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Are armed citizens overrated?

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by monotonous_iterancy, Apr 24, 2013.

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  1. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    I didn't mean to imply that you are. What i'm saying is the "winding up" is going both ways.
    I suppose it depends on how you define "armed" but Germany comes to mind. Afghanistan post Russian occupation although that was a unique case as they were just coming out of a major conflict. Russians had arms before the communists took power. Many countries ruled by dictators became that way in the wake of wars with neighbors or just have just remained aristocracies for centuries. I can't say for sure but i don't believe guns were outlawed before Franco came to power in Spain or Mussolini in Italy.

    I can name quite a few countries that aren't armed but somehow haven't fallen to tyranny such as Australia and England. In fact the world is full of western style democracies that lack dictators but have draconian gun laws.

    Because they use those weapons in conjuction with heavy firepower, when more precision is required and to allow self defense while minimizing civilian casualties. I'm not saying armed civilians couldn't kill any soldiers. I'm saying they couldn't kill enough to overthrow a dictator backed by the military.
     
  2. LNK

    LNK Member

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    Which is really the problem, at least for now, that the liberty minded folks comprise "most" of the armed civilian population as well as the military. Which makes it a little hard for a tyrant, from even within the military, from trying anything. Ask the General next time you talk to him if that derails a would be tyrant?

    As for the other countries you mentioned, different scenarios. I imagine those countries did not have a founding in liberty.....

    LNK
     
  3. Billy Shears

    Billy Shears Member

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    Classic “moving the goalposts” fallacy. Do you imagine for an instant, that if the Tsarnaev brothers had planted their bombs in government buildings or on a military installation, that the hunt for them would have been one iota less intense, or demanding of resources? If your answer to that question is yes, you have an honesty problem.

    The point he is making, and which you are dodging, is that even one incident of that kind makes demands on the limited available resources for a response. Many such incidents can overwhelm those resources. Even worse, smart guerrillas can set up an incident, then target the responders themselves, which has all kinds of nasty effects, like destroying some of those responding assets, and hurting morale among the ones left.

    And yet insurgents still manage to do it.

    It must shock you to learn that the Nazis didn’t either round up or suppress all the French, Dutch, Belgian, Norwegian, and other resistance fighters, or the partisans operating behind their lines in the Soviet territory they overran, despite both being a police state and imposing martial law.

    That’s because it was an isolated incident. It’s an altogether different thing when there isn’t just one terrorist group or cell, but a whole population out there that hates the regime, an unknown, but significant number of which are engaged in active resistance.

    No, but if the civilians don’t like the government, and the rebels attack it… You’re focusing on the aspect of this example that is irrelevant, and ignoring the part that isn’t. I suspect deliberately.

    Not at all. When you speak with finality about a subject, everyone has a perfect right to ask if your knowledge of that subject is anything other than purely theoretical.

    In other words, you have no experience. (I have, BTW, as a former 11B infantry NCO, and a current LEO in a good-sized city.) So what if you know a retired officer of high rank? Maybe he’s sharp and maybe he isn’t. The list of incompetents promoted to general’s rank is a long one (e.g. George A. Custer, Lloyd Fredendall, Maurice Gamelin, and it seems, half the generals who have been running our campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    You seem to be under the impression that we all think a mass uprising of civilians with hunting rifles could topple the government in a sudden revolution, actually defeating and destroying significant numbers of troops. That’s not what we’re arguing. Again, I suspect this is something you’re doing deliberately, given how many times the point’s been clarified. We’re pointing out that armed resistance, if it grew widespread enough, could ultimately bring down a regime by somewhat indirect means.

    As troop moral sinks (especially as some would sympathize with the rebels in any civil war such as we’re envisioning), as more and more critical infrastructure is destroyed, as more and more government and military leaders are assassinated, it becomes harder and harder for a government simply to maintain control – enforce laws, collect taxes, regulate commerce, maintain roads and power grids and communication networks, etc. etc. As the government’s ability to do these things suffers, the regime looks less and less in control, and the leader, less and less equal to the crisis. Overly harsh measures used to restore order run the significant risk of backfiring, driving more people into the arms of the rebels, and costing the government support both at home and abroad. When things get bad enough for the regime or the leader, and the political enemies smell blood, they leader gets closer and closer to being toppled. And all the while, the rebels are continuing to fight, capturing weapons, acquiring them from foreign sources sympathetic to their cause, etc. etc. When enough of a population turns against the government, and has the means of resistance, even in a modern state, with all the technology and military power that implies, a ruler or government can find its position simply untenable. Once a leader loses the confidence of those under him, and his order start to be subverted or even ignored, it doesn't matter how much military power he started with.

