US gun rights seen from the outside

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Recent events have highlighted the enduring popularity of the Second Amendment in the United States.

Non-Americans like myself have often wondered at this almost unique Constitutional guarantee.  It seems somehow . . . primitive.  But why?  And what does our own sentiment indicate?

Civilization

Civilization is a large group people living under a set of rules, with some sort of state authority exercising the exclusive right to use violence to enforce those rules.  This is why Rome was a civilization and the Germanic tribes were not: in Rome, you addressed wrongs by appealing to the courts and the legionnaires would back you up if required.  Among the tribes, some sort of court might find in your favour, but then you’d have to get your cousins together and go get your sheep back yourselves.  There was no police force to do it for you.

Hence the Roman Empire was wealthier than the wild north.  Its inhabitants could focus on trade and professions without needing to personally defend everything that they had.

At the same time, this was the reason the Goths were able to overrun the Empire, once they reached critical mass.  The found the local population weak and defenseless, while they were accustomed to fighting for whatever they got in life.  It was game over.

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The United States

The United States sits somewhere between civilization and barbarity, obviously leaning very much toward the former.  There is a state that sets the rules, but that state does not quite have a 100% monopoly on violence.  Citizens are allowed to arm themselves, and if necessary protect themselves and others with lethal force.

Of course, there are many civilized countries where self defense can be used as an excuse for violence.  However, few other developed societies allow or expect it as much as America does.  In Australia or the UK, even beating a burglar over the head with a cricket bat is likely to get you into more trouble than him.

As with the Goths, this lack of full civilization makes the American a little stronger than other peoples.  They are often familiar with arms and have used them before.  If there were ever a domestic armed conflict, many would immediately know how to participate.  In comparison, the average Australian would not know which end of the rifle was dangerous, much less how to charge it.

America’s strength comes at a price.  Civilization means greater safety and order for those within its borders.  If the state does not have a total monopoly on violence, some citizens will use violence wrongly, and this makes for a more dangerous society.  Americans’ freedom makes them strong, but also opens them up to maniacs and criminals.

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Conclusion

In the end, it is up to Americans to decide what sort of society they want to have.  In urban areas, most people would prefer to become more civilized and no longer have any right to use force.  In rural areas, far from the nearest officer of the law, most would rather keep things as they are.

I suspect there will be no change soon to the Second Amendment, because too few people and states will take the side of the cities.  This is partly to do with America’s traditions, but the key difference from other Western nations is its racial mix.  Many Americans calculate that state violence alone is not enough for their needs, and that individual arms are also required.

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And yes, I had a bit of fun with the illustrations today.

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18 comments

  1. Kentucky Headhunter · June 15, 2020

    “In the end, it is up to Americans to decide what sort of society they want to have.”

    Not really. “Americans” no longer have any real say in how the country is governed. Americans would not allow cities to burn and statues toppled. Americans would not allow the country to be over-run by immigrants, legal or illegal. Americans would not send all our manufacturing capability over-seas in exchange for cheap Chinese crap.

    I’d say that “Americans” make up ~ 20 – 25% of the current population, and maybe 2% of people in political office.

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Allen · June 16, 2020

    There is another aspect to this. What if the state turns on it’s citizens? The Legions often took matters into their own hands. The writers of the U.S. Constitution were well aware of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Eddie Willers · June 16, 2020

    “When seconds count, the Police are just minutes away.”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Phil B · June 16, 2020

    You are projecting your own sentiments onto the argument with an extreme lack of research. I could fisk the whole article but will pick out these parts:

    ” If the state does not have a total monopoly on violence, some citizens will use violence wrongly, and this makes for a more dangerous society. ”

    Look at the UK where it is virtually impossible to own a firearm and if you use a legally held firearm in self defence, you will be punished more severely than anyone engaging in casual murder. You could research the murder rate in London, for example, and see just how “safe” a society London is and compare it with a similar sized town in the USA. Look up Morton Grove or the statistics of any town in Texas (except Houston which is left wing) where the place is loaded with firearms. Or any of the cities that are going up in smoke at the moment in the USA – all left wing, all restrict firearms, all wonderfully peaceable. Check their murder rates too, while you are at it. See where a lack of firearms is in direct contradiction with that statement.

