Guns and Whatnot.

Music, books, movies, TV, games, hobbies, food, and potent potables. And forum games! Pour a drink, put on your smoking jacket, light a pipe (of whatever), and settle in.
User avatar
JasonL
Posts: 24038
Joined: 05 May 2010, 17:22

Re: Guns and Whatnot.

Post by JasonL » 10 Aug 2019, 12:09

There are two ideas that sometimes mingle - one is assuming the will to use them are privately held weapons capable of deterring direct acts of force by a vastly superior armed force. I think this is obviously true. Afghanistan, Vietnam etc etc, plus the strain of maintaining political will to wage war on your own citizens en masse.

The other idea is are such weapons useless because there would under a range of scenarios not be enough people willing to use them. This is much more plausible to me, but the versions of it I often hear are not great, namely the one like “it already should have happened”. That view does not in my estimation take seriously enough the differences between Russia, North Korea, China, Iran, large government democracies like Sweden and more permissive democracies like the US. People who yell about fascists here would not be confused about the difference if they woke up in an actual fascist dictatorship.

So there’s a very fuzzy margin where things get incrementally worse and enough people get mad enough - maybe that’s like Russia or maybe it’s not until nearly North Korea. Whatever the point is, armed populace raises costs of crossing that threshold, potentially by a dramatic amount but at least in some amount. Some people think that difference is trivial, but at least for now I don’t.

User avatar
D.A. Ridgely
Posts: 18762
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:09
Location: The Other Side

Re: Guns and Whatnot.

Post by D.A. Ridgely » 10 Aug 2019, 12:35

JasonL wrote:
10 Aug 2019, 12:09
There are two ideas that sometimes mingle - one is assuming the will to use them are privately held weapons capable of deterring direct acts of force by a vastly superior armed force. I think this is obviously true. Afghanistan, Vietnam etc etc, plus the strain of maintaining political will to wage war on your own citizens en masse.

The other idea is are such weapons useless because there would under a range of scenarios not be enough people willing to use them. This is much more plausible to me, but the versions of it I often hear are not great, namely the one like “it already should have happened”. That view does not in my estimation take seriously enough the differences between Russia, North Korea, China, Iran, large government democracies like Sweden and more permissive democracies like the US. People who yell about fascists here would not be confused about the difference if they woke up in an actual fascist dictatorship.

So there’s a very fuzzy margin where things get incrementally worse and enough people get mad enough - maybe that’s like Russia or maybe it’s not until nearly North Korea. Whatever the point is, armed populace raises costs of crossing that threshold, potentially by a dramatic amount but at least in some amount. Some people think that difference is trivial, but at least for now I don’t.
I don't, on balance, disagree. But I don't think wholesale confiscation of firearms would, by itself, be perceived by the population as "waging war" on that population any more than any of the varying draconian measures imposed since 9/11 have been perceived even as threat to or reduction in liberty. They were just written off after some initial grumbling as inconveniences probably necessary for public safety. Sure, not by you or by thousands, maybe millions of other gun owners, but on balance sheep remain sheep. And there wouldn't be an all-out sweep door-to-door of SWAT teams breaking into Joe Bob's split level searching for guns. It would start smaller, maybe even with minorities in the inner city whom we already know the NRA will stand mute to witness with acquiescence if not tacit approval. The gun shops would close. The firearms manufacturers would be impounded, nationalized, the state would become a firearms monopsony . The so-called mentally ill; that is, people with any history whatever of violence would come next. There'd by buy-back programs. It would be incremental, at least at first. Schools would encourage students to turn in their parents just as with drugs. Two, maybe three years down the road, there'd still be people with secret stashes and gun owners in remote locations too small a threat to bother with for the time being but the supply of ammo would reduce to a trickle and the total number of guns would be halved, then halved again, etc. The media would publish a flood of approving reports about the reduction in gun suicides and single-victim homicides, etc.

User avatar
thoreau
Posts: 28095
Joined: 06 May 2010, 12:56
Location: Back to the lab again

Re: Guns and Whatnot.

Post by thoreau » 10 Aug 2019, 12:52

One genuinely good thing about liberal societies is that by the time people are willing to accept violence it's already too late.

