The Balance

Armed and Safe takes issue with Uncle’s old post about a certain demographic of people who, politically, it is unwise to frighten.  It is correct in one respect, that if we merely defer to people’s comfort level, we’ll end up like gun owners in the United Kingdom, who constantly did so, until that comfort level dropped to the point where sharp pointy things drive their political elite into hysterics.  We absolutely can’t defer to people’s discomfort when that discomfort is caused by ignorance and unfamiliarity, as is quite often the case with our cause.

The problem we ultimately face is, more than half our population fall into the category of being completely ignorant of firearms, and the broader culture that surrounds them.  In a representative form of government, this means we’re dependent on the acquiescence of this majority for the continued protection of that right.  If we lose that acquiescence, even the second amendment will not practically be a barrier to them.

I see no reason to increase the inevitability of that by essentially writing off the majority of the population as unpersuadable and uneducatable, by not thinking about how to tailor the pro-gun and pro-self-defense message so that a majority buy-in to our ideas. If changes in polling on support for gun control and gun rights are any indication, 9/11 and Katrina did quite a lot to convince Americans of the need for self-protection.  The gun rights side of the argument has been advancing, as people have seen Americans face situations where having a firearm might have been useful.

Uncle’s admonition shouldn’t be taken as a call to never push the boundaries, but it does suggest that attempting to crash through them can lead to disaster politically. The Civil Rights Movement committed to changing hearts and minds, and changing their political fortunes by working within the system.  It is a tragedy that the role armed self-defense played in the Civil Rights Movement has largely been lost to history.  We have to tell that part of the story.  But if the Black Panthers, who called for settling the issue through violence, had been the public face of the Civil Rights Movement, it would not have garnered the support it needed from mainstream Americans in order to get the landmark civil rights rulings, and subsequent civil rights acts.

In a functional and stable Republic, which largely respects the basic rights of its people, the population is going to abhor violence, or the threat of violence, as a means to solve political problems.  We’ve seen how well that type of system works in Iraq and Afghanistan.  There has to be a balance in the gun rights movement between our public rhetoric and our private beliefs.  If someone wants to polish their marksmanship, or learn about explosives, shaped charges, infantry tactics, and various other subjects, I think that’s their right as a free person.  But the moment the public believes we gun folks are learning these things to use violence as a political tool they are going to want to disarm us all in order to preserve the stability of The Republic.

12 Responses to “The Balance”

  1. Jim W says:

    Spam ^

  2. Turk Turon says:

    If you Google “30 caliber carbine” and get to the Wikipedia page, you will see a photo of Malcolm X with an M1 Carbine. He’s peeking out through some curtains at something he seems not to care for.

  3. Ah–when I posted that, I hadn’t known that Uncle was the source of that expression, or that it was rooted in a single post–“Don’t scare white people” is an expression I’ve seen more than once, on more than one gun blog.

    I stand by my position that at some point, our response to the would-be civilian disarmers will need to be “I don’t think you have enough jackbooted thugs to pull it off.”

    In the end, we may have to prove it, and we had best be ready to do so.

  4. Sebastian says:


    We have to have the line in the sand. I think there needs to be a continuum of action should the issue ever really come to a head.

  5. I’m with you on the line in the sand, but I think we have an obligation to make clear what could come of that line being crossed. The object is to avoid actually having to use the Second Amendment for its intended purpose. If we fail to use deterrence, we’re left only with more direct measures.

    We don’t want that, or at least I don’t.

  6. Sebastian says:

    I think Montana hinted at that quite nicely when it filed its brief on Heller. It didn’t come out and say “We’ll secede,” but it definitely indicated they wouldn’t have too much issue precipitating a constitutional crisis.

    The real problem with using the states as vehicles, which I think, given the way our country is set up, is kind of necessary, is that most of them suckle at the federal teat. That would make it hard for them to threaten secession in a real way. But there are measures that can happen before that which can tell the feds they need to back off.

  7. JJR says:

    The Black Panthers called for armed Self Defense of the black community in a very verbal, in-your-face kind of way (much to then California Gov. Reagan’s dismay in particular), though there were indeed splinter groups who broke off from the Black Panthers that did advocate and practice violence against whites. Similar to the Weathermen, who broke off from the more moderate SDS.

    Hippies in the 1960s that moved into poorer urban areas began carrying guns for self-protection after a few of them got killed.

    But hat tip to Sebastian for recognizing that the pressure of the Black Panthers encouraged the Establishment to embrace the less radical M.L.K. and others advocating peaceful change.

  8. RAH says:

    The point that Americans can revolt is unsaid in our society. Increasing fears that have been promoted and the specialization of society have created a social culture of let the specialist handle a problem, rather than the individual. This leads to a dependence on the government either in local, state, or federal to handle problems. The government fails believe in the common American and not trust the population. The media push that idea. A current example was a question to President Bush about should he tell Americans to conserve energy right now. His answer was that it was presumptuous of him to tell us how to conserve and that Americans are smart and can figure it out on the own. The question had the presumption of incompetence on part of the population. His answer was a show of trust in the competence of Americans.

