Where's the Line? -- again


Mark Benningfield
December 28, 2002, 02:45 PM
Hello All.

There have been quite a few posts both here and on TFL regarding where we would each "draw the line" personally in a given SHTF situation. I would say that there is a pretty fair consensus that at a certain point, we would each take action to defend our rights, particularly the RKBA. Here's my question:

Given that situation, would we want help from like-minded persons, and conversely, at what point would we (each of us) consider helping someone else? To put it another way, can we envision a situation in which we would actively respond to the plight of another?

Now, for the benefit of the Committee for State Security, I am certainly and definitely NOT advocating armed insurrection against the Government. I consider this topic of discussion purely hypothetical, and a natural extension of the question of where each of us would draw the line.

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December 28, 2002, 03:26 PM
When they come to take your guns (they will) they will do it one household at a time. First they will ask that all law abiding folks turn them in voluntarily- many will. But it will be alot harder for you to decide at the moment of truth to fight back, if it's just you and your wife and kids, than it would be if you and all your neighbors had thrown up the barricades.

I suppose it would be wise to decide well in advance where your own personal line is, what you are willing to sacrifice when the time comes.

But to answer your question, I suppose that I would be willing to fight to help others who were fighting in the same cause.

I don't think there would be a USA if folks had not banded together.

2nd Amendment
December 29, 2002, 09:13 AM
I see these threads as a good thing. They help acheive a consensus. Slowly and maybe somewhat limited, but it's a start. Peoples "lines" get closer together, converge.

That's a good thing I feel because I'm not going to offer any disclaimers at all.

December 29, 2002, 09:47 AM
This topic is, for most, a dichotomy.

#1: Where "IS" your line?

#2: Where would you "LIKE" you line to be?

To answer, from a personal level:

#1: My absolute line, at this time, is unknown. In all honesty, and I'm sure results will be similar for most, my line has shifted.
For years I swore that I would NEVER purchase a firearm that would require my signature on a .gov piece of paper. For several years after the 4473's, I abided by that self imposed "line". But then, there were a few items that I wanted and could not get without that dreaded signature. My line shifted.

For years, I swore that I would never apply for a concealed carry permit. I abided by that self imposed "line" for quite some time. As time passed, I decided that it was not worth the risk to myself and family were I to get busted for "illegal carry". I finally got a CCW. My line shifted.

#2: Where would I like my line to be?

Well, unfortunately, I have already given up ground, as noted above. I would like my line to be: "I will never, under any circumstances, acquiesce to ANY government edict that will in any way interfere with my 2nd amendment rights.

Will I ever hand in "unregistered" firearms? Not a chance.
Will I ever hand in "registered" (4473) firearms? Possibly.
Will I ever "register" existing unpapered arms? Hahahaha(uh NO)

Derek Zeanah
December 29, 2002, 11:25 AM
...can we envision a situation in which we would actively respond to the plight of another?I wonder if we'd ever actually know the plight of another.

Look back at the atrocities that keep being mentioned as far as government abuse -- waco, ruby ridge, whassisface in Malibu who was shot while state officers were hoping to find pot growing on his property so they could seize it (and who later refused permission for fire trucks to travel on gov't peoperty so the widow lost the home to fire), etc...

How many of those incidents were accurately reported in the media? Would you willingly risk everything to help a cultish child abuser and crystal-meth pusher who was stockpiling arms and firing on government agents who were pursuing ligitimate complaints? You mean that's not what happened? Then how would you know the truth in the next situation?

Ths issue is that if it's not you or people who are very close to you, the inclination is to buy the official line -- "yeah, it's bad what happened to so-and-so, but he shouldn't have broken the law by doing xxxxxxxxxxx." I don't see that changing very soon.

So, if we get to the point of "crossing a line," I'd guess it will be individuals acting alone, rather than like-minded people rallying to the defense of one another.

Just my take on it though.

December 29, 2002, 03:15 PM
IMO, where the line is depends on what exactly hits the fan.

In the case of significant "civil disturbance" or general lawlessness, I think the line is pretty clear to most people. People will naturally band together to defend their families, neighbors and friends. Of course there will always be people who will try to hide under blanket and hope that trouble passes them by, others will attempt to wait until "the authorities" arrive to restore order, but a significant number of people would recognize the situation for what it is and stand to hold the line.

The line is less clear when the issue is political oppression. The question is often asked, "what will you do when they come to take your guns?". I think the more appropriate question is "what will you do when they come to take your neighbor's guns?"

If squads of blue-helmeted UN troops began marching through the streets, kicking in door, and confiscating firearms I believe the firefight would be immediate and intense. Most people would see this as an invasion and respond accordingly.

