Confession of a Liberal Gun Owner

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inmd

I'm an attorney in the greater Washington, DC area. When not busy untangling obscure questions about the American healthcare system I spend my time pondering law and public policy, working on the perfect dead-lift form, and praying that my dedication to the Washington Redskins doesn't result in a heart attack.

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433 Responses

  1. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    My father gave me my first gun when I was roughly 14. It was a Winchester .22. He first made me disassemble it, clean off all the rust with steel wool, and examine all the parts. I sanded down the stock and varnished it. Then put it back together with his help. He took me to a range and taught me to shoot. He was quite emphatic that you should always consider what was behind your target, and take great care with where the gun was pointing. He often pointed out gun accidents and how they could be avoided.

    He had a 12-gauge and a .410 shotgun. The thing I saw him use them for the most was killing moles in the yard. He hunted duck when I was younger, but he stopped that when we got some pet ducks. He had a .3006 rifle, he hunted deer with it, to some success. And he had a semi-auto handgun, I don’t know what kind. That kind of surprised me.

    I don’t want to ban guns. I don’t own any guns. They don’t fit my life, or where I live. Politicians are bland and deal in platitudes because they don’t want to offend anyone. Which is because we voters are so prickly and prone to make mountains of molehills. I don’t think universal background checks would be a bad thing. I don’t think 10-day waiting periods are bad things either.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Thanks for the response! And I actually don’t have any issue with those types of rules, provided administration is fair.Report

      • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to InMD says:

        And this leads to my greatest concern, which is the erosion of trust. The problem isn’t the policy, it’s our lack of confidence in the people carrying out the policy. Trust isn’t black and white. “Trust but verify”, Ronald Reagan quoted a Russian proverb when signing Salt II. If we could do that with our own government, we’d probably feel a lot better.Report

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Doctor Jay says:

          One of the common arguments against firearms training requirements is that once in place, people will push for training requirements that are so high they’d exceed advanced police or military requirements.

          I’ve never heard of such happening, and I’m pretty sure that such requirements would be struck down even by judges who are hostile to gun ownership, but I also see people arguing we should train police better so they can shoot a gun out of a bad guys hand, or shot them in the leg.

          People get weird ideas from Hollywood.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            It’s not like they’re braiding hair.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            This is why I referred to the abortion issue. I don’t have a problem in principle with some basic training that is cheap or free, and easily available for all who are lawfully permitted to own a firearm. The challenge becomes whether or not what is being set up is really about safety, or if it’s an arbitrary obstacle to doing something policymakers would prefer you didnt. Even if it’s originally about the former it can easily become the latter.

            When everything feels like a zero sum game and no one trusts each other the easiest response is to oppose everything.Report

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to InMD says:

              OK, take it from a guy who actually thinks the 2nd Amendment should be thrown out, I wish people in favor of gun control were as extreme as I am because I see it as the only way we’re going to get murder rates close to the rest of the First World.

              But, unfortunately, even most “anti-gun” people just want to speckle over the really bad parts, but in general, allow people to buy all the guns they want for whatever reason, so we’ll continue to have thousands of people needlessly die a year for a right thought up by people 250 years ago with little upside.Report

              • Avatar Dan in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I learned to shoot when I was in elementary school, fired a lot in the Army, own a gun, and I STILL think we should regulate guns pretty much the way they do in Britain. Yes, I really enjoy shooting but, so what, the system we have now kills kids. No one’s hobby is worth that.

                And I am really tired of children in my city dying because a lot of people have really stupid ideas about guns.Report

            • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to InMD says:

              @inmd

              Exactly.

              I’m sure there are people out there who think our training requirements for driving a car need to be increased to a point approaching “Professional Stunt Driver”, but very few politicians take them seriously.

              But people like Jesse actually have powerful voices in congress, and even if they aren’t willing to go as far as Jesse is, they are willing to go far enough to cause serious distrust.

              Which is a shame, because there are some relatively basic things we can do to seriously cut down the number of shootings, but we can’t as long as the two radical wings have any kind of political sway.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                @oscar-gordon

                Notwithstanding that that is a fairly uncharitable reading of what @jesse-ewiak said, I would argue that Second Amendment absolutists have also a big voice in Congress.

                Plus, i could argue that “your” side, is “willing” to entertain “reasonable” regulations in theory, but that in practice, you will never find any regulation to be “reasonable enough”, so you will never agree to any actual proposal.

                And there’s of course, the fact that any and every regulation is presented in bad faith.

                Buy you are totally sincere in that you will support “a reasonable regulation”, just “not this one”.

                BIG NOTE: I believe, you, personal you @oscar-gordon, personal you @inmd, and other personal you(s), would indeed support a reasonable regulation. So, think outside the box idea, why doesn’t the NRA present some “reasonable regulation” just to unlock the impasseReport

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to J_A says:

                I believe the reasoning, as noted below, is that while a regulation might be reasonable “in theory”, they are all the first step in a slippery slope towards total gun confiscation.

                As Congress cannot actually bar future Congresses from considering new legislation, no actual law or regulation can ever be ‘the final word’ on anything, which means their argument is — of course — absolutely irrefutable.

                Any such legislation could indeed be the first step towards dystopia. Of course, it might not. But you can’t prove it. Who knows what gun hatred lurks in the minds of Democrats?

                Thankfully, only with guns is this an issue, otherwise Congress couldn’t get anything done.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                @morat20

                This!

                It’s where I take my fellow travelers to task. Politics is a never ending sport that requires participation. No one gets a ‘one & done’, even if it is protected in the constitution (see the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, etc. Amendments; I think the 3rd is the only one not regularly having it’s limits explored).

                If you don’t want the latest gun law to advance down the slope, get busy calling your reps.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                You realize I’m actually FOR a lot more gun regulation, and think the Heller decisions was wrong, right?

                That I was pointing out that, in my experience listening to the more pro-Second Amendment folks, no regulation can possibly be reasonable because a future Congress can use it (either directly or as an excuse) to do “more”.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                We’ve gone around this maypole enough times we have a good feel for each others positions.

                Doesn’t mean I can’t agree with you that a specific regulation is not, per se, a ride down the slope, or that a slope is a foregone conclusion.

                That said, InMDs point elsewhere about how other areas of criminal law have taken us to some pretty dark places should stand as signpost that there is wisdom in considering what exists along with what you want. Putting more on the pile is easy, creating a pile that won’t come crashing down on your head requires work & planning.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                It’s a pointless signpost. If you stand there declaring all laws are slippery slopes, what’s the point of laws? All of them are potential slippery slopes.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                It’s pointless to say, “Hey, we regulated X and it resulted in some really significant societal negatives that it will take generations to undo, perhaps as we debate regulating Y, we should take a hard look at how X went off the rails and try not to repeat the mistakes.”?

                Imagine if we’d kept prohibition in mind as the Controlled Substances Act or certain UN Treaties were being debated? What is that old chestnut about repeating history?Report

              • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Seems to me that the framing here is somewhat wrong. Having a police force that systematically errs on the side of excessive force is a bad thing even in a night watchman state. If we’re worried about tamir rice and slippery slopes, the worry should be specifically about whether or not a change in the law will encourage the police to behave in more abusive ways. Drug criminalization, like prohibition before it (and also child pornography laws, prohibiting prostitution, and other crimes that tend not to produce a victim that will seek out law enforcement resources) has that tendency. Does banning gun ownership? Perhaps.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Don Zeko says:

                This, and will additional laws be used to target undesirables for (perhaps) undeserved prosecution. I’ve had arguments where people state, unequivocally, that they are fine with an proposed or existing law even if it harshly punishes a person who wasn’t causing any harm, just because they don’t like guns/gun owners. Similar attitudes fueled the drug war and the rise in police violence (because drug users are bad people and deserve bad ends).

                I’m also thinking along the lines of @switters, in that careless over-regulation may result in a more aggressive black market.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Morat20 says:

                It’s all about trust…for which I have none, given my state’s reps behavior. That, by default, leaves only absolutism. Why is it so hard to believe that you’ll be screwed over a second or third time after the first?Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A says:

                I didn’t say anything uncharitable about Jesse, he himself said his preferences would go much further than what other gun control proponents want.

                I also conceded that both extremes have big voices talking for them in congress.

                I’ve laid out, in many previous posts & comments what I would support, and I’m certainly not beyond considering other options, but at the same time, I understand where the pro-gun extremists come from. Take this post, it lays out the basics pretty well. What I would suggest, what I have suggested, is to earn some trust*, look over the existing federal and state regulations and identify stuff that has minimal efficacy with regard to reducing shootings but has significant impacts on non-violent owners. I can come up with a quick list if you’d like. Then offer to roll those back/over turn them in exchange for something that could work (an actual compromise, as it were). There is an awful lot of stuff out there that was passed out of fear or expediency, but with little to no evidence it would do anything, so the field is ripe with low hanging fruit that can be removed easily to achieve a better political outcome.

                As for the NRA, they don’t offer because they don’t have to. Once upon a time they did offer up suggestions and lobby for regulations, but the current mood over there is to roll things back, not add to the pile.

                *I put this on those who want new laws because they want new laws. They are asking for the support of those who would be impacted, it’s on them to offer something up in exchange.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Sorry @oscar-gordon , the type of absolutists who believe that the initial National Firearms Acts of 1934 is a “compromise” considering it was so controversial in 1934 that is passed via voice vote in both houses of Congress are never going to trust somebody who actually seems to care about the rights of gun owners like say, Joe Manchin or Pat Toomey, let alone a gun grabber like me.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I think you misread that. The NFA of 1934 was just the first data point of his argument (although calling it half the cake is a stretch). It imposed a restriction (transfers of full auto weapons require the payment of a tax) without providing a benefit (what does a person get for their $200 besides government approval to transfer the weapon?).

                Taken alone, the NFA isn’t a big deal. It’s annoying, but given the context of the time, it wasn’t unreasonable nor was it an over-reach of congress’ authority.

                But it wasn’t a compromise, it was an exercise in government authority.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to J_A says:

                @j_a
                Completely seconded.

                There have been very few national gun control measure even *talked about* being introduced in the past decade, and almost all of them qualify as ‘reasonable’. (1)

                All of them have been introduced by the left, and all of them have been shot down by the right, and all of them were gigantic horrific ‘Government coming to seize your guns’ bills according to the NRA.

                @oscar-gordon , every time we talk about this, you claim there are fanatics, that there are absolutist, on both sides. The problem is, exactly one side is stopping reasonable laws.

                They might be using absolutists on the other side as the excuse, but it’s nonsensical one…people don’t get to claim ‘Every single person on the other side does not have a perfect viewpoint and some want to go to far’ as an excuse to not ever do anything. That isn’t slightly how politics works, because that literally is never true. (If everyone had identical viewpoints, there wouldn’t even *be* sides.)

