way possible. And we will not accept the narrow-minded and self-centered bickering that is so common.

We must demand that our governments make it policy to protect and help those who attempt to overthrow their oppressors rather than sit by and hope for the best.

XLRQ, I think we already do regulate cars the way Canada regulates guns.

Registration of item required. License to operate that's conditional, requires a test, and is and revocable both with and in some cases without recourse. Additional taxes on items required to operate (not sure we do that with guns). Configuration requirements couple to usage methods (seatbelt laws, regulations re: what must be present). Expensive insurance required as a condition of use (we don't do that with guns). Restrictive rules on where you can and can't take them.

We do regulate what kinds of guns people can own, which we don't do for cars (except indirectly, via taxes).

Other than that, what am I missing?

Liberalhawk-

Didn't think I would have to be the one to spell this out. If you take a narrow definition of "holocaust" (Nazis killing Jews) then you are right. You are not denying anything.

But if you take a more generic definition of "holocaust" as (State Killing Many Disliked People) then the Eastern Europe "bloodless" uprisings of '89 was just the end act in a drama that claimed the lives of millions (USSR alone has a death toll somewhere over 30 million). And to call them "bloodless" is to deny the tens of millions killed along the way.

I am not commenting on the proper use of "holocaust" - but are the people who died by the tens of millions in the Soviet gulags (or starved to death in Ukraine, or shot in a dark street corner, etc...) any less human then the Jews who died by the millions in the concentration camps?

-John

I should add to my last sentence...

"We must demand that our governments make it policy to protect and help those who attempt to overthrow their oppressors rather than sit by and hope for the best."

or worse... become a hindrance to them achieving their freedom.

Colt - see my longer post #70 - but to address your question #74 note that there can be moral equivalence between defending against a government and defending against a criminal, but there can be a great deal of difference in how you should go about it - criminals and governments have different incentives, strengths, and weaknesses, for example.

To me the discussion of efficacy of guns as a deterrent to crime or genocide or anything else should be completely separate from the moral rights discussion.

Suppose that study A today finds that when being robbed by a criminal, you are better off, in most cases with:
1. not having a gun
2. having a visible gun
3. having a concealed gun

Isn't that almost irrelevant to the question of whether or not you make the decision to carry a gun, or a government unilaterally decides you can't, especially if study B tomorrow then gets a different result. Isn't there an issue of who gets to make the final determination of what action to take?

That's why I'm hoping some well-researched historian or economist will be able to comment on the efficacy of methods for preventing genocide, since it's seems pretty unanimous that it's a bad thing, and it seems pretty clear that waiting for the international community doesn't work very well.

Liberalhawk,

I followed the UN conference on small arms and light weapons closely when it happened.

1) They didn't define "illicit weapons" clearly. Some speakers, who may or may not speak for the conference as a whole, put the number of "illicit weapons" in the world as 40-60% of the total number of small arms. Now, a common estimate for the US priavate gun stock is in the neighborhood of 50% of the world's guns. So I think my guns are "illicit" by the lights of at least some international gun-controllers.

2) A recent debate between Wayne LaPierre and Rebecca Peters, the head of the IANSA (whom we may resonably take to speak for the organization), was asked if the US should sign and enforce a hypothetical treaty that would tighten gun laws (the exact nature of the treaty wasn't specified.) Peters said, "It seems to me that the National Rifle Association would say all people on Earth are created equal, but some people, Americans, are created more equal than others. No, Americans are people like everyone else on Earth. They should abide by the same rules as everyone else."

So IANSA's head thinks the US should adopt gun control proposals created by the UN because being different--that is, responding to the preferences of actual US citizens, or enforcing the US Constitution--is some how an arrogant (unilateral!) claim to be "more equal" than others. If it was just about export control, that might be one thing. But:

Asked to elaborate on the phrase "moderate gun control," Peters obliged: "people who own guns should have to have a license. Guns should be registered. It means ensuring that certain categories of guns are not available to private citizens or to people who haven’t had particular training and who are not subject to military or official discipline. "

Asked about self-defense, Peters replied: "Women need to live in societies that respect their human rights. Women need to be protected by police forces, by judiciaries, by criminal justice systems. People who have guns for self-defense are not safer than people who don’t."

I suppose our police don't need them, then. But seriously, she has a good point that guns aren't enough, civil society is essential. As you have pointed out repeatedly and correctly, liberalhawk, the US is a mature democracy with a robust civil society, but Peters still thinks we need rigid gun control.

My point is not that Rebecca Peters is right or wrong, and I would strongly urge commenters following this one not to debate the merits of Peters' proposals. My point is that the INASA is not just about export control, and isn't just about Sierra Leone. They want to radically alter gun laws in the US, too.

Two posts that go together well (point and counterpoint)...

#78
"Tyranny cannot exist with an armed citizenry."

#82
"As others have already said, Afghanistan lived under the Taliban for years... every Afghani had a Kalishnikov... did that save them from the Taliban?"

Actually, under Saddam Hussein, usually considered the prototypical tyrant on this site, the Iraqi citizenry was well-armed, as the US occupation forces have found to their dismay.

From Brookings Iraqi Tribes
"It would be an exercise in futility for the coalition or an interim authority to try to collect all weapons from the tribes. Tribal Iraqis have had rifles and handguns for hundreds of years, and will not give them up willingly."

None of this is to dispute the responsibility of civilized nations to deal with Mugabe, but just to argue that talking about gun control in the context of Zimbabwe is a non-sequitur. The dispossessed that Mugabe is presently abusing do not have the cash to buy their next meal, let alone guns and ammo.
Robert Kaplan in The Coming Anarchy has well detailed the continuing horrific consequences of ready access to small arms throughout Africa, a point which the original poster ignores. Rather than Jeffersonian democracies, access to weapons in the much of Africa has lead to gang warfare, warlords, civil war, and ethnic clashes.

access to weapons in the much of Africa has lead to gang warfare, warlords, civil war, and ethnic clashes.

Right, because the pre-firearms history of Africa never had warlords, civil war, ethnic clashes, etc.

Question: were the well-armed "tribal Iraqis" often subject to Saddam's midnight raids, torture, rape, etc? I honestly don't know the answer, but is it possible that much of his tyranny was confined to (relativly poorly armed) city dwellers?

Rob:

During Saddams "hayday".. if you can call it that... that is, when Iraq and Iraqis were actually a semi-modern and prosperous society suffering under a maniacal tyrant it is my understanding that pretty much all Iraqis still had rifles at the door. It's simply a part of the culture.

I don't think Saddam, or his goons, gave a damn whether their victims had a rifle or not because they, the victims, knew that Saddams army and fedayeen would take care of any "resisters".

pretty much all Iraqis still had rifles at the door. It's simply a part of the culture.

If that's the case, I simply do not understand how it was possible to arrest people and torture/rape/murder them (especially rape--wouldn't men go to the mat for their wives and daughters?). If you know what's coming--torture and probable murder--why on Earth wouldn't you make the goons pay a bit? And, of course, keep your last round in a pocket for yourself.

After a few raids that result in 5 dead goons and 1 dead arrestee (remembering the tactical advantage you have in your own home), you'd think that recruiting for the security services would suffer.

Tom V. and liberalhawk do raise worthwhile questions re: when weapons would be more vs. less helpful as a form of aid, and also point to things we'd want to investigate further.

While Rob's point re: Africa is surely well taken, I'd also want to look into patterns of gun ownership in the areas Brookings studied. It isn't good enough to say "widespread" if that just means "the blood-diamond dealers used the funds to give child-soldiers guns and terrorize the largely-unarmed populace."

RE: Afghanistan, that is a good case. I'll add that one can say "best defense" without saying "pefect defense," but my curiosity is awakened re: how the Taliban kept control in a very armed society. On the other hand, that control went "poof!" pretty fast, mostly without direct engagements with the USA. That tends to point to a system of tribal controls and the ability to play tribes off against one another as their M.O. of tyranny, in effect a delegated form of social control that was shaky but stable enough - until stressed.

It's always interesting to dig into these things, and learn a bit more about freedom, anti-freedom, and their spread factors.

Now, having said all that... my point re: genocide still stands. The Taliban hated the Hazaras, but they would never have been stupid enough to try enacting a genocide against them because they would have run out of Talibanis trying.

It is possible to rule an armed populace. But the costs of enacting genocide against one are so ruinous in men and materiel that they verge on impossible... unless you do a Saddam Hussein and use WMDs. As "Mr. Down and Out in Tikrit Hills" found out, however, that tends to put a whole different bullseye on you these days.

Cars and Guns

Guess what? Many gun enthusiasts (even the NRA) would probably be MORE THAN HAPPY to treat guns like cars (well, they would view it as a major step up, anyway).

If guns were treated like cars...

1. Anyone could buy one. ANYONE, ANYTIME, who had the money.

2. Anyone could legally own one.

3. Anyone could legally transport one (there are no restrictions on having a car shipped, for instance).

4. Anyone could use one all they wanted on private property. (You can certainly drive a car on your own property without a license. The license is only required for public places.)

Do I need to continue?

You've fallen for common lefty bulls--t. Guns are the single most restricted tools in modern America, and they're the most restricted thing period next to radioactive material and some kinds of drugs.

Liberalhawk-

I haven't had time to read through all your posts but Christian and Catholics-Rwanda is surprisingly heavily Catholic and then Christian-probably because of the Belgiums.

Those groups did more than Krstoff-give me a break.

THEY were there.

And not that I am a holy roller-but you have to admire the missionaries that get in there and do the actual work.

What in bloody heck did Kristoff do-pick up a pencil?

And if you call yourself a liberal-then you are well aware of the lengths the Democratic political party goes out of their way to denegrate Evangelicals in order to make abortionists, and homsexuals and other factions of their party [heck these aren't factions]feeelcomfortable...

And before you jump to conclusions I am persuadable on these very issues-my opinion on the afore mentioned Christian agenda items are not set in stone but the way the Democrats advocate them at the expense of rationality and prioritize them above all else is a HUGE turn off.

"Didn't think I would have to be the one to spell this out. If you take a narrow definition of "holocaust" (Nazis killing Jews) then you are right. You are not denying anything.

But if you take a more generic definition of "holocaust" as (State Killing Many Disliked People) then the Eastern Europe "bloodless" uprisings of '89 was just the end act in a drama that claimed the lives of millions (USSR alone has a death toll somewhere over 30 million). And to call them "bloodless" is to deny the tens of millions killed along the way.

I am not commenting on the proper use of "holocaust" - but are the people who died by the tens of millions in the Soviet gulags (or starved to death in Ukraine, or shot in a dark street corner, etc...) any less human then the Jews who died by the millions in the concentration camps?"

Nowhere did I say that the history of Soviet Union, or the history of Eastern Europe under Soviet occupation was bloodless. Ive read Solzenitsn (sp?) and ive read Adam Ulam, and ive skimmed Robert Conquest. I have relatives who fled Hungary after the '56.

Nor did I even say that the uprising of '89 was ENTIRELY bloodless. It was not in Rumania.

What I did say was that overthrow of tyranny is quite possible WITHOUT arming the population. I was thinking more of the recent "color" revolutions, but felt it would not be right to exclude the '89, the model in so many ways.

So, we've got examples of tyranny overthrown without arming the population. And examples of well armed populations that were tyrannized. So as far as a calm, objective cost benefit discussion I think we're done. The rest is ideology.

The way Democrats want to rob Evangelicals and Catholic missionaries who lift the heavy burdens in God forsaken places and the Democrats anxiety to always and consistently put them down is appalling.

