The line needs to be before that

I’m still not quite ready to drop discussion of the rather . . . spirited disagreement around the gun blogosphere about Mike Vangerboegh’s letter to the editor. The thrust of the main argument, if I understand correctly, of the side that objects to making overt public reference to violent resistance to government infringement of that which shall not be infringed is that we have not yet reached the point of the infringements becoming intolerable, and thus it is too early to refresh the tree of liberty.

What this ignores is that Mr. Vanderboegh did not advocate crying “Havoc!” and letting slip the dogs of war–yet. The letter made clear that the danger would come only with further attacks on the Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental, absolute human right of the individual to keep and bear arms. To avert that danger, the government need only do . . . nothing. The shouting down of Mr. Vanderboegh came not in response to his advocacy of civil war–advocacy that never happened–but in response to his merely warning of what would provoke it.

In discussing where to draw the line in the sand, Sebastian quotes Judge Alex Kozinski’s Silveria dissent:

The Second Amendment is a doomsday provision, one designed for those exceptionally rare circumstances where all other rights have failed — where the government refuses to stand for reelection and silences those who protest; where courts have lost the courage to oppose, or can find no one to enforce their decrees*. However improbable these contingencies may seem today, facing them unprepared is a mistake a free people get to make only once.

I agree with Sebastian that Kozinski’s dissent is indeed eloquent, but I don’t know that it makes a very useful guideline as to when fighting back becomes necessary.

For me, the “line in the sand” has to be drawn at citizen disarmament. The horrors outlined by Judge Kozinski are unlikely to occur until the people are disarmed. If we wait that long, we’ve missed the boat.

I am fully familiar, and in full agreement, with Jeff Snyder’s superb Walter Mitty’s Second Amendment, by the way. I know that the right to keep and bear arms is no guarantee of liberty, and is in fact useless in preserving freedom without the will to use it. Still, if the right to keep and bear arms is not sufficient to safeguard liberty, it is necessary for that purpose.

To word it one more way, having the right to keep and bear arms does not guarantee freedom, but losing it guarantees tyranny.


4 Responses to “The line needs to be before that”

  1. gunblogrifles Says:

    I don’t disagree with you in theory. But citizen disarmament has already happened in this country, without any shooting happening. Will enough people rise up to resist disarmament to matter? And what level of disarmament are we talking about?

    House to house searches of guns, roadblocks, etc, and I don’t really disagree that it’s go time. A government that blatantly ignores not only the second, but the fourth amendment is decidedly up to no good. But I doubt it would come in such jackbooted form.

    Do we shoot when they come for the pistols? The rifles? Just ugly rifles? Do we shoot if they ban them with grandfathering for people who already have them? There’s just so many variations on this theme.

  2. gunblogrifles Says:

    Doh! This is Sebastian… I guess it logs me in across all of wordpress.

  3. 45superman Says:

    I don’t disagree with any of your points, including the one that “citizen disarmament” is too vague to be anything but a starting point of the conversation.

    Personally, any widespread confiscation would definitely have to be a “tipping point,” but they’ll probably try to be more subtle than that. “Grandfathering”? I think it should be enough. True, it (armed resistance) didn’t happen in 1994, but we were a lot less on the ball then. Prohibitive ammo taxes, via “microstamping”? I’d say that’s something to discuss.

    I hadn’t intended at all for this post to be anything like the last word on the subject–I just wanted to make the point that we’d best not wait until we’re already disarmed, or well on the way.

  4. Sebastian Says:

    I tend to agree that widespread confiscation of arms is go time. Certainly won’t be the last say on the matter.

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