2nd Amendment-Action and Consequence

In the other current 2nd Amendment thread, I asked a couple of questions about using the 2nd Amendment to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government.

  1. What is a definition of “tyrannical” that you believe most people with weapons will rally behind?
  2. What do you plan to replace it with? Who gets to decide? The militia with the most guns? The militia that has seized the industrial centers? Who?

I believe I’ve asked these questions before when people have brought up “defense against tyranny” as a primary reason for the second amendment, but I don’t believe I’ve ever gotten an answer.

I think the idea is more along the idea that, had the colonials not already had their weapons, the revolutionary war would not have been possible. I also think the idea lies along the same lines as how legalizing CCW reduces violent crime, not because they’ll actually be shooting criminals, but because criminals will be afraid that you will. That is, the government won’t be tyranical simply because they’d fear a violent uprising, such that one would never have to actually happen, only be a real possibility which vanishes when the citizenry is disarmed.

  1. So, in that sense, “tyrannical” isn’t something that can be easily defined. Instead, it will be bounds set by the government themselves. Theoretically, they would stay away from what might be considered tyrannical because of this fear. As for what would cause a violent uprising, I don’t think it would be a single thing, but surely the removal of several “key” rights, particularly the right to keep and bear arms, could very easily result in a violent uprising.

I imagine a circumstance including a fairly sudden, and against the general will of the people, removal of freedom of speech, religion and such could very well result in an uprising. It would almost certainly not immediately result in violence, but left unchecked or if adequately provoked, it very well could.

  1. Again, the idea isn’t really to replace the government, but more playing on the fear of, I believe it goes something like “the greatest fear of those in power is losing it”. Were the government to be overthrown it would, of course, result in anarchy in which the most powerful militia would, obviously, prevail as the new government.
    Another aspect to consider, I think, is the idea of how much good a private citizen’s weapons are against the sorts of weapons the government has. I’m not so sure it’s particularly fair. Would the government really use tactical nukes against it’s own citizens? If so, considering, as supposed above, that a large number of rights were removed suddenly against a large majority of the population, how willing would a given soldier be willing to fight against his countrymen, especially if he believed in their cause?
    And to turn it around, suppose we, as citizens, were unarmed and were okay with that. Then assume the government becomes tyrannical, by whatever definition fits your beliefs, such that you would be willing to start a violent uprising after peaceable attempts fail. If you had no weapons, how could you assert change against a government that was no longer listening?

Bottom line, I think it’s really just a theoretical luxury that we have experimented with in the past, but not in the modern age. As far as I’m concerned, though I do theoretically agree with the justification given in the second amendment, I think sticking to one justification or another isn’t really the point. A right should remain a right, not only as long as there exists any reasonable justifcation beyond just the original, but until there is a substantially justifiable reason that it should no longer be a right.

IOW, I think the justification given was very real and present in the mind of the framers in the context of the revolutionary war. Even if we suppose that that justification is no longer valid and that the framers had no idea about how weapons technology would advance, is there really substantial reason to remove that right?

…I probably rambled on too far. :frowning:

It would take a cessation of voting rights PLUS acts by agents of government violently taking things. A military coup or other such overthrow. Perhaps if one party took a filibuster proof control of Congress, Presidency, Majority on the Supreme Court and then started really acting up in removing individual rights we would see it.

Since I do not foresee that, I more expect a coup to trigger an uprising.

We will lose our Rights the way we have already been losing them, though. Once little nibble at a time over the years.

I would hope that our armed militia would simple re-instate our quite functioning US Constitution with a few new controls.

Exactly. Most militia types of my acquaintance are quite rabid supporters of the constitution. I’d expect elections pretty quick. Although, depending on the circumstances, a reversion to the colonial era election rules could result in only white male landowners voting or something equally distasteful. But the militia with the most guns setting themselves as the new ruling party would, I suspect, have all the other smaller militias joining together to oust them. A revolution is easier to continue than to start.

I’m sorry-which armed militia would that be, again? We seem to have quite a few groups calling themselves “militias” these days, and as far as I know they’re not exactly working together. Are you quite sure that it would be a militia that you belonged to? Who would get to re-interpret the Constitution, and what new controls do you envision?

Not at all. That was a succinct summation of the idea, phrased much better than I could have done. Thank you.

Traditionally, one defense of the 2nd was the horrific prospect of ousting someone from our own government who took too much power for himself, and/or whittled down the constitutional rights of our citizens. Without an armed citizenry, we’d have no defense against such a tyrant. This concept, for years, seemed to me to be couched in paranoia and a deep distrust of the government. I never have seen such a tyrant in my country. The closest thing I’ve seen in my 58 years has been the current administration, but even now it is not reasonable to take up arms against my own government.

There are other possibilities, such as we have not seen in America. Other countries have fallen to variations on the coup d’etat. Even with the multi-layered powers of the president, a military takeover from within is possible. Frankly, if it happened, I don’t think an armed populace could wage any more than guerrilla warfare against the US military.

So, warding off a tyrant is unlikely, at least at first. Rebel factions could probably get aid and more serious arms from folks we have armed in the past.

Understand, now, I’m just spewing wild hypotheticals. Hell, I’m not even a good shot.