                Absolutely nothing is stopping the right from proposing reasonable laws on their own. Hell, *their own supporters* are in favor of most of the things Democrats want.

                The problem is that the NRA has backed them into a corner where they aren’t even allowed to admit that they’re *allowed* to regulate any of this.

                1) And the one I can think of that was stupid, the terrorist watchlist one, was indeed stupid, but it was stupid in a way that it was *extremely hypocritical* for the right to object to.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

                I will reiterate that there is a lot of unreasonable gun regs out there, mostly at the state level (what exists at the federal level is mostly stuff that annoys FFLs and manufacturers, not owners, with a few exceptions). The pro-gun side has called out the kinds of regs that bother it, and I agree that a lot of what they dislike is mostly DA candy, with little efficacy towards reducing violence or crime. It might not make sense that rolling back state regs would allow for support for federal regs, but I think it would because the overall weight of all the current regs would be reduced, which means support could be built in some pretty key areas, like the Northeast and CA.

                It would also rebuild trust that the goal isn’t to merely regulate ownership out of existence, but to actually strive to reduce violence.

                As long as the NRA/GOA/etc. can bang the drum that the goal is to raise the costs, or to make it so riddled with legal pitfalls, as to make ownership nearly impossible, they are going to be able to rally the faithful. You may find it ridiculous, but that is the reality of it.

                If you want their support & co-operation for new regs, you need to give something up. If you don’t want to give anything up, you’ll need to build support in direct opposition to them. How’s that working for you lately?

                Now, if there is an obvious cooperative effort to remove the more egregious regs and the pro side is still being extreme reactionary, I’ll switch sides.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                PS The NRA/GOA/etc. don’t speak for all gun owners. Perhaps combined, they might speak for a slim majority of them.

                I mean, here in WA, there was a voter initiative to create extreme protection orders. It passed with 70+% support, and there was almost zero opposition to it because, IMHO, it was a well written law that took into account the rights of gun owners as well as trying to meet the goal of the order.

                Stuff like that is possible, if both sides talk and respect each others positions.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                I don’t like initiatives, but I will point out that the NRA can’t fund primary challengers to individual voters.

                In all reality, that same exact bill would likely never pass even in the Washington Senate or House if Republican’s controlled it because the GOP caucus would be dominated by Eastern Washington wackadoos.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                It might not make sense that rolling back state regs would allow for support for federal regs, but I think it would because the overall weight of all the current regs would be reduced, which means support could be built in some pretty key areas, like the Northeast and CA.

                Fundamentally, that entire premise seems broken. It’s Congressmen from *conservative* states that shoot down all gun control, and those states *don’t have onerous regulations*.

                As long as the NRA/GOA/etc. can bang the drum that the goal is to raise the costs, or to make it so riddled with legal pitfalls, as to make ownership nearly impossible, they are going to be able to rally the faithful.

                The NRA is an irrational pile of lunacy that will always be able to invent some reason that the Democrats are going to take everyone’s guns. Reducing regulations will not change that, and they will not, at any point in time, offer any sort of trade.

                Their fundamental belief is that any regulation of guns, in any manner at all, is unconstitutional, outside a few minor exceptions. They will not budge from that belief.

                If you think otherwise, I don’t know how to convince you.

                If you want their support & co-operation for new regs, you need to give something up.

                I live in *Georgia*. It’s legal to carry guns in *bars* and *airports* here.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

                Congressmen from *conservative* states that shoot down all gun control, and those states *don’t have onerous regulations*.

                What is your goal? Mine is to find ways to build enough trust that the more moderate pro gun side is willing to support effective regulation. Since that side has zero trust in the opposition & is fine with the status quo, Proactive action on the part of pro regs is a good way to build trust across the pro gun population, and the states are rife with low hanging fruit.

                This is politics, plain & simple. You want something, what are you giving in return.

                It’s legal to carry guns in *bars* and *airports* here.

                Please explain, with examples, why this is disturbing to you. Unless it’s legal to drink & carry in bars, I’m at a loss.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                PS given the holiday, I may not reply until Monday.

                Happy Thanksgiving!Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Its easy to build trust with some gun owners, the apocryphal “responsible hunter/ target shooter”.

                But for a lot of others, the desire for guns is tied to a lot of fear and distrust, not of the gun control folks, but other Americans in general.

                If a guy’s view of society is such that he needs to carry a handgun into Walmart just to buy toilet paper, its kinda hard to build any sort of trust.

                Because, you know, his neighbors are kinda untrustworthy, murderous rabble who can only be kept in check with a gun.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                If a guy’s view of society is such that he needs to carry a handgun into Walmart just to buy toilet paper, its kinda hard to build any sort of trust.

                First of all, have you ever googled “mass shooting at walmart”? https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=mass%20shooting%20at%20walmart

                2nd of all, the guy I know who does this is perfectly willing to admit the odds of him ever being in a situation where he needs to draw are low enough that it probably won’t happen during his lifetime. Thing is if it does happen he’d like to be able to do something other than bleed.

                Think of it as another type of insurance.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If that were actually true, he would wear a beekeeper outfit with hood and gloves every time he goes to Walmart since the odds are much greater of encountering a swarm of killer bees than being in a shootout.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                What is your goal? Mine is to find ways to build enough trust that the more moderate pro gun side is willing to support effective regulation. Since that side has zero trust in the opposition & is fine with the status quo, Proactive action on the part of pro regs is a good way to build trust across the pro gun population, and the states are rife with low hanging fruit.

                Why exactly would things having changed in *some other state* have convinced moderate pro gun representatives to work with anyone?

                ‘Hey, some other people in my party removed some of the horrible restrictions in my state.’

                ‘So…you removed restrictions my state has never conceived of having, and that I didn’t even know you guys had? And, honestly, looking at this, you still left plenty of horrible ones.’

                This is politics, plain & simple. You want something, what are you giving in return.

                You can’t give things to representatives of *another state* by repealing one of *your* state laws.

                Please explain, with examples, why this is disturbing to you. Unless it’s legal to drink & carry in bars, I’m at a loss.

                It *is* legal to drink and carry in a bar in Georgia. It’s not legal to carry *while under the influence*, but it’s perfectly legal as long as you remain under 0.08 BAC.

                Of course, legally, that’s almost complete nonsense, because breathalyzer tests are legally *searches*. Our state, like most, have implied consent to that ‘search’ for people *driving*, and can demand they take a test, (or just punish them if they refuse), but if someone is in a bar, with a gun, and over the legal limit, I’ll be damned if I know how the cop can prove that without getting a judge to issue a search warrant and force a test.

                This is assuming that cops are wandering bars looking for drunk people with guns in the first place, which is not true. I’m not sure to what extent cops have a right to patrol bars…they can check for underaged people, but they almost certainly do not have the right to ask people if they have a concealed weapon.

                And, on top of that…no one has any idea what exactly is supposed to happen if people *do* drink too much and now legally are in possession of a gun they can’t legally ‘carry’, but certainly can’t just leave laying around. Even in Georgia it’s illegal to randomly leave guns laying around on the ground…for *now*. I’m sure that will be legal soon, because 2nd amendment, bitches! *fires guns randomly toward ceiling*Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to DavidTC says:

                @davidtc

                OK, I’m back, did you have a good holiday? I did, avoided cooking this year, went out to a Brazilian Steakhouse, saw Moana (good movie, btw), visited with friends & family, etc.

                It *is* legal to drink and carry in a bar in Georgia.

                OK, I agree that is disturbing. If a person is carrying, then they shouldn’t be drinking alcohol. Using a firearm accurately requires fine motor skills and judgement that get impaired too quickly with alcohol.

                You can’t give things to representatives of *another state* by repealing one of *your* state laws.

                You are assuming the wrong mechanism is in play. Gun owners in, say, Montana or Texas won’t be impacted much by what laws exist in NJ or NY. But the people in Virginia, or Pennsylvania, they’ll care.

                Additionally, if the pro-reg side did take action to remove bad regs in states that are famously anti-gun, it could build trust across the country, because gun owners will have less reason to feel as if the pro-reg side is “out to get them”*.

                Alternatively, the pro-reg side could get behind federal laws that strengthen things like the FOPA (a law NY & NJ routinely ignore and never get penalized for), or supporting a federal carry permit, or recognizing out of state permits in a manner similar to drivers licensing, or amending the NFA to remove suppressors, or some of the other stuff you suggested. The NRA/GOA/SAF all have legislative goals on their websites, plenty of options to pick from. And let’s keep in mind that right now, the GOP controls both houses and technically has the presidency. Trump is no friend to gun-rights, but the likelihood he’ll veto pro-gun legislation is not a given.

                *This is what makes this all such a PITA. Gun rights/control has moved so far out of the realm of public policy and so firmly into culture war territory. This is why I was asking what your goals are. Do you want to find a way to move forward with sensible policy, or do you simply want to be able to dictate the terms of surrender? I think you, personal David, are just fine looking for places where you can give to get, but there are plenty on the pro-reg side that simply refuse to budge and are just as pig-headed as the pro-gun absolutists, so honestly both sides are stopping better regulation from happening, because neither extreme is willing to compromise and only wants to dictate the terms of surrender.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                The problem is, exactly one side is stopping reasonable laws.

                What gun laws would you view as too onerous? Better yet, what laws would you support that enable gun ownership? Perhaps banning these gun-free zones which turn into mass murder shooting ranges? Something else?

                If the answer is “nothing”, if the very definition of “reasonable law” must always mean restriction of gun rights and not enabling them, and your core beliefs are that individuals don’t have the right to a gun, then imho it’s easy to believe whatever laws you pass won’t be enough and you’ll always be back for more.

                It’s the whole Russia-needs-land-to-give-up-in-a-war problem. Sooner or later the NRA will lose. Gun laws will be passed, either because there’s a mass murder or because the Dems get control. When that happens, the NRA will lose territory, and where they end up depends on where they start. If you know you can lose a hundred miles then you want the border far from the capital.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                What gun laws would you view as too onerous? Better yet, what laws would you support that enable gun ownership? Perhaps banning these gun-free zones which turn into mass murder shooting ranges? Something else?

                There’s plenty of reasonable concessions. Deciding that people walking around carrying guns in a school is going to stop a shooter is not one of them.

                A problem I’ve heard mentioned before is transportation variations between states. So here’s a law: A Federal regulations covering interstate transport of guns, saying ‘If you place an legal, unloaded gun in a trunk or place inaccessible to the driver or any passengers, you are always legal for transport through a state, regardless of state law. If the gun is not legal in the state, you must additionally disable it by disassembly or putting on a trigger lock. This law is intended to cover personal transportation through a state, and thus you get a max of three not-legal guns per person, and have some sort of duty to prove you’re just passing through.’