    “In urban areas, most people would prefer to become more civilized and no longer have any right to use force. ”

    YOU may not want to have any right to use force but in the shambles that is now normal in the justice systems of the west, ask anyone what they think of the lenient to non existent sentences handed down to the most vile criminals. For example, Muslims raping children “because of urgent need” in Sweden and not being jailed, the sucker punches that leave people brain damaged and unable to function normally and their assailants being fined because they did not die. Drug gangs fighting turf wars and ordinary people being killed in the crossfire and nothing being done by the Police or courts to stop them. I think that the vast majority of people would relish the idea of “taking the law into their own hands” (which beggars the question, in whose hands IS the law?) and sorting out the problems that they see day in and day out that the authorities will do nothing about. See the cities in the USA where the left wing governors call the police off and will not protect businesses and property.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · June 16, 2020

      I think you’ve misunderstood my sentiments because I agree with much of your comment. In unsafe areas with gun control, the state does not have a monopoly on violence. They share it with gangs. In places where the state enjoys full control, i.e. Japan, there can be public safety without firearms.
      When I said urban areas, I meant US coastal cities that would probably vote to repeal the 2nd if it ever came up, but would be blocked by the rest of the country.

      Like

  5. AdamT · June 16, 2020

    Great article, enjoyed it… and the pictures.
    Luckily there are not many goths left in the world, but plenty of countries that train their citizens to use guns through compulsory military service… something we should do in Australia.

    South Korea does it for the obvious reason, we need to also for similar reasons. Australians are fat and complacent.

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · June 16, 2020

      If someone breached our air-sea gap, we’d be done for. Aside from being fat, many ‘Australians’ do not profess loyalty to Australia, and that includes a sad percentage of the heritage population.

      Like

      • Adam · June 19, 2020

        Well fuck dude have you seen the place lately? Why be loyal to a nannystate run by fuckwits voted in by sheep?

        No surprise there… i’ll be loyal to the Australia I grew up in but it aint coming back.

        Like

  6. A Texan · June 16, 2020

    I live in a semi rural area, and anyone wanting to do robbing will no better since most out here have guns. Maybe not loaded and ready to go, but why take the chance? And almost any criminal will tell you that they fear an armed citizen over a police any day. Anyone who does not think self defense is important needs to be treated as a sub human.

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · June 16, 2020

      Where you live that makes sense. In Japan, no one thinks self defense is important and it makes no difference. I used to walk home drunk as a skunk, in the wee hours, through the two worst neighbourhoods of Toyko. Never had a problem.

      Again, this is not a pro or anti-gun position. I’m pointing out that context matters. Just because Texans bear arms does not mean that the Japanese should do so. Just because the Japanese are always unarmed does not mean Texans should give up their weapons.

      This is why we have different countries.

      Like

    • collegereactionary · June 19, 2020

      In my experience, criminals and degenerates always have a higher opinion of the police than the average citizen does.

      Like

  7. luisman · June 16, 2020

    There will always be “illegal” guns around. According to the US constitution, no gun should be illegal anyway. I learned all the mechanical skills to manufacture basically anything, incl. a gun in my technical highschool (when I was 16-17 y.o.). There will also always be violent criminals in all societies. Machete attacks, like e.g. in London, can cost as many lifes as gun attacks. Even MMA fighters will usually run from an opponent who has a gun or brandishes a knife. I think self defense is one of the most basic and natural human rights. It’s a shame that most so called “liberal” societies deny this right to their state slaves.

    The issue has nothing to do with civilization. In fact, if the so called civilization becomes so decrepit that they don’t even know how to defend themselves, they will be overrun by the ‘barbarians at the gate’. See Rome, see Europe, see many parts of the US right now. Foster your inner Barbarian, which is a genetic part of you. Don’t let him run loose, uncontrollably, but train him, so you can use him if needed.

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · June 16, 2020

      Note to all readers: this is not a pro or anti-gun article, and I do not use the terms ‘civilization’ and ‘barbarism’ to mean ‘good’ and ‘bad’.

