It’s Apocalypse Now On Guns

BY Herschel Smith
5 years, 9 months ago

Michael Gerson at The Washington Post:

It is one of the dirty habits of our political discourse that so many people use thermonuclear rhetorical weapons as a first resort. It is not enough for defenders of gun rights to be wrong; they must be complicit in murder. It is not enough for gun-control advocates to be mistaken; they must be jackbooted thugs laying the groundwork for tyranny.

These competing apocalypses, paradoxically, make politics appear smaller — the realm of unbalanced partisans and professional hyperventilators. But more destructively, this type of argument makes incremental change — the kind that our system of government encourages — more difficult.

This is a particular shame on the issue of gun violence. The maximal solutions — broad restrictions on gun ownership or fixing the mental-health system — are so difficult or unlikely that they have become obstacles to action. They are something like, on the issue of global warming, recommending that the Earth be moved farther from the sun.

[ … ]

When it comes to mass killings, we know what the perpetrators generally look like: disappointed loners, motivated by grudges, seeking fame and planning their violence carefully. So here is an answerable public-policy question: What can we do to identify these dangerous malcontents and keep ­military-grade weaponry out of their hands? We should be considering: special police task forces that actively identify and track prospective killers instead of ­passively responding to warnings. ­Higher age restrictions on gun access. Broader application of gun­ violence protective orders that forbid gun ownership to people exhibiting warning signs. Better education on those warning signs among adults who deal with young men. Media norms against using the names of mass killers, which only encourages their deadly performance art.

[ … ]

When it comes to American gun culture, the issue of motivation matters a great deal. If you defend access to guns for sport and self-defense, there is no logical reason to reject reasonable ­restrictions on firepower and access. Some compromise — focused on keeping guns out of the hands of dangerous and unstable people — is within the realm of possibility. But if you view the ultimate purpose of gun ownership as resistance to a future (or present) tyrannical government, then restrictions on firepower and access are exactly the things a tyrannical government would want. Because the goal of an oppressive state is to have a monopoly on sophisticated weaponry, any incremental movement toward that goal is unacceptable.

This argument — summarized by David French as “the concept of an armed citizenry as a final, emergency bulwark against tyranny” — is perhaps understandable in a country born of revolutionary violence. But more than two centuries removed from the ­revolution, the concept seems, well, frightening.

When I look at many of the people holding the guns, I don’t really view them as legitimate protectors of my rights, or as qualified to make choices about the employment of violence in politics. I don’t view America as halfway to tyranny. And I am grateful that Americans such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. — who suffered actual oppression by government — made a principled commitment to nonviolent political change.

It is one thing when Thomas Jefferson said “the tree of liberty must be ­refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” It is another thing entirely when your well-armed neighbor says the same.

I have no idea how much this attitude infects the right. But the fever can be measured in talk of a “deep state” coup against the president, in sympathy for Cliven Bundy in his armed standoff with federal agents, in support of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) when he ordered the State Guard to monitor the Navy SEAL/Green Beret joint training exercise Jade Helm 15. All destructive madness.

So let me assist you a bit, Michael.  First of all, I would do nothing to protect you against tyranny.  You’re the enemy, or at least you’re in bed with the enemy.  You love tyranny.  You love high taxes, government control, government-run health care, redistribution of wealth, and a police state.

You’ve traded liberty for a semblance of security, but that security is only as the state deems right and fitting.  You could wake up tonight to a SWAT team busting your door in and shooting your loved ones, all in the name of a war on drugs, with no apologies, no recompense, and no explanation.  Wrong home?  Who cares – certainly not the police.  You feed from the crumbs that fall from the master’s table.  And you’re happy with that.

There are a lot of us.  We’re the dirt people.  You get your power from us, and your lights come on only because we allow it.  We feed you.  We drive the trucks that deliver your supplies.  We make the lines of logistics.  We grow your crops and worry about heavy equipment breakage and droughts and the price of goods and paying our employees.

And we have guns.  We have pistols, shotguns, bolt action rifles, and AR-15s.  You’re not getting any of them.  One of my commenters observed something that may be enlightening to you.  Listen closely.