                Another problem: States sometimes set very close, but *not* identical*, regulations. I.e., one state might allow a shotgun barrel to be 1/8th of an inch shorter than the other. This doesn’t appear to help *anyone*, and it would be a good idea to create some sort of voluntary *national standards* that states can pick between. I.e., don’t have the Federal government set the length, but have it say ‘States, please pick this length, this length, or this length, instead of some weird fractional length. We have made a wide range of possible regulations, with options stretching across what every state currently has, and if your regulations are *exactly one of the lines*, you get a bribe, erm, Federal money.’ (1) Same with magazine limits…one state shouldn’t have 9 and one state 11 and whatever. Just…everyone who wants a limit should just pick ten, or whatever.

                And, of course, we could remove any dumbass regulation of suppressors, which serves no purpose at all and is basically built on random TV myths about ‘silencers’. That would be good.

                But the question isn’t what laws *I* would like. I am not a gun owner. I have very little ideas what sort of things bother gun owners.

                The question is why the *gun-rights* people haven’t proposed these laws, in exchange for something. Take one of the gun control policies that seems reasonable, and *attach those things to it*.

                It’s worth pointing out that not only do Republicans *not* do this, but they refuse to even *consider* voting for any gun regulations *at all*, which means those bills *get no input from them*, and we end up with dumbass stuff like the assault weapon ban.

                1) This would, in theory, make it much easier to track what is legal where. Otherwise, the NRA has to spend all their time and effort updating that app where you can put in your gun and they tell you where it’s legal and under what circumstances and all the various state laws…oh, man, I almost kept a straight face during that. Of course the NRA doesn’t do that sort of thing.

                If the answer is “nothing”, if the very definition of “reasonable law” must always mean restriction of gun rights and not enabling them, and your core beliefs are that individuals don’t have the right to a gun, then imho it’s easy to believe whatever laws you pass won’t be enough and you’ll always be back for more.

                If you want to know my *actual* position on guns, what I think the ideal world would be, I’ve stated it a few times here: No removable magazines. All magazines are internal and limited to 6 bullets.

                That’s it. That is basically my *only* restriction.(2) Hell, people can have fully-automatic guns, if they don’t understand the dumbness of fully-automatic weapons with six bullets. And, yes, at some point there might be cleverness like ‘external infinite clips’ or trying to sell people belt-loading guns or other nonsense that try to get around this, and need future laws to handle, but that’s not really my point.

                The point is you get 6 bullets. If you do not kill what you are trying to kill in 6 bullets, you now have to pause and spend ~10 seconds pulling out or attaching a clip and sliding bullets in and *then* you can start shooting again.

                The problem is, this rather involves replacing almost every gun, so is unlikely to work as a solution. I’m just saying it to explain I am not against guns.

                (I will also note that six is my starting position, and it would be possible to negotiate me almost triple that. Don’t read too much into ‘six’.)

                2) I’m also not a fan of high-velocity low-calibre hobbyist guns that aren’t very good at any legal purpose, and would like those to go away, but those are mostly being pushed by the insane NRA and their insane conspiracy theories, and in my ideal world everyone would have seen them as the idiots they are.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                Thank you for the detailed reply.Report

          • Or bring binoculars, so they can tell a gun from a toy truck.

            Crazytown.Report

          • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

            Well, I think the “shoot/no shoot” decision could definitely use more work. For instance, with Oscar Grant. However, I don’t endorse the ideas you’re highlighting. Shooting guns out of someone’s hands is something only the Lone Ranger did, or maybe Gene Autrey. Though, I’ve never seen anyone I know, liberal or otherwise, ask for that. I’m sure someone has. It’s a big, big country.

            I’ve talked to officers who will plainly say, off the record, “that was a bad shoot, and it happened because of factors X, Y, and Z”. But they don’t want to go on record criticizing a fellow officer. And that’s the lack of trust.Report

            • Avatar J_A in reply to Doctor Jay says:

              As far as I understand (and I might be very wrong), when the use of guns is authorized in police operations in the U.K., the engagement rules are “if at all possible, aim to maim, not to kill”, like shoot at legs, arms, not at chest, head.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A says:

                From what I understand, the police with guns in the UK are highly trained and experienced shooters, and are only called out for very dangerous situations (like SWAT teams in the US should be).

                Beat cops are trained to shoot center of mass.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Excellent essay and, yes, it’s very important to not fetishize The Gun.

    A lot of that has to do with seeing it for what it is, though. Part of that is reading the 2nd Amendment and realizing that it has little, if anything at all, to do with “hunting”.Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

      We’ve spoken a lot about different political cultures here lately and I don’t deny that there are parts of what might be called gun culture out there that fetishize the firearms themselves. I find them… unhelpful and I think they are who most advocates of stricter laws see themselves as arguing with.

      Part of the point of posting this is to mitigate that somewhat if at all possible. It isn’t fair to ask the other side to moderate themselves and not also put myself out there as well.Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

      Actually, if you want to be Originalist at all (lol – what an idea), XVIII century people, and the Common Law, assumed that hunting was a reserved and regulated activity. Unauthorized hunting (poaching) was a criminal activity, severely penalized.

      If the Founding Fathers wanted to change that concept, they could have written it in the Constitution, or at least in a statute. But this newly found right to hunt is nothing but an emanation of the penumbras of something something.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to J_A says:

        Which, if you want to be Originalist at all, makes you wonder what the Founders would have thought the 2nd was for.

        “Shooting Redcoats and Redcoat-analogues” seems high on the list, to me.Report

        • Avatar J_A in reply to Jaybird says:

          What? Are you crazy? Is there anything in the Amendment that you can see that could be read as if it pertained to, for conversation sake, a militia?

          As far as I can see, there’s an inkblot (like the one that covers the Ninth Amendment, according to the late Legal Genius Bork), and then the bit about “the right to bear arms…..”

          And as far as I remember, that’s what Scalia thought, too.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A says:

            @dave had a fantastic post examining the origins of the second and it’s practical limits. Damned if I can find it.Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              @oscar-gordon

              I can go look for it.Report

            • Avatar Dave Regio in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

              @oscar-gordon

              I’ve found these:

              https://ordinary-times.com/2016/06/24/choosing-a-side/#comment-1163535

              https://ordinary-times.com/2016/06/24/choosing-a-side/#comment-1163535

              https://ordinary-times.com/2016/06/24/choosing-a-side/#comment-1163535

              I’ve discussed it elsewhere also. I flatly reject the individual rights view of the 2nd Amendment if only because it conflicts with my view on how the Constitution was structured and the fact that a private individual right to own firearms would have been a state level concern not a federal one.

              That said, gun control ranks very low on my list and I couldn’t care less what law abiding citizens own or use so long as it’s lawful. Want a fully automatic weapon with a 88 round high cap mag? Have at it.

              I also think Heller was rightly decided but on the wrong grounds.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Dave Regio says:

                ” the fact that a private individual right to own firearms would have been a state level concern not a federal one.”

                The Tenth Amendment has been de facto invalid for over a hundred years now; as far as rights are concerned there’s no difference between state and federal levels.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

                The way I understan it (fwiw) is that the bill of rights circumscribed federal power as it relates to state power and not individual rights. SO!, states would have the authority to effectively ban guns, but (obvs) not the fedrul.

                Same with speech, and so on.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Stillwater says:

                {{Add: circumscribed to the 2A, anyway.}}Report

              • Avatar Dave Regio in reply to Stillwater says:

                @stillwater

                A state could have have established its own official religion and people would not have had recourse in the federal courts, as the BoR did not apply to the states.

                On guns, my high level hypothesis is that states could have (and did) regulate the ownership of firearms but if banning them outright (something that I don’t think would have been done) interfered with the federal government’s Militia power, it would have been unconstitutional if only because of the Supremacy Clause and Art 1 Sec 8.

                The Feds couldn’t pass a law banning private ownership of firearms. No authority unless we want to toss it into General Welfare like everything else 😉Report

              • Avatar Dave Regio in reply to DensityDuck says:

                @densityduck

                The Tenth Amendment has been de facto invalid for over a hundred years now; as far as rights are concerned there’s no difference between state and federal levels.

                The first part I agree with. To the extent the second part is true, it has everything to do with the 14th Amendment and not any of the twelve pre-Reconstruction amendments.

                Should it have been incorporated? I’d say yes, but the 2A proponents try to argue that the individual right was part of the original design. I used to believe that. I don’t anymore, largely because of the two posts I published here about 18 months ago.

                I view the Constitution more through the lens of 18th Century states rights than the more modern individual rights view.Report

  3. Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

    Good post InMD! Your rifle is akin to my carry permit. I carry a concealed firearm so very rarely that the permit isn’t really useful, but it is valuable as a signal to my politicians that I care enough to go through the process and pay the fee every 5 years.Report

  4. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Excellent post InMD (I thought you were a doctor from Indiana!)

    My mothers family is/was super liberal, based in the bay area. And yet there were more than a few duck hunters in the bunch, with all that entails.Report

  5. Avatar Don Zeko says:

    I’ll add my voice to the chorus: good post! I’ve got no truck with the NRA, but like you I think my party doesn’t reflect much on the empirical evidence available or the real constitutional issues involved when they talk, think, or act re: guns.Report

  6. Avatar J_A says:

    Even better would be if I felt I could trust that appeals to safety and security were made in good faith, and wouldn’t inevitably be used as an excuse to enable mass incarceration, surveillance, and attacks on a confident and free polity.

    I don’t have any principled opposition to gun ownership, but I really, really, don’t understand the quoted passage

    Do you mean that the regulations in place in the U.K., Australia, Canada, France, Switzerland, etc. are just an intermediate step into the long-term plan of rounding Brits and Canadians and Swiss people into concentration camps?

    If not, why the hyperbole? I cannot discuss whether a regulation is reasonable or not, if every single regulation is just a further step towards the Gulag.

    Because of course, I don’t want to be in the Gulag either. Does that mean I MUST be against restrictions on bulk purchases of machine guns?Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to J_A says:

      Yup, this. Even supposedly moderate gun owners fall into this hyperbole. I mean, are people in Japan not free because of a lack of easy access to hand guns? I mean, even with 300 million guns, it seems to not have impeded the NSA doing what ever the hell it wants.Report

      • Avatar InMD in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        @jesse-ewiak for the record I do not think that people in Japan or European countries arent free, and I would strongly disagree with anyone who takes that perspective. There is a very different legal and cultural history there and it is not my business to tell them what is and isn’t right with regard to the firearms policies that work for them.