Your post where you want to give more credit to a reporter than an organized group of people that actually had and have "boots on the ground" so to speak is illustrative of the neeed to rob Christian and Catholic missionaries of the glory and appreciation they so richly deserve.

liberalhawk,

It's worth noting carefully the difference between tyranny and genocide, as Joe highlighted.

madwaskan

Where did i say Kristoff said anything abour Rwanda? I was talking about Darfur. Its hundreds of miles away. As for Rwanda, there were christians on both sides there. The information was spread to the West largely by members of NGO's, like Alison des Forges.

I am getting increasingly frustrated with having to deal with insults and insinuations and grand generalizations from people who cannot even get their facts straight.

"Right, because the pre-firearms history of Africa never had warlords, civil war, ethnic clashes, etc."

Certainly, pre-firearms Africa had all those things.
However, the arguement of the original posting was that widespread gun ownership in Zimbabwe might have prevented Mugabe's tyranny.
My response is that many African nations currently have very widespread gun ownership and conditions are just as bad or worse than Zimbabwe (Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Congo, Liberia, Ethiopia,Burundi, Angola, etc.,etc.). Their tyranny may not be as organized but none of us would wish to live their Hobbesian nightmare. Ready availability of small arms just makes lawlessness more lethal.

Clearly, sub-Saharan Africa is in desperate straits and something other than gun-ownership and/or traditional international aid is required. No nation or organization is currently delivering the mix of hard and soft power required to fix the problem.

LH

It's Solzhenitsyn-Gulag Archipelago

Add George Washington Carver's Up from Slavery if you want an appreciation of freedom and an education that africans are thoroughly capable of it.

I grow weary of the Liberal condescending that says they like dictatorships or that these regimes are the only ones that can maintain order.

They said the same thing about the Soviets.

LH

the same applies to Darfur-an area of Sudan that is just slightly north of Rwanda and Zaire-and if we want to talk boudaries they have all been artificially drawn by their previous european colonizers.

So small point-but the Christians and catholic missionaries are in Darfur actually don't think they let to many in the mountianous area- but they are in the Sudanese refugee camps.

As is Seth Appiah Mensah the General of the African Union that the US airlifted by several C-130s operated by special -ops crews.

Rob - in conditions of genocide, the normal rights given to all are usually denied to a minority group, prior to killing them. When the Jews of Germany were killed they were first denied the rights given to other Germans. Had the German people been widely armed (i dont know if they were) the Jews would undoubtedly have been disarmed, and i doubt the other Germans would have done anything about it, as they did nothing when other rights were deprived.

But at least prior to that, the Jews of Germany would likely have suffered fewer burglaries. Though more suicides, more crimes of passion, etc.

"If that's the case, I simply do not understand how it was possible to arrest people and torture/rape/murder them (especially rape--wouldn't men go to the mat for their wives and daughters?). If you know what's coming--torture and probable murder--why on Earth wouldn't you make the goons pay a bit?"

Like sheep to the slaughter, they went ... . That was the history of the Jews under Nazi rule. Its VERY hard to accept someone is actually going to murder you, until they do. Easier to deny it, I will live through it, etc. Whereas fighting one will surely die.

Liberal Hawk-

Oh heck-I'm doing plenty of typos and grammatical errors which tends to bug liberals but here is a liberal professor who has a great website and maybe you will believe him.

The guy is dying of cancer but he is trying to fight for the region with his last breath.

and HE will probably tell you that the missionaries deserve our admiration and they do NOT deserve to be robbed of it.

http://www.sudanreeves.org/

"the same applies to Darfur-an area of Sudan that is just slightly north of Rwanda and Zaire-"

It is in fact hundreds of miles away.

"It's Solzhenitsyn-Gulag Archipelago"

I forgot the spelling of his name, thats all.

Gulag was not all he wrote - i only read the first volume of Gulag. He also wrote 3 novels that related to his gulag experiences, A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch, First Circle, and Cancer Ward. I read all three. He also read several other novels, none of which Ive read.

"The way Democrats want to rob Evangelicals and Catholic missionaries who lift the heavy burdens in God forsaken places and the Democrats anxiety to always and consistently put them down is appalling.

Your post where you want to give more credit to a reporter than an organized group of people that actually had and have "boots on the ground" so to speak is illustrative of the neeed to rob Christian and Catholic missionaries of the glory and appreciation they so richly deserve."

Res Ipso Loquitur. God save the republic, for surely miracles will be needed. Sigh.

"Add George Washington Carver's Up from Slavery if you want an appreciation of freedom and an education that africans are thoroughly capable of it.

I grow weary of the Liberal condescending that says they like dictatorships or that these regimes are the only ones that can maintain order."

where exactly did i state this?

liberalhawk:

Germans were never and are not as heavily armed as Americans are today. Gun ownership and hunting in Europe are and have always been mostly aristocratic pursuits. And thus I strongly suspect that Jews were even less heavily armed than were Germans at large. But as pro-gunners will never tire of pointing out if you let them, Jews were, in fact, disarmed before they were slaughtered, as were many ordinary Germans. When they managed to scrounge a few pistols in Warsaw along with some hard-core will to fight, they did fairly well for themselves; I would hope that I could do as well. Naturally, lacking armor, they lost in the end.

That example is where the "cold, dead hands" slogan comes from: if you make it impossible for them to disarm you, then you don't have the problem of "first disarm, then slaughter."

I'd disagree with you on the suicide/crimes of passion point, but that's neither here nor there.

And please do read my long post (#87) on IANSA. As with most international organizations, I think they could be useful in theory but are abysmal in practice.

And I, for one, appreciate your remaining in the fray despite the insults and non-sequiturs.

"if you make it impossible for them to disarm you, then you don't have the problem of "first disarm, then slaughter"

In 1938, when jews were denied there rights, few expected genocide. Those who did fled. Many did not, cause this sort of thing, was well impossible. Why would someone who is so sure that genocide is not coming that they wont flee, engage in suicidal resistance when the police come to take your gun away? In other words, even had they been armed, i doubt any would have done the "cold dead hand" thing. Its a cute (?) slogan for bumperstickers, but i doubt there are many people who would follow through on it. Which dramatically impacts the utility of mass armament as a tyranny preventer.

Tyranny should read genocide, in 110 above

There are a number of people who would follow through on it today; history's lessons aren't entirely forgotten. And of course the famous Lexington and Concord battles were fought over gun control, before the word "genocide" was invented.

Naturally, it's most important that you be thought willing to follow through, which will prevent the attempt in the first place.

And I suspect more people would be willing to follow through if they lived in a genocide-inclined part of the world. To the extent that Americans would meekly give up their guns (as opposed to burying them, an option apart from suicidal resistance), they would doubtless be thinking "It can't happen here." Would a well-armed minority in an African country think that? Not sure...

Joe Katzman: Yep, that post just about covers it.

Guns aren't for protecting you against normal criminals. They're for protecting you against the GOVERNMENT.

Unfortunately, guns aren't enough by themselves.

Tom V: thanks for your comment #99. That goes at least some way towards answering my long-winded question #70.

I think the five steps (1) Notice (2) Recognition (3) Decision (4) Assignment and (5) Implementation apply best to situation that ought to be easy calls. It's good as far as it goes, but it lacks some reality by itself.

In my experience (which thank the gods is scant) cold if vague estimates and options leap right to the forefront of your mind. No prior steps required, and influence you all along.

Example: someone is drowning in heavy surf where I know there's a rip. How heavy is that surf, will I die or will I live? If I die, will it have been worth trying, or is this just stupid? How big is this guy, and how likely is he to panic and take me with him? How long have I got if I go to summon other help (factoring in discouragement when he sees me running away not to him), what are the routes and options, what uncertainty is there about success, how long it might take to summon more help, and how long it might then take the help (if any) to arrive?

Often the decision is simple and greatly assisted if you faced the decision and made the right call before. Sometimes it's not.

(In the mythology of Spider-Man, it can even come down to having faced the decision before - and having totally internalised and transcended the reality that you made the wrong decision. To call that growth "guilt" would be cheap and wrong. It's much bigger that that.)

Of course there'd be no problem if nobody was really calling for help ... At every step, including "where is everybody?" "what is an adequate reaction, is the relatively safe option really enough or just symbolic?" and "am I doing it, or have I already done my bit?" unreality beckons invitingly. If that rip is bad, and the guy is as big as a whale and I don't like the odds at all - maybe he's just waving? To someone else. (On an empty beach near nightfall. Right.)

Having seen crowds of people fail in unexpected critical situations again and again, I'm going to come out and say the absolute critical issue is visibly accepting the reality of what's going on. People get this look on their faces - I can't describe it but it's no problem to recognise That Look ™ - and they just won't react appropriately. It's like they jam.

You can point to the nut with the knife, you can yell "Knife! Get away!" repeatedly at the top of your lungs (drawing unwanted attention yourself), victim number one can be face down in plain sight (albeit only superficially hurt) - and you may be unable to get people beyond some kind of phoney non-reaction.

Not only will people fail to react appropriately but - and this is something I haven't seen discussed - they may actively prevent you from doing so. The only thing that seems to work is to threaten them, as personally as possible, and preferably in a way they have no immediate physical defence against so they have to engage their brains.

Example: a drugged up girl charges to the toilets, crashes into/through the door, and, self-KOd, is vomiting and choking to death inside the toilets but in plain sight. Enormous Moron (EM) gets That Look ™ and completely non-reacting to the life and death emergency, he insists on maintaining order and normality. "No going in ladies toilets. No way!" (Blocking the way.) What worked was not "She'll die!" (which was completely blocked by That Look) but "You will be held responsible, you will be sued, YOU will go to JAIL yes YOU, JAIL, get out of my way or BIG TROUBLE for YOU!!"

Fortunately I knew how to react to the roadblock, as I was once saved in an analogous way myself. (A chemist was perfectly ready to let a child blue-lipping on his shop floor die, but not to lose his licence, which he was bluffed into thinking would be the consequence. Such is the moral splendour of humanity.)

"Assigning responsibility" by comparison is trivial. Are you reacting to reality in a critical situation? Then it's all up to you, or if you're lucky the one or two other people who are also reacting to reality. It's not even a step, it's just knowing who you are.

This is utterly primal. Even a dog can master it. That's why even a dog can be a hero.

http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-dog05s1.html

Keep It Simple, Stupid! I think this is why Holocaust rescuers typically show a signal lack of any moral elaboration. (The fanciest response researches generally get out of them is something like "I had to or he would have died.") The vital immediate response is so primal - see the problem Bang! Go! Bite! Anything that stalls or diverts the Primal Heroic Response or diverts it into academic mirror mazes is poison for the soul of the hero.

My perfect example for a human being with Primal Heroic Response down pat would be Rick Rescorla.

http://www.mudvillegazette.com/archives/000307.html

He added that the Port Authority was telling him not to evacuate and to order people to stay at their desks.

"What'd you say?" Hill asked.

"I said, 'Piss off, you son of a bitch,' " Rescorla replied. "Everything above where that plane hit is going to collapse, and it's going to take the whole building with it. I'm getting my people the fuck out of here.

I have no words for how perfect that guy was.

In relation to Zimbabwe - I think it comes down to a tiny number of morally responsible people in touch with reality (as always), and unfortunately in this case there is no effective way to threaten the Enormous Moron (domestic and international political opposition) into compliance. The heroes cannot threaten the Enormous Moron with the law, because the Enormous Moron is the law, and very well aware of it. I just don't think George and Tony would have a prayer of getting the needed cooperation. Which is bad news for Zimbabwe, face down in plain sight and choking on that human piece of vomit, Robert Mugabe.

Sometimes that's how the best estimates you can make add up. Sometimes it's about guts. And sometimes it's complicated. And sometimes it's about triage.

Same deal for Darfar. It's genocide. Can we stop it? No. I think Wizbang is right.

http://wizbangblog.com/archives/003271.php

Yes those are horrible things to say. Yes they are complete concession to evil. But there's too much evil in the world, and not enough heroes. So evil is going to win some.

