Jack Shields | United States
A few weeks ago, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch tweeted an NBC article discussing the desire of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) to take Americans’ semi-automatic rifles from them and criminally prosecute those who refuse to turn in their guns. Swalwell proudly admitted on Twitter that Loesch wasn’t wrong about his intentions. This caused him to get into arguments with people on Twitter where he casually mentioned that if we defied the government and refused to turn in our guns, they could just nuke us into submission. He was, of course, being sarcastic, but it brings light to the fact that many on the Left consider the idea of the people using their guns to rise up and fight a tyrannical government as simply laughable. The government and more specifically the military it commands are just too powerful in their opinion for us to stand a chance. However, this is simply not true. The facts show that the second amendment remains just as adequate a tool for fighting tyranny today as it did when it was ratified in 1791.
A Fight Against Tyranny
The first way the second amendment functions as a tool to prevent tyranny isn’t even that we can use the guns to fight the government. It’s the fact that us having the guns will deter the government from doing anything that would warrant us having to rebel in the first place. Recognizing that guns are an effective deterrent is just understanding human nature. If for some odd reason you were required to rob one of two houses that were identical in every aspect and each had a guy with almost identical characteristics in them, with the only difference being you knew the guy in House A was armed while the guy in House B was unarmed; then it’s an easy choice. You’re going to rob House B. The stats show that at an individual level this is true.
The book, Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms by James D. Wright and Peter D. Rossi, discusses a 1982 survey of male felons in 11 state prisons which found that 34% were “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.” 40% decided against committing a crime because they “knew or believed that the victim was carrying a gun.” And lastly, 69% had personally known other criminals who were “scared off, shot at, wounded, or captured by an armed victim.” This reality was understood by both the men in government who have wanted to preserve the rights of the people and those who have wanted to impose tyranny on them.
James Madison, when talking about the threat of a federal government which wished to usurp state powers and encroach on individual liberties in The Federalist, No. 46, noted the unique “advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.” Madison knew that Americans would rise to defeat any federal government which wished to impose tyranny, and because of this, the federal government would be unlikely to attempt such things. It was a deterrent that the subjects of Europe did not have, and it showed as their kings trampled on their rights with little doubt that they could get away with it. Not only did Madison, the Father of the Constitution and one of the biggest leaders for freedom and liberty in the history of the world, understand this, but one of the most tyrannical, evil people in the world, Mao Zedong, understood this fact as well.
Mao once said, “Every communist must grasp the truth: Political power grows out of the barrel of a gun.” Mao knew that in order to take away his subjects ability to resist as he trampled over their liberties; he needed to be the one in control of the guns. And the results of the two nations Mao and Madison built could not be more different. Madison’s country is the freest, most powerful nation in the history of humanity. Mao murdered 45 million of his own people as he built a nightmare today where the people have little to no rights and China is one of the most evil and dangerous countries in the world. It’s not just the Chinese that were oppressed. The Jews in Nazi Germany, the women in Iran, and even the black people in the United States for most of its history were helpless as their rights were stripped from them because they did not have access to the deterrent we as Americans take for granted or mock today.
While it’s clear having guns is a successful deterrent against government tyranny if, God forbid, we ever had to rebel against our own government, would we be able to put up a fight? Are the liberals right when they say the government would slaughter us? Wars both now and throughout history show us that Rep. Swalwell and his fellow progressives are just wrong and that we could actually put up a fight.
Conservatives often remark when debating the issue of guns that George Washington did not talk with the British. He shot them. And at the time the British had by far the most powerful military in the world. The colonies had farmers and boys in disorganized militias and the ill-equipped Continental Army. Yet the United States won using the ordinary firearms they had at home against the greatest military force of the time. The Civil War also disproves several points made by the Progressives.
The History of Resistance
The first is that Progressives seem to believe that a war now would be the full might of the military striking down a bunch of rebellious civilians, but that’s just not true. In the event of a civil war, it’s reasonable to believe a sizable portion of the military will fight for the rebellion, bringing weapons, tech, and military knowledge and strategy to the rebels. This is seen best by General Robert E. Lee, who was offered the command of the United States Army but chose instead to align himself with the Confederacy. And while the Confederacy lost, it was in no way an easy victory for the Union, as it looked like for a long time the Confederacy may win and, in order to turn the tide of the war, President Lincoln had to play politics at a level no President has yet to equal; General Grant had to use all the resources and men at his disposal, and General Sherman had to light the South on fire with his total war strategy to get them to finally surrender, and it barely worked. But that was before nukes, drones, helicopters, MOABs, chemical weapons, and all the other tools of destruction the government now has at its disposal. But when looking at wars in the modern era, you get the same results.
Since the United States dropped the atomic bomb in 1945, ushering in a new era of warfare in which it reigns supreme, it has been involved in three major wars. The Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the War on Terror. The Korean War was essentially a tie, with the United States-backed South Korea and Soviet-backed North Korea dividing their respective nations at the 39th parallel. But it’s important to understand just why it was a tie rather than a victory for the United States. President Truman fired General MacArthur and did not allow him to pursue more aggressive means of winning the war which included bombing the Chinese. The same President Truman that ordered the atomic bombings of Japan.
The United States held back its power, and it did the same in Vietnam. This was done for a plethora of reasons, mainly to keep up our image at home and abroad. And if nuking communist trying to kill your troops isn’t something most leaders would do, it’s unlikely they’d nuke us. Nukes, if used at all, would be the last result. And the results of such an action would be truly detrimental to the government.
The dictator of Syria, Bashar al Assad, used chemical weapons on his own people and was condemned internationally and now has the most powerful country in the world firing missiles and putting troops into his country. If the United States were to nuke us as Rep. Swalwell said, they would immediately lose international support, and the rebels would pick up lots of support from other countries. Not only that, those on the fence in America about siding with the rebels would be more inclined to join them after watching the government commit such a horrific act. And realistically, even if we did end up getting a Mad King type President in charge who wanted to nuke some rebels, there would likely be more than a few Jaime Lannisters willing to strike him down.
The fighting would likely be contained to traditional warfare, and that’s where we look at the results of the War on Terror. The Middle East had already repelled the Soviet Union, the second most powerful country of the 20th century, and is now taking on the United States. And unfortunately, they have done quite well. It’s been 17 years since 9/11, and al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and ISIS still exist, and while perhaps it could be argued we’ve limited their power and made progress, no one thought it would take this long or go this poorly. They are attempting to outlast us until we give up, and although not certain it seems like they have a chance to win with their inferior weapons and resources.
Looking at history or just the world today we can clearly see the marked effect civilians having or using guns has on governments wishing to impose their power on them, and it is clear Rep. Swalwell and his fellow progressives’ philosophy and agenda on this issue should be rejected, and the second amendment should be preserved.
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