        I would also agree that the best cure for what the NSA is doing doesn’t and probably can never realistically involve firearms, but I could see how new restrictions (like all criminal laws) justified expansion of existing or new programs I think are wrongheaded and illiberal.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

        Twitching severed fingers do not suggest freedom to me.
        [Yeah, I know someone who sold knives. The knives worked pretty good.]Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to J_A says:

      Thank you for reading and I am absolutely happy to unpack that a bit. First, I do not think that any and all proposed regulation is a step on the way to the gulag. You can see some of my comments above laying out new laws or stricter laws that I am either amenable to, or could be convinced to support under the right circumstances.

      My concern is about going further down a similar kind of path that the war on drugs and war on terrorism has already taken us. That would mean things like new exceptions to the 4th amendment, new reasons for the state to start watching, and incarcerating people (no doubt with all the usual class and racial overtones already in the justice system), the kind of thing that I think we’ve already allowed to become far too normalized. The intent of the passage is to provide that context for the decision. If I lived somewhere where that sort of policy wasn’t so prevalent, it’d be easier for me not to feel like hyper-vigilance is necessary on all fronts.Report

      • Avatar J_A in reply to InMD says:

        @inmd

        I appreciate the response, but it’s not enough for me. I would describe your position closer to libertarian than liberal.

        If I’m unpacking your position correctly, the starting point is unlimited gun ownership (*).

        Then, it’s the obligation of those of us proposing regulations not only to explain why those regulations are in many cases a de minimis burden (really, do you need your submachines guns now?, a week from now is too much of an imposition?) or are common sense (mandated gun training and a certificate is a reasonable expectation in a society where the vast majority of the people don’t learn to hunt with their dad to bring meat to the table because they live in cities and they get their meat in supermarkets), but also to guarantee that such regulations will never, ever, ever, run amok. How, pray you, can I prove something will never, ever, ever, happen? Yet, absent that proof, your position is that gun regulations “might be” the road to the Gulag that the War on Drugs or the War on Terror is.

        Curiously enough, the Venn Diagram of War on Drugs/NSA Domestic Snooping supporters correlates well with the Venn Diagram of Second Amendment Absolutists, who tend to include a lot of people that are afraid of the Other. Witness the support of legal interpretations that assume the presence of guns is enough probable cause for a stop and a search, or enhance criminal penalties when there is a gun in the vicinity.

        (*) more below, about what “unlimited” might mean to real life Second Amendment fundamentalists, which probably don’t include you, @inmdReport

        • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A says:

          Just a reminder to remember who you are talking to, and to not that person with a broad brush just because they can understand the roots of a position far removed from your own. I can already feel the heat building regarding positions no one here truly holds.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to J_A says:

          My position may sound libertarian but I think that is more a result of the broader mainstream left backing away from civil liberties as an important part of their policy platform, something I also see as a mistake. The roots of my concerns come from the problems I see in how law enforcement and the criminal justice system actually work in practice, not how I’d like like the world to be.

          That means that when we talk about restrictions I’m also thinking about things like how many more people are going to have to go to jail for a long time, or how many people who havent done anything violent are going to wake up to a SWAT team coming through the door at 4AM, or find out they got put on some secret list that means they can’t travel? How will that play out in a society that already has all kinds of serious inequities? Who are we making value judgments about when we set up systems that result in the wealthy being able to exercise important rights due to their ability to navigate the system but not people with lesser means?

          Regarding law and order conservatives, I have no qualms about calling them on their hypocracies on this issue. I’m not among them, and my views on economic policies probably make me a Marxist of some kind in their view.Report

          • Avatar InMD in reply to InMD says:

            Just to add I’m not saying that you aren’t cognizant of these issues or don’t care about them, just trying to explain my own thought process.Report

          • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to InMD says:

            I’m all for severely limiting the NSA, decriminalizing all drugs (and legalizing weed and going Portugal way with other ones), massive criminal justice reform that would set tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jailed people free, and so on, and so forth.

            But, I still don’t consider your ability to own something, whether it be a gun or a toaster, a civil liberty issue.Report

            • Avatar notme in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              But, I still don’t consider your ability to own something, whether it be a gun or a toaster, a civil liberty issue.”

              Sure not a civil liberty issue except for that pesky 2nd amendment.

              Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to notme says:

                Now we’re into theories of constitooshunal origins and intent and so on.

                Pretty explicitly, seems to me, the Bill of Rights was intended to circumscribe federal power (not governmental power). Even on a charitable reading, the 2A at best accords individuals a right to arms which the federal cannot violate.

                States, tho? Ehhh…… Which means it ain’t inviolable.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Stillwater says:

                That was all fine and dandy until the 14th Amendment incorporated the Bill of Rights against the states.

                Which is great, if you ask meReport

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to J_A says:

                States can still regulate, just gotta meet the proper scrutiny.

                Ergo it’s not a free for all.Report

              • Avatar Dave Regio in reply to J_A says:

                @j_a

                Arguably. There are at least three competing interpretations, and I’m not sure incorporation is the best one.Report

            • Avatar Dave Regio in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Jesse Ewiak:
              But, I still don’t consider your ability to own something, whether it be a gun or a toaster, a civil liberty issue.

              Sure it is. Try banning the possession of toasters. Someone gets busted using a toaster. Someone sues. Someone argues that their use of a toaster is done privately and does not endanger the public health, safety or welfare of the community. The state comes up with no reason to ban toasters other than it felt like it.

              State loses.

              Take toasters and substitute same-sex sodomy and you have Lawrence v Texas.

              The double standards…geez.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

            Yeah. Well said.

            It’s like the people calling for tougher gun laws imagine doors in Idaho being kicked in, when, really, it’ll just be more doors kicked down in Baltimore, more Tamir Rices, more Amadou Diallos.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

              Tamir Rice was a victim of tougher gun laws?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                No, he was a victim of bad policing.

                And it seems like people are crying out that they want laws that would have made the Tamir Rice shooting a good shoot instead of a bad one.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                So maybe the solution is to make it legal for Tamir to carry a gun?
                That would have prevented the cops from shooting him?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                No. It was legal for Tamir to carry a gun. Ohio is an open-carry state.

                (Insert argument about “brandishing” here.)

                But the Tamir Rice problem will not be resolved by passing even more gun laws.

                It’ll just take away the “but Ohio is an open-carry state!” counter-argument off the table. (Insert different argument about “brandishing” here.)

                You know all of the stories from the 90’s about cops breaking in to apartments but releasing stories about how “well, we did find several grams of drugs” to turn a blatant civil rights violation into something that would get people to say “well, I guess it was a drug bust.”

                Imagine the same thing happening, only finding a handgun in a hatbox in the closet.

                Meanwhile, doors in Idaho *STILL* aren’t getting kicked in.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                So maybe the killing Tamir Rice doesn’t have squat to do with gun laws.

                There is a common thread here that you haven’t mentioned, why you and I and most of the people on this site don’t have a personal experience with getting shot or beaten.

                The awful abuses that Radly Balko documents illustrate this thread, and cast it into a different light, a somewhat darker hue, if you will.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                So maybe the killing Tamir Rice doesn’t have squat to do with gun laws.

                Nope.

                But the gun laws you want will result in, among other things, more Tamir Rices.

                And then you won’t be able to say “So maybe the killing of those Tamir Rices don’t have squat to do with gun laws”.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                By that logic, ANY laws will result in more Tamir Rices. In fact, having laws at ALL results in Tamir Rices, because without laws we wouldn’t need police, and if we had no police, they couldn’t have shot Tamir Rice.Report

              • Avatar switters in reply to Morat20 says:

                I think the point is, any extra law you come up with, on the margins, will increase the likelihood that something like Tamir Rice happens. Particularly if that new law prohibits something that is both dangerous and that a shit ton of people are likely to attempt to hang on too after its made illegal. So the point is, when doing your cost-benefit analysis of implementing a law, you need to account for that. Murder laws still pass the test. Laws prohibiting alcohol pretty clearly don’t. Laws prohibiting firearms may or may not.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to switters says:

                Tamir Rice died because the police saw him as a threat, because he was young black and male.

                Whether we increase laws, decrease laws, or have none at all, Tamir Rice would have been shot by someone, somewhere, for something.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “Whether we increase laws, decrease laws, or have none at all, Tamir Rice would have been shot by someone, somewhere, for something.”

                Do you want there to be more reasons why shooting Tamir Rice wasn’t illegal and none of the cops were punished for it?Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “Whether we increase laws, decrease laws, or have none at all, Tamir Rice would have been shot by someone, somewhere, for something.”

                I’m troubled by this comment. Can you explain?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Kazzy says:

                The people hold power in most of America, white middle class people, tend to view young black males with fear and suspicion.
                Not in every instance always, but young black males are always a few degrees farther towards “threat”.

                So Tamir Rice, large for his age, was already only one angry word or gesture away from having the “threat-shoot-to-kill” symbol over his head.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I see what you’re saying but I think your initial statement went too far, stating that it was an inevitably he would be shot and not specifying by whom. It could easily be read as, “One of his gangbanger friends would have done it if the cops didn’t.”Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Kazzy says:

                He means that Jaybird’s argument is that police are currently more likely to commit an unjustified shooting–through malice, carelessness, or incompetence–because they know that there are all kinds of ways to avoid getting in permanent trouble over it. Creating more strict and wide-ranging gun laws just adds another set of excuses to the cop shooter’s toolbox; removing those excuses makes it more likely that a bad-shooting rap will stick, thereby encouraging police to be more careful/better trained/less openly malicious and thus reducing the number of police shootings.

                Chris’s counterargument is that cops just shoot people anyway and worry about excuses later, that the number of available excuses only matters to them ex post facto.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy says:

                Tamir Rice probably would have been shot by another young black kid.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to notme says:

                He probably wouldn’t have been shot at all. In 2014 (huge PDF), about 157,000 black men and boys died. Cancer (35,000) and heart disease (50,000) were, of course, by far the most common causes. About 5,700 died from homicide via firearm. Which, at 3.6%, is distressingly high, but nowhere near “probably.” The CDC says only 127 died by legal intervention, which probably reflects the fact that not all police departments report to them; counts via press reports suggest it’s in the range of 300-400 per year.

                So yes, if he had been shot, it would be far more likely that he had been shot by another private black man than by a police officer, but it’s unlikely that he would have been shot at all.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to notme says:

                For young black men, yes, because young black men rarely die of natural causes. But the vast majority go on to become old black men, who almost all die of natural causes. Homicide is the third leading cause of death for white men age 15-24, following accidents and suicide. That doesn’t mean most white men die of any of those causes.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Given that tamir rice was a young black man it seems that I’m right. I’m not sure what you are trying to argue.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme says:

                THe most likely outcome — by a wide margin — is he stays alive.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Kazzy says:

                Right. Based on the CDC data I cited above, it looks like about 3.5% of black males die between the ages of 15 and 34. Of those, 40% die from homicide. Which means that 40% of 3.5%—about 1.4%—of 15-year-old black boys will* die of homicide by their 35th birthdays. That’s too high, but it’s ridiculous to say on that basis that any given black person will “probably” die from a gunshot wound.