As a well-armed individual who is by nature leery of any government, including my own, I am nonetheless held in check (constrained might be a better word) because there exists in this country a system of laws that allows me a forum for the redress of my grievances - and a system that, by and large, works and in which I have faith BECAUSE it works. Without that system of laws, in another country, say, I would no doubt find myself using my ammunition stockpile at a far greater rate and on something other than mere inert targets.

It's basically a variant of the maxim: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day...." isn't it?

YMMV.

Darn, that dashed-off post needed editing.

Anyway ...

Hi, Jinn. :) As you can see, I've returned to my main theme, and
(a) I don't think this is a left-right ideological thing, though according my picture a grand theory like Marxism should be bad news.
(b) I don't think it's a gene, or if it is it's a gene which an exceptional dog can have too.
© I think it very faintly bears upon economics: what is the perceived cost to you of a belief, including believing - and responding to - what is happening right in front of your eyes? The hero must pay that price before any physical price.
(d) Ultimately I think this is about the nature of consciousness, which is a deep, mysterious thing. I don't think it's the sort of thing that can be rationally "solved" without remainder.

Liberalhawk,

I mostly meant to point out that the eastern Europeans were receiving other help from the West. Looking at it in hindsight, who's going to claim that what they did get wasn't more suited to their situation than some small arms would have been? :-)

And I'll certainly grant you that the leaders of Poland and Hungary were not willing to slaughter the opposition, Mugabe-style--heck, even in Russion that kind of thing went out with Stalin.

David,

Yes, post #115 needed editing. Go edit it, and email it in, and it's a Guest Blog because it was GREAT.

Illumination in there that went well beyond the subject of this debate - and may one day help someone in an important situation.

While I'm giving out props, thanks to Jinnderella for sending me a copy of Cryptonomicon and insisting that I read it. She also made a point of noting the excellent HEAP idea therein.

The Right to Bear Arms. It's not just for Americans any more.

- Joe Katzman

What a great slogan! You should do some t-shirts and mugs at CafePress or someplace, and use the proceeds to start an "AK-47s for Zims" fund. I'd go print up some shirts and airdrop them on the UN, but, it's your slogan.

elb

"What a great slogan! You should do some t-shirts and mugs at CafePress or someplace, and use the proceeds to start an "AK-47s for Zims" fund."
elb

There are thousands of NGOs where you can go and make a donation to help the less fortunate. Is there an NGO with a paypal account that provides means of self-defense to people facing genocide. If there isn't one, what would it take to create one?

#86 Robert Bell

To me the discussion of efficacy of guns as a deterrent to crime or genocide or anything else should be completely separate from the moral rights discussion.

I don't accept that for a moment.

When one says you have the right to bear arms, you also have the right not to. When you talk about the various means of defeating tyranny, you must accept that the individuals involved be allowed to make that choice. If peaceful resistance is the way to go, great. If not, so be it. The point is to give people that choice in the first place. You know - freedom?

#95 liberalhawk

So, we've got examples of tyranny overthrown without arming the population. And examples of well armed populations that were tyrannized. So as far as a calm, objective cost benefit discussion I think we're done. The rest is ideology.

You're completely missing the point here. An armed populace is freer than a disarmed populace, because they can fight and likely defeat tyrants and criminals - if they want to. The indications are that Zimbabweans want to.

This whole conversation is all about having the freedom to make that choice.

"You're completely missing the point here. An armed populace is freer than a disarmed populace, because they can fight and likely defeat tyrants and criminals - if they want to. The indications are that Zimbabweans want to."

This also comes back to the old adage about "my freedom to swing my fist ends where your nose begins". A young woman was killed in my town by her neighbor practicing quick draw and accidentally firing thru drywall into her head. His "freedom" certainly impinged on hers.
Murder rates in the US with relatively "free" gun ownership run from 2 to 10 times higher than Europe with more restrictive laws. The "freedom" of the gun owners must be balanced against the "freedom" of murder victims to continue living, given that about 70% of US murders are committed with guns.
Personally, I am happy to arm Zimbabweans to take on Mugabe, but I see any connection between that issue and gun control in the US, Canada, or the rest of the world as tenuous.

His "freedom" certainly impinged on hers.

Don't make me talk about car accidents. It's just too bloody obvious.

Murder rates in the US with relatively "free" gun ownership run from 2 to 10 times higher than Europe with more restrictive laws.

I'm not necessarily talking about you, but isn't it odd that lefties say crime is caused by poverty, until guns are brought up - and then it's guns which cause crime? Not to mention (and this was you) "gang warfare, warlords, civil war, and ethnic clashes".

What the hell...

A guy crashed his car outside my house last night (true story). He'd been drinking. It was his first crash, and thankfully no-one was hurt. He went through a hedge and ended up in someone's front garden. The police arrived and promptly arrested him after breathalising him.

Personally, I am happy to arm Zimbabweans to take on Mugabe

That's very considerate. But think about the practicalities of that. No-one is going to arm them. That's just plain bloody obvious. And even if it were going to happen, someone else would have to send them the weapons. I guess you missed the point of this post, which is that 'someone else' cannot usually be relied upon to save your life.

Hence the right to bear arms. You don't have to rely on the impossible to fight back.

This also comes back to the old adage about "my freedom to swing my fist ends where your nose begins".

It also ends at my neighbour's front hedge. The driver was not committing a crime until he broke the law. I know that sounds obvious, but you're suggesting that we take away guns in case people have accidents or commit crimes - things that people have always done.

More importantly, that idea means you have to ban cars.

Arguably, banning cars is even more urgent. Most people do not kill others or themselves with cars intentionally, but by accident - such are the dangers. But we don't because the freedom cars give are worth the cost.

The South African government has disarmed the civilian (white) population. I fear for the safety of everyone in South Africa but the whites especially will be targeted.

Tom V.,

Surely, you aren't advocating that we cut off everyone's hands to protect your precious nose? Seriously, I doubt any gun owner thinks that "freedom" properly includes shooting in a crowded city neighborhood. But the fact that some abuse the freedom they have doesn't justify taking it away from everyone.

I just love how lefties want individualized criminal trials for every terroist at Gitmo, but they're willing to assume every gun owner is a murderer and that crime would cease if we could just round 'em all up.

Joe, I note that although you link to some of Rudy Rummel's work on democide in the University of Hawaii web page you've cited in the body of your post, I can't find a reference to his blog on Winds of Change. His blog is Democratic Peace. He and I have our differences but I think he's a great scholar, a very bright guy, and his heart is definitely in the right place. You might want to go over there and take a look around.

You need the mentality to use a gun. Traditionally, the Mashona in Zimbabwe survived by pacifism, keeping quiet peacefully and not making waves...think "passive agression".
The bad news is that eventually the pressure mounts and it will come out in a major blod bath...think Ruanda.
To use guns sucessfully, you need to be uppity enough to fight back...the Matabele in Bulawayo have a warrior tradition, so that is where the opposition is based, and is the most likely area to rebel.
As for guns: as Ruanada shows, machetes are a lethal weapon against a passive population....
But against a trained Army,(and Zim's army has experience in the Congo and is good by African standards) do you expect a civilian to prevail?

BTW, Joe, Nancy Reyes of comment #130 is an American doctor “retired” to the Phillipines who has first-hand knowledge of Africa. She deserves your attention. Her two blogs, Finestkind Clinic and Fish Market and Mugabe Makaipa, with focuses on the Phillipines and Zimbabwe respectively, are both daily stops for me. She's a goddess in my eyes.

do you expect a civilian to prevail [against an army]?

Tactically, no. But strategically? Objectives are key part of warfare. The goal isn't to be good enough to win on the battlefield and overthrow the government, it's to be dangerous enough that the fight will be too expensive to be worth undertaking.

I'd point out that the Iraqi insurgency, whose efforts are killing essentially a militarily insignificant number of troops (we lost far more, both absoultely and as a proportion of those fighting there, taking one God-forsaken rock called Iwo Jima), has managed to convince a large number of people that we should pull out now or very soon.

All you're going for in deterence and, if necessary, attrition until they give up trying to kill everyone.

Hi David Blue!

© I think it very faintly bears upon economics: what is the perceived cost to you of a belief, including believing - and responding to - what is happening right in front of your eyes?

If it is about economics then it is about biology and about EGT (evolutionary games theory).
And we're back to genes and memes.
;-)
;-)
;-)

Rummel has Seen And Read Things Man Was Not Meant to Know. Rummel has been Hurt by those things, and has lost much sanity bringing us key evidence. For that alone he is worthy of great respect.

The Right to Bear Arms. It's not just for Americans any more.

Now there's your next T-shirt caption!

I really like the T-Shirt idea. All I need is a graphic artist who can do it justice with a design...

In Somalia, arms were held by a minority, the militias made sure that the monopoly on arms was upheld. No different than post WWI Weimar and the Freikorps running around.

Far too many Liberals are looking at the world through the Civil Rights movement and Ghandi. In both cases a democracy was persuaded by moral visionaries that they could and should give up something that they wanted to anyway. Very special circumstances where most people wanted to end Segregation and Colonial rule but were balked by an obstinate minority. Armed force there was counter productive, since the aim was to tip the already strong majority for positive action into an overwhelming political force in a consensual governmental system.

Even under Apartheid, FW De Klerk and others could not rule with an iron hand like Mugabe, they had to take into account various Afrikaaner and English speaking power bases who simply tired of the struggle and wished to live normally. By contrast the Civl War, Algeria, Vietnam, Korea, Biafra, and almost every other struggle was settled one way or another by force of arms.

Liberalhawk -- guns were owned by Saddam, not the people. His corrupt tribal alliances and militias, and his various secret police agencies and armies. Comparing Saddam's Iraq to free ownership of guns is like saying the Wehrmacht, SS, and Gestapo represented free gun ownership in Nazi Germany.

As far as gun ownership in Western Societies goes; it is an equalizer, for good or bad. It allows a physically weaker person, such as a woman, to kill her rapist/attacker. Instead of hoping/praying the police or neighbors won't pull a Kitty Genovese attitude. It also has negative consequences, most recently seen on LA Freeways. If you never get out of bed, you'll avoid dying in a traffic accident. But you'll probably die of bed sores. On balance widespread gun ownership allows power to flow down to ordinary people for good or bad instead of being a good granted by the State to a favored few such as David Geffen or Sean Penn (anti-gun activist and concealed carry gun owner).

Crime is rampant in Iraq because Saddam emptied the jails before the War. Go figure.

Gun ownership provides a deterrence when a free people decide not to go quietly into the death machines. Gun ownership (and basic competence) would have caused so many deaths to the Interahamwe militias that it would have ended up stopping far short of what happened. Almost no one died in the Interahamwe militias and about 800,000 people died as their victims. Even distributing half the deaths to the Interahamwe militias would have destroyed their ability to act in such a genocidal way.

West Africa is a bad case for you to cite, since there once again gun ownership is the province of tribal militias and private armies, not the ordinary citizenry. The Soviets and other commies churned out so many AK-47s (which can last up to 100 years they are outstanding weapons) that the price of one in sub-Saharan Africa is $50. Ordinary people owning them acts as a deterrent to the various resource wars aimed at well, nothing more than large scale banditry. [WRT Darfur that was raised by Bill Frist and others long before Kristof. Yes that includes Evangelical groups. Inconvenient but true]

Tom V -- Switzerland has each household owning an assault rifle; contrast to the US where automatic weapons are limited to the less than 400 or so Class IV license holders. Finland also has fairly liberal weapons laws. Contrast to the UK where home invasion robberies/rape/torture is the norm, and there is no right to resist (people who do so go to jail, the UK explicitly denies the right to self defense). Recently, the Home Minister in the run up to the election gave a speech to the populace exhorting them to essentially "lie back and think of England" when confronted by home invaders intent on rape. In the US most burglaries take place when people are NOT at home since no criminal wants to get shot (particularly with a twelve gauge).