The gun-banners aren’t too well-educated and haven’t thought things through. They really haven’t. They have not studied the history of the Prohibition Era enough in depth to realize that the federal government can’t really outlaw anything – all the government can do is force buyers and sellers of goods/services out of the above-board, legal market and into the underground economy and black market. That’s it.

It’s basic economics. As long as a market for a particular good or service exists, and producers/sellers of that particular good or service exist, they will find a way to do business – whether the government likes it or not. Not only the prohibition of alcohol, either, but the so-called “war on drugs” proves this fact.

All the Eighteenth Amendment really did was to turn tens of millions of otherwise law-abiding Americans into instant felons overnight by making illegal what had previously been legal – the production, sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.

At the stroke of a pen, millions of gainfully-employed people were rendered unemployed, and businesses large and small immediately felt the ripple effects of the new laws. Not only the tavern down the street, but the liquor distributor across town and the bottling plant the next state over and the largest firms involved in the business of slaking their customer’s thirst.

Alcohol prohibition also – nearly single-handedly – created and enabled the explosive growth of the mafia – the outfit, the mob, La Cosa Nostra, whatever you wish to term them. The biggest syndicates moved huge amounts of liquor, beer and spirits smuggled into the U.S. from outside; reaping giant profits in the process.

It took the FBI (back when that agency still had a shred or two of honor to its name) decades to finally beat back and take down the mob, so powerful had they gotten in the 1920s and 1930s.

Alcohol prohibition and the war on drugs will fade into insignificance in comparison to the massive underground economy sure to be created in the wake of any national ban on the ownership of firearms. Such a ban would surely create the largest and most-profitable black market in history.

And bear in mind that such a vast underworld enterprise will likely not restrict itself to the sales of deer rifles and five-shot revolvers; it will deal in the latest military-grade hardware – including fully-automatic weapons. After all, if the mere fact of owning a firearm is already a crime, there is no additional harm done going “all in” and getting the mil-spec hardware.

Very quickly, this country will move from resembling the U.S.A. we have known and loved to something like Mogadishu, Somalia, where even a poor man can afford to buy an AK47 and an RPG down at the local market and arms bazaar.

We don’t like government interference and government intervention.  You see, when the Scriptures teach us that “The good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,” we take that seriously.  That means government theft is immoral, and if the government has become an impediment to us providing for our children’s children, then the government has become a stumbling block and worker of evil.

We do not look to the state to provide, protect and give us cradle to grave security like you do Michael.  It might be “scary” to you that we’re armed the way we are.  That’s by intent, for our armaments are not only for our own personal protection, but amelioration of tyranny.  We aren’t “legitimate protectors of your rights,” we are legitimate protectors of our rights.  People like us believe that the Mr. David French you cite is too progressive and we pay little attention to him.  You mustn’t forget the history of gun control, with the Armenian genocide, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Hitler and The Third Reich, and Stalin, all of whose regimes were preceded by gun confiscations and gun control laws.  Deaths at the hands of tyrants in the last century approached 200 million souls.

So the best and quickest way to ensure the war you apparently fear is to keep pushing government control and disarmament.  Do it at your own peril, Michael.  Your secure home and lifestyle inside the beltway may not be as secure as you think if you can’t control that controller impulse in yourself.


  1. On February 28, 2018 at 8:20 am, Frank Clarke said:

    While this essay is clear and forceful and true, the argument you put forward is one, it seems to me, that the gun controllers are unable to comprehend: they are, as MBV said many times, soliciting civil (sic) war, whether knowingly or not. Perhaps they “pay no nevermind” to that possibility because they believe such a war will be fought, like all the others, by somebody else’s children and that they will watch it on TV.

    Yes, it would be rude to point out how very wrong they are because that would sound too much like the threat it is.

    Perhaps a cautionary tale?

  2. On February 28, 2018 at 9:10 am, Duke Norfolk said:

    Yeah, I don’t know if Gerson really understands how dishonest he’s being, or if he’s just another naive’ fool.

