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The progressives in HN downvote you, but the truth is that being able to use violence to protect your individual freedoms is instrumental to democracy. Few places can boast the level of stability that EEUU has had in the last 150 years. Many were taken over by tyrants and armed mobs, than eventually chose their tyrant. It's no coincidence that in Venezuela the regime disarmed the people with a law that according to them was meant to protect them.

The 2nd amendment is vital, don't let anyone make you think otherwise.


What about the many, many other functioning democracies with incredibly strict gun control?


It is all well and good until they stop functioning.

Guns empower people to not sit down and just take it when governments consistentenly abuse their power over a long enough period of time.


Saying “it’s all fine and dandy until the democracy falls down” is a pretty circular argument to the fact that America stands uniquely in the democratic free world in its liberal control of guns, amoung peers who have lasted several times longer than America's total existance.

In fact it’s a completely nonsense response, and one might point out that America is also fairly unique in its seemingly ill-functioning and over reaching government. Nobody reached for their guns after any of the post-9/11 constitution slashing, nor over any of the hundreds of documented abuses of power, corruption or citizens-United bribery that happen all of the time.

But sure, if cradling your firearms at night imagining a time when you gloriously rise up in unison against some big-brother style figurehead (while your other freedoms are eroded bit by bit) is an effective coping mechanism I guess that’s a good thing for the controlling oligarchy.

I can see why the promote it so heavily.


All of the west is shaped by America's dominance. Without their influence I suspect many typically western countries would be far more tyranically run.


Do we really think that armed citizens would have a chance against the current US military? Weaponry has come pretty far since the days the 2nd amendment was created.


The point isn't to win against the US military by overpowering it, but it is to cause enough damage, death, and collateral that you bring the US government to the negotiating table when supporters realize the cost of prolonged battle. You also want to make it look as brutal as possible to get foreign support and condemnation on the world stage.

Also we really don't know what would happen if the US military was asked to start fighting its own citizens. There is no guarantee those orders would be followed... people don't like killing their neighbors even if they're ordered to do it.


I don't think we should have no recourse against a tyrannical government, but I just don't see how anyone is going to realistically go up against the US military and make even a tiny dent.

To your latter point, there are constant human rights abuses/crackdowns on dissent in China, but does anyone intervene? Now consider that the US has military might many times China's. Who's going to intervene?

I, too, would hope for defection if the US military was told to start attacking US citizens. It's important to note, though, that the military goes to great lengths to break recruits down and rebuild them into "warriors" aka unquestioning killing machines.


>I don't think we should have no recourse against a tyrannical government, but I just don't see how anyone is going to realistically go up against the US military and make even a tiny dent.

See Vietnam


Fighting a war on foreign soil is much different from a conflict on home turf.


Sherman's March to the Sea is a nice example of how this plays out.


You don’t have to overpower the military with their nukes. You just have to make your region ungovernable without the military doing something embarrassing, or that would make the region of no value. It’s the Northern Ireland strategy.


>Do we really think that armed citizens would have a chance against the current US military?

Would it surprise you to learn that the "US military" aren't a bunch of mindless drones, but are in fact family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and fellow citizens? And that they wouldn't necessarily feel great about slaughtering their fellow countrymen?


I don't think the military are mindless drones, but yes, it would surprise me to see large-scale defection because history is littered with incidences of military being used successfully to repress citizen populations. This happens, in my opinion, for two reasons: 1. Militaries spend a lot of time breaking down and rebuilding recruits into order-following killing machines. 2. Target populations are demonized to the point that your neighbors/friends can be made to look enough like an enemy "other". Add groupthink to that and you've got a deadly situation that's not really a moral failing on the part of the soldier but a corruption of their motives by propaganda.


This is the key point, more or less every revolution in human history happened when the military switched sides and didn't want to shoot at civilians anymore.

Trying to come with 2nd amendment is bullshit, you have to get the sympathy by the military. This could be by inflicting damage, but more likely by having high enough casualties that the military thinks it is too much.


I used to think this way. Then I saw what our boys went through doing house-to-house fighting in Iraq. The rural areas of the US are way more heavily armed than the Iraqis were circa 2005. Not to mention the amount of ammo and guns that right-wingers have been stockpiling since the Obama administration. (Perhaps for misguided reasons but nonetheless it happened)

It would be a bloodbath.