I see somebody hold up the millions that died in a many decades long struggle for freedom as an example of a bloodless victory, holocaust denial is what that is ... thats how i see it ... sue me.

Unlike the left, Im not so willing to erase millions of people from history. and I find it damn offensive.

George Orwell told us the left will erase the exitence, deny they existed,, the murdered

And thats what he did, he wrote them out of history

John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, authors of In Denial: Historians, Communism, and Espionage.

Key word ... Denial

As an émigré from the Soviet Union, whose parents were dissidents and were persecuted by the KGB, I grew up in this society completely bewildered and baffled by the Left. From a very young age, I was shocked to observe leftists minimizing the evils of communism and painting their own society as not only just as evil, but even more evil than the Cold War enemy.

In any case, when the Soviet archives were opened after the fall of the Soviet tyranny in 1991, I hungrily devoured all the information inherent in the revelations in declassified documents, disclosures from former Soviet officials, etc.

They all confirmed and substantiated what conservatives had been arguing for decades -- and what common sense had long ago instructed -- that the Soviets were totalitarian, power-hungry and expansionist brutes that started and prolonged the Cold War.

And yet, instead of hearing a mea culpa, a stated regret or admission of some kind of lesson learned, all that I witnessed, in a manner that remains extremely eerie for me to remember, was a callous indifference and smug contempt for the issues at hand.

callous indifference and smug contempt ,,, ive seen some of that here, havent we madawaskan

And just like those rotting in the razor wire are written out of history by the liberalhawk s of the world, they write out of history the Christian service in Rawanda and Sudan ,, with callous indifference and smug contempt.

That artcle in the link, an interview, is good btw

Jamie, you look at Soviet history and see the Gulag, the executions of the Terror, the pervasive oppression, and the economic failure.

Psychologically, the leftists you speak of see little of that. They see a Communist state that articulated their vision of the future and which sought to destroy the societies and institutions they hated. They cannot see the horror that communism actually created. They look on that horror and see something else because they cannot admit to themselves that their vision is beyond human grasp.

The German Communist playwright Bertolt Brecht, when challenged that thousands of innocents had been sent to the Gulag by Stalin, replied, "the more innocent they are, the more they deserve to die."

To you or I this remark is disgusting, but to the hard left it reflects their eager willingness to kill any number of persons without concern for innocence or guilt if it might assist in bringing about the socialist future.

The idealized future that has not happened is more real and more important to them than the past that really did happen. Because the imagined future is more real and important to them, they seek to remold history (human understanding of the real past) to the service of the future.

In his distopia 1984, George Orwell gives the Ministry of Truth of his totalitarian state the task of rewriting history. Orwell's point was that those who control the politics of the past (history) also control the politics of the present and thereby the future.

The academic left, like the Orwell's Engsoc ideologists, believe that history is malleable and can assist in legitimating current politics and bringing about the utopian future.

Revisionists use silence as a weapon. That is why we referred to the status in the historical profession regarding the historical treatment of domestic communism and anticommunism to constitute "an intellectually sick situation."

And morally sick ...

Its why we see the left shrug past mass graves of kids.

In my comment #8 above, I stated that that the freedom culture is as important as the guns.

And thats why the left attack our freedom culture.

Revisionists use silence as a weapon , and thats what that was.

To point to the land of 61 million skulls as an example of bloodless revolution, is offensive. its holocaust denial

Perhaps some of you might enjoy the book

In Denial: Historians, Communism, & Espionage

This book is just one more piece of evidence which bit by bit exposes the Pharassic scandals of those on the Left who continue "in denial".

Two quick observations for Dr. Reyes. First off, before discounting what civilians can do when armed, you might, since you're in the Philippines, want to talk to some of the old men and women who served in the Mindanao Guerilla with Wendell Fertig. They did precisely what you seem to think that they cannot do. And they made the Japanese victory in the Philippines a major part of their defeat. They had to try and police and garrison a colony that simply wasn't paying and which ate up resources that they needed elsewhere.

Second point. Zimbabwe's army isn't all that well trained. Like most armies in collectivist countries, the officers and NCOs are selected for political reliability, not military skill. And you defeat them by not fighting by their rules or by matching their capabilities or aping their doctrine. You look for vulnerabilities and exploit them while letting them discover that when they punch, they do it into empty air because their target is no longer there.

In the end, an armed society is a good defense against genocide because deterrence only seems to work at the point of contact between the agressor and the defender. We shouldn't prevent the victims of such egregious government behavior, from doing what they can to establish such deterrence. And if we can help them, we should. The US has a lot of old obsolete small arms at Anniston Army Depot. I can't think of a better thing than to give some of them to the people who are under attack so that they can stand up for their own rights.

Raymond,

We've been over this. Liberalhawk was referring to the revolutions at the end of the Soviet Era that toppled the wall, and then one government after another. They were mostly bloodless themselves, even if they came after an era of blood.

Saying that is NOT "holocaust denial." It is entirely possible to add the requisite perspective without resorting to such charges.

Especially when you're talking about someone with liberalhawk's background. Go up and check his reading list and background. I'd wager he's almost as familiar with the reality of the Svoiet Empire as you are.

Its not an accusation, and im saying that it is, what it is.

One can point that out without it being a smear.

Would the words be any different ?

How many times have those same people filled the same squares, leaving behind only bloodstains to be washed away in the rain.

Yes, eventually they was succesfull , but only after years of moral argument focused on behavior of regimes the left has a history of excusing and defending. and only after years of death.

The butchers lost the will to kill, gained some respect for the eyes of the free world, a moral argument that undermined the obedience of their agents of opression, and finally ... finnally.. after years and millions dead, and champion of the causes of the disidents, was the state cowed into restraint.

To put it as he did ... that all they needed was to show up one day and show people power .. ??

How can I express ... and why he does that is transparent, the age old same old leftist pacifist refrain.

Are our memories so short? Is Orwell Right? Have the left erased the murdered from history ?

I was a Drivin my PLA Tank one Day
With some Freedom Hungry Students In My Way
Twas my Job to teach Chinese Slaves what they can and cannot say.

Over the Boys went I without stoppin
Tracks slingin bloody meat and torn clothes a soppin.
Over the girls I was a hoppin their bodies pop poppin

I was really trippin,
My Bloody Treads a drippin
The square flowed with blood and my tank tracks a slippin,

Whenever it comes to push
PLA Tanks make students go smush
If only there had been more people to Squish, I wish

June 4 again is commin, I got my tank a Hummin
Fill the square again I Say.
For Im a PLA Tanker, make my Day.

Have we forgotten ?

People power alone dont work, and unlike the slain of June 4 .. most died without the benifit of the watchfull eyes of todays pervasive minicams.

Teinamen square is perhaps the first notice that wholesale slaughter cannot be erased from history, for those that stood up and was exterminated before the velvet and orange revolutions, let us not brush over, brush out, leave out, let us not participate in the leftist erasure of those whos deaths provided the moral argument crutial to later success.

The price for their freedom was paid in blood.
.
.

While I agree that Joe's position on genocide is correct, there are many more examples closer to home.

When an abusive ex-husband breaks into his ex-wifes home at 2AM, the police are not going to be able to stop the violence before it happens. The instances of this are just too common to ignore.

People - like the British government - go on about appropriate response. But a 6 ft 4 in, 200 pound man can beat a 5 ft 2in 115 pound woman to death with his bear hands. If she does not have access to some machine - like a firearm - that can neutralize is physical-strength-advantage, she is doomed to being beaten or killed.

See my blog for many stories on this. (search on restraining orders - since I usually am pointing how they fail again and again to protect anyone.)

Jews for the Preservation of Fire Arms Ownership has been beating this drum for a long time.

With our experience in the Warsaw Ghetto you would think Jews had figured it out long ago.

When I was growing up in the 50s our Jewish Community Center taught fire arms and trained with BB guns - for target practice.

Given WW2 it seemed perfectly normal to me. If they came for us - no more Mr. Nice Guy.

BTW the above post was done at 14:54z.

I think your clock needs some adjustment.

Current time is 15:01z

Simon before the commie-libs came along,, high schools in New York had shooting ranges in them.

Now the commie-libs run the schools and deliberate dumbing down is the program.

Btw untill the moral busy bodies gave us probition, the volstead act. owning a machine gun was perfectly legal, their remedy for the problems created by removing freedom was removing more freedom...

They didnt seem to learn a damn thing.

btw where is the volstead act for pot ?

yeah ? so where comes the authority ? ohh thats right, commie-lib judges...

Maddison who ?

If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison's assurance to the people of New York that the "powers delegated" to the Federal Government are "few and defined," while those of the States are "numerous and indefinite."

Indeed it does ... keep your guns oiled and your ammo fresh ... a majority of our supremes look on the law of the land as a meaningless rag ...

#124 Colt,

The number one driver of the murder rate in America is prohibition.

Milton Friedman estimates the murder rate in America would be cut in half if we gave up that little experiment.

He also estimates burgularies, armed robberies, and theft would see a large decline.

What many gunners do not see is that the effects of prohibition are being used against them.

So where do the politics of prohibition lie? The left is more against it than the right.

Go figure.

The Right to Bear Arms. It's not just for Americans any more.

That is good. I can see it on the obvious stuff like t-shirts and coffee mugs. It'd be even better on important artifacts like Frisbees. And it would look genuinely terrific engraved on a gun.

Gun ownership comes with a cost in human lives: accidents, easier criminal access to guns, access to guns by the mentally unstable, etc. (We only have to look south of the border to understand that.) But then, access to automobiles also has a cost in human lives.

So, it makes sense to weigh the cost of allowing gun ownership against the cost of lives saved if a government "goes bad". How to weigh the certain costs of one against the probability of the other? We can't. Therefore it makes sense to let the citizens whose lives are at stake decide, a process generally known as democracy.

In Canada, we're pretty clearly in the "guns not worth the cost" camp. In the United States, I'd say the majority are in the "no guns please" (okay, "guns heavily restricted") camp, but the constitution prevents politicians from enacting the current will of the majority of the constituents.

Tom, false.

All you need to do is note the guns we have ..

Brady Campaign: There are an estimated 193 million guns in America. Some estimates range as high as 250 million. That's almost one gun for every man, woman and child

Daily Aztec SDSU: there are more than 220 million guns in America, of which 65 million are handguns. There are so many guns in America there is no possible way to control or limit the black market for them. Guns arehere to stay and aren't going anywhere no matter what gun controlpolicies our government enforces and no matter how much the production of guns may get halted.

With that many guns in private hands, and to say that is in accord with a majority against guns, is on its face, absurd.

Nor can you say that households with no guns can automatically said against them, because close to 100 million housholds live under commie-liberal violations of their rights in commie liberal controlled states.

lots of people in New York want a gun, and untill the commi-liberal Judges are replaced, and their contitutional rights restored, they are not allowed to have one.

The tide has been turning in America for 30 years, the commie-Liberals are losing power due to their actions against the people

But beware where you get your propaganda from, and perhaps you might ponder if it is aligned with basic facts ... because unlike polls, they are not manipulated as much.

#4 Kyle Stedman,

The right to own a car comes under Amdmt. IX.

The right to travel is basic. You don't lose that right because technology has evolved.

Actually Tom, some gun control polls well in the United States, but little more than already exists. The best clue there is that the Democrat party has largely dropped the issue.

And you exaggerate the amount of gun control in Canada. Which seems quite common among Canadians. I personally know Canadians who possess handguns, and I've even travelled from the US to Canada to participate in handgun competitions. Amusingly, the President of the International Practical Shooting Confederation is based in Ontario.

