popehat builds a gun strawman

On Popehat, a new blogger, Marc Randazza, posts an unusually dull and misinformed piece on guns. The name of the article is “You Are Not Going to Resist the Government With Your Guns”. In this article, the blogger imagines the government becomes tyrannical. Guns owners decide to resist by barricading a city but then the government just bombs them to oblivion. Randazza’s point is that gun owners should drop arguments of government deterrence in their list of reasons for gun ownership.

In the comments, Randazza is utterly destroyed for his silly straw man argument. Some of the best comments:

Brad writes:

Marc makes the common mistake of assuming that in any violent conflict between the American people and the American Government that the military will not only fall in line but also be employed to maximum effect. Both assumptions are ridiculously simplistic and therefore false.

TMLutas writes:

The stupid, it burns. First of all, government tyranny comes in all shapes and sizes and we have well upwards of 80k governments in this country, each of them having the potential to pick our pockets or break our legs. The utility of the 2nd amendment’s resistance to tyranny isn’t about how well it works on the most well armed of these governments but how well it works in making the yahoos in the other 80k governments rethink any dumb ideas they might have to behave like little tyrants.

Second, I believe the most recent successful sagebrush rebellion in this country was in 2014. That is slightly more relevant to the evaluation of the 2nd amendment as a 21st century brake on tyranny than the 1700s example of Shays rebellion. In what legal backwater is ancient example of real world practice more relevant than contemporary practice within living memory? The tyranny claims in the Bundy case are actually more interesting to boot. Shays Rebellion was about claims the government could not lay a particular tax. But in the Bundy case we have the BLM explicitly and flagrantly violating federal law in its wild horse policies (it won’t sell to people who will slaughter horses) which means all that land has too many horses because BLM can’t store all the horses needed to keep the land up so they’ve been pushing out the cattle ranchers for decades. Only a crazy man would stand in their way. Enter Mr. Bundy who fits the bill of too resourceful and ornery to give in to the pressure and crazy enough to grab for any theory to hand.

Caleb says

As others have pointed out, the purpose of of an armed domestic insurgency isn’t to stand toe-to-toe with the regular armed forces. It’s purpose is to wage distributed asymmetric warfare across wide swaths of territory, thereby raising the costs of effective occupation to prohibitive levels. See: any US (or Russian) attempted occupation of hostile territory since Vietnam.

Moreover, the current value of an armed domestic population isn’t in the actual use of the arms for these ends. It’s in their potential use for these ends. Any potential hostile occupier can look at the numbers of civilian firearms owned, plus the numbers of potential civilian combatants, plus the sheer size of US territory, and know that any attempted hostile occupation of the US will be an absolute nightmare. Best to seek power by other means.

Dylan says:

What last stand? When I was in Mosul the insurgents didn’t group up with AKs and attack people. Or declare a people’s republic in some warehouse and dare us to come kill them.

They packed 2000+ lbs of homemade explosives in dumptrucks and blew them up near US and Iraqi government compounds. Or they walked up to two Iraqi soldiers standing watch in a market, shot them in the head with pistols, and walked off into the crowd, never to be heard from again and no one saw anything. Or they dropped pipe bombs with a remote trigger in a trash bag on a street and blew them up the next time a police officer walked by. Or they set up a car with 80 lbs of home made explosive in a neighborhood and when it was found early by the Iraqis they blew it up and then three minutes later shot at the responders with their AKs for 20 seconds before vanishing into the night. The helicopter that had been overhead when it blew up didn’t help at all to identify or track the shooters.

That’s about half of the incidents I personally dealt with. That was in early 2009 when the security situation was the best it had ever been and they were ready to remove all US forces from Iraqi cities. You may heard a bit of how Mosul developed last year.

And in the few months I was there they killed lots of Iraqi soldiers and police and a few of the US soldiers in my company. My battalion killed zero of them, but we did kill some innocent civilians while shooting at teenagers throwing grenades. I had 20 men with body armor and real military small arms and four armored vehicles and .50 machine guns and sometimes I had helicopters with rockets and chain guns working for me to look for threats and ready to kill any they saw. It didn’t matter to the things I actually had to deal with.