The ratio of casualties would certainly be the closest in house-to-house combat, but who's to say that's how it would go down? Civilians don't have air power or much of anything that would be effective against armored vehicles. Theoretically a few tanks could cruise through a neighborhood and level it.


Maybe not, but the freedom to have that chance, no matter how small, is worth having. To me personally anyway.


1) it's false Venezuela disarmed people;

2) to say armed people can stop dictators, it's a totally braindead assumption.

Please, go understand how the world works.


Of course it's false. You still see lots of armed people, usually criminal gangs, both regime sponsored and independent. However, legally they were prohibited several years ago, I remember this. On your second point, please read the other comments on the thread spawned by my comment, and you'll see why your point is false.

I don't claim to know how the world works, but I've seen and learned enough to understand the importance violence has in our society. In most developed nations we're sheltered from it because its application has been made incredibly efficient. However, we shouldn't be fooled to believe that it doesn't play an important role in maintaining our societies.


Yes, more guns is always the solution !!!

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2e/2010_hom...


Voting and protesting are resulting in oppression and physical assault.

Your argument, such as it is, is equivalent to saying people should not be allowed to defend themselves, because someone might get hurt. It rests on the hidden assumption that guns cause violence, which isn't supported by the evidence you offer; and flies in the face of the actual violence in HK.


Too add on to your point, there is also another hidden assumption:

That violence is never the answer.

In civil society, we like to preach that, but as soon as the basic pillars of civility disappear, violence is unfortunately the only answer.

Worrisome times indeed.


Nobody was killed in the recent violence. Are you seriously suggesting that the commuters would have been safer, and less likely to get killed, if both sides had been armed with guns?


Regardless of what you think of 2A, this is exactly the sort of situation it was designed to address. In Hong Kong, you have a completely unarmed population demanding democracy. Being oppressed by an (in the particular case, arguably foreign) government, with a long history of slaughtering unarmed populations who demand democracy.


What if the 60% of US citizens who don't approve of Trump want to overthrow his government ? Would that be part of the 2nd amendment ? Where do you draw the line ?


Generally speaking: "There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Please use in that order."[0]

Where to draw that line is a personal choice. There are no simple answers. "You can never make that choice" is just as extreme and absolute an answer as "any time you are unhappy about anything the government does, start shooting."

[0]-https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_boxes_of_liberty


Nothing about those situations are comparable. The president of the USA is democratically elected. The USA is ruled by its own government, not the government of a foreign country (which a huge amount of Hong Kong citizens view China as), the citizens of Hong Kong don’t want to overthrow their government, they want to protect themselves from clearly oppressive regime, the USA has a rather impressive set of constitutionally guaranteed rights, citizens of the USA have access to a robust legal system.

There is nothing about the situation in Hong Kong that compares to any level of dissatisfaction you believe may exist with a democratically elected government.


It's a hell of a lot harder (or at least more costly) to violently impose your will on people who can violently defend themselves.


A civilian population armed with guns to the teeth will still not be able to stand up even a little to a real well organized military with gear.

Maybe it would be more costly, but the escalation would also provide the justification to strike down the population completely and simply murder all the protesters. Instead of reading about peaceful protesters being attacked you'd read about the military taking out insurgents.


Vietnam. US won every single battle, but failed to achieve anything.

Civilian militias have an enormous advantage over organized militaries. Guerilla tactics.

Yes, special forces employ them, but never the less, you’ll never see a special forces groups throwing IEDs on insurgent convoys.

Unlike civilians, organised militaries have rulebooks to follow.

This is true especially in authoritarian states with centralised decision making. See: the six day war. When communications were out, Arabs became mindless drones and the morale was in the toilet. Perhaps not the best example because that was organised military vs organised militaries. However, for Israel, everything was at stake. It was either victory or total annihilation.


> Instead of reading about peaceful protesters being attacked you'd read about the military taking out insurgents

I'm curious. What was the last anti-insurgent war we won? I'll list the ones where we lost: Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan.


Afghanistan and iraq would like to talk to you


Both are very good examples of the point. Both are dominated not by free armed civilians protecting their rights, but by organised well armed militias that completely suppress the rights and freedoms of the general population in their areas of control.

