A recent post on Patch asked the question “Is Now the Time to Talk Gun Control? Of the 600 + comments some favored increased control of guns, some opposed it. Some of the comments were foolish, some insightful, most sincere, and a few were, well, off the wall.
It was most revealing to see the litany of arguments against anything that might result in an increased limit on gun power or magazines size.
At one point, “the left” who supposedly would favor increased control of guns was referred to as “One Worlders” in that post entitled “Is Now the Time to Talk Gun Control”. “One Worlders” is a derogatory term used as part of a conspiracy theory that says that there are forces (usually liberals) who want to unite the world under one government (usually the United Nations) and decimate the rights and freedoms of Americans.
I don’t happen to know any ‘One Worlders’.
Another comment from an opponent of increased gun control jumped out at me. It read:
“I and others keep our guns as a final bulwark against tyranny, not to go hunting to keep our larders full, but to make enslaving American citizens an onerous task for some current or future leader who feels he or she knows better than the citizens themselves.”
This strikes me as a fine-tuned, crafted, edited bit of writing. You can see it in the word choice and sentence structure. This is not an example of casual, off-the-cuff writing.
This “final bulwark against tyranny” does not appear to be a public part of the NRA argument against increased gun control although one might imagine that a number of the people who see themselves as part of the “final bulwark” belong to the NRA. They might also belong to AARP; probably less chance they belong to the NAACP.
As I see it, this “final bulwark” statement comes from a darker place, a more secret place. It has an off-the-grid feel to it. As the statement acknowledges, it is not just one person but rather “I and others”. It is a group -- organized loosely or close-knit.
This group may or may not have some established decision-making process; some predetermined criteria by which they would know that some current or future leader feels he or she knows better than the citizens themselves. This group may or may not act in unison to prevent American citizens from being enslaved.
This statement implies that the people who see themselves as part of the “final bulwark against tyranny” watch our leaders and that our leaders stay in line because those leaders know that the people who form the “final bulwark” have guns.
While researching this “final bulwark against tyranny”, I came across references to the ‘patriot movement’. This is a quasi paramilitary organization of private citizens who hold certain beliefs and vigorously exercise and protect their right to keep and bear arms as defined in the Constitution and by the Supreme Court.
The unifying beliefs of the patriot movement appear to be that individual liberties in the United States are threatened by the government and ‘One Worlders’; that the attack on the Constitution has begun; and that just one more appointment of a ‘left-wing’ justice to the Supreme Court will end whatever freedoms you think you have.
The Southern Poverty Law Foundation, which spends a great deal of time and effort monitoring and writing about certain types of groups in the United States, lists the patriot movement as a hate group.
Homeland Security has attributed the renewed growth of the patriot movement to the rise in “non-white immigration and ... the economic meltdown and the climb to power of an African American president."
Plenty to hate there.
A group of private citizens, loosely organized or woven tightly together, who have conspiracy theories as their shared beliefs and possessing -- possessing what? -- a single handgun per person for self-protection or a collection of semiautomatic weapons with 30 round magazines, concerns me.
The patriot movement has been linked to right-wing militia groups; and those groups are believed to be responsible for Ruby Ridge and Waco.
Just what would this group of ‘patriots’ do -- these citizens who are the ‘final bulwark against tyranny” -- if and when they decided some leader “feels he or she knows better than the citizens themselves” and seeks to enslave those citizens?
Would they take over the United States Senate? Would they attack the Supreme Court? Would they storm the local post office or take their bug out bags and retreat to the back woods?
It seems that in this debate about gun control one side is not just hunters and sport shooters who might resist increased controls but don't have a fascination with the 'final bulwark'. It is also groups who see themselves as the “final bulwark against tyranny”. One wonders if the hunters and sport shooters who might resist increased controls know who their allies are.
One might also wonder if the NRA is the bridge between them.