    All this demands more than simply that the people be armed. They need the right leadership, organization, tactics, popular support, foreign allies or sympathizers, and so on, but to dismiss armed citizens of no account is a foolish oversight.
     
  4. nelsonal

    nelsonal Member

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    I brought them up because all three were situations where massive manhunts occurred and failed to find them until civillian tips led to their discovery. When civillians aided the fugitive (in the Atlanta case) he evaded capture for several years. Also these were isolated, a million guerrillas (1/100th of gun owners) would strain even a much more strict police state. The French Resistance seemed to survive a more brutal invasive police state than I hope most Americans would tolerate.

    With the massive amount of infrastructure required to sustain modern life, I would expect there would be plenty of soft targets (not including citizens). A short, quick list would be interstate highways, the power grid, pipelines, all of which need to be long in the US, and would strain resources to fully harden. Tyrants need to provide a certain level of services to hold power, this would be impossible with soft infrastructure under frequent attack (even if sabotoge is ignored).

    Finally, how do you square your belief with the results of the Millenium Challenge 2002? An asymmetric force using novel strategies sank an aircraft carrier and 10 cruisers and more following a cruise missile attack. Our hypothetical guerrillas wouldn't be as well trained as the simulated military, but very little of the equipment used couldn't be improvised.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  5. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    Pointing out a lack of relevance is not "moving the goal posts". If you believe that it would just as easy to plant a bomb in a government building or military complex during a revolt in a police state then you might want to consider who has the honesty, or at least the reality problem. A government would divert it's resources accordingly. So what? Having to hunt down multiple terrorists is a long way from being overthrown.


    Yeah, if they had access to real explosives. Given how many people were crowded around the boston devices in such a small area makes it obvious why low order explosives make such a poor choice for attack.

    No, they didn't. Probably had something to do with the fact that the vast bulk of their military was fighting the allied armies. Might also be because the allied armies eventually liberated those areas and countries. This is all really beside the point unless you are next going to tell me the partisans and resistance fighters were about to defeat the german army anyways.

    I'm pointing out an aspect which isn't convenient to your position. This analogy proves NOTHING.

    Finality? Expressing my position and defending it is no more speaking with finality than any other here. When one diverts discussion to the debater rather than the debate, that is ad hominem.

    Ahhh, i see. So if some with military experience aren't that "sharp" then why did you ask to begin with? You introduce it as a standard of being right but then back peddle when I mention that a person with an icredibly high amount of military experience and knowledge disagrees with your position. For the record, the man i mentioned holds a doctorate and is extremely "sharp".

    No, i'm sure your specific fantasy is plenty unique.

    I've clearly addressed war of attrition multiple times.

    If foreign support is necessary, which I'm glad we agree upon, then an armed populace shouldn't be necessary to deter tyranny to begin with. If it is possible that the rebel forces can get external or internal military aid to fight with then a government would be dettered from tyranny regardless.
     
  6. nelsonal

    nelsonal Member

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    I suspect the difference in outlook is that your standard seems to be to directly overthrow the military backed government, when our point is the goal is to make it impossible for the government to provide the services that even tyrants must. When the bread, circuses, and safety are impossible to provide, the tyrant will fall.
     
  7. Kiln

    Kiln Member

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    I think the best tactic is to follow JustinJ's example and give up all my firearms because it is futile to resist anyways since technology has rendered firearms ineffective (despite constant casualties in Afghanistan which is about as low tech as you can get).

    Then I'll just bend on over and accept government control over everything when the time comes.
     
  8. nelsonal

    nelsonal Member

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    Urea nitrate is a high explosive that only requires air, water, urine, a transformer (and some chemistry equipment).
     
  9. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Without the gun there is no chance. With it there is a little. Why do you think so many in power try so very hard to disarm us?

    Citing an unnamed officer who laughed at the idea of resistance as proof of anything is not terribly convincing. I agree that in battle no small arms are a match for modern high-tech weaponry. But they don't have to be. They simply have to raise the costs enough by presenting real and potential threats behind every door. No government can function if every single agent of that government, and his family, is subject to continuous threat by a sufficient number of armed enemies. No high tech military can survive without a huge and reliable tax roll. That doesn't happen when you have to level your own cities and shut down your own economy.

    Hitler survived the partisans not because of his military might, but because he was extremely popular right up to the end. Though nobody admitted it afterwards, the vast majority of Germans LOVED that man and what he represented. Enough to fight to the death for him in many cases. A better example of a tyrant would be Gaddaffi or Ceaușescu, who did not have the support of the people and who fell to armed resistance.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2013
  10. Kiln

    Kiln Member

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    Hitler won the election by a landslide and was very popular until near the end of the war.
     