Yes ordinary people in much of Afghanistan and parts of Iraq can get hold of firearms if the want to. It doesn't help them at all. They are utterly dominated by either the local militias in Iraq (Sunni and Shiia depending on their area), or by the Taliban in much of Afghanistan.

If arming everybody worked to promote freedom, then Iraq and Afghanistan would be free associations of local communities joining together to protect their liberties. That is clearly not the case, and it isn't the case in any country with weak government and pervasive access to arms. Guns everywhere make the weak weaker and the strong stronger.

Guns do not even the playing field. In practice they dramatically tilt the playing field even more in favour of those with a willingness and propensity to use violence.


To your first point, there are numerous historical examples to the contrary. To the second, HK has millions of protesters out, something like a quarter to a third of the population. You can't simply liquidate an entire generation of young people if you want to maintain a grip on anything more valuable than a smoking crater.


> Instead of reading about peaceful protesters being attacked you'd read about the military taking out insurgents.

In both cases, you'd read what the oppressor wants you to read.


Do you believe the US population has any kind of chance against the US army ?

It created an arm race between civilians and the authorities. The basic police in the US is better equipped than the military of most EU countries.


I would describe this line of reasoning as tautological. A proper analysis would compare total violence and eliminate other factors like income inequality and education. The preoccupation with "gun violence" is like fixating on, say, truck collisions-- it provides no actual insight into what variable is driving traffic fatalities, but trucks sure are big and scary!


North Korea has very few gun deaths. I am pretty sure people would trade a slightly higher gun death rate for actual freedom.


correlation != causation


It's better that a thousand individuals get to kill each other than one person be oppressed by a government.


Change "one person" to "all persons" and you have the heart of the second amendment argument.

You may disagree, but it is not an unreasonable position.


Oh absolutely but when you phrase it like that you risk getting bogged down in the minutiae of irrelevant details like the exact impact removing/adding more guns would have on a society's homicide rate, like that's at all relevant to what is at it's core a disagreement on principles. Best to express your stance in the most extreme way possible so you don't get stuck in detail quibbles.

A disarmed society is an enslaved society.


That's the tough part isn't it? It's just a cost benefit analysis. There's no "one true way". The Americans chose one end of the spectrum, the English the other. Both approaches worked out reasonably well.

That's not something either side really wants to hear these days.


They seem to protest harder than countries with the 2nd amendment. Maybe the 2nd amendment is just another cultural sleeping pill.


The only thing guns would probably achieve right now is that this triade guys would also have guns and would be using them.


Triad thugs have and always had guns. They probably leave them as the last resort.


Given that HK is now the first stop for US whistleblowers it sounds like you could use an improved first.


Honestly crazy to suggest that this would have turned out better if it was a shootout. Instead of hospital rooms the casualties would be in morgues.


That is exactly the reason the 2nd Amendment exists in the US constitution. It certainly wasn’t to protect target shooting and hunting, but to protect against precisely the sort of oppression happening in Hong Kong. Governments should fear the people, not the other way around. The 2nd Amendment is a check on tyranny. Those that are downvoting the parent, what’s the solution? In China, you can’t protest your way to freedom. It hasn’t worked. It’s naïve to think that non-violent protest against China would ever solve anything. Let’s not forget the non-violence of Gandhi in India was strengthened by actual violence. [1]

And the American revolution wasn’t won because of protest, in fact, there was considerable protest and petitioning against the British prior to war and it resulted in the British becoming even more oppressive. It took guns and blood to win.

[1] http://theconversation.com/the-forgotten-violence-that-helpe...


> Chenoweth and Stephan collected data on all violent and nonviolent campaigns from 1900 to 2006 that resulted in the overthrow of a government or in territorial liberation. They created a data set of 323 mass actions. Chenoweth analyzed nearly 160 variables related to success criteria, participant categories, state capacity, and more. The results turned her earlier paradigm on its head — in the aggregate, nonviolent civil resistance was far more effective in producing change.

https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/02/why-nonviolen...


This make sense intuitively: governments are better armed than the people (militarized police, military). If guns are used in a conflict between the people and a government, the government will crush the people immediately.

On the other hand, enough protests and civil disobedience will disrupt the economy and the functioning of the government to the point they will have to react, or resign.

I am not American and haven't studied the U.S. history, but the cynic in me cannot help but wonder if the 2nd amendment is kept to let people think they are protected from tyranny while not fighting back any laws and unfair policies. When was the last time a law or policy was successfully fought and turned around in the U.S.?