"right to keep and bear arms is a universal human right"

The clear implication here is that Mugabe would not have been able to bring Zimbabwe to its current mess if the people had the right to keep and bear arms.

I'm curious. Has there ever been an instance in the US where armed citizens have successfully prevented any US government from doing anything? Where they have actually proved there is any benefit to keeping an armed populace?

Of course there was Kent State...silly me that was the "well regulated militia" killing students there, wasn't it. So that wasn't an example.

Then there were the various labor massacres of the late 19th and early 20th centuries....but they weren't against any government, were they.

Of course in Zimbabwe if the farmers had been able to keep arms they would have not had their farms invaded, would they. But wait a minute, they WERE in fact armed, it just didn't do them any good. And the population of Southern Rhodesia was armed, hence their ability to fight a civil war, which they lost. Fancy that, being armed not being any use. Who would have thought it.

Another thought - why didn't Bush invade Zimbabwe instead of Iraq. The situation in Zimbabwe is arguably worse that it was in Iraq pre-invasion. But of course there is no domestic political advantage to be gained from Zimbabwe.

And having a reasonable justification might set an uncomfortable precedent for the US!

Kirk Parker,

Maybe somebody with more tact (and time) than I have can explain to you about the US Military, the US nuclear arsenal, and (in particular reference to eastern Europe) those horrible, arms-race-escalating IRBMs that the warmongers Reagan and Thatcher had installed in Europe over the objections of the peace-loving citizens. That is the context in which the peaceful dissolution of the Warsaw Pact occurred.
As far as the US goes, I'm with you in thinking that the likelihood of a dictatorship here is vanishingly small. However, unlike you, I'm not willing to start jettisoning some of the reasons why that is so!

You mean like Hungary in 56. I can not imagine a reason under which the US army would have invaded the Warsaw pact in '89. The Sovjets could have killed every living thing there and the US army would still be pollishing its guns in West Germany.
Claiming otherwise can only mean two things. Your lying or you are an idiot who should read up on history.

Actually Graham several of the instances of labor violence of the late 19th and early 20th century involved strikers against police and/or state militia.

Interesting trivia, the Spencer breechloading rifle was known as "Beecher's Bibles" because abolitionist Rev. Beecher, the brother of Harriet Beecher Stowe, shipped them to abolitionists in Kansas in crates marked "Bibles".

Hey a, coming from you, I think I'll wear "liar or idiot" as a badge of honor.

Another thing to point out, in reply to Tom West, is the huge revolution in "Shall-Issue" concealed carry laws that has swept the US since the late '80s. These laws, which have to be passed by the duly-elected legislatures of the states in question, are hardly evidence of the widespread popularity of gun control here!

Grahamc, the shooters at Kent State were the Ohio National Guard, not militia. Perhaps you have forgotten the difference?

Robin

"Actually Graham several of the instances of labor violence of the late 19th and early 20th century involved strikers against police and/or state militia."

Point taken, but my point is that the strikers rarely if ever won any such contests.

Graham, the right to keep and bear arms doesn't guarantee success. Only the practical right to try. That's the concept called "liberty".

Kirk

"Grahamc, the shooters at Kent State were the Ohio National Guard, not militia. Perhaps you have forgotten the difference?"

Forgive my ignorance. I was relying on the dictionary.com definition of militia: "An army composed of ordinary citizens rather than professional soldiers. A military force that is not part of a regular army and is subject to call for service in an emergency."

Sounds like the National Guard to me. The "well-regulated" bit was tongue-in-cheek - if I recall correctly, the lack of military training contributed to the problem.

Graham, you don't recall correctly. The Ohio National Guard actions at Kent State did not come from a lack of military training. But from a lack of training in riot control.

Riot control is actually a fairly sophisticated skill requiring specialized training and equipment that the Ohio National Guard at the time lacked. Sneering about it doesn't impress me.

The difference between militia and National Guard is quite distinct. A militia is an organization of locally raised volunteers, often self-armed, serving under state or local mandate. The National Guard is a professional military force, authorized by Federal legislation, whose members serve part-time.

Robin

"Only the practical right to try. That's the concept called "liberty"."

Right. So we allow everyone to build nukes. My mistake. I will go read up on liberty.

Graham, so quickly you run for the nukes line.

Frankly, its old.

Robin

"The Ohio National Guard actions at Kent State did not come from a lack of military training."

I did a quick search on Google. First hit starts with this: "The units that responded were ill-trained and came right from riot duty elsewhere; they hadn't had much sleep. The first day, there was some brutality; the Guard bayonetted two men, one a disabled veteran, who had cursed or yelled at them from cars.".... and so on.

History does not appear to show they were well trained. They are part-time, they don't get trained that well.

"Sneering about it doesn't impress me"

Yes it was slightly scornful. I can't take the mix of "well regulated" and "Kent State Ohio National Guard" seriously.

"The difference between militia and National Guard is quite distinct."

Sorry, but from your description I can't see the difference. We will have to agree to differ. Or just differ.

Robin

"Graham, so quickly you run for the nukes line. Frankly, its old."

I will retire gracefully and allow you to have the last word.

LH et al:
'So, we've got examples of tyranny overthrown without arming the population. And examples of well armed populations that were tyrannized. So as far as a calm, objective cost benefit discussion I think we're done. The rest is ideology.'

The gunless overthrows were of relatively decent governments that chose not to slaughter their own people to hold onto power temporarily.

Writing 'tyranny' for both ex-soviet-states that voluntarily stepped-aside and Zimbabwe is drawing an unreasonable parallel like saying a thundershower and a cat-5 hurricane are both 'storms'.

We have here the difference between a tyranny-to-keep-order and a groupist-bloodbath.

Note also that your referenced well-armed populations were tyrannized but not genocided.

Let us return to the original question phrased with less liberal-wiggle-room:

Has a well-armed-minority ever been genocided (without being disarmed)? (no)

Has a bloodbath-government ever retired quietly without armed opposition driving them out? (no)

Has a democratic country ever become a tyranny requiring armed overthrow? (yes)

Has a bloodbath government ever evolved towards decency? (often: USSR, Syria, SE-Asia, ?China?)

So: guns do not prevent Tyranny, but they can prevent genocide and are the only way to quickly remove an inhumane government (or you wait).

=-=-=-=-=

Now we get to the better argument we REALLY need to be having: an armed population can defend itself in bulk but are easily individually disarmed, leading to each of the genocides in recent memory ... now how do you stop an ongoing genocide ... IN REAL LIFE.

Forget theory ... we have multiple 'never again' situations going on spanning years and we of the West sit idle.

If we try to arm the endangered side NOW, their respective governments' armies will wipe them out, taking minimal losses but approaching 100% elimination of the untrained starving targetted group. (In Darfur, AFAICR, they are running out of living males and unraped females.)

And of course, the liberals, socialists, media, French, UN, Chinese, UNHRC, and all neighboring countries will object and interfere. Ditto for US invasion.

The ever-concerned EU will do exactly what they did to save the Jews: Nothing. (or so close to it that it's close enough).

ANY government (even the French) could do the one BRUTAL thing necessary to stop this madness:

Assassination.

- followed by the following deal:

The new government has 2 weeks to stand down from all genocidal practices or the new leadership will be targetted for elimination.

You then have 1(2?) year(s) to make visible progress on human-rights, corruption, etc.

If you fail to make progress, we will offer you retirement to France with your family and cronies under the ex-African-Dictator's Trust Fund. You will not be allowed to return to Africa but will be compensated by a million-Euros per year to live on (smaller amounts for relatives and cronies).

If you refuse involuntary retirement, the Snipers will again be called in. Either way there will be a new government.

Similarly, you will be offered involuntary retirement if you have not held free-and-fair elections for all non-judicial decision-making offices including President within 5 years.

Similarly, you will be offered involuntary retirement if you have not left office voluntarily by the start of your 11th year.

Any effort to systematically slaughter political opponents or non-combatants will merit remote execution. You may apply for retirement if the first Sniper misses. (This provision applies to non-presidential persons also (Bolivia@el Alto).)

Any effort to invade or destabilize your neighbor countries will merit remote execution. (Chavez) You may apply for retirement if the first Sniper misses.

=-=-=-=-=

Note that any government larger than Luxemburg could manage the Sniper / Payoff combination needed to pull this off. Better yet, end the charade, defund your EU-pseudo-militaries and either create a dedicated peacekeeping-force or put the spare money into the ex-A-D Trust and train a few snipers for police/SWAT/Dictator use.

So why doesn't any country do this, even a country as unethical as the French? ... simple ... because every world leader fears assassination and knows that condoning assassinating the Zimbabwe murderer-in-chief increases the odds of the ordering-leader's assassination by some %.

The solution may be to sniper-train a local ... but it is still a situation that the EU/USA etc don't want to approach. I do think that France should try the second-half though ... offer a secure exile/retirement with a large sum per year conditional that they stay away from Africa. For a few million Euros a year they can bribe the African dictators into retirement.

So ... how does a Liberal fix the Zimbabwe problem? And the Darfur problem? ('Fix' = decisively end the genocide with the least death and carnage. My suggestion kills 1 person (the most responsible).)

Unavailable methods disinclude: Waiting, asking-nicely, ignoring-the-problem, sanctions (they have no economy), withholding food-aid (won't happen), sending UN peacekeepers (see Balkans, Rawanda, etc), US invading (media yells quagmire and demands more soldiers than we can rotate), FR invading (see Ivory Coast), EU invading (they have no useful military), CA invading (they have no military), SA invading (SA likes Mugabe and is getting started on their own program).

Arming the genocidees at this late stage probably gets them all killed, but maybe fewer or later than how things are going now.

There are at least 2 AWFUL alternative workable methods: Let a non-genocidal dictator run all non-democratic parts of Africa (I nominate Ghaddafi, an enlightened, pro-women's rights unpredictable militant anti-western-screwball who renounced terrorism (in theory) and WMD (in theory)). More importantly, he wants the job. Maybe make the job conditional on making the parts of Africa he rules democratic locally with G as a meta-dictator?

Or: Two-fer ... give Africa to China: This satisfies China's need for resources (Oil, Coal, diamonds, large-animal-genitals) so they stop causing problems everywhere else in the world, gives the PLA something to do besides aim at Taiwan, brings in a large enough army to police the continent, eliminates religion as a divisive condition, gives the Chinese someplace to put their population without coveting Siberia (ditto on siberia's resources) and maybe makes the Chinese a bit less suspicious of the rest of the world.

Better yet, a three-fer, We'll trade Africa to China in return for North Korea (They make NK an official province of China and stop playing Yank-the-Yank's-chain with NK nukes.) Or while I'm being absurd, trade Africa to China, China gets NK while letting Taiwan go free, plus giving up the Spratley Islands to the Phillipines in return for free-passage for African Oil Tankers. By the time China is done digesting Africa, The chinese people will be so educated, internetted, and capitalized that they will migrate the chinese govt toward a capitalist quasi-democracy involuntarily.

BTW: While we're distracted in the Mideast and Africa, it's 1932 in Venezuela and 1939 is just around the corner. Bolivia is Austria.

Just Remember:
A bad situation often has no good solution, only bad vs awful solutions.

grahamc,

Re: "We will have to agree to differ. Or just differ."

Who was it that said "Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts"? Unfortunately for you attempt to assert your own facts, it turns out that the US Army itself considers the National Guard to be part of the professional army.

Kirk

"US Army itself considers the National Guard to be part of the professional army"

You are splitting the wrong hairs here. Title 10 U.S.C. 311, which you can look up at the US House of Reps web site at http://uscode.house.gov/search/criteria.php, says this in section 311:

"HEAD
Sec. 311. Militia: composition and classes

STATUTE
(a) The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age and, except as provided in section 313 of title 32, under 45 years of age who are, or who have made a declaration of intention to become, citizens of the United States and of female citizens of the United States who are members of the National Guard.

