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"The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. 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." Justice Alex Kozinski, US 9th Circuit Court, 2003
This post was edited by philatrojan 17 months ago
Muy bien, but that's just an opinion. Isn't the 2nd amendment also an everyday self defense provision?
What is happiness? The feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome.--Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
I would agree that the 2ndA is about fundamental self defense from all intruders, including the government. Anti-gun folks will tell you it doesnt really mean anything and would be happy to give all their weapons to big brother.
Out of curiosity, if the police make a mistake and enter your house when they meant to enter another, do you believe that you have the right to shoot?
How about if the police are trying to enter to arrest you for a crime that you did not commit?
If you do not believe you can shoot in these circumstances, when may you defend yourself from the police?
In the first instance they are entering my home unlawfully, so absolutely I have the right to shoot. As far as I know there is no "Oops" defense.
Second instance is more complex, but I still believe that you have the right to protect home and property from an intruder. If they were making a simple arrest, however, they wouldn't bash your door in. Those situations are reserved for instances where preservation of evidence is paramount (drugs, SP, etc.).
The text of the 2nd amendment as ratified:
"A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Regarding the first, what is your defense for shooting the police? You cannot use deadly force in self defense or defense of another unless you have a reasonable fear of deadly force being used against you. You may believe that you should have the right to shoot, but good luck with that.
Regarding the second, you cannot defend yourself from police making a lawful arrest. In fact, you cannot defend yourself against police making an unlawful arrest unless you have a reasonable fear of seriously bodily injury. I do not know what you mean by a "simple arrest," but the exigent circumstance (drugs that may disappear; I do not know what you mean by "SP") that you mention relate to entering without a warrant. With a warrant, the police can break down your door to arrest you if they feel it is necessary.
If the police are doing something wrong, you are not entitled to deadly self help unless you are in danger of serious bodily injury without self help. If you are lucky enough to not be killed by the police when firing upon tem, you likely will spend a long time to the rest of your life in jail.
The right does not seem to care about the actual wording. This is a case where they like a broad interpretation of the Constitution.
Well-regulated in the art of war. The pro 2ndA side believes the language of the amendment and the circumstances surrounding its drafting support our position. It seems pretty obvious and is not a broad interpretation.
Also, be careful relating the pro 2ndA crowd exclusively with the conservative right. Recently there was an article in the Christian Science Monitor claiming that many liberals are gun owners and worried about their freedoms being taken away. I could see many CA gun owning democrats voting against the far left in Sacramento in the primaries or even voting republican. NRA membership is at an all time high. First time gun users are flocking to shooting lessons and buying firearms. Obama and Biden for all their might cannot find the votes to pass an assault weapons ban. It's not like the pro-2ndA side is some fringe crowd, although the anti-2ndA side often tries to marginalize us as conspiracy theorists, gun nuts, rednecks, uneducated, psychos, etc.
I quoted you the chief justice of the most liberal court in the land who pretty clearly explains the purpose of the 2ndA. He gets it because his parents were holocaust survivors and he knows how the Third Reich rolled by disarming people. I left off the beginning of the quote, which makes it even more powerful. Here is the whole thing:
"The prospect of tyranny may not grab the headlines the way vivid stories of gun crime routinely do. But few saw the Third Reich coming until it was too late. 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".
It's game over with that quote. You guys can pretend the amendment doesn't mean what it says, but it's there. At the end of the day, the 2ndA says in absolute terms that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed, regardless of what you think the purpose of that absolute mandate might be.
This post has been edited 2 times, most recently by philatrojan 17 months ago
Cons/rightists often claim to back a literal and limited interpretation of the Constitution. That is not the case when it comes to the 2nd Amendment.
Who cares? in each case it could depend on the circumstances and I could give you reasons why both are justified and why they are not. Would the Japanese have been justified defending themselves with force against being sent to concentration camps? Yes, they would have, but they were a significant minority and would have lost.
