Thursday, January 03, 2002

So, I point out that the arsenals of the folks at Waco and Ruby Ridge didn't do a hell of a lot to protect their civil rights, and Perry replies that:

It is rather like saying if people didn't have valuable stuff worth stealing, they would not have to worry about being robbed.

Well, let's say you've got some valuable stuff. (Civil rights are valuable, no?) And let's say that you protect that valuable stuff with a few motion detectors wired up to some blasting caps and a little C4. And let's say that someone breaks in, and the blast blows up your stuff, your wife gets caught in the blast as well.

It's no defense of the burglars to point out that your strategy for protecting your stuff was kinda dumb.

Which is what I think of people who try to protect their civil rights with guns. Any actual use of the guns against government authority turns into a firefight which, even Perry acknowledges, you basically can't win:

Certainly the US security apparatus is more than capable of picking off groups like the Branch Davidians or Randy Weaver if it is thus inclined, no argument there.

He goes on:

Of course I would argue that looking at those incidents is rather incomplete unless you look at all the consequences, namely Oklahoma. One does not have to agree with or admire Tim McVeigh to see that the action he took in response to those events does seem to have raised awareness amongst the jackboot tendency in all governments that there can be costs to the application of tyranny beyond immediate calculation. If a few more Waco's were to happen, I have no doubt more Oklahoma's would have followed.

That is, if the government apparatus runs amok on heavily armed misfits in Idaho and Texas, other heavily armed misfits will even up the equation by blowing up a few hundred people who had nothing to do with it in Oklahoma. That will raise the consciousness of those in power who are otherwise susceptible to some sort of "jackboot tendancy", and make them more sensitive to the particular concerns of heavily armed misfits everywhere. So while not expressing support for McVeigh in any way, Perry feels it is important to recognize that he wasn't just a fruitcake who seized on the outrage du jour as an excuse to blow things up, but rather an important part of the salutary and healthful process by which a free society regulates itself and governments are kept from getting out of hand.

And Ted Kaczynski was just part of the process by which society shields itself from rushing heedlessly into the adoption of dangerous new technologies. Man, we couldn't get along without him.

A few other notes.

About Northern Ireland: Perry describes the Republicans there as "a minority within a minority". If Britain were just trying to maintain control and damn the consequences, they would all have been rounded up and shot, along with any other Catholic who showed a hint of sympathy for the cause. There's a ready stock of Protestant militants to serve as informers and triggermen, and I'm sure they could have gotten some tips from Hafez al-Assad on which parts of Belfast to turn into Hama North for maximum effect. That's what tyrants do. That's their thing. Assad stayed in power till he died of old age, having put down more than one well-armed insurgency in the meantime. His tactics work. When they're adopted by the British, they'll be relevant to the argument.

Finally, Perry thinks that in a civilian resistance to a full general tyranny, some of the military's own ammo would wind up in the hands of the insurgents. That depends on the Army, of course, and on what they've been told about the resistance. Still, in a countrywide lockdown, (as opposed to an attack on an isolated and doomed pocket of resistance, which is what I had in mind), that could happen --- in which case, the Army boys who are supplying the bullets could certainly toss a few guns over the fence as well. Take care of the bullets, and the guns will take care of themselves. So, why all the fuss about what Chuck Schumer might do in the meantime?


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