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The Final Bulwark Against Tyranny

Are you 'the final bulwark against tyranny'?

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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Michael Barrett January 14, 2013 at 02:26 PM
"As for your not as deadly argument I am not looking at firepower but ability to fire fast and hold alot of ammunition." Semi auto Handguns fire as fast and changing mags take less than 2 seconds so capacity is a non issue. A mass shooter will have several guns and as many mags as the want. One of the columbine shooters used a 10 round mag and fired nearly 100 rounds. He had many mags with him. The large mags actually saved people in CO, they jam often. It jammed and he gave up. Small mags rarely jam. Address the mentally ill and illegal guns, not legal owners. You said it would do nothing to ban modern rifles. Why do it then. Address the problem, not legal gun owners. Rather comical that Biden task force as gun runner AG eric holder on it and head of national police group Tom Nee (from boston) on it. Holder is head of agency that gave thousands of guns to Mexican drug gangs and Nee's kid was convicted for plotting a school massacre on the south shore.
SKK January 14, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Address the mentally ill and illegal guns, not legal owners. You said it would do nothing to ban modern rifles. Why do it then. Address the problem, not legal gun owners I AGREE!!!
Ben Jackson January 14, 2013 at 03:31 PM
Michael, I dare you to make less sense. We don't let people have heroin. Know why? They might kill themselves. Guns might not only kill the owner, they could (and do) kill family members, innocent bystanders, murder victims, and more. How about YOU pay some attention to that "well-regulated militia" part of the second amendment that gun nuts seem to happilyi gloss over in their foamy-mouthed "defense" of the second-amendment, and deal with real issues. Guns do kill people. Every single day. More than 800 gun deaths since Newtown. 800. This is acceptable to you?
SKK January 14, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Why does every discussion need to be made into name calling and putting each other down (on both sides)?
Michael Barrett January 14, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Ben clearly doesn't understand settled constitutional law. The Supreme court has ruled on the 2nd amendment and it extends to the individual right to have firearms. The Dec ruling from the federal 7th circuit court of appeals specifically touches on the right of the individual to carry firearms on their person. It struck down the Illinois law banning the carry of a concealed firearm, and gave Illinois a short window to write a concealed carry law. When it does in the next few months, all 50 states will have concealed carry laws. Are gun death ok? Sure. When a women shoots the person trying to rape or rob her. When the persons home is invaded and a person defends their family. When a cop stops an armed robbery. So at times a death by firearm is fine. Seeing that nearly 70% of gun deaths are criminals shooting other criminals, it's not as if the average person is in danger.
Dennis Wilson January 14, 2013 at 05:55 PM
Skk, your post of 2:09 pm on Saturday, left me wondering if you supported the “final bulwark against tyranny” argument. Your comments of earlier today make it clear that you question that argument. I should have asked you directly if you supported the tyranny argument instead if using the indirect approach I did. There are two parts to my support of an assault weapons and a high capacity magazine ban. The first part is that I do not understand why a hunter or sport shooter needs such a weapon & high capacity magazines There are many things that one might want -- or not want -- that are either prohibited or required for the good of society. I don’t think simply wanting such a weapon with a 30 round magazine should be a reason for allowing them. The second part of my support for such a ban is that we do not know where the technology of weaponry is going in the next 10 or 20 years. It seems reasonable to me to stop the private ownership of these high powered weapons now and therefore stop the private ownership of even greater firepower that new technology might bring. I have no problem with folks owning guns for protection, hunting or sport. I also favor registration, liability insurance. increasing mental health services and requiring background checks for all sales of firearms. The impact of violent movies & video games also needs to be explored. And Skk, I am also turned off by comments, on both sides, that resort to name calling and putting each other down.
Michael Barrett January 14, 2013 at 05:58 PM
Ben Jackson - "We don't let people have heroin. Know why? They might kill themselves." So we have no issue with heroin in this country. The gov't made it illegal and we have no people using heroin, no violence as a result of the heroin distribution and usage, etc. We have laws against cocaine, so that isn't an issue. There certainly isn't a problem with drugs pouring over the borders. We do have large federal agencies dedicated to stopping those drugs, the DEA, FBI, CIA, etc. So there is no issue with cocaine since it's illegal. Marijuana is illegal at the federal level and in nearly every state. So the gov't made it illegal so I'm sure 40% of high school students have not tried it. They couldn't, it's illegal so there is no access for anyone to it. I really cannot believe you made such a comical statement. You do not understand the subject at all. You do not understand the Constitution, you do not know anything about the abilities of firearms, you do not know the court decisions. You should move on and stop embarrassing yourself further. Hey, guess what? The gov't made murder a crime too. I guess that never happens either? I'm sure a few more laws can get everyone to never step outside the gov't parameters.