    This has to be fought in increasing education to make sure that more people are capable and self-reliant. Boy Scouts are an excellent example. The boys are taught camping, first aid, shooting, archery and how to make bows and arrows. The motto is “Be Prepared”.

    There are other items. To resist the never-ending nanny states laws that want to protect us from ourselves. These laws should never be mandated. Despite the life saving properties of suggestions like seat belts, it is now a law. First they could never ticket unless they had reason for a traffic stop on another offense. That changed fast enough, even though it was promised it wouldn’t, and now they can ticket for just a seat belt.

    I know many of you say seat belts laws are good, they save lives. They do save lives but at what cost to the idea that we can take risks or even decides the risk for our children and ourselves. I grew up and we did not have seat belts or cars that were designed to reduce impact forces to the passenger area like today. But we survived. Same with bike helmet laws. I hate helmets and they are hot and refuse to wear one despite the risk. I will not indulge that hobby anymore. Even the requirement that our children were helmets deprives me of my authority to make that decision for my child.

    More trust in Americans must be urged rather than continually protection from ourselves. How many think TSA regulations save us from hijackers? All that inconvenience and searches that 30 years ago would not be tolerated. If a hijacker managed to smuggle a weapon and tried to take a hostage, how many passengers would just jump him? But with the 1970’s hijacking people were trained to sit and wait it out and negotiations would save all. And most of the time it did. It was safe to wait it out. The 9/11 hijackers broke those expectations and now the passenger has decided not to be passive.

    The same for mugging. The idea was they present the demand with the threat of force, you hand over the money and every one is safe. Now many muggings end up with injured and dead victims. The expectations changed and people have decided to defend themselves with guns and any other weapon their imagination can create.

    The more that Americans are self-reliant and capable to handle any life’s problems the less they fear others like them. They will think that their neighbor is perfectly safe with guns or even dynamite blowing up stumps like farmers used to have.

    The government had lots of publications that told farmers how to make explosives for irrigation or to blow up boulders and stumps. The government trusted us to handle dangerous items.

    So it is more than not scaring the white folk, it is training and education of the Americans to standards of decency so the Americans can be trusted with dangerous tools and knowledge.

  9. ATL says:

    The reason why the Heller decision resonates with a lot of Americans is that most of them could find themselves in a position to where they would have to protect their families. Indeed, that is something that is very real to a lot of us- even among those who have never fired a weapon and would have never thought of owning a gun a year ago. I am relatively new to this (shooting)and as someone who just a couple of years ago was terrified of firearms, I saw my feelings for firearms as irrational. I chose to get over my fears and now through the help of a Glock 9mm and IDPA I feel secure enough to send anyone to their maker if they happen to threaten my loved ones or my family (within reason of course).

    Indeed, it is not so much as scaring “white folks” as it is to show people the reasonableness of what we are trying to achieve. This is the main reason why gun control became such a loser issue. People started understanding that their self-preservation was something that they themselves were responsible for, and that they could find themselves in a situation where they would have to defend their life. Helmke and the other gun haters lost the battle because their arguments became irrational and in the eyes of a lot of Americans, unconstitutional. Yet, we need to remember that we can lose that battle too; we can overplay our hand in all of this, and if we do so it will be a lot harder on us than it is now on the gun grabbers. Freedom is always much easier to lose than tyranny.

  10. RAH says:

    Now that Heller it affirmed, we need to push hunter safety training in schools. Get NRA training and get rifle training in schools. That will take care of fear and education. Once the tradition of teenagers handling rifles just keep up the affirmative gun culture. Make sure that pro hunting people are in the State Natural resources dept. Keep out the opponents of fishing, huntings, and guns in the state dept’s that handle those. That will do a lot to get rid of the fear among the soccer moms.

    Keep the idiots from making rules is a big help. But someone is proposing commsions where a member is from the Million Mom march.

    These are the ways that are rights are protected. Do not just leave it too someone else.

  11. ATL says:

    “Now that Heller it affirmed, we need to push hunter safety training in schools. Get NRA training and get rifle training in schools. That will take care of fear and education. Once the tradition of teenagers handling rifles just keep up the affirmative gun culture. Make sure that pro hunting people are in the State Natural resources dept. Keep out the opponents of fishing, huntings, and guns in the state dept’s that handle those. That will do a lot to get rid of the fear among the soccer moms.”

    Not a bad idea. We can also frame it as “environmental awareness activities.” Wow, I can see a hippie just seething at the idea!


  12. John Pate says:

    “The problem we ultimately face is, more than half our population fall into the category of being completely ignorant of firearms”

    That would make perfect sense if you had omitted the “of firearms.”


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