It's arguable the Appalachian coal industry wouldn't have been unionized without armed agitation, but that may be unique to the region and the mine owners' eagerness to employ Pinkerton gunmen.

I'd say the last time armed resistance had direct impact on law was the abolition of slavery. Most specifically John Brown's taking of a federal armory in 1859. It didn't end well for Brown, his sons, or the freed slaves involved. It did, however, cause a polarization of public sentiment that accelerated the approach of civil war. Only after the other side was ground to paste was legislation changed nationwide.

To the commentors making a Vietnam analogy - short of storming federal installations ourselves, from whom are we to get the military-grade weaponry to put up any kind of resistance? Russia?


You could just as easily use the American Civil War as a example of armed resistance being ineffective. One of the largest armed resistances in history (the CSA) and it ended up achieving the exact opposite of its aims.


>When was the last time a law or policy was successfully fought and turned around in the U.S.?

Prohibition

Civil rights act

Roe v Wade

Gay marriage

Marijuana legalization


None of those fights had a Second Amendment angle, except possibly the Black Panthers' demonstrations carrying rifles. Those events instead resulted in California gun control laws being created more than contributing to the Civil Rights Act's passage.


Which is evidence that the government really does start to scared when armed citizens speak up for their rights.


Good list! I had not thought of those.

In which of those was the 2nd amendment used?

Having said that, weren't those slow change of the laws? I was thinking more about forceful events like the opposition to the Vietnam war, the yellow jackets in France, or what's going on in Hongkong right now.


Why would the US population result to armed rebellion when it has a robust and largely functioning method of altering policy?


Are the existing methods to change policies good enough? Are they good enough for the case where the government is forceful and not listening to the people?

How much longer would have the Vietnam war lasted if it weren't for large scale marches?

How many people's life got ruined because of marijuana laws for decades. Could have this been avoided with better ways to address harsh laws?

Are there really no law today that are almost universally hated, but kept on the book because of lobbying by companies or vocal minority groups?


Like, a couple of weeks ago? Unpopular or unconstitutional laws and policies are frequently overturned in the US at the national and state level.


Does the US government fear its own people ?

From the outside, it seems that police equipment escalated to get army grade vehicles and weapons, and the army has been to enough wars involving fighting civilians that they could crush most opposition in a matter of days.

Then what's happening in HK is masked "civilians" committing crimes, so the manifestant reacting to them with violence would also fall on the illegal side and it would be game for the police to intervene openly as strongly as they want.


>From the outside, it seems that police equipment escalated to get army grade vehicles and weapons, and the army has been to enough wars involving fighting civilians that they could crush most opposition in a matter of days.

Sure they "could" but will they. Right now the mainland populace knows nothing of this. If you let it turn into a bloodbath that could create a big enough international incident that people could find out. Is it worth the risk?

> it would be game for the police to intervene openly as strongly as they want.

And when the police don't want to prevent violence you get stuff like this[1].

Now, obviously the moral high ground in that example is reversed but my point is that the police need to want to prevent violent retribution if the locals want to inflict it and they are to prevent violent retribution.

[1] https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ec/Duluth-l...


> Sure they "could" but will they. Right now the mainland populace knows nothing of this. If you let it turn into a bloodbath that could create a big enough international incident that people could find out. Is it worth the risk?

Sorry it wasn't clear, I was talking about the police in the USA and the second amendment. I was explaining why I think civils having weapons just doesn't mean much against the current government.

> the police need to want to prevent violent retribution if the locals want to inflict it

Sure, we all agree. Here the gov/police is orchestrating the violence, so I guess we also agree they don't want to prevent it.


> Governments should fear the people, not the other way around. The 2nd Amendment is a check on tyranny.

How fearful is the US government of Americans? Consider:

- The US government surveils Americans when it wants, as much as it wants: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_surveillance_in_the_Unite...

- US police kill about 1,000 Americans every year. US police kill more Americans than terrorists do: https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/national/police...

- US presidents assassinate US citizens without consequence: https://theintercept.com/2017/01/30/obama-killed-a-16-year-o...

- The US government can search you or your devices at the border without cause, even if you're a citizen: https://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/16/us/border-legal-rights-fa...

I see plenty of brazenness in the US government's behaviour. I don't see much fear.




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