Michael Barrett January 14, 2013 at 06:03 PM
Ben Jackson - "Guns do kill people. Every single day. More than 800 gun deaths since Newtown. 800. This is acceptable to you?" There are more babies aborted per day than 800. There are over 900 abortions per day, or 3.3 million per year. Do you really care about life? You favor making abortion illegal, right? Is the ending of 3.3 million lives per year acceptable to you? Most liberals put at least some thought and reasoning into an argument. You don't bother with any.
SKK January 14, 2013 at 06:10 PM
Dennis, I think your points are fine. I am not for bans just for the sake of bans because I question the impact they will have. On the other side of the coin as a person I don't see the need for an assault style rifle capable of holding 50 rounds of ammunition. I am all for better background checks, better mental health services, registration but I am not sure where I stand with liability insurence. It seems to make sense to me but I am just not sure yet. I understand guns kill people but I am a big proponent of making people accountable for their actions not just banning things. There are all sorts of things that kill (I know a a gun is designed for just that). There is also technology that we could use to make guns safer and all but stop stolen weapons from being used in killings but for some reason we don't do it. Just like there is technology that could almost do away with drunk driving but we don't do that either. I don't see an assault weapon ban really making a dent in crime but again as a person I see the reasoning. I am also not against it. I don't think it infringes on a persons rights they can still have hunting rifles and pistols. Just my thoughts. I really dislike seeing people make rude comments. I try to comment as if I was speaking with others in person.
Michael Barrett January 14, 2013 at 06:24 PM
First, lets get something straight. These are NOT "high powered weapons". Most so called "assault weapons" fire a .223 round which is not powerful. It is such a light round, it's called a varmint round. For shooting rabbits, praire dogs, and small game. It is illegal to use such a light round for deer hunting as it would not be a fatal shot. The entire definition of a "assault weapon" is based on appearance and cosmetic features, not on lethality. http://reason.com/blog/2012/12/17/how-do-we-know-an-assault-weapon-ban-wou The 2nd amendment is not about hunting and sports shooting, it is about the citizen's having arms in the event of a tyrannical gov't. Because you feel people do not need them? Do you know what someone's threats in their life are? The woman Georgia last week had a 6 round revolver to fend off a home invader. She shot 6 times, hitting him 5 times and he still managed to run away. What if there were 2 or 3 or more assailants? She would have needed the extra shots. And tell me how it would have made a difference in Newtown or anywhere else to ban "assault weapons" or 30 round mag's. The shooting at Va Tech involve two pistols and magazines of 10 and 15 rounds. He killed 34 and wounded 17 more. So tell me how banning a magazine that takes seconds to change or a rifle that is used in 1% of murders changes a thing?
Michael Barrett January 14, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Part 2. So you don't know where technology is going so you want to ban a firearm that has been around for 50 years? AR style guns are not new and not new to civilian ownership. They have been around for many decades and they are used in less than 1% of gun murders. They simply are not an issue. Forcing someone to have "liability insurance" is the same as a poll tax to vote. The 2nd amendment is a Constitutional right and you cannot place restrictions such as that on it. And again, tell me how that would stop murders? Murderers are committing the most serious crime so any law or burden you put in place will not affect them at all. It will attack legal gun owners and do nothing to prevent one death. In NY state in 2011 there were 780 or so gun deaths. 5 of those involved ANY TYPE OF RIFLE. So every type of rifle, deer hunting, black powder, and modern sporting rifles were only 5. They are used in 1% of deaths. They are a smoke screen and not an issue. And AR rifles are used for hunting by some. They are modular guns which are very versatile to shooters. People can own one gun for target shooting and with a few part changes use that same gun with a bigger round for deer hunting.