                *Assuming current mortality rates hold steady. It’s likely that improvements in trauma surgery will continue to improve the survival rate for gunshot victims, but it’s unclear what will happen with the rate at which people shoot each other.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Brandon Berg says:

                Okay I should have said possibly. Does that satisfy your sense of superiority?

                Though I would point out that Rice is dead and therefore falls into the 1.4%. If he wasn’t killed by cops, I guess the next more likely cause of death would have been at the hands of another black maleReport

              • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy says:

                Whatever you say.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to notme says:

                IT’s okay to admit you’re wrong.Report

              • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The fantasy world you live in is a seriously fished-up place.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Are you chip or Sam?Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Liberals whine about responsible gun ownership yet they don’t criticize him for his actions, why is that?

                By the way Baltimore wants to ban replica guns rather than demand responsible ownership.

                http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2016/11/baltimore-replica-gun-ban-clears-last-hurdle-before-final-vote-3439732.htmlReport

            • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

              That’s an argument against having any kind of criminal law at all.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                It’s an argument for understanding that what you envision a law doing and what it will actually do are not necessarily the same thing.Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                Actually, in my perfect world, having an illegal gun wouldn’t have a fine, a prison sentence, or any sort of bad effect except you don’t have the gun anymore.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                I think we’d have different definitions of “illegal gun” that we’d have to hash out, but otherwise I’d be fine with that, or making it a misdemeanor.

                Honestly, one really big give that would help the whole ‘trust’ thing would be making all non-violent gun crimes into misdemeanors that don’t disqualify you from ownership. Stuff like “improper transport” being a felony violation in a lot of states really does irritate people and make them unwilling to support more effective measures.Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                They don’t believe you. You really want total confiscation. If you’re not a 2nd Amendment absolutist, that’s your ‘real’ goal.

                I’m serious. I’ve had a number of conversations about guns and gun rights, and one very common theme is that they believe I’m lying about what I want.

                “I’m for universal registration and insurance requirements” == “So that I’ll know where all the guns are when I seize them”.Report

              • Avatar switters in reply to Morat20 says:

                Morat,

                I think i understand the broad contours of your firearm insurance proposal from reading bits and pieces of it before. I also think I must be missing something. Are there a significant number of victims of gun violence that would be able to pin liability on someone but simply don’t because that person is essentially judgement proof? If there isnt a significant number of those people, what does the insurance proposal accomplish?Report

              • Avatar Morat20 in reply to switters says:

                You make it strict liability. Your gun, you’re liable, no matter what — innocent accident, deliberate homicide, etc.

                If the bullet came from your gun, you’re on the hook for damages.

                If it’s stolen, you have a limited window to report it (based on a ‘reasonableness’ standard — if you’re out of town for a month, for instance, the clock starts on your return).

                Now, there’s lots of guns and not that many gun crimes. So unless your guns keep ending up causing damage (personal or property), or your guns keep ending up stolen, your insurance rates should be pretty low — even if you end up collecting quite a few.

                On the other hand, if you can’t seem to hold onto your guns or you keep having ‘accidents’ — well, continuing to own a gun will be a pricey proposition.

                *shrug*. The whole point of ‘insurance’ is simply to try to fix things in an NRA-friendly, free market way.

                I’ve been assured over and over that most gun owners are very responsible, so this is a very simple way to suss out the ones that aren’t — and using objective, actuarial methods by private organizations rather than subjective, political ones.

                (And hey, maybe I’ll stop reading about “tragic accidents” involving guns and children. Because it’s never a ‘tragic accident’. It’s negligence. )Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Morat20 says:

                Again, I am totally fine with this, and think arguments against it are more than weak. Insurance is a great way to deal with certain externalities (is that the right term here?).Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Morat20 says:

                Sure then what do you with poor folks that can’t afford insurance? Strip them of their rights? Or your inner city criminals that don’t buy insurance? I know, gov’t subsidized insurance.Report

              • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to notme says:

                I’d be very surprised if the actuarial analysis resulted in a burdensome premium for a person with no history of losing weapons or being a victim of theft of a weapon.

                Rights come with responsibility, & there are more responsibilities to owning a firearm than merely knowing the 4 rules. Requiring liability insurance is a great way to encourage those responsibilities without having to heavily regulate them.Report

              • Avatar InMD in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

                For what it’s worth I can’t think of any reason to object to that either. I’d imagine it would just be rolled up in homeowners or renters insurance.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Morat20 says:

                Maybe you are telling the truth but I think other liberals are lying and I won’t trust them or help them with their incremental steps forward a gun ban, no matter how reasonable they call them.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to notme says:

                Hell, it starts with the claim of the all knowing social objectivity, then moral rent seeks actual dollars by insurance companies from there. It’s a clusterfish humping a bad idea, at best, on a good day.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                “Hey, it’s not a perfect system but it’s better than complete and total anarchy which, I presume, you’re arguing for.”Report

              • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

                I realize you’re trying to be clever, but yes. I mean, our current criminal justice system is terrible but it’s still better than world where anybody can have a gun whenever they want for whatever reason they want.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                “I mean, our current criminal justice system is terrible but it’s still better than world where anybody can have a gun whenever they want for whatever reason they want.”

                Prove it.Report

  7. Well said @inmd and welcome to OT. I have some similar experiences with firearm ownership that I need to put to paper. in the OT tradition, I will have to write a piece to respond to your points above.

    Again, thanks for sharing and putting the idea in my head!Report

  8. Avatar Dan says:

    The Second Amendment extremists have it exactly backwards. They think the amendment was about resisting the government. In fact, the framers distrusted a standing Army; they were looking back at Cromwell. He was able to suspend English democracy for years simply because he was a popular leader with an Army.

    So, we didn’t really have an Army for decades, and the militia was seen as a safe alternative. For any threat the founders could imagine, a small Navy and a militia were sufficient.

    Of course they turned out to be very wrong about that and eventually we did build up a small Army.

    It’s also important to realize the term “bearing arms” does not literally mean “owning a gun”. It means “serving as a soldier”. Hunters do not bear arms. Target shooters do not bear arms. The concept of bearing arms is closely related to the concept of citizenry.

    So, the 2nd amendment was really saying: We don’t have an Army but we’re going to have a militia consisting of all free white men. So, no government can take away the right of those free white men to keep their weapons on hand. They will be needed if there is a threat.

    This whole thing became obsolete more than a century ago once we decided to have a real Army.Report

    • Avatar J_A in reply to Dan says:

      Their distrust of the use of a Standing Army against the citizenry is shown also in the Third Amendment, which is nothing but making sure the Dragonnades (a hundred years before) will not be possible in America.Report

    • Avatar Dave Regio in reply to Dan says:

      To riff off of this…

      The resisting government explanation of the 2A has to be one of the most idiotic things I ever heard. Right. They distrusted centralized power so the solution was to enshrine an individual right within the same power they distrusted to ensure that centralized power they distrusted didn’t act badly.

      Uhhhhh…yeah. That right there is what I call the General Welfare argument of the 2A.

      I guess they didn’t read the Federalist Papers where Madison and Hamilton discussed interposition.Report

      • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave Regio says:

        Dave,

        Have you not read Federalist 28 in which Hamilton compares ability of the people to throw off tyranny in a single state versus the proposed federal government?

        Or Fed 29 in which Hamilton continues with the line of argument that a well regulated militia would be a counterbalance to a standing federal army. Also he states plainly the people at large would be armed in addition to the people in the well regulated militia.

        Or Fed 46 in which Madison begins by reminding the enemies of the constitution:
        “The federal and State governments are in fact but different agents and trustees of the people, constituted with different powers, and designed for different purposes. The adversaries of the Constitution seem to have lost sight of the people altogether in their reasonings on this subject; and to have viewed these different establishments, not only as mutual rivals and enemies, but as uncontrolled by any common superior in their efforts to usurp the authorities of each other. These gentlemen must here be reminded of their error. They must be told that the ultimate authority, wherever the derivative may be found, resides in the people alone, and that it will not depend merely on the comparative ambition or address of the different governments, whether either, or which of them, will be able to enlarge its sphere of jurisdiction at the expense of the other. Truth, no less than decency, requires that the event in every case should be supposed to depend on the sentiments and sanction of their common constituents.”
        http://www.constitution.org/fed/federa46.htm

        Justice Stevens’ dissent in Heller turns Fed 46 on its head and reduces the people to mere agents of the states.Report

      • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave Regio says:

        Moreover the idiot Tenche Coxe wrote a newspaper article that was published while the Bill of Rights was being debated in Congress and explained the meaning of the prefatory clause as well as the main clause:

        “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people, duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which shall be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”

        Even the great Joseph Story seems to have been infected with the same idiocy!
        Commenting on Second amendment Story wrote:
        “The importance of this article will scarcely be doubted by any persons, who have duly reflected upon the subject. The militia is the natural defence of a free country against sudden foreign invasions, domestic insurrections, and domestic usurpations of power by rulers. It is against sound policy for a free people to keep up large military establishments and standing armies in time of peace, both from the enormous expenses, with which they are attended, and the facile means, which they afford to ambitious and unprincipled rulers, to subvert the government, or trample upon the rights of the people. The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.”

        Investigating the issue further one readily discovers that the idiocy preceded the Framers. The greatest of idiots, Blackstone himself, taught that in a free state it is unwise to have the military power constrained to one group and solely at the command of the rulers.

        “In a land of liberty it is extremely dangerous to make a distinct order of the profession of arms. In absolute monarchies this is necessary for the safety of the prince, and arises from the main principle of their constitutions, which is that of governing by fear: but in free states the profession of a soldier, taken singly and merely as a profession, is justly an object of jealousy. In these no man should take up arms, but with a view to defend his country and it’s laws: he puts not off the citizen when he enters the camp; but it is because he is a citizen, and would wish to continue so, that he makes himself for a while a soldier”

        See Free state straight outta blackstone
        http://volokh.com/posts/1173488580.shtml

        The idiocy continued as the TN supreme court in Aymette, the same case cited by SCOTUS in US v. MIller, apparently made great fools of themselves in writing: “the free white men have the right to keep and bear arms to protect the public liberty, to keep in awe those who are in power, and to maintain the supremacy of the laws and the constitution.”