(b) The classes of the militia are -
(1) the organized militia, which consists of the National Guard and the Naval Militia; and
(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia."

I respectfully suggest you read your own laws before making accusations about inventing facts.

BTW ... original intent, you must apply the meaning of the words when penned or else the words mean nothing.

The Militia was the regular citizen, not the armed forces of any kind ... its not a US invention, it came from Britain.

When they refer to "well regulated" they mean like a well regulated appetite.

It didnt mean regulation in the modern sense, it means they wanted the citizens accustomed to arms and the ability to shoot straight

Beware fake leftist history ....

"No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms. The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government" -- Thomas Jefferson

The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed and that they are entitled to freedom of person, freedom of religion, freedom of property, and freedom of press." - Thomas Jefferson

"The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference - they deserve a place of honor with all that's good" -- George Washington

"The best we can hope for concerning the people at large is that they be properly armed." -- Alexander Hamilton, The Federalist Papers 184-188

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them." -- Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story of the John Marshall Court

False is the idea of utility that sacrifices a thousand real advantages for one imaginary or trifling inconvenience; that would take fire from men because it burns, and water because one may drown in it; that has no remedy for evils except destruction. The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes. -- Cesare Beccaria, as quoted by Thomas Jefferson's Commonplace book

"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." -- Patrick Henry, June 5 1788

"The great object is, that every man be armed. [...] Every one who is able may have a gun." -- Patrick Henry, June 14 1788

Such are a well regulated militia, composed of the freeholders, citizen and husbandman, who take up arms to preserve their property, as individuals, and their rights as freemen. -- "M.T. Cicero", in a newspaper letter of 1788 touching the "militia" referred to in the Second Amendment to the Constitution.

That the said Constitution shall never be construed to authorize Congress to infringe the just liberty of the press or the rights of conscience; or to prevent the people of the United states who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms... -- Samuel Adams, in "Phila. Independent Gazetteer", August 20, 1789

The conclusion is thus inescapable that the history, concept, and wording of the second amendment to the Constitution of the United States, as well as its interpretation by every major commentator and court in the first half-century after its ratification, indicates that what is protected is an individual right of a private citizen to own and carry firearms in a peaceful manner. -- Report of the Subcommittee On The Constitution of the Committee On The Judiciary, United States Senate, 97th Congress, second session (February, 1982), SuDoc# Y4.J 89/2: Ar 5/5

In recent years it has been suggested that the Second Amendment protects the "collective" right of states to maintain militias, while it does not protect the right of "the people" to keep and bear arms. If anyone entertained this notion in the period during which the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were debated and ratified, it remains one of the most closely guarded secrets of the eighteenth century, for no known writing surviving from the period between 1787 and 1791 states such a thesis. -- Stephen P. Halbrook

NCPA

Fifth Circuit Court: Second Amendment Guarantees an Individual Right to Bear Arms

The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees an individual right to own guns, according to a federal appeals court in New Orleans. The court's opinion came in the case of Emerson v. United States, which has drawn intense national attention from supporters and opponents of gun control.

The court's lengthy decision presents a fascinating and educational analysis of the Bill of Rights and the intentions of the Founding Fathers in creating our Constitution.

U.S. v Emerson
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS
FOR THE FIFTH CIRCUIT ... U.S. v Emerson

We reject the collective rights and sophisticated collective rights models for interpreting the Second Amendment.

We hold, consistent with Miller, that it protects the right of individuals, including those not then actually a member of any militia or engaged in active military service or training, to privately possess and bear their own firearms, such as the pistol involved here, that are suitable as personal, individual weapons

The court virdict is an extensive and complete history of the 2nd Amendment and what it means.

Its worth a read.

And the leftys can go pound sand, they are wrong.

(what else is new)

Joe- fellow Canadian-

If you're so impressed with Liberal Hawk's stated background and reading list-well actions speak LOUDER than words.

The missionaries work...and they are superior in that regard.

My mother is from a Canadian American French family and my Great Uncle was Leo G. Cyr one of the longest serving ambassadors from America to Rwanda-he also did Tunisia, Ethiopia and the "African Desk"-I think if he we're alive he'd tell you missionaries do more than reporters-and for liberal hawk to try to negate THAT is APPALLING and just goes to show the nature of the democratic party. Couple that with the atheist Ayn Rand quote I left here earlier and the Democrats moral authority on ANYTHING is deservedly TRIANGULATED.

Seesh-why are you so defensive of LH? Can he not fight his own battles?

As for his reading list-that can be as long as the road to Damascus but if it is not coupled with comprehension and something I think is invaluable modesty, common sense and or street smarts-well...

[my Great Uncle inspired me to study the area and I am NOT religious-it isn't a question of that]

(2) the unorganized militia, which consists of the members of the militia who are not members of the National Guard or the Naval Militia."

Bingo. thats the citizens themselves.

And btw, they was here first, when the 2nd amendment was adopted, class 2 was the only type that existed ..

It requires an amendment to the consitution to change that, and thats the only way it changes.

That means a 2/3 supermajority in both houses, and ratification by the states

So when you talk about the meaning of "The Militia" in reference to the meaning of the 2nd Amendment your talking about class 2 .. which existed at time of ratification, and before it was ever assigned any "class" in the US Code.

So as I said, the lefties can pound sand, they are wrong.

Raymond-

And the leftys can go pound sand, they are wrong.

This will drive'em nuts but Amen to that brother!

Raymond

US v Emerson does indeed provide the definitive affirmation of second amendment right to bear arms. And it is an interesting read.

Another little-quoted aspect of the decision was that it agreed that the plaintiff (Emerson) should indeed be deprived of a gun because of the risk that that he might shoot his estranged wife or her friend with it. The court said "we also conclude that the predicate order in question here is sufficient, albeit likely minimally so, to support the deprivation, while it remains in effect, of the defendant's Second Amendment rights"

In other words, yes he has the right to bear arms. But also "it is a right subject to reasonable regulation."

The ironic bit is that the case was all about taking away his gun, which they did.

"And the leftys can go pound sand, they are wrong."

Tsk. Tsk. Not very rational.

madawaskan

To be fair, how many letters to our representives have we written, sent money to the doves in support, and generally been calling attention, only to have many we confront not know anything about it

Years ,, its been for some of us, and the perspectives of those newly aquainted will be different than ours..

Dont mean they are bad people, or even that they would see it any different, if they knew as we.

When I write letters and give money I wasnt looking for a badge or award .... yes, it causes disconfort to have the good efforts and sacrafice of so many looked down opon in contempt.

But for Christians like me .. well we are kinda used to it. I dont expect it to change.

But its in the news now, more are aware, and we have saved lots of lives and perhaps far more in the future, it is a step forward, we just have to keep fighting. If not us who would have, now our numbers are growing... thats a good thing.

Raymond

"It didnt mean regulation in the modern sense, it means they wanted the citizens accustomed to arms and the ability to shoot straight"

US v Emerson includes "Plainly, then, "a well-regulated Militia" refers not to a special or select subset or group taken out of the militia as a whole but rather to the condition of the militia as a whole, namely being well disciplined and trained"

I think that means the Supreme Court disagrees with you on this point. They obviously equate "well regulated" with "well disciplined and trained", not just your average guy that can make his musket "shoot straight".

grahamc

Same for convicts

But it also means the govt must show cause, so that means if your a free man with no record, you have your full rights ...

A cop at a traffic stop can disarm you .. for his own safty ... he also has to give it back.

It dont mean your rights was violated, it also means he cant keep your gun.

By the same token, a court can take your gun away, but only for a short defined period for cause.

The cops can lock you up without charges for 48 hours or so ... but they cant keep you without charges.

Also, according to Miller, the supreme court desision we have, the type of arms protected, are those of a military type that a solger would carry.

That dont include an atomic bomb ... but if the court was to obey the law of the land, that might mean you have the right to carry grenades.

We had a short perversion of history by the left, which is interchangable with lies, because they had an agenda, and had to push a fake history and contitionally prohibited rules to get what they wanted.

But that comming to an end .. the leftist lies are not working any more ... kids are brainwashed in schools by the left, but the real information to expose the lies is easer to get than ever before.

How would the consitutional patriots of past years have like the ability to pull up quotes for the founders and court virdicts at their fingertips?

My first machine was an altair 8800 and a pdp11/05, now my dream machines back then are scrap on ebay, and the world is my library and my hard drive ...

Its great days to be a geek, and its great days for the truth.

grahamc

Even the supremes can fudge a thought .. they are wrong .. its not substansive, but they are wrong.

Nobody compelled the regular everyday joe to show up for drills ... and thats who the 2nd amendment applies to ... the words of the founders, their letters to each other and posted in the papers to the people to explain the consitution before it was ratified, bear that out.

Note that as I pointed out in comment #24 the littiant was dead and the court was not fully briefed, as the court relies on submissions for finding of fact, that could explain that small error, it also shows that Miller could have had a different outcome .. why could not a case be made that a sawed off shotgun is a usefull military weapon ?

I could make that case, our own military carry them, they dont cut them realy short, because it affects the performace of the gun, but if the defendant had been alive and the full case presented, could not an 16 inch long gun be presented as military usefull in leu of a pistol?

Miller was decided based on the guns usefullness as a military weapon, the dead man and the out of work lawyer wasnt around any more to make that case, so it was decided on the prelim briefs.

Is it not reasonable to consider that that case could have been made ... and that a sawed of shotgun would therefore be included in your consitutional garranty to weapons of war ?

The tools the founders entrusted to us, so that we could overthrow the goverment if it became to opressive ?
.
The truth is comming out, its about time.
.

Raymond

I agree with almost everything you say. Couple of points:

"That dont include an atomic bomb ... but if the court was to obey the law of the land, that might mean you have the right to carry grenades."

Quite right. It has to be regulated, as US v Emerson said, so most people are just arguing about how much regulation there should be, not about the 2nd amendment right.

I see a difference between the US constitutional right, as amended by other US laws, to keep and bear arms, and a wider right claimed by some.

If you claim some sort of right outside the US and outside US law then I start to see problems, because it obviously has to be limited, and when they cause problems they have to be taken away. Farmers need to shoot vermin and should be unnecessarily prevented from getting guns to do so, but on the other hand generally civil wars just get nastier the more arms are given out, so the right becomes nonsensical. Look at the difficulty stopping the Bosnian civil war.

"because they had an agenda"

I lost you at this point, but from my viewpoint it is not relevant.

Raymond

"The tools the founders entrusted to us, so that we could overthrow the goverment if it became to opressive ?"

I hope you don't want to start the overthrowing bit anytime soon, 'cos they'll lock you up for a very long time, gun or no gun!! Good theory, lousy in practice!

Shays's Rebellion prompted Thomas Jefferson to say that "a little rebellion now and then is a good thing" for a country. Rather than being alarmed by the rebellion, Jefferson saw some justification in it. He believed the people had a right to express their grievances against the government, even by such violent means.

Thomas Jefferson: On the Need for a Little Rebellion Now and Then

The mass of mankind under that enjoys a precious degree of liberty and happiness. It has its evils, too, the principal of which is the turbulence to which it is subject.

But weigh this against the oppressions of monarchy, and it becomes nothing. Malo periculosam libertatem quam quietam servitutem. Even this evil is productive of good. It prevents the degeneracy of government and nourishes a general attention to the public affairs.

I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.

Unsuccessful rebellions, indeed, generally establish the encroachments on the rights of the people which have produced them.

An observation of this truth should render honest republican governors so mild in their punishment of rebellions as not to discourage them too much. It is a medicine necessary for the sound health of government.