Suppose that the next massive ICE raid was met with armed resistance. The internet would be flooded with "I Stand With Law Enforcement" memes. A whole lot of people who privately think "Serves the bastards right" would also understand that acting on that impulse takes us nowhere good and would join in denouncing the violence. Trump would be tweeting that everyone wielding a gun against ICE is in MS13 and Antifa. Every Dem running for office would stand with ICE and support a budget increase. (Except Marianne Williamson, who would call for spiritual beings to come and aid them.) The suspects would get the "Unarmed black male" treatment, not the "White guys taking over a government building for several weeks" treatment.

And if the people pointing guns at ICE said "Never Again Is Now" or quoted Anne Frank this forum would explode and the mods would be at wits end.

And you know what? Regardless of one's opinion on the applicability of "Never Again", it would be a very GOOD thing that the vast majority of America views inhumane immigration enforcement as something to resolve in a court of law rather than with shooting in the streets.

Now let's say we get to a point where people are OK with shooting at ICE. What would it take to get there? It would take state agents perpetrating unprovoked violence or other indignities against vast numbers of people from a wide range of backgrounds and getting away with it. And once we're at the point where that many people are that angry, it's already too late, because the state has built an apparatus that can do this stuff and continue to enjoy the support of enough people to continue functioning. The people who will work for that state will be from communities or sub-cultures that have not yet reached a breaking point, and probably never will. Or, at the very least, they will be people who never learned to live off the land and need their salary, benefits, and ability to avoid arrest while living in areas with electricity, running water, and internet access (critical for monitoring them).

Yes, even at that point, if tens of millions of people took up arms and engaged in coordinated, proficient action, the state would be completely fucked. But a state that can do that shit can disrupt their activities before they get that critical mass of people organized and trained. Trained men with guns can make mincemeat of people who know how to pull triggers and not much else. Remember, the Afghans are dangerous not simply because they own guns, but because key elements of their society spend their lives practicing mountain warfare in tribal squabbles against neighbors. The US is facing people who have already practiced fighting people who know the terrain, and have lived to tell the tale.

So, go on thinking that by the time it gets REALLY bad there will be people willing to shoot at ICE or whatever other acronym. By that point it will be impossible to organize a resistance, not least because some of the people most inclined to own guns and tactical gear will be in the handful of demographics that continue to support the state, or at least continue to argue that it "Isn't that bad."

Hell, by the time it's "that bad", the state will probably covertly fund lefty militias so that they can get authentic footage of armed lefties to scare their core supporters into staying in line. How many guys with guns, tactical gear, and rural land suitable for training exercises will want to join the Resistance after seeing footage of armed hippies saying that they want European healthcare after the Revolution is done?
"They were basically like D&D min maxers, but instead of pissing off their DM, they destroyed the global economy. Also, instead of their DM making a level 7 paladin fight a beholder as punishment, he got a +3 sword of turning."
--Mo

User avatar
Mo
Posts: 24519
Joined: 26 Apr 2010, 17:08

Re: Guns and Whatnot.

Post by Mo » 10 Aug 2019, 16:42

I think the problem in the US has less to do with guns and more to do with US gun culture. We’re at all time national lows for the percentage of people that own guns, but a significant percentage of them are weird fetishists.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex

User avatar
Painboy
Posts: 4064
Joined: 18 Feb 2013, 11:33
Location: Seattle

Re: Guns and Whatnot.

Post by Painboy » 12 Aug 2019, 11:38

I don't imagine the shooting starts in earnest, outside of a few radicals, until those aggrieved perceive their is no more political recourse and things will never get better without violence. So even if rights are being infringed bit by bit, until there is a point where there appears to be no way to politically recapture those rights, or halt any remaining infringement, I wouldn't expect any kind of violent insurrection.

The American Revolution only started when the it appeared to many Americans that no further political solution remained and continuing with the current arrangement with the crown was intolerable. The Civil War got going when the North refused to compromise over slavery anymore and the South refused to take steps to reform it and just stopped listening to the federal government. All political means were perceived to be exhausted.

Also I'm pretty sure you would need something else beyond the threatened rights to actually get people to start shooting (and be willing to get shot at). Representation in Parliament and taxes may have been what set off the American Revolution but it very quickly became about other more expansive concepts. I don't know if you could have a revolution purely to fight for the tools necessary to fight a revolution. That might be a little meta for most people.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot], Majestic-12 [Bot], Painboy, Pham Nuwen and 7 guests