I repeat a previous post of mine:

*‘‘I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people, except for a few public officials.’’
‘‘To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.’’ *

— **George Mason **

Your insistance on a “militia” being a specific group is leading you down a dead end. The militia is the People, in any form. Go back and re-read Blaster Master’s post again.

The unorganized mob of 3 million individual gun owners agreeing on what tyranny is and rising up to fight it-doesn’t even make a credible fantasy. Sorry.

I expect it would be the Un-organized militia - that is, everyone with a gun who would probably support current US troops that would turn on their masters.

I am certainly quite sure that it would be a bloodbath, with horrible consequences and many deaths. I think that it would be ugly, and nasty, and lots of good people would die for no good reason.

I would expect a splintering of the US into separate nations, with each one adopting a form of the Constitution. The new controls would be in counter to whatever was put in place that created the crisis. If we had a President for Life, I would expect a return to term limits. If we had a military coup, I would expect a return to the days of no standing army. If we had a problem with a Federal police force, I would expect the elimination of that force and the return to states running things.

WAY too many possible scenarios here without delving into schlock fiction.

Sure it does, since we can see it other parts of the world (Hutus & Tutsis, for example). At least, we can see the rise up portion, led by a few demagogues on the radio, internet etc. Take the combination of a flash mob with guns hitting a few troop stations, then see if it snowballs.

Of course, it could also end up like the barricade scene in Le Miz with nobody else rising up and the idealists dead in the street.

That’s crap. You’re getting hung up on your conceit that we’re only talking about some type of “organized militia”. Assuming that a tyrannical government were to come into being in America, all that needs to happen is that the population be sufficiently armed to make the country ungovernable, weather it be armed individuals resisting the black shirts coming to arrest them or simply executing the agents of official policy (police, tax collectors, politicians, etc…). All that an armed citizenry needs to do is resist until such a point as some counter group can organize itself and seize power back. Iraq is bad enough now, and certainly there are enough weapons in country even if they didn’t have a 2nd Amendment, but imagine what it would be like there if the Ba’athist regime had been almost universally loved instead of casually despised. Do you think that the current American supported government would still be a going concern? I don’t.

It would be what a sufficient number of people believe to be a necessary thing. If they lose, they will be “traitors” on the ash-heap of history unless much later generations agree with their position, then they can look down from heaven and smile at these platitudes.

I mean, there is no ultimate arbitrator of disputes (on this Earth, leaving God in the heavenly realm, or nowhere; not a religous thread) so we all make our own decisions about how much abuse or tyranny is too much.

Do we get enough people? Do we have the proper weapons? Do we have God/fate/mother nature/the weather on our side?

It is a decision for peoples at their own situation at different points in history. Their success lives and dies with them, and will be judged/not judged by a higher power/nothing.

But here is the difference: An unarmed populace cannot exercise this choice. They will meekly submit or die to the tyranny at hand, whereas the armed populace can have their chance (however great or meager) at victory over the oppressors…

I’d like to think that the second amendment supporters would defend the constitution, but hearing the deafening silence from them after the suspension of the right of habeas corpus makes me pretty sure that as long as you let them have their firearms, you can do anything you want. Apparently the idea that if the government can throw you in jail without a charge owning a gun isn’t much protection is lost on them.

Habeus corpus hasn’t been suspended for us right-thinking patriotic Christian types. They’ve only suspended it fer them furriner terrists.

Oh, well then, never mind.

I’ll answer with a particularly current example.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, people in New Orleans couldn’t count on functioning courts, efficient police, or in some cases even neighbors to protect them from looters. Some of them had only guns.

The reaction of the New Orleans government, in a spectacular display of misplaced priorities that even you likely wouldn’t support, was to send cops out to confiscate every weapon they could find, no matter what the person was doing with it. The cops then went back to what they were doing before, and the looting continued.

So there - that is tyranny. That’s who gets to decide.

Legislation was rushed into Congress to reverse this - in the Senate it took the form of the Vitter Amendment. Only 16 senators voted against this reasonable bill that would prevent wanton disarming of the population in an emergency. They were, of course, all liberal Democrats, although other liberal Democrats voted with the responsible majority on this one.

The 16 included Senators Akaka, Boxer, Clinton, Dodd, Durbin, Feinstein, Harkin, Inouye, Kennedy, Lautenberg, Levin, Menendez, Mikulski, Reed, Sarbanes, and Schumer.

Mr. Moto, who I rarely agree with, sums up my point. I find tyranny not likely in the federal government, where checks and balances will out, but in the local. Bent and broken cops, a mayor and chief of police sharing a last name, a place where the mafia owns the city.

Or, of course, where the police have no worry of what a citizen will do, and abuse them in any way they feel like, to the point of making up fictional crimes, and executing no-knock warrants with gunfire on the front door of a 98 year old woman.

Or… well.

Texas can be a bad place for a black man. Tulia, for example. Or Linden.

I believe Senator Obama supported the Vitter Amendment.

I should also point out that I consider the body of retired soldiers and their families to be a fairly good potential militia. Well trained, generally, some with combat experience. Judging from the callbacks, it would seem the armed forces feel the same way about the soldiers.

I do not think that the armed forces, as a whole, would ever attack American Citizens. Were straits desperate enough, it is more likely the citizens would support the armed forces as needed.

But that’s just me.



He did. As did Senator Kerry. I’ll give credit where it is due.