      A state full of docile, law-abiding people can remain safe so long as it retains strong borders, like Rome and Europe did for so long. When those borders are breached, their weakness is exposed.

      Yes, a bit of barbarism is a virtue. I reviewed the book Wolf Totem in which the author argues that the Chinese have become sheep-like and stupid after too many millennia of civilization, leaving them open to domination from within or without. He admires the West as being strong because it was still closer to its barbarian roots:

      https://sovietmen.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/strength-and-weakness/

      Like

  8. jewamongyou · June 16, 2020

    I live in a very leftist part of the US. My impression is that the leftist masses, little by little, are becoming more pro-gun. Even Antifa has embraced gun ownership to some extent. The recent Covid disruptions, and riots, have certainly caused many anti-gun people to reassess their stance. I’ve met several hardcore leftists who are gun-friendly, either because they hunt, or they simply understand the importance of self-defense. I don’t think the Democratic Party understands this; it’s very much invested in the anti-gun narrative.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. philebersole · June 16, 2020

    As an American who does not own a gun and has no interest in owning one, I recognize the Second Amendment is part of the Bill of Rights, which is part of the law of the land.

    The right to defend one’s life is maybe the most fundamental human right. In the USA, exercise of the right to own firearms is sometimes necessary to defend one’s life and property. During the current riots in Minneapolis, shopkeepers and other property owners in poor neighborhoods, many of them blacks, American Indians and immigrants, formed “well-regulated militias” to protect themselves in the absence of police protection.

    In the USA, there is little need for a firearm in big American cities except for self-protection. In rural parts of the USA, firearms are a necessary tool for protecting livestock, and also pets, from animal predators. They’re also necessary for hunting, which for some is a way to put food on the table as well as a sport.

    During most of history, the ownership of weapons has been associated with freedom, since the time of ancient Greece and Rome. The mark of being a subjugated person is (a) no right to own weapons and (b) no right to testify in court. Frederick Douglass famously said that freedom came in three boxes — the ballot box, the jury box and the cartridge box.

    That said, I think there is rarely a need for an individual to own military-grade rapid-fire weapons, and I think there are places and situations where guns to do belong. You cannot walk around freely with a loaded firearm on the floor of the Republican National Convention, at the National Rifle Association Convention and most gun shows. Sadly, there are too many people who treat a gun as if it were a toy.

    Gun control advocates hold up Australia as a role model for the United States. Is there a gun problem in Australia? Is there a gun control problem in Australia? I’m curious as to your opinion.

    Like

    • Nikolai Vladivostok · June 17, 2020

      I would not have guessed your view on this. Of course there are illegal guns everywhere, and Australia is no exception. Gangsters manage to get them. However, even before laws became strict in 1996, there was no tradition of urban homes keeping a gun for protection. They were more of a bush thing, for rabbits and roos. There was never a 2A.
      As for my view, I’m not sure. Australia has various problems, but gun rights are not high on that list so I haven’t given it much thought. There is not much of a gun culture. If Australians pushed for gun rights, I would not oppose it. At the moment there is little enthusiasm for change, and I’m not going to advocate it.
      Australia has long had lower rates of crime than the US. This is not because of the lack of guns, but it does explain why gun rights are not a hot-button issue.
      I agree with other contributors that we may need to become less complacent with our national security. Things are changing.
      As for the US, Australia should not be your model. Our situation is different. Abolishing the 2A in America would not bring murder rates down to Australian levels, any more than Australia could bring its murder rates down to Japanese levels. There are other factors at play, primarily the high rate of young black men killing each other with illegal firearms.

      Like

  10. collegereactionary · June 19, 2020

    Most foreigners don’t know about the conservationist side of gun ownership. They see the militia types with their AR-15s and they understand that, even if they don’t like it. But the first time I ever shot a gun was in the boy scouts. My grandpa is a hunter and I don’t think he owns a single semi-automatic weapon. Not ll guns have a military purpose.
    Even though the ‘blood of patriots’ crowd is more forceful and politically active, gun culture mostly runs on the older hunting tradition, especially ideas about gun safety. A lot of gun owners would rather go on a hike than train at some obstacle shooting range.

    Like

  11. Pingback: Our present misunderstandings | SovietMen

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