OTOH, if the police are quietly going house to house to search for "illegal" weapons, the response would be slower but I think the end result would be the same. Eventually (and it won't take long) somebody will resist and they will be killed. That will cause more people to resist down the line and the police will have to use more and more harsh measures to force compliance. Ultimately they will be seen as "blue-helmeted invaders" as well. If you believe that "you are next", do you wait until they are standing at your door before you do anything?

While government force is perceived as isolated and "reasonable", most people will wait. The "line" has not been crossed. When that force is perceived as widespread and "unreasonable", resistance naturally occurs.

The "civil rights" movement of the 60s is a good example - although a largely non-violent one.

Racial oppression in the south, including beatings and lynchings was perceived generally to be the result of isolated actions by individuals and small groups. The Jim Crow laws were perceived to be "reasonable", to those not affected by them, since there was no widespread resistance. However, when video was shown on national television of armed police (i.e. government) attacking peaceful (unarmed) marchers (men, women, and children) with clubs, dogs, and firehoses, the perception rapidly shifted. The people in all parts of the country, including in the south, saw this as government sanctioned oppression and violence. It was clear to all that if this type of force could legitimately be used against blacks, it could also be used against whites, as was demonstrated later at the Democratic convention in Chicago and "peace rallies" like Kent State.

"The line" had been crossed and they demanded the situation be "corrected". Had the federal government not intervened, I believe that a widespread civil disturbance would have resulted.

The situation is similar with the "gun rights" movement. For most of the last 150 years, "gun control" only applied to blacks and immigrant "minorities". It was generally perceived that blacks and immigrants had a "criminal nature" and prohibiting them from possessing firearms was considered "reasonable" by most people. Beginning in the late 60s, gun control - although still largely directed at minorities - began to expand to include the general population. As it became clear that the rights of all citizens were now at risk, (nonviolent) resistance began to build, cluminating in the various "gun rights" organizations we know today.

For most people, particularly those not involved with firearms, gun control is still perceived as a crime control issue and therefore reasonable. However that perception is shifting as more people begin to see it as a matter of "disarmament". When that disarmament is percieved as "forced" and widespread, the line will have been crossed again.

December 30, 2002, 11:36 AM
Boy you gun owners sure do have a lot of thinking to do. I sure am glad I sold all my guns before things ever got to the point of confiscation and turning them in.

Neal Bloom
December 30, 2002, 12:00 PM
"Committee for State Security"

Is this a bureau or a sub-department of Homeland Security?:D

December 31, 2002, 05:33 AM
Wow G-Raptor, that was an outstanding post. As for the absolute line in the sand (and I think everyone will agree with this one) is when they take away your right to vote for a change. Also, isn't it sad when we have to (or feel the need to) put disclaimers on messages we type to like minded people because someone in the Government might take it the wrong way.:mad:

As for helping your neighbor. Remember we either hang together or we will surely hang separately..


December 31, 2002, 10:39 AM
That was an excellent post, G-Raptor!

Originally posted by G-Raptor
The question is often asked, "what will you do when they come to take your guns?". I think the more appropriate question is "what will you do when they come to take your neighbor's guns?"

The last couple of paragraphs of your post make me wonder if it would be better to come to your neighbor's defense with a firearm or with a video camera...

December 31, 2002, 11:29 AM
Bluesman - both! :D

December 31, 2002, 12:32 PM
The line gets closer everyday..........
May it come during my lifetime and not my children........
I hope it never will come...........
God save us all if it does.......

December 31, 2002, 10:21 PM
Orion? Do you have paperwork on all the handguns you sold? At least in my area, the buyer would have to provide a legit permit to purchase a handguns. Long guns can be legally transfered without paperwork.

Of course you sold them to someone unknown you never saw before or since. ;)

As said before, try to figure out kinda of where your line might be, and plan accordingly. :cool:

January 1, 2003, 01:10 AM
The last couple of paragraphs of your post make me wonder if it would be better to come to your neighbor's defense with a firearm or with a video camera...

One of the things that I think is absolutely killing the liberty movement is a total lack of media savvy. This not only applies to those who go on the air to represent our side, but doubly so in the event of 'the .gov has utterly overstepped its bounds' type situation.

In the event of violent resistance, the media would spin it in such a way as to put popular opinion favor of the .gov. Instead of people fighting for their rights, the populace at large would be fed 'Joe Blow, BATF agent, father of 6 and regular churchgoer was gunned down by radical militia members during a raid intended to seize illegal guns.'
Then they'd cut to still shots of Joe on graduation day, and video of his mourning family.

Contrast that with handheld, eyewitness video footage of Joe Blow stomping someone's poodle and beating innocent people and suddenly the .gov is put in the position of having to defend their actions.