        Joseph Story knew the difference between “domestic insurrections” and “usurpations of power by the rulers” and wrote that the second amendment was intended to protect against both. Those who conflate the two are making a Bogus argument.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

          “the free white men have the right to keep and bear arms to protect the public liberty, to keep in awe those who are in power, and to maintain the supremacy of the laws and the constitution.”

          There’s one word in that sentence that I think is remarkably prescient, and germaine to the Tamir Rice case.Report

      • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave Regio says:

        Lastly the silliest aspect of this Bogus argument is that Justice Stevens and others who promote the “only in a state militia” interpretation themselves claim that the second amendment exists to allow the states to resist the federal government!

        You cannot have your cake and eat it too!Report

    • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dan says:

      The second amendment according to Dan:

      A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and serve in the militia, shall not be infringed.

      The half idiom argument, as the late great justice Scalia remarked, does not fly on this side of the looking glass.

      A Thanksgiving Tale:
      It was the dinner rush at the Hungry Pilgrim, but chef Baron just had to speak to his broker. With cell phone in hand he sped for the walk-in cooler, because (as he often says) that is the best place to keep and talk turkey!Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

        I think all this becomes clear, from a constitutional pov anyway, if you limit the focus of the bill of rights to restrictions on federal power. And if we were to agree on that point, any ancillary considerations of “intent” don’t really matter. IOW, the 2A doesn’t accord an individual the right to bear arms. It merely prohibits the fedrul from impinging on the right of states to do 2A stuff (like grant – or not – a right to bear arms).

        But since that reading of the Constitution was discarded (most likely only seconds after ratification) we’ve been talking about something else. Coherence, simplicity, pragmatics, original intent, contemporary poliltics, and so on. Take your pick.Report

        • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Stillwater says:

          In the 1875 Cruikshank case the supreme court said:
          “The second and tenth counts are equally defective. The right there specified is that
          of ‘bearing arms for a lawful purpose.’ This is not a right granted by the Constitution. Neither is it in any manner dependent upon that instrument for its existence. The second amendment declares that it shall not be infringed; but this, as has been seen, means no more than that it shall not be infringed by Congress. This is one of the amendments that has no other effect than to restrict the powers of the national government, leaving the people to look for their protection against any violation by their fellow-citizens of the rights it recognizes, to what is called, in The City of New York v. Miln, 11 Pet. 139, the ‘powers which relate to merely municipal legislation, or what was, perhaps, more properly called internal police,’ ‘not surrendered or restrained’ by the Constitution of the United States. ”

          You are correct that the second amendment was originally a restriction only on Congress. However the second amendment recognizes a right of individuals, not of the states.

          The bastardized States Rights interpretation espoused by the Ninth circuit in Hickman v Block (1995) was such BS that even the far left realized it would get overturned in short order, so they revised it themselves a few years later in Silveira v Lockyer (again 9th circuit). The Collective Rights interpretation of Silveira didn’t last long either as even far lefties such a Saul Cornell realized it too was crap -hence the limited individual right “only in service of the state militia” of the Heller dissents. As if no one remembers that the Silveira court rejected the limited individual rights theory out of hand.

          If not for Incorporation theory, the second amendment would have no effect other than to prevent Congress from infringing the right of the of the people to keep and bear arms. Each state then could allow or restrict that right as they pleased. But like it or not, Incorporation is here to stay so hardly seems worth the time to argue about what might have been had SCOTUS never upheld Incorporation.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

            But like it or not, Incorporation is here to stay so hardly seems worth the time to argue about what might have been had SCOTUS never upheld Incorporation.

            Yes, it’s here to stay (unless it isn’t…). I was just highlighting what you and I agree on: that the pre-reconstruction bill of rights (textually but also wrt SC interpretation) did not accord any rights to individuals. So claims that the 2A DID accord those rights or ensure the protection of an otherwise existing right requires going outside the Constitution to have any bite.Report

            • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Stillwater says:

              Stillwater,
              The second amendment, like the first amendment, offered individuals protection from infringement of certain rights by Congress. That these amendments did not extend to protection from state action does not mean they did not protect individual rights.Report

          • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

            Mike Hansberry: You are correct that the second amendment was originally a restriction only on Congress. However the second amendment recognizes a right of individuals, not of the states.

            You were going to back this up with founding era evidence not modern case law, right?

            Instead of burying me in quotes from the Federalist Papers, try some quotes from the ratification debates, that is, if you can prove that the private right to bear arms was discussed outside of the two or three commonly cited pieces of evidence (i.e the PA dissent).

            Too funny. I don’t think you’d last five minutes in a debate against Saul Cornell on the Second Amendment given your penchant for law office history.

            You’re no different than liberals when it comes to the Commerce Clause in that you got the interpretation you want from the Courts despite zero founding era evidence for it. Get in touch with your Living Constitutionalist. All the cool kids do it.Report

            • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave says:

              Dave,
              You brought up the Federalist papers, not my fault that they contradict your argument.

              During the ratification debates, was there any discussion of a Collective Right to keep and bear arms? Was there any discussion of a Limited Individual right to keep and bear arms only in a state militia? No and No. So what was your point?

              Why didn’t you mention that the aspect of Madison’s draft that actually was discussed during the house debates on the Bill of Rights, namely the conscientious objector clause, was still an issue when the Militia acts were debated in congress less than two years later. And that during those Congressional debates Roger Sherman stated his view of the right to bear arms as follows.

              Debates in Congress, first Militia Act:
              “Representative Sherman questioned if Congress could give an exemption to pacifists since “the state governments had (not) given out of their hands the command of the militia, or the right of declaring who should bear arms?”91 He went on to argue that it was the privilege of every citizen, and one of his most essential rights, to bear arms, and to resist every attack made upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made. The particular states, like private citizens, have a right to be armed, and to defend, by force of arms, their rights, when invaded. A militia existed in the United States, before the formation of the present constitution: and all that the people have granted to the general government, is the power of organizing such militia. The reason of this grant was evident; it was in order to collect the whole force of the union to a point, the better to repel foreign invasion, and the more successfully to defend themselves”

              James Wilson commented on the 1790 PA Const. right to bear arms:
              “With regard to the first, it is the great natural law of self preservation, which, as we have seen, cannot be repealed, or superseded, or suspended by any human institution. This law, however, is expressly recognized in the constitution of Pennsylvania. “The right of the citizens to bear arms in the defence of themselves shall not be questioned.” This is one of our many renewals of the Saxon regulations. “They were bound,” says Mr. Selden, “to keep arms for the preservation of the kingdom, and of their own persons.”

              Are we to assume that the right to keep and bear arms of the second amendment had a different meaning than that right expressed elsewhere by the people of that time unless the text expressly states that it has same meaning as elsewhere?

              Other deniers of a broad individual right (see Saul Cornell’s discussion of scribble scrabble) rightly insist that Madison would have also been aware of debates in Massachusetts regarding that state’s provision protecting “the right of the people to keep and bear arms for the common defense”, however Cornell is unable to grasp the import of those Massachusetts debates. Neither Madison’s draft, nor the final text of the second amendment contain the troublesome qualifier (for the common defense) that caused so much disagreement in Massachusetts. Moreover, it should be noted that the “for the common defense” language was proposed in the US Senate but rejected. So even that mild explicit restriction on the right to bear arms was rejected by both Madison and the US Congress. Yet it is insisted by Justice Stevens and others that the qualifier “when in service of the state militia” ought to be read into the text of the amendment

              The deniers are left to stand on the absurd proposition that without qualification the right to keep and bear arms of the second amendment is more narrow than the right to bear arms of the PA constitution and that proposed by the PA Anti-federalists to be part of the US Bill of Rights.Report

    • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dan says:

      The second amendment according to Dan II:

      A real Army being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

      What the second amendment was really saying is what the federalists said it meant at the time: “As civil rulers, not having their duty to the people, duly before them, may attempt to tyrannize, and as the military forces which shall be occasionally raised to defend our country, might pervert their power to the injury of their fellow-citizens, the people are confirmed by the next article in their right to keep and bear their private arms.”Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

        @mike-hansberry

        I don’t know Mike. That sounds an awful lot like military service to me. By the way, are those the same federalists that, if they had their way, would have left the Constitution without a Second Amendment for you to fetishize?Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Dave says:

          @mike-hansberry

          However, I do thank you because seeing how revisionists like yourself have approached the Second Amendment despite the mountain of evidence that points away from it is quite fascinating. If anything, I admire the persistence.Report

          • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave says:

            Dave,

            Perhaps you could share some of the mountain of evidence -just one quote from the founding era stating that the right to keep and bear arms of the second amendment is limited to service in the state militia would be more than the Heller dissents could muster.

            Were the PA Minority revisionists?
            Was Tenche Coxe a revisionist?
            How about Roger Sherman?

            Before, during, and after the drafting and ratification of the Bill of RIghts the right to keep and bear arms was spoken of as an individual right. So one can hardly claim the individual rights theory is revisionist.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

              Before, during, and after the drafting and ratification of the Bill of RIghts the right to keep and bear arms was spoken of as an individual right.

              Then why wasn’t it codified as an individual right in the Constitution?* Eg: “Neither Congress nor a State shall abridge the right bear arms”?

              *The argument on the table is that the BoR was written as an express limitation on federal power, not state power. Maybe the Founding Fathers were just sloppy when it came to legalese??Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Stillwater says:

                Stillwater,

                Who doubts that that the BOR was written as a restriction only on Congress? And why should something so plain even be on the table?

                Why do you insist on continuing the silly argument that if provision of the BOR is a limitation only on Congress then the right protected cannot be an individual right?

                Prior to the 14 amendment and Incorporation, the prohibition on abridgements of freedom of speech of the first amendment was a limitation only on Congress, but nonetheless the freedom of speech is an individual right. How can that be?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Why do you insist on continuing the silly argument that if provision of the BOR is a limitation only on Congress then the right protected cannot be an individual right?

                Because it seems pretty clear that the BoR DID NOT do so. It just seems like a factual matter to me, rather than one of logical possibilities.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Stillwater says:

                Are you really claiming that the freedom of speech cannot be an individual right because the first amendment is a restriction only on Congress?

                Good luck with that.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Are you really claiming that the freedom of speech cannot be an individual right because the first amendment is a restriction only on Congress?

                No, of course not. It’s certainly possible that aliens – or the Creator – imbued individuals with natural rights irrespective of what the constitution says or doesn’t say.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Stillwater says:

                But we are talking about what the Constitution says.

                Does the first amendment protect an individual right to free speech which Congress may not abridge?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Yes, we’re talking about what the constitution says. Eg., that the federal gummint cannot make a law abridging freedom of speech (and etc) and all other powers are given to the people and the states. Ergo, as far as the constitution was written is concerned, individuals or states could restrict speech.