  11. Billy Shears

    Billy Shears Member

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    You most certainly are moving the goal posts, because it is relevant. The point being made is that any attack requires a response from the forces of the government. And government’s resources are finite. Even a single attack on a single target uses up a great many. When a government is subject to multiple attacks, it strains those finite resources, and may exceed them. You attempt to wave that away by saying “this doesn’t count because it’s not a government target.” Well sorry, nice try, but that’s moving the goal posts.

    Who said anything was going to be easy? If people are in a situation of active, armed resistance to their own government, it’s going to be anything but easy. But “not easy” is a long, long way from “futile.”

    Here you are with that black/white thinking again. If it doesn’t result in the governments overthrow, it must be useless. Not by a long shot. I know you just hate it when I cite the example of the Irish War of Independence, so I’ll do it again. :D When patrols couldn’t travel without being ambushed half the time, and when government officials couldn’t poke their noses out of their fortified enclaves without being shot, and when the harsh reprisals the British engaged in not only caused more and more people to join the Irish rebels, but it also caused widespread condemnation of Britain abroad, and even tremendous loss of support for the government at home in Britain, it utterly crippled the ability of the British to administer that province of their empire.

    The Irish didn’t throw the British out in any conventional military sense. There was no Battle of Yorktown there where the British acknowledged military defeat and surrendered. The Irish won not a single large scale engagement. In fact, they avoided having any, lest there be a repeat of the disaster of 1916. All they inflicted were those bothersome little pinpricks you sneeringly dismiss as utterly useless. And yet, unable to govern the province of Ireland, and with popular opinion turning against them, and no prospect at all that the Irish were ever going to give up the struggle, the British decided to negotiate a peace, and the Irish effectively achieved independence.

    They certainly made it impossible for the Germans to achieve victory, even in those places, like the Ukraine, where the Germans had initially been welcomed as liberators, and could have had the population spying and sabotaging for them instead of against them.

    In order to crush these groups, the Germans would have had to resort to genocidal measures, like the Soviets did against the Kulaks in the 1930s. Not every government is willing to go to such lengths. The more the people resist encroachments on their rights – like the right to bear arms, for instance – the less likely they are to wind up living under a government that is willing to employ genocidal measures.

    False. What it proves is that even a brutal dictatorship, determined to maintain order, can’t guard every target, and armed resistance will always be able to find some vulnerabilities to attack. Even a modern police state doesn’t have the omniscience to cover all is vulnerable spots at once.

    You are speaking with finality. You have declared categorically that armed resistance in the modern age is useless, and we who entertain the idea are deluded fools living in a fantasy world. Statements don’t get much more final than that. And you have no practical experience whatever to base this authoritative pronouncement on.

    First off, this is an appeal to authority fallacy. Even if I knew enough about this person to acknowledge his authority – and I don’t – it would still be a fallacious argument from authority, because one so-called expert does not settle the matter in an arena in which there is no consensus, even among the experts. How do I know there is no consensus? Because in 1992, the United States declined to intervene in the conflict in Bosnia-Hercegovina after an aide to General Colin Powell, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised the Senate Armed Services Committee that the widespread ownership of arms in the former Yugoslav republic made even limited intervention "perilous and deadly." He was certainly not dismissive of the difficulties that people with small arms could create for even the world’s most powerful military. Nor was Canadian Major General Lewis Mackenzie, who led United Nations peace keeping troops in Sarajevo for five months. He also warned how difficult and costly it would be to occupy the area, owing to the widespread ownership of small arms.

    Second off, education and knowledge do not osmotically transfer from one person to another. Whatever he knows, he’s imparted no more than a tiny fraction of that knowledge to you. And for all I know, what he has transferred to you is wrong. As I said, incompetent generals litter the pages of history. I have no way of knowing whether he belongs in their company or not.

    So excuse me, but I am not remotely impressed by some unnamed source about whom I know nothing. And even if he is everything you say he is, it still wouldn’t settle the matter.

    There it is, speaking with finality.

    Only to dismiss the idea.

    We don’t. I don’t say it’s necessary. Not in an absolute sense at least. The Irish didn’t have any, and they still won. Benito Juarez didn’t have any against the French either, but he still threw them out of Mexico. Sometimes foreign help will be necessary. Other times not. There’s no absolute answer. Each case will depend on specific circumstances.

    Except in order to get foreign aid in the first place, you have to demonstrate that you can actually put up effective resistance (e.g. the French wouldn’t actively help the American revolutionaries until they won the decisive victory at Saratoga, and convinced the French that they might actually be able to win). You have to convince any prospective foreign supporters that you have the will and the capability to take effective action. That’s a lot easier to do when you’ve got some weaponry to start with.
     