For a case study, take the Elian Gonzalez episode: a single photograph of a BDU-wearing agent sticking a submachinegun into the face of a small unarmed child. Imagine if suddenly such images, both still and video were popping up all over the place. The public outcry would be impossible to ignore.

The response to what I've typed above is that even if all the images were in our favor, it's unlikely that the media would air them without heavy editorializing, if at all.

That's where the digital age comes to the rescue. Go into any electronics store, and there are going to be camcorders set up to record on Digital Video tape. Most home computers now come with video editing software as well as the ability to interface with DV camcorders. Voila: Instant video production suite. From there, you're only an upload away from disseminating video images of gov't run amock on P2P file sharing programs like Kazaa, and once that video's on the net, archived on systems all over the place there's no way to stop it from being sent all over the place.

The most powerful weapon to fight a culture war isn't the pistol on your hip, the shotgun under the bed, or the rifle in the gunsafe. It's the one you're looking at right now.

January 1, 2003, 10:59 AM
The ironic thing is, that if it ever does get to the point that guns are confiscated & we don't comply, we have transformed ourselves into that "criminal" element that we always are shouting about, that don't obey the laws of our society.

Tough choice. Do we illegally hold onto our weapons, & possibly put our spouses & children in jepordy of losing all their freedom; or do we hand over our guns & be rendered defenseless to the vermon that would stalk us?


It just goes to show how we cannot let our guard down & keep the thumb on those who produce & impliment legislation.

January 2, 2003, 02:34 AM
An extended quote on this topic, from an essay by Milton Mayer, author of They Thought They Were Free. The person being interviewed was an ordinary German citizen during the Holocaust years.
"What no one seemed to notice," said a colleague of mine, a philologist, "was the ever widening gap, after1933, between the government and the people. Just think how very wide this gap was to begin with, here in Germany. And it became always wider. You know it doesn't make people close to their government to be told that this is a people's government, a true democracy, or to be enrolled in civilian defense, or even to vote. All this has little, really nothing to do with knowing one is governing.

What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if he people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.

"This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter.

"You will understand me when I say that my Middle High German was my life. It was all I cared about. I was a scholar, a specialist. Then, suddenly, I was plunged into all the new activity, as the universe was drawn into the new situation; meetings, conferences, interviews, ceremonies, and, above all, papers to be filled out, reports, bibliographies, lists, questionnaires. And on top of that were the demands in the community, the things in which one had to, was "expected to" participate that had not been there or had not been important before. It was all rigmarole, of course, but it consumed all one's energies, coming on top of the work one really wanted to do. You can see how easy it was, then, not to think about fundamental things. One had no time."

"Those," I said, "are the words of my friend the baker. "One had no time to think. There was so much going on." "Your friend the baker was right," said my colleague. "The dictatorship, and the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway. I do not speak of your "little men", your baker and so on; I speak of my colleagues and myself, learned men, mind you. Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about - we were decent people - and kept us so busy with continuous changes and "crises" and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the "national enemies", without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?

"To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it - please try to believe me - unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, "regretted," that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these "little measures" that no "patriotic German" could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

"How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men? Frankly, I do not know. I do not see, even now. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice - "Resist the beginnings" and "consider the end." But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men? Things might have changed here before they went as far as they did; they didn't, but they might have. And everyone counts on that might.

"Your "little men," your Nazi friends, were not against National Socialism in principle. Men like me, who were, are the greater offenders, not because we knew better (that would be too much to say) but because we sensed better. Pastor Niemoller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something - but then it was too late."

"Yes," I said.

"You see," my colleague went on, "one doesn't see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don't want to "go out of your way to make trouble." Why not? - Well, you are not in the habit of doing it.

And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone, that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

"Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, "everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to you colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, "It's not so bad" or "You're seeing things" or "You're an alarmist."

"And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can't prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don't know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. You are left with your close friends, who are, naturally, people who have always thought as you have.

"But your friends are fewer now. Some have drifted off somewhere or submerged themselves in their work. You no longer see as many as you did at meetings or gatherings. Informal groups become smaller; attendance drops off in little organizations, and the organizations themselves wither. Now, in small gatherings of your oldest friends, you feel that you are talking to yourselves, that you are isolated from the reality of things. This weakens your confidence still further and serves as a further deterrent to – to what? It is clearer all the time that, if you are going to do anything, you must make an occasion to do it, and then you are obviously a troublemaker. So you wait, and you wait.

"But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in "43" had come immediately after the "German Firm" stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in "33". But of course this isn't the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

"And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying "Jew swine," collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God. The system itself could not have intended this in the beginning, but in order to sustain itself it was compelled to go all the way.