Thomas Jefferson would have a view, "why have you put up with these commies so long ? why are they not dead on the ground and swinging from the trees?"

In my earlier post I said: "should be unnecessarily prevented from getting guns to do so".

I meant "should not be unnecessarily prevented from getting guns to do so". Oops.

Raymond

"I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing"

Helps to stay in the real world. Try your "little rebellion" and we have to lock you up. Don't try it, there's a good chap.

"why are they not dead on the ground and swinging from the trees?"

But you see, there you expose your real feelings for your fellow man. If you agree with killing them, sorry, but you have to be locked up. Otherwise other rights, like the right to breathe, get infringed.

I see a difference between the US constitutional right, as amended by other US laws

You cant amend a right with a law....

Rights require no license ... the only amendment permittied is a constitutional amendment

All laws which are repugnant to the
Constitution are null and void.’ Marbury vs.
Madison. 5 US (2 Cranch) 137. 174, 176, (1803)

‘Where rights secured by the Constitution are involved, there can be no rule making or legislation which would abrogate them.”
Miranda vs. Arizona, 384 US 436 p. 491.

“An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed.” Norton vs. Shelby County 118 US 425 p. 442

The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it..... “No one is bound to obey an Unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it. 16 Am Jur 2d, Sec 177 late 2d. Sec 256

grahamc

You have an enumerated right to the tools of revolt, you have no right to succeed, or even live to see the end of your revolt.

The founders did not see small insurections as any threat, it was the offenses that would cause the whole people ... (10% of the population would do).. to rise up that the tools to end tyranny are for,

The govt knows this, is that the commie democrats are conserned about .. if a few percent rise up, they are done ... it does not preclude the other 90% having no part of it and puting it down themselves.

Civil War ? The founders, esp Jefferson, would see nothing wrong with it ..

Sound radical ? .. the founders of this country was radical .. the amount of freedom they established had never existed before.. and still exists nowhere else on earth ..

Raymond

"You cant amend a right with a law....

Rights require no license ... the only amendment permittied is a constitutional amendment"

If you are talking about rights conferred by the constitution, my apologies, I believe I was wrong. However other rights are conferred by laws and common law, and these can be rescinded by the legislature and/or the courts anytime they want. So don't count on all rights hanging around.

As for the rest of the revolt business, you are off the planet and you deserve everything you get anytime you try any of this revolt nonsense. Not worth discussing further.

Ok- my main idea is that people can list all the credentials they wish being quite the cynic-i tend to toss them all out.

It shouldn't matter a cr*p who is who-although heck I am proud of my Great Uncle -he tried to do something rather than just talk aboutt it.

Although when it comes to Africa somehow i through the cynicism right out the door and turn into an optimist because the alternative is so all incompassingly depressing.

As a individual that has lived in both Canada and america I can tell you without a doubt which place it is easier to become comsumed with a sort of optimism,can -do attitude and PRIDE-that place, is always America and forever I hope that will be.

[hopefully you just have known LH longer....and therefore his reputation is why you are buying the 'internet' stated facts. I love the internet for the very reason that your credentials and what race or sex you are are not that easily provable-it's the great equalizers speaking of which raymond has inspired or re-inspired my thought about guns being equalizers-heh.]

#174 Raymond-

Honestly-You'd think they would return the same fairness maybe one of these days,eh?

Gosh I've been writing letters to Kennedy since Rwanda...and other Democrats-one of their staffers got so fed up they actually were nice to me and told me to try a Republican. I us to be a Democrat and I was so blind I was shocked at their suggestion. I called my Republican Senator-and they said-hey we're already on it in fact watch our Senator today on C-Span. I've been a Republican voter but registered Democrat ever since. I still get nutty and try to bother Obama because I actually fell for that Newsweek article-which stated that he wanted to bridge the red and blue state divide. I called him in regards to the Bolton nomination and the Sudan-it's ending up to be as useless as the letters I wasted on Kennedy.

One final note you are religious and I am not-do I think I am better than you? Oh no you've got something I am mighty jealous of-and maybe they are to Raymond-they just won't admit it and they'd sooner steal it from you are take away your pride of it.

If you are talking about rights conferred by the constitution, my apologies, I believe I was wrong.

I would focus on amendment 9

"Rights" by defintion, as defined by the consitution, come not from the goverment.

We grant only limited defined authority to the goverment .. their power is on loan from us.

The people cannot delegate to government the power to do anything which would be unlawful for them to do themselves. - John Locke

A right is not what someone gives you; it's what no one can take from you. -- Ramsey Clark

The whole of the Bill [of Rights] is a declaration of the right of the people at large or considered as individuals... It establishes some rights of the individual as unalienable and which consequently, no majority has a right to deprive them of. -- Albert Gallatin, Oct 7 1789

This too, is quite radical, and a departure from Brit Common law. we grant limited authority to the govt, the individual is soverin, turning ... intentionally the authority of soverin kings on it head .. instead of a king, every man is king of himself, and has no other king over him.

This is very important, its the context of the contitution, and declaration of independence.

However other rights are conferred by laws and common law, and these can be rescinded by the legislature and/or the courts anytime they want. So don't count on all rights hanging around.

Again, there is no such thing, if they are rights, they cant be recinded, and the concept of privlege is offensive to equality under the law.

Rightful liberty is unobstructed action, according to our will, within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others." -- Thomas Jefferson.

The consitution simply does not allow the govt to trespass into your affairs ... its interest in you is finding you at another mans jugglar, where it will suddenly find you interesting, it has a duty to protect the other man from your trespass.

As for the rest of the revolt business, you are off the planet and you deserve everything you get anytime you try any of this revolt nonsense. Not worth discussing further.

Its reality, thats what the guns are for, that was their intent ,,, the merit would be a interiesting discussion,,,, but has no bearing on what the 2nd amendment means,,,, the right to military weapons to supply the tools of revolt.

And it is an enumerated right, the libs like to find prenumbras and hidden rights not stated .... (amt 9 says as much that other rights do exist) ... But an enumerated right is undeniable

So the commie libs attempted to defeat it by brainwashing a fake history into the population. they failed, only the leftist moonbats in their groupthink bubble is still ignorant about it now.

It dont matter a whit what the modern opinion is ... never the less pointing out the fact that what is intended is military weapons of a war of revolt,, pretty much tells the govt hands off.

So despite the percived propritty of revolt, never the less the fact of that rules out govermebt meddling ans an enumerated right ,, as strong as free speach, as strong as the 5th amendment

They are, immutable .. and only changable by supermajorities in both houses and ratification, a 2/3s requirment all around.

The Bill of rights starts with the most wonderfull words ive ever seen in a document ..

Congress Shall Make No Law
.
.

Well, according to and October 2004 Gallup poll, 54% of Americans wanted stricter gun control and 11% less strict.

My guess is that the current gun laws in much of the United States more closely represent the gun lobby's view that citizens' views.

On the other hand, in answer to

"Do you think there should or should not be a law that would ban the possession of handguns, except by the police and other authorized persons?"

in the same poll, only 36% said yes, versus 63% no, indicating that American dislike of guns only goes so far...

And yes, I'm certainly aware that handgun ownership is possible in Canada. But you have to jump through so many hoops to get a permit, that I haven't heard of a single case of a legal pistol accidentally harming someone or being used in a crime, which is a pretty good indication that per capita ownership is close to 0. (and in my opinion, a good compromise. Anyone who is willing to go through that amount of red-tape is almost certainly (1) competent to store and use handguns and (2) desperate enough to want one that not having one would have significant cost to their happiness. In such cases, the cost to society is low and the benefit to individuals is high.

Wanted stricter gun laws than what ?

If your a Leftist-media duped ignorant ,, they thing assult weapons are for sale to anyone.

But a n assult wepon requires a special permit, and a 200 tax, and a signoff from your head of law enforcment.

Generally you must be carefull with leftist media polls

there are 10,000 gun laws, (many unenforcable here in the 5 circut now)

Those against a ban on guns would propbably be appaled at the laws on the books .. as opposed to the leftist media propaganda matrix of lies

With 220 million guns in America, of which 65 million are handguns, compared with the population, and with plenty in commi-lib controled areas that would like to have one, it points to something wrong in the polls used for propaganda

the media create a fake reality,, then poll on the fake reality

Once they found out that those 10,000 gunlaws has things covered to the extent that are applaed at finding out about and wanting to roll them back.. what happens to your fraud poll ?

Joe, Tom V, Other: Coming back to Joe's original point, however, he said that the crux of the argument change of opinions was:

The Right to Bear Arms is the only reliable way to prevent genocide in the modern world.

1. Tom V asserts in #99 that widespread tyranny has taken place in Africa, but does not cite specifc examples of genocide, although at least Rwanda is an example of genocide.
2. Other asserts in #166 that genocide has never been perpetrated against a well-armed populace, but not provide the list of genocides he or she has considered.
3. You give the example in #92 of Saddam's use of WMD's against the Kurds. Would Other not call this genocide? Do the Kurds count as well-armed?

I think there are many good arguments put forth by many in the comments and elsewhere addressing:
1. why citizens should be armed
2. why the international community will never respond in time to prevent a genocide (although multilateral invasions may have stopped some)
3. why gun control laws have been ineffective (I believe that is discussed in Freakonomics)
4. why having an armed populace does not translate into violent crime (Switzerland),

However, if your point is that the crux of your argument rests on the idea that genocides have not been committed against well-armed populaces, then I don't think that case has been made.

Tom West writes: "But you have to jump through so many hoops to get a permit, that I haven't heard of a single case of a legal pistol accidentally harming someone or being used in a crime, which is a pretty good indication that per capita ownership is close to 0."

Tom, I know it sounds like I'm being insulting, but I've long been astonished at how misinformed Canadians are about their own gun control laws. Its an interesting pattern, Americans ( well, everyone ) often think there is less gun control in America than there actually is, Canadians ( well, everyone ) often think there is more gun control in Canada than there is. Canadian firearms licensing is really only a bit more burdensome than a state like Massachusetts.

As for not hearing about a single case of a legal pistol being used in a crime, I submit that you just haven't been paying attention. That approaches being a "No True Scotsman" fallacy. Of course, even in the United States, nearly 99% of all handguns are never used in a crime. Canada certainly has a greater percentage of rifles among its firearm ownership than handguns ( interestingly, Canada is actually ranked third in the world behind the United States and Norway in per capita firearms ownership ) but its not zero handguns per capita. The data varies of course, but I've seen estimates that approximately one-sixth of Canadian firearms are handguns - in hte US, the ratio is approximately one-third.

The Kurds at that time were very well armed with the exception of heavy arms. Problem is you need to have heavy weapons to beat an opponent who has heavy weapons. Heavy weapons that only states own in large numbers (kurds owned a few IIRC). Why that is is quite obvious if you see the price of them and the cost of ammunition.

Zimbabwe is in fact the obvious candidate why weapons don't stop a dictator. I doubt that there are many white farmers without a sizable gun collection but the moment they would use them against Mugabe is the same moment they learn how much a tank can destroy (which is a lot)
It is in fact much easier to defeat a dictator with people power if the people don't have weapons because than it is much easier for armed elements of the goverment to switch sides. They don't have to fear being killed by the people which would happen with an armed revolution. And from a propaganda viewpoint it is much harder to explain away unarmed deaths than armed deaths and propaganda is important for almost all regimes.
Also most mass killings of civilians happen during armed conflict were the killed do have significant numbers of weapons (see the very long history of pre communist China for ampel examples)

ps. The Army of Zimbabwe fought in the Zairian war so they can fight against unarmed forces (which is every force without heavy weapons). They already showed their prowness of killing civilians during a rebellion in the mid '80.

Consider this from SayUncle Which goes along with the comments made by Dr Rice you reference.