  12. Billy Shears

    Billy Shears Member

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    Exactly!

    This is the point JustinJ is refusing to see. He insists on thinking in terms of decisive and final overthrows by civilians with small arms, facing down and beating regular armies, when that's not how guerrilla warfare is waged.
     
  13. monotonous_iterancy

    monotonous_iterancy Member

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    As a case study, look at the Battle of Fallujah, we Americans won big time. Secondly, a guerilla force in any part of the world has to contend with heat seeking cameras now, do they not? That would make rural operations difficult.

    On the other hand, small arms didn't stop Saddam from genociding Kurds.

    I also recently acquired a book on the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe. The first thing they did in Poland at the end of WWII was disarm existing resistance groups. They had whole armies of tanks, artillery, and planes, yet they still found that necessary in order to institute tyranny.
     
  14. beatledog7

    beatledog7 Member

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    The thing about an armed citizenry is it would force the military to use weapons out of proportion to the threat.

    What do you think would be the media response if the US Army came to some small town with tanks and howitzers to quell a rebellion? Or if the the USAF dropped bombs on a US city?

    Government has those assets for use against similarly armed national opponents, not for use against its citizens. The mainstream media are no doubt pro-government, but I for one don't believe we will ever see media give government a pass on something like that, and I think the top military brass and the CIC see it that way also.

    That's why so many in government seek to disarm us...killing American citizens in their homes with military hardware is a leap it knows it cannot make. But if we had no guns, it wouldn't have to.
     
  15. Cooldill

    Cooldill Member

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    The gun is the great equalizer my friend. It protects against enemies foreign... and domestic.
     
  16. JustinJ

    JustinJ Member

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    It may be time to reread whatever debate strategy book you read. Given i never set a standard regarding the Boston bombing i can't be "moving the goal post" to begin with. See post #127 for an actual example of "moving the goal post".

    You seem to be working of this notion that in this dystpopian tyrannical state everything is exactly the same as it is now except there is now a dictator in charge. No checkpoints, constant military presence, surveillance, bomb sniffing dogs, etc.

    The point is that the Boston Bombing is apples to oranges with your Red Dawn fantasy. Pulling off numerous of said events against hard targets in a police state has nothing to do with dropping a back pack on a crowded street.

    Last time i address your beloved Irish. The military technology available today allows a modern military to fight a rebellion in a completely different manner than 100 years ago. Whatever military advantage of the Brits that the Irish were able to nuetralize, it does not translate due to modern techology. Next, the British were invading foreign soil. They had the option of returning home and the government did have to answer to it's people so the whole analogy is weak beyond just being complete outdated.

    I'm sorry, but are you actually accusing me of appeal to authority after you brought up military experience? Are you serious? I mentioned the invdividual not to prove my point but only to show how your standard of authority is BS. All i can say is, again, reread your debate book.

    First, the arms available in the area were more than just rifles. Second, a peace keeping mission is apples to oranges with a dictator fighting opposition at home. It would take just a relative handful of deaths before the western citizens would start demanding a withdrawl from a country half way around the world that most people couldn't point out on a map to save their life. Dictators generally don't worry about public opinion, ya know, being dictators and all.

    Ahh, but you expected me to be by your self cited credentials. Moving the goal posts, hell, you decided to tear them down.

    Ad hominem and indirect appeal to authority all in one sentence. If you categorize my comments as any more of "finality" than countless others then you have no idea of what the term means.

    I didn't call anybody a fool, i'm just saying it's backwards thinking; seeking evidence to support a position rather than form it.

    I also did not say armed resistance is categorically futile. I said that the arms available to US citizens can not defeat the government and most people who believe they can adopt that position because they want it to be so.

    But hell, i'm largely glad its just a fantasy because most of the people i do hear say nonsene like "it's almost time" are just about the last people i would want in charge as most of them actually value liberty about as much as the Taliban, in spite of constant claims otherwise.

    When i was like 17 or so after reading some conspiracy theory, militant literature i believed in the armed rebellion fantasy too, for like a week. Then i actually stoped to think about it rationally. All the diatribes about overthrowig the government do far more harm to gun right's than help defend them. They alienate people and fortify portrayals of gun owners as all being extremists militant nuts with delusions about "taking back their country".
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
  17. hang fire

    hang fire Member

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    The latest figures show there are 33 million illegal aliens presently in the US. Although our goverment seems to be perfectly happy with it, to me, that is an invasion.
     
  18. JRH6856

    JRH6856 Member

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    ^^^ those are "undocumented immigrant economic contributors"
     
  19. Al Thompson

    Al Thompson Moderator Staff Member

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    Bickering..... :rolleyes:
     
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