                Look, I’m not happy about that either. {{Damn founding fathers….}} But that’s what the words say, and used to mean.

                Now they mean something else.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Stillwater says:

                Stillwater: the federal gummint cannot make a law abridging freedom of speech

                Whose freedom of speech?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                You’re thinking about it wrong Mike. I mean, I get that you think the constitution protected all those things at the time of ratification, but that’s just not the case. Textually speaking, anyway. A restriction on federal power is not ipso facto a restriction on state power. It’s merely, and very intentionally, a restriction on federal power. To think otherwise turns the purpose of the bill of rights upside down.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Stillwater says:

                Whoever said a restriction on federal power was a restriction on state power? Both of us have said plainly that the BOR was a restriction on Congress only, and you have noted our agreement, so now you are simply dodging.

                You cannot answer “Whose freedom of Speech?” because that would give away your game of conflating the nature of the right in question with which level of government that has made the guarantee.

                Was the freedom of speech of the 1776 Virginia Constitution an individual right?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                You cannot answer “Whose freedom of Speech?”

                Sure I can. It’s a state issue. I thought that was obvious at this point.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Stillwater says:

                So the first amendment freedom of speech is a state right rather than an individual right?

                You do know that Hickman v Block was “revised” by the liberals on the ninth circuit for this same silliness, don’t you?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Mike,

                Hell, you’re the one who totes agree with me that the BoR merely restricts federal power, right?

                If so, those amendments cannot accord an affirmative right to individuals which applies to the states. Unless there’s a secret “and the states too” clause in there somewhere.

                Look, this is getting silly. Or maybe not. Constitutional originalism (or whatever) just doesn’t carry as much water as its water-carrying carriers like to think. So I’ll repeat it: a provision limiting federal powers as it relates to the states does not accord a right to individuals without a lot of extra-constitutional analysis being included.

                And also: I get the feeling you think I’m arguing something nefarious at the level of substance when my only point is pretty much academic: the BoR does not accord individual rights. Of course, I concede that you disagree with that…Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Stillwater says:

                Not nefarious, just awfully silly.

                Even before incorporation, the first amendment freedom of speech was recognized as an individual right (See Schenck v US, 1919).

                The court did not dismiss the defendants first amendment defense for lack of standing. In fact the court admitted “that in many places and in ordinary times the defendants in saying all that was said in the circular would have been within their constitutional rights.”

                Whose constitutional rights? The defendants. The first amendment freedom of speech was seen as an individual right even before incorporation.

                In Hickman v. Block the 9th circuit asserted that the defendants did not have standing because the second amendment only conferred a state’s right. However this was a bastardization of the meaning of the term state’s right and so stupid that the liberals themselves revised Hickman rather than have it overturned.

                By the time Heller made it to SCOTUS, there was no question whether the defendant had standing to afford himself of a second amendment defense, each member of the court recognized at least some individual right regarding the second amendment. And all this before MacDonald in which the right to keep and bear arms was incorporated via the 14th amendment.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                The expansion of federal power goes all the way back to ratification, I guess 🙂Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                The Constitution was ratified in 1788.
                The Alien and Sedition Acts were passed and signed in 1798.

                Pre-internet, this was, like, lightning fast.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                @mike-hansberry

                In Hickman v. Block the 9th circuit asserted that the defendants did not have standing because the second amendment only conferred a state’s right.

                Well, to the extent it “confers a right”, which it really doesn’t, something pretty obvious if you understand the Constitution’s structure, the amendment should apply to the parties to the original compact which were the states acting in their highest sovereign capacity. You know, Madison’s theory of the compound compact, right?

                Anyway…

                By the time Heller made it to SCOTUS, there was no question whether the defendant had standing to afford himself of a second amendment defense, each member of the court recognized at least some individual right regarding the second amendment. And all this before MacDonald in which the right to keep and bear arms was incorporated via the 14th amendment.

                Both cases were correctly decided on the wrong constitutional grounds. The 5th and 14th should have been enough but given that it was a gun law and the make up of the Supreme Court, the only way to get the justices to sign off was through an enumerated right. Meh. I still reject the interpretation although agreed the majority. If that’s not good enough for you, so be it.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                @mike-hansberry

                Was the freedom of speech of the 1776 Virginia Constitution an individual right?

                In the negative sense since it’s a restriction on power.Report

              • Whoever said a restriction on federal power was a restriction on state power?

                Terry Sanford, joined by six of his colleagues in the Supreme Court, when they held that freedom of speech and press, as articulated in the First Amendment, were “among the fundamental personal rights and ‘liberties’ protected by the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment from impairment by the states” and thus that the State of New York could not take away from Benjamin Gitlow without due process of law.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Burt Likko says:

                @burt-likko

                You do notice that the 14th Amendment is specifically quoted in your quote.

                Would the 14th Amendment, perhaps, just an idea, think about it, change the Constitution somehow, so that what was constitutionally true after the 14th Amendment was constitutionally false before it? Hence, perhaps they wrote an Amendment to alter the Constitution and the balance of power/rights between states and individuals? Just a though

                [ @burt-likko apologies for the snark hehe]Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to J_A says:

                I’m quite clear that I’m discussing the Fourteenth Amendment here, and I can forgive your snark. Of course the Fourteenth Amendment altered, by way of limiting, the structural powers of the state governments. That was very much its Framers’ intent.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Burt Likko says:

                @burt-likko

                So you do agree that at the time of the enactment of the BoR those individual rights enumerated therein were protected only vis-à-vis the Federal Government, and that the only protection individuals had, under the Constitution, against the states encroaching their “individual” rights was the Ninth Amendment?

                Which, Bork dixit, is as if it is covered with an inkblot. We don’t know what it says or what it means.

                P.S. Thanks for taking the snark in good spirit. It sounded better in my head that when I reread itReport

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to J_A says:

                That’s pretty much the size of it.

                History bears that out — some of the states had Established religions, for instance, up through the 1830’s. It doesn’t seem that anyone thought to invoke the Ninth Amendment against it, either: I suspect, although it’s impossible to know, that the social price to pay for challenging it would have been far too great for nearly anyone to bear. It may also be that the burden of Establishment upon members of other faiths or closeted atheists was light enough to bear: no state that chose to Established prohibited the exercise of non-Established religions or banned the creation of houses of worship or the preaching of doctrines contrary to the Established churches. There were Protestants in Maryland and Catholics in Massachusetts.

                Applied to other spheres, we don’t see a lot of Second Amendment jurisprudence until the government got around to doing a lot of things that implicated keeping and bearing weapons. That just didn’t happen all that much until the twentieth century. And, we wouldn’t expect to see a lot of Third Amendment jurisprudence now, since the notion of quartering troops in private residences is very foreign to our understanding of what it means to have a military.

                Caselaw bears that out too — Gitlow v. New York was a departure from most established precedent, and while it was not explicit that it overruled other cases holding that the First Amendment did not apply to the states, subsequent case law credits Gitlow with doing exactly that.

                A final thought: it may be that no one thought to invoke the Ninth Amendment early on, or at least was unsuccessful in so doing, because state governments were largely responsive to concerns citizens raised. Notwithstanding cultural and technological differences from the present day, there were simply fewer people whose interests needed accommodation then, and politicians being politicians, an appeal to local representatives may well have gotten most of the serious issues handled without need to resort to high levels of jurisprudence.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to J_A says:

                @j_a @burt-likko

                From what I can gather, although I’m really not up to speed on the current literature, the meaning of the Ninth Amendment is very much up for debate with Barnett pulling for the individual rights meaning and Kurt Lash looking more of the federalism/states rights meaning.

                My current position on the Ninth puts me in the Lash camp if only by default but I haven’t read the arguments from either one in a long time.

                Consider that the right of the people would have included self-rule, a necessary one in a system with dual and possibly conflicting sovereigns.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Does the first amendment protect an individual right to free speech which Congress may not abridge?

                Could Congress abridge speech prior to the First Amendment?

                Take the First Amendment out of the Constitution and Congress still can’t abridge speech since the federal government lacks the sovereign authority to do so.

                Take the Second Amendment out of the Constitution and Congress still can’t infringe any individual right to bear arms even if the Second Amendment intended it or not since the federal government has no sovereign authority to do so.

                Those individual rights in the BoR…if the federalists were right (they weren’t but that’s a whole other story), they wouldn’t be necessary.

                Ditch the whole rights-based perspective. Get in touch with your inner Madisonian. You’ll be way cooler than the rest of us.

                As it is, the primary motivating factor for the BoR was the Tenth Amendment since the Constitution lacked the express limitation on power in Article II of the Articles.Report

              • I think some care as to causal relationships is warranted here. @mike-hansberry has made two challenges:

                Are you really claiming that the freedom of speech cannot be an individual right because the first amendment is a restriction only on Congress?

                and

                Does the first amendment protect an individual right to free speech which Congress may not abridge?

                There may well be an individual right of free speech, and there may well be a restriction on Congressional power. But these two are not necessarily causally related. The second challenge suggests that there is only a coincidence of the individual right and the government restriction. The first challenge, however, suggests that the reason Congress may not abridge that right is because there is an individual right. That may be closer to Ninth Amendment thinking than First Amendment thinking.

                It may also be the case that a restriction of governmental power is the manner in which an individual right is protected, as the Constitution has been framed. That’s derived from the concept of “negative liberties,” which is that liberties by definition are limitations upon the ability of the government to control an individual’s autonomy. This seems an eminently defensible philosophical and legal idea to me.

                The notion that certain rights are resident within a human being by virtue of her humanity is grounded in natural law and I’ve no quibble with the proposition that the original Framers were steeped in natural law thinking. The Declaration, written only a few years prior to the original Constitution, is a masterpiece of natural law argument. Note, though, that such a “positive rights” construction very likely goes beyond limitations on the government’s power and now things start to get pernicious. For example: freedom of speech is within the portfolio of natural rights a human enjoys. So the government may not punish a person for exercising her freedom of speech. Fair enough — but how about a corporation? Or another person? Can you contract away your freedom of speech (e.g., signing a trade secrets agreement as a condition of employment) and in the case of a claim by one party to the contract that the other has breached the agreement, is invocation of one’s own natural rights, positively framed, a valid defense to that claim? The answer is, at best, not obvious.

                Down that road we get into other more dangerous territory. If we frame individual rights positively, it becomes seductive to approach hard questions like this, where individual positive rights must be balanced against one another, by resort to understanding the purpose of a person’s decision to exercise a right. Why do you want to criticize the President? Or, for that matter, why do you want to criticize Goldman Sachs? Or, why do you want to own an AR-15, or why do you want to suppress evidence seized from your car after you were arrested? What legitimate public purpose does the exercise of any of those rights fulfill? That’s a bad place to put your judge in, because now we’re judging that some exercise of rights are somehow more useful than others, and rights are subordinate to other things.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Burt Likko says:

                @burt-likko

                This is an excellent comment. I think there are two other factors that need to be considered into this discussion.