The big problem with insurgency in urban environments is intelligence and knowing who to target. If you’re smart and can rely on enough people to help you or can terrorize people enough not to identify you the drones and aircraft don’t do any good at all unless you just want to kill everyone. Unless your opinion of liberals (or whoever) is that they won’t endorse burning away entire neighborhoods of Iraqi women and children but will in Oklahoma City I’m not sure why you think any of that shit matters.

Tom writes:

Many commentators have already pointed the inaccuracy of this post out, but I’ll jump in too. As author (and admitted gun nut) Larry Correia so aptly put it:

“You ever note in every discussion about the topic of the 2nd Amendment being powerless against a modern government, it is always the peacenick afraid of guns with zero understanding of fighting, combat, logistics, or tactics arguing about how easy national confiscation would be against the trigger pullers, veterans, and people with a clue?”

Now, granted, this is not exactly a polite or non confrontational way to phrase it, but the statement is nevertheless accurate. I note that the author of this piece, at least according to Wikipedia and his posted bios, does not have any type of military or law enforcement background. He is also not an accomplished scholar in military history or a related field. So why is it that he is so confident in this opinion? If the author happens to read this comment, I’m not trying to be belittling or insulting; I’m simply pointing out that you have no real grounding in the relevant subject matter. Did you, then, consult with subject matter experts?

As a military veteran and current private contractor for the Federal government with extensive experience overseas, I not only have relevant personal experience, training and education (including a Master’s degree focusing on a related subject) but have also spent the last ten-plus years in daily contact with the undeniable subject matter experts on insurrection and irregular warfare. Members of the JSOC and USSOCOM, the 75th Ranger Regiment, Army Special Forces and the supporting Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command , NSW, MARSOC and the Marine Corps’ Reconnaissance battalions, and the Intelligence Community. My experience, and that of the vast majority of the professionals mentioned above, indicates that the author’s point is nothing short of laughable and that a population armed with light personal weapons is more than capable of effectively resisting a government they refuse to accept.

I do not expect my claim to be taken at face value, but I do raise the question. Has the author consulted with subject matter experts, and what do they say? If not….why not, and why would you expect your opinion to be taken seriously when you are speaking on a subject you have no expertise in?

Hasdrubal says:

Why are we even having this discussion?

About 32,000 people a year die from guns, but most of those are accidents and suicides. Let’s not talk about that because I don’t think anyone is talking about banning assault weapons to prevent suicides.

About 11,000 a year die from homicides. Roughly 2% of those are committed by “long guns”: shotguns, rifles, assault weapons.

AND, the trend is down. The murder rate is roughly 60% of what it was 20 years ago.

So, why are we even discussing “military grade rifles and machine guns?” Why are we even getting into Constitutional territory over something that, even if it works perfectly, will get lost in the statistical noise? There’s a tremendous amount of political capital being spent, and a tremendous amount of antagonism being generated, over something with at best a tiny real world impact. Is it worth it? President Obama probably increased Republican turnout by at least a couple percent last night, was that worth it for something with a theoretical maximum of 2% improvement on the murder rate?

Or, is the fear of “military grade rifles and machine guns” specifically due to mass shootings? Again, is it worth it? Is limiting access/banning a (very nebulous) class of guns the best way of preventing these attacks? Is it even in the top 5 most effective courses of action to prevent these? Do you have solid data, or even a testable theory, on why banning semi automatic rifles would prevent mass killings? Or does it simply seem obvious that making scary guns harder to get means fewer people will kill school kids? Are you arguing from emotion? Do you want to get into Constitutional territory with an argument based on your gut feeling?

About christopher fisher

The blog is meant for educational/entertainment purposes. All material can be used and reproduced in any length for any purpose as long as I am cited as the source.
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