SKK January 14, 2013 at 06:42 PM
I must say Michael also has very valid points! I also see his is NOT in the final bulwark froup. He is just saying what he thinks the 2nd Amendment is for. I see your points but again I question the validity of needing to (or even being capable of) defend ourselves against the US military! If they government collapses and the military ever took over they would do it easy and there would be nothing we could do about it. That is the reality. 250 years ago things were different all the army had was muskets and cannons today no amount of semi auto assault rifles would win again the US military so that is why I question the "tryanny" argument as a valid one. (in todays world)
Michael Barrett January 14, 2013 at 06:47 PM
To SKK - I know you made an error when you said rifles capable of holding 50 rounds of ammo. The rifle doesn't hold anything except for the chambered round. The mag's do so the type of rifle firing doesn't matter. Many pistols will accept large mag's too. The liability insurance is a tax on owning a gun. It is unconstitutional. There is also no gun show loop hole. Almost sell at a gun show is a federal licensed dealer. They are are already required to run background checks. Private sales are not covered but they are mostly a father giving his son a shotgun for Christmas or for a birthday. This is a non issue that gun control people lie about. As you said, ban's will not change a thing except for legal gun owners. We had an "assault weapons" ban from /94 to '04 and it did nothing to stop Columbine or any other shooting. There is a reason why the ban expired and it was not renewed. It did nothing and no one with reason claims it did anything. You can make 30 round magazines on 3D printers. They made other gun parts for AR's too. Any CNC machine can make the parts. You can make a magazine in your garage if you have a very little ability. http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/312627/guns-dont-kill-people-3-d-printers-do-charles-c-w-cooke
Michael Barrett January 14, 2013 at 06:54 PM
How many high power weapons do the Taliban or Al Qeada have? They have RPG's but they mostly have IED's and small arms The Military is only a few million. The populous is much greater. Pretty crazy of a topic. But there are plenty of ways to deal with a military with small arms. We are seeing it go on right now in Syria. That gov't is using planes, helicopter gunships tanks, etc. against their people and they are at a standstill. Yeah handguns and rifles are no going to beat a tank, helicopter, etc. But you use them in unconventional war and you use them to take control of the tanks and other assets.
SKK January 14, 2013 at 07:05 PM
ok, I knew this was where it was going to go and it is sort of off topic. I am not going to debate the differences between the US military and Al-Qaeda. Or the differences between Al-Qaeda and the normal US citizen. It is never going to happen anyway. I am not going to have a doomsday conversation. All this is hypothetical anyway. The non-hypothetical is that we have the technology to make guns safer to own and use and we don't use that technology. I am NOT for bans at all but we do have the tools to make things safer another way.
SKK January 14, 2013 at 07:09 PM
and with that I am done. I have made my views known. Have a great afternoon everyone. Good discussions! I again wish we didn't have to be rude and get to calling people names (on either side) it is so counter productive.
SKK January 14, 2013 at 07:17 PM
Yes Michael I mispoke with the 50 round rifle wording. Yes I meant magazines! Please excuse me. I think you knew what I meant though correct?
Ben Jackson January 14, 2013 at 09:33 PM
Listen, Michael - I'm not going to get into a the personal insult/shouting match you seem hell-bent on starting. I shouldn't have responded at all that way in my first post, and I won't dignify the insults here. I will, however, correct you. To claim that the 2nd amendment is settled law is preposterous. If it were, there would not be the myriad court cases brought against the gun lobby and the continued push from intelligent, caring, forward thinking individuals - both gun owners and non-gun owners, for responsible and smart laws to reduce the number and capabilities of weapons available to individuals. Those tasked wtih protecting the public at the most intimate level - the local chiefs of police - nearly unanimously urge these controls because they know they will improve safety. You have completely fabricated statistics in your answers. "70% of gun deaths are criminals shooting other criminals?" First, show a study (peer-reviewed, academic) that correlates to this. Second, if a victim has a criminal record they are ok to be shot at? This is your vision of responsible gun ownership? "40% of high school students have tried marijuana?" Again, peer-reviewed, objective academic study, please. You are missing the point - drugs, since they are illegal, can be the target of significant public safety efforts. Guns simply are not - and that's because of the NRA crazies who refuse common-sense restrictions.
Michael Barrett January 15, 2013 at 12:56 AM
There are no studies on drug use. The gov't made it illegal so it now ceases to exist. Local police heads and officiers are not necessarily in favor of gun control measures like an "assault weapons" ban or magazine limits. I know plenty of cops and they do not favor any of these measures. Including Natick, Framingham, and state police. The feeling towards it is much lower in the south, midwest and west. You do not know these people, maybe you should talk to them. You don't even know a stock from a receiver. So why bother spouting ideas when you don't even know the subject you are trying to address. We had a scary rifle ban for 10 years and it did not do a thing. There are fewer mass shootings in recent decades than in prior decades. There will be no ban of rifles and there will be no restrictions on magazines. So the issue is moot. Read this and learn. The firearms area is the most regulated industry in the country. There are over 20,000 gun laws on the books right now. Another few are only going to affect law abiding people. http://www.michaelzwilliamson.com/blog/item/we-need-to-regulate-cars-the-way-we-regulate-guns
Dennis Wilson January 15, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Michael Barrett - Do you see yourself as part of the "final bulwark against tyranny"?