I don't need to argue your "what if" situations when there are circumstances that would clearly justify violent resistance against an oppressive government. We just need to stop acting like that's some taboo concept. It's repeated itself over and over again in history. We should have learned our lesson by now.
The disarmament actually was a Weimar Republic thing. Not that having weapons would have made any difference, but the making up of history bit mildly annoys.
Gun rights activists who cite the dictator as a reason against gun control have their history dangerously wrong
Yes, that's right, although they did extend the weapons act and continue to deny Jews access to weapons wihle arming the Arians.
That's fine, but where do we draw the line? Should people be able to have nuclear arms?
Perhaps if the Jews had some handguns they could have done what the entire French, Czech and Polish armies could not do.
My parents were also holocaust survivors. There were German Jews. My father came to the U.S., switched citizenship and fought in the U.S. Army. I lost an uncle that made it out to Scotland and then fought in the British Army. That does not make my or the justices viewpoint any more valid. Your argument regarding the Justice being a liberal and having that view does not undermine my post against which you are arguing. It underscores my argument. Conservatives complain constantly when a liberal judge makes a broad interpretation of a constitutional provision that they don't like (e.g. the Commerce Clause). Here, a liberal judge took a broad interpretation of a statute that they do like and they argue that it is an obvious and clearly correct decision.
It is not just a matter of being right in a particular situation. We must live by a set of laws. Law enforcement must be able to enforce the laws. People cannot take the law into their own hands because they do not like or agree with the outcome of a lawful act. If they do, we have anarchy. Bad outcomes in limited situations is better than anarchy.
Please note that the French, Czech and Polish resistance were able to put up an opposition that forced the Nazis to divert resources to fighting them and aided in the success of the allied forces...those resistances usually only had small arms and limited access to explosives (many times home-made).
I will also point out my parents first hand experience with being disarmed and the expansion of tyranny. Castro confiscated all weapons from Cuban citizens, even members of what originally was a pro-Castro militia (the Cuban faction that was anti-Batista/pro-Democracy). The fact that they were totally disarmed gave Castro unfettered oppressive power, which lead to anyone who dissented with him to find themselves in La Cabana, in front of a firing squad, or both.
That is because the French, Czech and Polish resistance had the support of the people and could hide among them. Jews did not and could not.
More to the point, diverting resources would not be helpful in a U.S. civil war unless the U.S. was fighting another enemy.
Sure, but the millions of dead in the Red Army was by far the most significant variable in who won the Second World War. But anyway...With Castro, I am sure that was true. Here are my problems with this mildly paranoid fascism in America justification:
i) Whenever I ask if Tim McVeigh, the Weathermen, OBL could have rightly used this justification, discussion seems to end. When's the test for when terrorism becomes justified resistance;
ii) couldn't we resist the government better if we had tanks, mortars etc. What does this exclude?
iii) How many extra deaths do we need while we wait for our government to turn tyrannous?
iv) Why do most of the people who care about this also not care about Guantanamo, the PATRIOT Act, Presidential ability to kill Americans, Guantanamo etc etc etc?
Thank you -- that is my point.
That a lightly armed, highly motivated resistance can cause tremendous havoc (especially if their cause is supported by the people - as, I imagine, a group of Americans fighting against what would likely be a tyrannical federal government that has usurped the constitution).
In a world of hypotheticals, it is not out of bounds to think that there are forces within the federal government that would like to take away our freedom - whether that be from the right or the left, it is not inconceivable that those forces could gather enough support from other lawmakers, as we have seen that there are many cases where they disregard what is best for this nation and put their own power first (eg - refusal of Congress to set term limits for legislators, but are perfectly OK setting them for the POTUS).
Having an armed population that could mount a resistance is a powerful deterrent to the power-hungry in Washington from giving in to their tendency to increase their strangle hold on the US public.