Zendo, what a great story! The link eventually leads to David Hardy's excerpts from Negroes With Guns, which tells the story of civil rights leader Robert F. Williams and the NRA.

"Luther Hodges ... was the governor of South Carolina at the time. We appealed to him. He took sides with the Klan.... Then we appealed to President Eisenhower but we never received a reply to our telegrams. There was no response at all from Washington.

So we started arming ourselves. I wrote to the National Rifle Association in Washington which encourages veterans to keep in shape to defend their native land and asked for a chapter, which I got."

This was in 1957. Monroe, North Carolina. The NRA granted him a chapter without issue or question.

"In a year we had sixty members. We had bought some guns, too, in stores, and later a church in the North raised money for us and we got better rifles. The Klan discovered we were arming and guarding our community. In the summer of 1957 they made one big attempt to stop us. An armed motorcade attacked Dr. Perry's house, which is situated on the outskirts of the colored community. We shot it out with the Klan and repelled their attack and the Klan didn't have any more stomach for this type of fight. They stopped raiding our community."

Against thug militias, even those that included trained police officers, guns ARE effective. Sudan's Janjaweed are similar: a thug militia with some al-Qaeda. Zimbabwe, same deal. Rwanda was the personification.

Communities given the tools can and will defend themselves against armed predators, even armed and organized ones. It's a lot less fun to go our for a little murder and rape if there's a chance you might not be coming back. As Hardy notes:

"BTW, (1)that's by no means the only time Williams and his friends had to use firearms to defend themselves, and (2) there was no sense calling the police, since two police cars were in the Klan cavalcade!"

Williams had an 'interesting' life to say the least, and although no one was even wounded on either side of the shootout (Williams was a U.S. Marine - he must not have been aiming to hit people), his actions were to become a source of controversy:

"Williams' advocacy of violence made him into an example at the 1959 NAACP convention. He had been removed from his post as Monroe NAACP president, and he listened at the convention as 40 speakers denounced him. He responded that he had called for self-defense, not acts of war: "We as men should stand up as men and protect our women and children. I am a man, and I will walk upright as a man should. I WILL NOT CRAWL."

"I will not crawl." Indeed.

I should add this 'Negroes With Guns' book review excerpt from ESR:

"While researching this column, I contacted Don Kates, a civil rights attorney who went to North Carolina in 1963 to participate in the movement. I asked if he ever carried a gun during those days and he responded with a list of a half-dozen that were always within reach. Kates also suggested that I read a letter written by an old friend of his from those days, John R. Salter, Jr., who is now Professor Emeritus at the University of North Dakota. Here are two brief quotes:

"In the early 1960's, I taught at Tougaloo College, a black school in Jackson, Mississippi. I was a member of the statewide board of the NAACP and was Chairman of the Jackson Movement. No one knows what kind of massive racist retaliation would have been directed at grass-roots black people had the black community not had a healthy measure of firearms within it."

"The beauty of the second amendment is that it will not be needed until they try to take it."

-- Thomas Jefferson

"Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act depriving a whole nation of arms as the blackest."

-- Gandhi

A civil rights march with guns would have been gunned down without any protest. Guns simply don't work well to get rights

a., you aren't actually reading preceding comments, are you?

Joe, however could you come to that conclusion? lol

Once there was a country called Rhodesia; it was a net exporter of the following: Corn, wheat, beef, tobacco, electricity, silver, chromium, gold, emeralds and probably a whole lot more besides. Literacy was among the highest in Africa, infant mortality amongst the lowest, employment high. the two tribes of black indigineous occupants lived in harmony with "colonists" - mostly European, mostly British settlers who had been there for several generations.
But politics being what it is, black liberation armies were raised and funded by Russia, China and Cuba - and supported by groups in Sweden, Britain and many other countries who had no involvement other than a nagging desire to meddle. Inevitably a war broke out - and after 15 years of winning every battle, the so-called colonists were forced to hand control to their former enemies by a one-sided agreement brokered by Britain.
In short order, Rhodesia became Zimbabwe. The rest, as they say, is history.
When those "Liberation Armies" shot down a civilian airliner, then raped & murdered the survivors, a priest thundered from his pulpit about the Deafening Silence from the so-called civilised countries. It seems that Silence endures, 25 years on.
I can't help but wonder how many older Zimbabweans hanker after the days when they had jobs, money, homes and security but not a vote.
After all, what does a vote taste like? How much food or medicine can it buy?
In Zimbabwe, democracy might have proved to be a more expensive luxury than anyone can have imagined. Perhaps George Bush might not put such a high value on democracy when it's quite so poisonous.
A generation later, the world's so-called "leaders" put Zimbabwe into the "too-hard" basket - and innocents die in droves.

You can not live in harmony when most people believe (correctly) that one group is so rich because they stole the best land. Be happy that the group around Mugabe can't farm so Zimbabwe will have a bright future in 20 years time

Once there was a country called Rhodesia; it was a net exporter of the following: Corn, wheat, beef, tobacco, electricity, silver, chromium, gold, emeralds and probably a whole lot more besides. Literacy was among the highest in Africa, infant mortality amongst the lowest, employment high. the two tribes of black indigineous occupants lived in harmony with "colonists" - mostly European, mostly British settlers who had been there for several generations.

If only the European colonists and their descendants had treated the natives of the country as equals, politically and otherwise. That country might still be around.

> we'll try not to think about the inconvenient fact that far more citizens died at the hands of their governments last century than ever died in its wars (about 169M to 36M)

Actually, compare apples to apples.

A simple question -- suppose the entire world had had weapons, much like the US does, and that their per-capita death-by-gun rate was just as high -- for the same time frame? (Note that this seems conservative, since the US is inarguably a more violent culture than many).

How many people, then, would have died from 1900 to 1995 in place of deaths due to out of control governments...?

A: ...About 12,000,000 or thereabouts.
(Your answer will vary. Mine is based on 1921-1996 figures I calculated ca. 1998)

This isn't hard to reproduce. I used gun stats for each decade from readily available almanac-type sources combined with world and US pop figures from same or similar sources, all readily available on the internet.

I backdated the number from each decade into its predecessor decade (i.e., the 1930 number for 1921, 22, etc), presuming that, on the whole, this would overcount the US DxG toll, and then used the US pop ratio to compare to the world pop ratio to boost the number from a US real figure to a world guesstimate.

Sum it all up. It's in the neighborhood of 12 million, depending, of course, on your year range. As I said, mine was 1921 to 1996.

Now, 12,000,000 dead is nothing to sneeze at. You don't need to, though. You have the real figure of 200,000,000 (War+Democide) to contrast it against .I know which death toll strikes me as more desirable, and that's not even considering the misery and destruction that resulted from said governments being out of the control of their citizenry.

...Now ask yourself a final question: Given the results of the US Military in recent actions, aren't you REALLY glad that the US citizens have weapons? Do you really want to see our government get out of control? Keep that in mind when some liberal fool whines in your presence about our "gun culture" being barbaric.

> If Tony Blair was serious about doing something about poverty in Africa, he would be sending guns to the MDC and to anyone else who is willing to resist

What we really should do is overfly the place and drop cargo boxes filled with AK47s and ammo all across the countryside, preferably using a measure of intelligence feedback to make sure his troops aren't heavily in the viscinities we drop them into.

...See how long his "rurification" continues once we start THAT...

LOL.

> Americans have the will to resist because you have weapons. If you don't have a gun, freedom of speech has no power. -- Yoshimi Ishikawa

This one is so old, it's in Latin (any spelling errors, mea culpa):

"Inter Armes, Silent Leges"

-- In the face of arms, The Law is silent.

Joe - congratulations on your change of heart! If I may recommend, get a gun and learn how to use it well. All the points that Eric Raymond talks about will become obvious then. American gun culture is something you really have to "get" from daily contact with weapons, there is no other way.

Most of the modern day genocides committed throughout the world are carried out by militia i.e. by civilians armed with guns. Your solution would lead to nothing but more slaughter and rivalry between groups of armed thugs

Your apparent 'revelation' on how to prevent genocides is actually nothing but a recycling of the thrashy argument of the second amendment.

Your criticism of using multi-lateral instruments such as UN institutions to prevent genocide rests on a false assertion that past performance of these institutions can be used as an indicator of future feasibility. However, you fail to take into consideration the extent to which this exact issue has caused immense reform in the way that deployment of military forces in a humanitarion intervention is decided upon in the international system.

In short your 'brilliant idea' on using armed citizens to prevent genocide fails to describe how you aim to ensure that these citizens will use their firepower in a way compatible with your apparent ideals of human rights rather than using them to their own advantage without taking human rights into consideration at all.

So, let's summarize your "Argument," Volker:

  • The fact that institutions have consistently failed means nothing. Wonder what your worship ceremonies to the UN are like - this is clearly religious faith not a policy argument.
  • You have a personal problem with guns.

Widespread armament makes genocide by untrained militias very dificult to impossiblde; see links above. The problem isn't the weapons but the asymetry of force.

The whole point of guns as a right for all is predicated on exactly the notion that many people will use force to personal advantage, and so the only reliable way to curb such abuses is to place the remedy in the hands of those directly affected.

Volker, genocide is only possible when one side can't protect themselves. Many victims of genocide had governments who intentionally disarmed them.

F**k you all, american people.
You kill thousand and thousand people in the world, and after you talk about liberty and democraty !!
Amazing. You only had 3.000 f**king killed in the twin towers but how many human being were killed in Afghanistan and Iraq ...

You suck , you are bad , worst than terrorist , liars (the governments) , dumb ('cause you trust you government's lies) and you are the worse danger in the world

F**K YOU

[ Marshal Festus 2005-06-28 14:25 -- PoM, thanks for contributing from your wanadoo.fr account with France Telecom. In future, please adhere to the WoC comments policy. This will align you with your ISP's terms of use, as well. ]

Joe,
Thanks for the story. To my US friends who say it can never happen here, I remind them of the massacre of native americans and the internment of japanese american. Then I ask, if you don't believe it can happen in your lifetime, are you willing to bet your childrens' and childrens' childrens' lives that it can never happen here?

Gun ownership is a fundamental human right that derives from the right of individual existance; for what good is a right of existance if you are deprived of the means with which to defend it?

Volker's arguments are that militias, i.e. armed civilians, have been the chief perpetrators of genocides in the past, therefore allowing civilians to aquire and retain arms would necessarily lead to more bloodshed. He's wrong about militias, but let's accept his point for the purposes of argument.

Volker then goes on to castigate those who cite the UN's past failures to halt genocides as a predictor of its future performance because he says the past cannot be used to predict the future.

Does anyone else here see the conflict in his arguments?

For people who want to better understand the connection between civilian disarmament and servitude/persecution/genocide, there are two indispensable resources:

Innocents Betrayed -- the made-for-TV documentary that graphically shows the history and disarmament policies that made possible the largest genocides of the 20th Century. Innocents Betrayed also shows how disarmament policies leave people powerless to resists slavery, lynching, crazed killers and knife wielding hijackers.

(www.innocentsbetrayed.com offers a free preview)

Innocents Betrayed derives much of its factual material from the book, Death by Gun Control: The Human Cost of Victim Disarmament.

For a general understanding of the dangers of powerful government, see R.J. Rummel's Death by Government. This book deals with democide, but does not deal with victim disarmament.

(Both books available on Amazon.com)

These resources provide the solid and irrefutable facts and figures (and photos and footage in the video) that support claims of a gun control - genocide connection. I don't think I could confidently argue these issues without these resources.

Guns can save lives! Take a look at the two links below.

CBS' Shomari Stone explains how law abiding citizens used their guns to protect themselves from alleged thugs. He didn't show any "liberal bias" like several mainstream reporters. Now I see why Republicans and 2nd Amendment advocates respect Shomari Stone's fair reporting.

Look at these two links.

1
2

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