Ben Jackson January 15, 2013 at 01:45 AM
Skk- I should have been clearer. I was not trying to say that all nra members are crazy. I meant the organization itself, which would rather create a database of the mentally ill than of gun owners, and refuses to admit the hypocrisy of that position. Michael, i'll thank you to cease to comment here. Your inability to refrain from crazed, unfounded, and hilariously inaccurate insults not only serves to prove my points, but has no place here. Move along.
SKK January 15, 2013 at 01:51 AM
@ Michael, Those comments are just as bad. To say someone doesn't care about lives or the kids is unfair as is unhinged. also these are the type of coments that cause issues. Hell, I am not the patch moderator and at the end of the day you are both afforded your opinion on each other. again I made my views known. While I agree with points on both sides I also disagree stongly with banning things just because horrible event happens. I tend to think if there had been an armed person at the school it wouldn't have been as bad. I am for citizens being able to defend themselves. and yes I read the "liberals want all guns banned comment" also. It is what is it. There are extreme people in every population. I try to use reason and be realistic when making a decision. While I know guns don't do anything by themselves, i also know the government isn't going to attack the people. So again, Have agreat night. I alredy got more involved than I wanted to.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) January 15, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Hi there! I just deleted several comments on this thread that were inappropriate and violated the Patch terms of use. Please do not call each other names and stick to the topic at hand, which is guns.
SKK January 15, 2013 at 02:02 AM
@ Ben Jackson I undestand. Have a great night. I see valid points on your side as well. While I don't think law abiding citizens should suffer because of horrible acts of a mentally unstable individual. I also see the NRA as wanting to make money so they are going to fight any legisation that will cut into that money. BUT, every group looks out for itself that isn't a new idea. the oil industry, the auto industry, etc all do it. Like I said to Michael, Have a great night.
Robert Rosen January 15, 2013 at 02:03 AM
I'm placing this comment under this thread as it seems to be the worst under this blog post. Any more off-topic shots at other commenters or personal attacks and I will close comments on this blog. If everyone would like to continue to discuss this issue in a civil manner, then please go ahead and do so as I think some of the comments brought a lot of interesting things to the table; however, I have seen a couple of insults that are without any basis from other comments on this post and are so out-of-line that this has to stop now. This is the only, and final, warning.
Kent Summers January 15, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Hundreds of well-intentioned professionals waxing politic over gun rights, yet I observe very little consideration for the practical implications. The equivilent of 1 firearm for ~80% of Americans? And that is just firearms that are registered (the real number likely well exceeds 100%). Attempting to restrict firearms at this point -- while it certainly helps people address their feelings of helplessness and social responsibily -- just seems highly impractical. The horse has not only left the barn people; they have multiplied in large numbers and now cover every square inch of American pasture. Restricting the "type" of firearm or magazine at this point does not meet a measure of common sense. How about discussing ways we can restrict gun access by people who represent a danger to themselves and others? How about tying mental health records into the NICS system? How about more than just a dozen or so states putting the NICS system into actual practice? I'm sure there are plenty of good ideas out there, but we will never discover them until we refocus the debate on issues that have actual potential for change. Just my 2 cents.
Dennis Wilson January 15, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Kent, I don't disagree with your comments with the exception of whether any restrictions meet a measure of common sense. Common sense is not always commonly agreed to. Certainly, there are numerous aspects of mass shootings that need to be addressed. With this blog, I was focusing on the position that some people take when they state that they keep their guns -- not for hunting or sport shooting -- but rather "as a final bulwark against tyranny".
Ryan Seavey January 15, 2013 at 06:54 PM
I agree
Ryan Seavey January 15, 2013 at 06:57 PM
Yeah, how about some proof for your claim. Maybe a link?
Michael Barrett January 15, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Ryan - Ben, these other gun banners do not even know the first thing about a firearm. They don't understand the different calibers, they just go on emotions. That black modern rifle looks really scary. It could be a .22 cal or .308 and they don't know the different. They are scary looking so they are both dangerous and must be banned. What's more dangerous a small cal pistol with a 15 round mag or a .45 with a 7 round? They go on emotions with no knowledge of the subject. Harry Reid has an A rating from the NRA. He won't even allow a vote on banning guns or magazines.

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