My comment regarding hiding among a sympathetic population was the same as your point. However, I was adding that it is likely not enough. It probably would not have won the war for those people. As you pointed out, the benefit of that was to require the Germans to allocate resources to deal with the resistance.taking those resources away from the war effort against the free allies. Unless the U.S. was at war with a significant enemy at the same time, such an effort may be a thorn, but is not likely to be successful against our government.
I think, as with everything, there is a level of intrusion that the American public, in general is willing to tolerate.
McVeigh, Weather Underground, OBL did not have popular support for their movements. The level of "tyranny" - if we want to call it that - had/has not reached a level where armed resistance is necessary or supported by a critical mass of Americans. I think we will know when that time arrives.
I think the key part of the 2nd Amendment is the mention of a "Militia" - Militias, at that time were local, lightly armed and lightly organized para-military groups. They did not have cannons or artillery, either. In fact in the early battles of the Revolutionary War, the Militias tactics were considered "uncivilized" because they would attack from the trees, ambush patrols and then disappear into the forest - similar to the tactics used by WWII resistance forces as well as insurgents in modern-day Iraq and Afghanistan (interestingly, those insurgents are also supported by a significant part of the population in those countries - perhaps, not the majority, but significant, nonetheless).
The 2nd Amendment was never intended to arm the public with the same weapons as the standing army - in fact the founding fathers disbanded federal forces and felt that a standing army was detrimental to the principles they were espousing. They felt that an army would be conscripted as treats developed. They quickly realized that as a nation, threats are unpredictable and always on your doorstep, and that they needed a standing army in order to ensure that the grand American experiment could continue to flourish, unfettered by the expansionist desires of other countries.
I think you are missing that many of us who feel that the federal government is expanding beyond the point where individual freedom and the interests of the government can live in harmony DO actually have a problem with the Patriot Act and Presidential authority to assassinate Americans - I put GITMO in another basket as it pertains to foreign fighters, not Americans. Basically, I consider it a POW camp, and we are still at war.
This post was edited by deetj13 17 months ago
We have to remember that the men that framed our Constitution were considered TRAITORS to the crown and that they were willing to take the chance that they would be captured and killed for that treason.
At the time England was the greatest superpower in the world - there was little chance that we could have beat them on our own, but we resisted nonetheless. In fact, it is unlikely that the American Revolution would have been successful without the aid of France.
So, the idea that a lightly armed, highly motivated resistance could not buy us time to get another nation to support our effort is contradicted by history.
I was thinking about the same point you made, no one would back up OBL, McVeigh, etc. However, the problem is that there are those citizens that believe they are justified in using their weapons when they disagree with a government action. Look at PhilaTrojan's discussion with me above. Do we really want people resisting police because they disagree with a policeman's action? Do we want people shooting poice because they serve an arrest warrant on the wrong home rather than sorting out the issue in court? Who decides when it is correct to resist? I believe the danger of people choosing to resist whenever they believe it is correct greatly outweighs the risk of the U.S. government becoming tyrannical.
I think that is were the rubber meets the road -- WHEN is it appropriate?
There is no pre-set level of tyranny where the American people would be motivated to revolt. I also think that we have reached a level where those in Revolutionary America where they WOULD have revolted (particularly in CA). We live in different times and those levels will change.
The founding fathers thought it was important to allow the people to control their destiny, even if it means that their destiny was putting up a futile resistance to increasing government tyranny. I am not willing to hand over that Right, as delineated in one of the original 10 Rights granted to us under the Constitution.
Any far right or far left resistance will be squashed because of lack of popular support - however, should the federal government ever decide that the constitution no longer applies to them, I, personally, will be happy to have armed Americans that will fight - and should it reach that point, I would probably find myself among those people (should that scenario arise - we will also likely find a significant part of the military will support the people and we will see defections and heavy arms in the hands of the people's army - that is how Revolutionary Militias initially got cannons and artillery in 1776).
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