    Maybe he knows enough to understand the 2nd Amdt as a bulwark against tyranny, but he’s just the latest in a line of fools who thinks that those historical examples just couldn’t happen now. “Sure, Thomas Jefferson et al were right, but not NOW.”

    Either way he’s a dangerous person, and a traitor (or just not a real American, and he has to “go back”).

    People love to trot out the line about “those who don’t learn from history”, but almost nobody ever really does, as they always think that Now is fundamentally different than Then. And “it” could never happen now in our enlightened new age; etc. ad nauseum.

  3. On February 28, 2018 at 3:04 pm, moe mensale said:

    “It is one thing when Thomas Jefferson said “the tree of liberty must be ­refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” It is another thing entirely when your well-armed neighbor says the same.”

    If your well-armed neighbor is saying it, Mikey, maybe you should heed it as a warning that the state has ceased its obligation of securing the liberties of its citizens and it’s now time to remind them of that.

  4. On February 28, 2018 at 3:50 pm, Gryphon said:

    Among all of My Acquaintances and Friends (who own Guns) more often Now the discussion is turning to this; “Do these libtard f**ks and government fools actually BELIEVE their own bull$#!* that they can just ‘Ban Guns’ and have a Positive (for them) Outcome?

    The WTF! level is up to 11 or 12 now, and it seems there are No Signs of the Enemies of the Constitution realizing where this is Headed…. It will make “Bosnia X Rwanda” look like the proverbial Church Picnic, and it is Impossible to Tell them that…

    Buy More Ammo…

  5. On February 28, 2018 at 7:31 pm, Ned said:

    These statist Quislings always believe they will be eaten last.

  6. On June 7, 2018 at 1:53 pm, Jeb said:

    I’m middle aged and am pretty “black pilled” regarding the future of Western Civilization. I believe America and the rest of the West are entering or have entered thier final stage. The Left won when they captured the media/academia/pop-culture. With this intellectual triumvirate they have control of the hearts and minds of the young and thus the future. The brainwashing has taken effect. Again, I am black pilled and see no hope to turn this around, I have no faith in the modern day liberal Matriarchy of Western Civilization. Yes I know… go ahead and call me defeatist. However, as I have already told my wife if the repeal of the 2nd Amendment ever becomes a reality and the confiscations start, well that will be my tripwire, don’t expect me home for dinner…

  7. On June 7, 2018 at 2:46 pm, tombosley said:

    “Such a ban would surely create the largest and most-profitable black market in history.”

    And then society went to a cashless payment system eliminating the black market. The integration of personal electronic devices and the cashless payment system eradicated all private transactions except in the realm of barter. The pipe dream of anonymity blew away like a fart in the wind years ago.

  8. On June 7, 2018 at 4:12 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “And then society went to a cashless payment system eliminating the black market. The integration of personal electronic devices and the cashless payment system eradicated all private transactions except in the realm of barter.”

    Well, perhaps, but haven’t you forgotten that the people themselves can – independent of any governmental entity or central bank – create their own currencies and media of exchange? These would exist on top of an in addition to barter.

    The government can ban “cash” – if they mean government-issued federal reserve notes coined by the Department of the Treasury. They have much less-control over forms of exchange which do not fall under their prevue.

  9. On June 7, 2018 at 7:36 pm, Adam Baum said:

    This is a response to tombosley. The black market arms dealer would still require all the necessities of life. He is selling an RPG with ammunition for X amount of cashless dollars. He gives you a shopping list of items which he needs/wants, which roughly equals the cost to you of the RPG+ammo. You buy the items and meet up to trade “barter”.

  10. On June 7, 2018 at 9:52 pm, BT said:

    Michael Gerson was George Bush’s senior speech writer, worked at the Heritage Foundation, and is a typical Republican.

  11. On June 14, 2018 at 6:36 pm, Heartless Libertarian said:

    The Second Amendment exists to remind government employees to mind their manners.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Gun Control and was published February 27th, 2018 by Herschel Smith.

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