Lawyers, Guns and Money

Our token gun control blogger MikeB relays an interesting video here:


I think looking at the Second Amendment solely as a means to deter governmental malfeasance is a bit short sighted, and while many activists choose to focus on that aspect, I don’t.  What the Second Amendment really protects, at root, is the right to self-preservation, and I think that is an important right of free people who inhabit a liberal democracy.  In fact, it’s hard to think of any right which is more fundamental than that of self-preservation.  Preventing serious government malfeasance is merely a side-effect of preserving the means to exercise the right.

And understand, the kind of government abuses that the Second Amendment is meant to deter does not sink to the level of the PATRIOT Act.  While I have many problems with more than a few provisions of that act, it was still enacted by an elected legislature, signed by an elected President, and will be scrutinized by functioning courts, all using a Constitution and other bodies of law that we still largely follow.

I generally follow the philosophy of Judge Alex Kozinski, in his dissent in Silveira vs. Lockyer, when it comes to the Second Amendment and its purpose as a check on governmental power:

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 reasonable to say that Lawyers and Money are the most important, but if those don’t work, then what?  If the worst you can think up when it comes to government abuse is the PATRIOT Act, I would argue you’re a poor student of history.  We know just from the twentieth century that human beings are capable of far far worse.  Having a gun never means you’re always guaranteed to come out on top, but it expands your options and capabilities.   Let me ask MikeB, and others like him this: if you were a member of the Secret Police, would you prefer to have to go round up dissenters in Germany?   Or would you prefer to try doing it in Texas, where there will be a gun behind every door you kick in?

15 thoughts on “Lawyers, Guns and Money”

  1. From the choice of guns, money or lawyers, I wonder which the Iranian people would like to have right about now?

  2. Yeah, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Don’t tell ME that guns aren’t going to do you any good against a government bent on seizing power and ruling by main force…just read some historical accounts of the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, who fought the Soviets to a standstill (and are now putting up quite a resistance to our own forces); or the ragged, undernourished VC in black pajamas and sandals, who fought so hardily against a technologically and numerically superior superpower in Vietnam, or even about the ragged, undernourished, outnumbered forces in General Washington’s army, who successfully resisted the finest army and navy of the day, and founded the nation we now live in.
    Go ahead and believe that individual firearms could never make a difference… history proves you wrong again and again.

  3. Good commentary on your part on the political right to Keep and bear arms as a “doomsday” scenario.

    I won’t vote for anyone who opposed my gun rights in general, but that doesn’t mean I’m willing to give up any other freedoms. A limited giving up of freedoms during time of war such as the Patriot act was presented as? It’s dangerous, but acceptable for the short term. But I demand all basic freedoms.

    Basically, all three of these are critical to a modern society. If your government decides to take away any of three, you need to use the other 2 to get the eliminated one back. The three support each other.

  4. Tell MikeB I’m at Camp Perry with thousands of folks all armed with assault rifles shooting matches. Been here a week. Ask him when the blood is going to start flowing.

  5. the lesson of the WACO is to never isolate yourself so much that the govenment can control the media’s access via only controlling access to your property. Infared film of the burning show covering fire (m16s) closing all exits for the women and childern. Morally up their with Ruby Ridge. lawyers may have helped stop both (lawyers did stop any recriminations for the unethical/killer actions against citizens). Hence, lawyers are indicative the the state of corruption of the United States. Lawyers have taken control, it is just not obvious to the rest of us.

  6. Asking which right is most important; lawyers, guns, or money is sort of like asking which is the most important accessory in your car — steering, brakes or seatbelt.

    For a safe vehicle you need all three and for a safe society you need all three.

  7. It is about self preservation. Whether the state is after you or an individual is after you, you have a personal right to defend yourself. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be the Gestapo and traipse into Texas kicking down doors. That makes for an extremely short life span.

  8. Sebastian, Thanks for naming me “the token gun control blogger.” Although it’s certainly not a compliment among many of your friends, it’s not derogatory either. I kinda like it.

    If I were a member of the Secret Police I definitely wouldn’t want the job of rounding up dissenters in Texas. But I really don’t think that’s going to happen any more than I expect to see total gun confiscation. Do you?

  9. Well a round-up of dissenters in Texas won’t happen simply because you won’t find enugh Secret Police with that much of a death wish to do the deed.

    As for gun confiscation, yep it’s happened many times in our lifetime, be stupid to call that an impossibility.

  10. mikeb,
    Are you serious that weapon confiscation can’t happen?

    Have you read any history. It’s happened in many, many places, including this country as recently as Katrina.

  11. The last paragraph gets it right. The government can always overwhelm an individual or small group. When it comes to an entire population, the cost becomes prohibitive even if you can find enough willing thugs.

    I read somewhere that the Japanese never in their wildest dreams believed that they could invade and occupy the U.S. Not with gun-owners in every neighborhood sniping at them.

  12. Let’s see if I have this right: gun owners have occasionally supported polilticians who weren’t perfect on other civil rights; therefore, we should go door to door violently disarming all gun owners.

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