"You have gone almost all the way yourself. Life is a continuing process, a flow, not a succession of acts and events at all. It has flowed to a new level, carrying you with it, without any effort on your part. On this new level you live, you have been living more comfortably every day, with new morals, new principles. You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things that your father, even in Germany, could not have imagined.

"Suddenly it all comes down, all at once. You see what you are, what you have done, or, more accurately, what you haven't done ( for that was all that was required of most of us: that we do nothing). You remember those early meetings of your department in the university when, if one had stood, others would have stood, perhaps, but no one stood. A small matter, a matter of hiring this man or that, and you hired this one rather than that. You remember everything now, and your heart breaks. Too late. You are compromised beyond repair.

"What then? You must then shoot yourself. A few did. Or "adjust" your principles. Many tried, and some, I suppose, succeeded; not I, however. Or learn to live the rest of your life with your shame. This last is the nearest there is, under the circumstances, to heroism: shame. Many Germans became this poor kind of hero, many more, I think, than the world knows or cares to know."

I said nothing. I thought of nothing to say.

"I can tell you," my colleague went on, "of a man in Leipzig, a judge. He was not a Nazi, except nominally, but he certainly wasn't an anti-Nazi. He was just – a judge. In "42" or "43", early "43", I think it was, a Jew was tried before him in a case involving, but only incidentally, relations with an "Aryan" woman. This was "race injury", something the Party was especially anxious to punish. In the case a bar, however, the judge had the power to convict the man of a "nonracial" offense and send him to an ordinary prison for a very long term, thus saving him from Party "processing" which would have meant concentration camp or, more probably, deportation and death. But the man was innocent of the "nonracial" charge, in the judge's opinion, and so, as an honorable judge, he acquitted him. Of course, the Party seized the Jew as soon as he left the courtroom."

"And the judge?"

"Yes, the judge. He could not get the case off his conscience – a case, mind you, in which he had acquitted an innocent man. He thought that he should have convicted him and saved him from the Party, but how could he have convicted an innocent man? The thing preyed on him more and more, and he had to talk about it, first to his family, then to his friends, and then to acquaintances. (That's how I heard about it.) After the "44" Putsch they arrested him. After that, I don't know."

I said nothing.

"Once the war began," my colleague continued, "resistance, protest, criticism, complaint, all carried with them a multiplied likelihood of the greatest punishment. Mere lack of enthusiasm, or failure to show it in public, was "defeatism." You assumed that there were lists of those who would be "dealt with" later, after the victory. Goebbels was very clever here, too. He continually promised a "victory orgy" to "take care of" those who thought that their "treasonable attitude" had escaped notice. And he meant it; that was not just propaganda. And that was enough to put an end to all uncertainty.

"Once the war began, the government could do anything "necessary" to win it; so it was with the "final solution" of the Jewish problem, which the Nazis always talked about but never dared undertake, not even the Nazis, until war and its "necessities" gave them the knowledge that they could get away with it. The people abroad who thought that war against Hitler would help the Jews were wrong. And the people in Germany who, once the war had begun, still thought of complaining, protesting, resisting, were betting on Germany's losing the war. It was a long bet. Not many made it."


January 2, 2003, 02:39 AM
I'm sorry that essay was so long. It's a good essay. You should go back and read it. It is well worth it.

For those with short attention spans, the essay says that the good Germans never found a 'good time' to stand up for what was right. They were fearful of looking like fools, of being alarmists, and they kept thinking everyone else would see it when it got bad enough, and join them then. But things just got worse and worse. They kept compromising, redrawing their line in the sand. And there was never one big, overpowering, beyond-a-shadow-of-a-doubt moment to fight back.

It applies to this discussion, I think ... but what it says is frightening, and perhaps too awful to think about.


Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal. – Martin Luther King Jr.

January 2, 2003, 02:50 AM
Great read everyone
we must never be complacent-never

pax, IMO sharing your Essay was pertinent, not long.

The reality is, it happened--we must learn and heed history

January 2, 2003, 03:53 AM
IF [when] it gets down to gun confiscation, it will be too late. We will be taken out one at a time. In my opinion, the answer is to have a very well organized, disciplined and secure group that can raise money to fight in court, or failing that, can raise men and guns to fight for our liberty just as they did at Lexington and Concord.

Military people took an oath to defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. I am not advocating the overthrow of that constitution. I am advocating the defence of the constitution against any enemy government be it in Moscow, Bejing, Bagdad, Washington, etc.

This group has to be a political party with teeth. We make every attempt to use the system to save itself, but if the present corruption of the system prevents it from being able to save itself, the teeth come into play and chew up the enemys of liberty.

This is much more than a one man one day effort. If we are not capable of doing this, then liberty is over with and we'll all march to the Nazi drums as played by such liberal lights as Hillary and Chap-of-Quick-Dick Kennedy.

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