Feb 1, 2013

Guns and the Prevention of Tyranny

The dialogue below is from a discussion about privately owned guns and their value in preventing government tyranny.  It is excerpted from a Yahoo Group discussion. My response to my friend RV is in bold italics.  

I think that the private ownership of governments has little to do with the preservation of freedom in this country.  Each little Village and City and County has a police department that is capable.  They are somewhat nervous of heavily armed citizens because not because they think they will rise up against the country but because they know that some people are lunatics who may use those guns to murder people. 

And I spent 32 years in the Marine Corps. I never heard anyone talk about overthrowing the government. We all swore to protect and defend the Constitution. And we were not worried about a few folks with AR-15's other than nervous that someone might go crazy and murder people.

There are numerous divisions of power in our country. In some countries the military and police are one super organization.  In our country the military is divided into numerous branches, and police power is divided into a myriad of local, State, and Federal agencies.  

I think that your perspective is somewhat clouded by your experience, not that I demean or belittle it.

Yes, of course it is. All of us base our opinions on our experience and education, and the latest web site or email that we have read.

Here are some other thoughts. What if there was absolutely no armed citizens and then the capabilities of a obsessive government in 50 years a 100 years from now? Then would there be any possibility at all?

Anything is possible.  But democratic governments have been taking over the world.  Look at South America and the former Communist countries.  And the Arab world is in the process. 

Can an armed citizen overthrow a government? I don't think so, but they also represent a very very strong deterrent to some actions.

I don't think an armed citizenry is much of a deterrent to government tyranny.  I served in the Marine Corps. I never heard anyone seriously talk about desiring the country to be run by a dictatorship. We all grew up in a vibrant democracy and most of like it just fine - even if we get frustrated with all the fussing and fighting.  And everyone in the military on promotion or reenlistment takes an oath of office swearing to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

I, [name], do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.[1] 

Did anyone think that the USSR would ever fall like they did? Was that not brought about by a strong citizenary?

Most people were surprised when European Communism fell apart so quickly.  These were horrible governments who ruled through fear and murder - argue with the government and you would end up dead or in prison.

I met Brent Skowcroft in the Tokyo Airport a few years after the fall of Communism. He was the National Security Adviser under President Bush 41. A very knowledgeable and nice man. I had read the book he and George Bush had written.

I asked him if he had seen the fall of communism coming. "No one saw it." he laughed.  Ronald Regan talked about the fall, but everyone was shocked and pleasantly surprised when it fell so quickly."

So horrible dictatorships have fallen in many places, with very few changed from democracy back to dictatorship, particularly where democracy has been in place for some time.

If there was a situation in 50 or 100 years that arose from a oppressive government, you assume that the military would fully back this government. Maybe they would want or need the help of an armed public.

The military is sworn to preserve and protect the Constitution and would do so without reservation.  They would not support or back a takeover of the government and an elimination of democracy. Our military is very much a mirror of our greater society.

This looks at a practical view of today's situation but to me does not look in the future. Also, I don't think it takes in the values, courage and strength of the America citizen.

The values, courage and strength of the American citizen is important and directly reflected in our military. After all, all of our military were civilians before and after they enter the military.

If things were bad enough, I believe you would be one of those to take a leadership role to protect and defend the original values of this country and you would want to be armed.

I have sworn numerous times to support and defend the Constitution and would do what I swore to do, which is also the right thing to do.

There is an excellent article in the Atlantic on this issue. I agree with the author.