                The first is taking @mike-hansberry ‘s comment about an individual right to owning private weapons being known at the time of the Founding era (and decades before frankly) and asking how it would have been known? The answer to that question is that it was known as a common law right subject to the police power of the state. To the extent a firearm was used in an act of self defense, I think self defense as a natural right more than covers it.

                So, if we take the Pennsylvania Declaration of Rights, I would put private gun ownership in the same place as other natural and common law rights: Section I:

                I. That all men are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent and inalienable rights, amongst which are, the enjoying and defending life and liberty, acquiring, possessing and protecting property, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety.

                I know what Section XIII reads:

                XIII. That the people have a right to bear arms for the defence of themselves and the state; and as standing armies in the time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they ought not to be kept up; And that the military should be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.

                Setting aside the clear military context of this section, I have an even bigger problem with the claim that this covers an individual right:

                While an individual has a right to use a gun in an act of self defense, bearing arms in defense of the state is not an individual right. It’s not even a collective right exercised by individuals. It is the right of a sovereign people to defend itself against tyranny internally or external threats. A group of individuals just can’t decide to attack the state of Burt because they think that Burt is a legitimate threat to the peace and tranquility of the state of Dave.

                I posted the quote from the Declaration of Independence for that reason and that reason alone because “the people” in this sense means the people as a sovereign political unit. This would have been perfectly consistent with founding-era thought on popular sovereignty, just like “We the People of…”

                The focus on the Second Amendment’s individual rights nature falls too much on the side of rights and completely ignores the role sovereignty plays in the constitutional system in favor for a very nationalist perspective that I think flies in the face of Madison’s design.Report

            • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

              @mike-hansberry

              Before, during, and after the drafting and ratification of the Bill of RIghts the right to keep and bear arms was spoken of as an individual right. So one can hardly claim the individual rights theory is revisionist.

              Before we discuss this, let’s have ourselves a little fun and go back to the Declaration of Independence:

              That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

              Who are “the People”Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                Dave R: Could Congress abridge speech prior to the First Amendment?

                Not without abusing their legitimate powers. But the fear was that all governments eventually do abuse and attempt to enlarge their legitimate powers. That is why a Bill of Rights was thought necessary, at least by some, to allay the fears of those who would not support the Constitution.

                So does the first amendment freedom of speech protect an individual right?Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                So does the first amendment freedom of speech protect an individual right?

                I don’t understand this argument going over and over, in which it seems you. Both are saying exactly the same thing.

                Amendments 1 through 8 banned the Federal Congress to enact legislation that curtailed certain individual rights AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

                Nothing in the Constitution, until the Reconstruction, limited the plenary power of the states to limit these same individual rights within their territories. We the People notwithstanding, the Constitution was written as a Federal Compact between thirteen Sovereigns, not between The People and Their Government (those were the state constitutions).

                So, to go to your First Amendment example, your original individual Freedom of Religion did not bar your state to establish an official church, like several did. So is Freedom of Religion an individual right?Report

              • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to J_A says:

                One might be obtuse and ask “what is Freedom of Religion”? That phrase does not appear in the Constitution. “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

                But of course that would be obtuse. The text makes clear what “freedom of religion” is: the government may not tell you whether, or how, or what/who, or why, or when, or where, to worship. As between you and the government, you are autonomous and the government lacks power to abrogate that autonomy.

                (Note the negative construction of the right. The Constitution does not purport to dictate what individuals and communities have to say on the subject of worship. Indeed, in other realms (specifically, substantive due process) there is probably a right for parents to raise their children in their own religious traditions. This is, however, one individual controlling the way in which a different individual worships and therefore is a restriction on the second individual’s positive rights.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to J_A says:

                J_A: Amendments 1 through 8 banned the Federal Congress to enact legislation that curtailed certain individual rights AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL.

                J_A,

                You got it, but Dave and others refuse to admit that the first 8 amendments protect individual rights against infringement by Congress.

                They argue that since those amendments are only restrictions on federal power, then the rights protected are not individual rights. But that of course is a non-sequitur.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                @mike-hansberry

                Re: Individual rights.

                The term “people” is mentioned in the first eight amendment three times: in the first (assembly), second and fourth. Let’s drop the fourth because “people” is followed by persons so we’re good on the individual front.

                So we’re down to two clauses where the right refers to the people.

                Now, again…who are the people referred to in the BoR? Better yet, what people are the ratifying parties?

                You were wrong the first time when I asked about the Declaration. I’m giving you a second chance to make good.

                You got it, but Dave and others refuse to admit that the first 8 amendments protect individual rights against infringement by Congress.

                Actually, the number is much fewer. See, we’re making progress!!!Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                Now, again…who are the people referred to in the BoR?Better yet, what people are the ratifying parties?

                Dave,
                Really, I was wrong because you said I was wrong? You will have to do better than that.

                You just admitted that “the people” in the 4th refers to individuals.

                Is it your contention that 4th amendment rights are not individual rights because of something to do with the ratifying parties and the restriction being only on Congress?Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                @mike-hansberry

                Oh Mike. I’m doing awesome here.

                You just admitted that “the people” in the 4th refers to individuals.

                Nice try. The word “persons” is in the 4th followed by “people”, indicating two distinctly different things. Persons = plural individuals hence the 4th covering individuals. That word is not in the 2nd.

                Now, why?

                Again, who are the ratifying parties. Come on. Stop delaying the inevitable.

                No I didn’t. I referred to “persons” as individuals. That leads to a construction that the Fourth Amendment covers individuals.

                Is it your contention that 4th amendment rights are not individual rights because of something to do with the ratifying parties and the restriction being only on Congress?Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                Dave,

                4th Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”

                The word “their” refers back to “the people” indicating the word “people” in the 4th amendment usage of “the right of the people” is to be understood in the plural sense.

                So earlier you were talking only about the second instance of the word “persons” in the 4th amendment, ignoring the first mention altogether? Does your copy of the 4th amendment omit the first part? Or are you insisting that “the people” preceding the first mention of “persons” is to be read in the singular sense -as if we collectively own the persons(bodies), papers, and effects mentioned therein?

                Are you now denying that the 4th amendment protects an individual right?

                The identification of the ratifying parties does not determine whether the right is individual or not. Who were the ratifying parties to the 14th amendment? Are you really claiming that amendments to the Constitution ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states cannot protect individual rights?Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                @mike-hansberry

                You are straining to create a meaning for “people” that can’t exist because individuals in plural are addressed as persons elsewhere (see the 5th Amendment). There is no backwards reversion. Persons means individuals in plural. Hence “persons” being seized.

                I acknowledged “people” in the fourth but explained why the controlling language making it an individual right is the word “persons”. You’re falling back on people because you have no choice. If “people” is seen as something else, your interpretation of the Second completely falls apart, and I think you’re going to have huge problems when you come to the realization that “the People” are the ratifying parties.

                Which is it? “We the People of the United States” or “We the People of…” each of the states acting in their highest sovereign and independent capacity.

                No going back. Pick one and run with it.

                Forget the 14th. People like you are claiming an individual right in the 2nd Amendment going back to 1791 so let’s stay in this time frame for the moment.

                Are you having as much fun as I am? I think I’m starting to like your spirit. You’re putting up a better fight than i thought you would.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                Dave R: I acknowledged “people” in the fourth but explained why the controlling language making it an individual right is the word “persons”.

                What do you mean by “it” above?
                Are you really trying to say that the 4th amendment is an individual right but that “the right of the people to be secure…” is not referring to an individual right?

                Have you ever heard the phrase too clever by half?

                Dave R: I acknowledged “people” in the fourth but explained why the controlling language making it an individual right is the word “persons”.

                Dave,

                By “acknowledged” are you admitting or not that “the right of the people” in the 4th amendment refers to an individual right?

                Are you really denying that the word “their” in the 4th amendment refers back to “people”?

                We are talking about the word “people” because you are denying it refers to individuals in the BOR, except when you aren’t as in the 4th amendment, but you only admit it in that instance because of the word “persons” -right?Report

              • Avatar Mike Schilling in reply to Dave R says:

                Now, again…who are the people referred to in the BoR?

                The white working class. The electoral college says so.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Mike Schilling:
                Now, again…who are the people referred to in the BoR?

                The white working class.The electoral college says so.

                I shouldn’t be laughing but I am.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                Dave,

                Were there different ratifying parties for the various amendments which comprise the Bill of Rights?

                No is the correct answer.

                Why then do you persist in this mindless argument that some amendments cannot be referring to the protection of individual rights though (as you now admit) others are?Report

              • Avatar Dave Regio in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Mike Hansberry:
                Dave,

                Were there different ratifying parties for the various amendments which comprise the Bill of Rights?

                No is the correct answer.

                Why then do you persist in this mindless argument that some amendments cannot be referring to the protection of individual rights though (as you now admit) others are?

                Psssstttt…

                Go all the way to the bottom of the combox for your answer…

                You’re welcome…again.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Mike Hansberry: So does the first amendment freedom of speech protect an individual right?

                Let’s rephrase the question:

                Did the 1st Amendment alter the relationship between the We the People of the United States and We the People of each of the ratifying states under the newly formed constitutional system?Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                No. Why do you ask?

                In DC v Heller, did Mr Heller have standing to bring a second amendment defense?

                Yes, because the second amendment (aside from the 14th and incorporation) protects an individual right to keep and bear arms which Congress cannot infringe.

                When facts contradict you theory, do you disregard the facts or the theory?Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                @mike-hansberry

                Unlike you, people here, whether or not they like me, have seen my writings on these subjects, and if they think I’m slacking, they can call me out and I’ll produce. These are the kinds of subjects near and dear to my heart.

                Therefore, to your comment, I will gladly disregard my theory when the facts prove it as such. However, 1) your facts aren’t even close to breaching my theory and 2) I don’t think you fully grasp my theory, which is understandable because I am not throwing it at you all at once.

                I’ve read many people from Scalia to Barnett to Epstein to Balkin to Ely to Sunnstein to Volokh to Halbrook on the Second Amendment to whoever the hell I’ve come across over the years. Interesting stuff, but it was a journal article in 1980s destroying original intent originalism that turned me on old school original intent so that’s where I am.

                You wouldn’t run into many people like me because my form of original intent can be ported over into the practice of law, but as a historical matter, it’s pretty clear what happened.

                Here’s a fact for you: you won’t find much discussion about a collective right to bear arms in the ratification debates; however, on the flip side, what you will find is objections to the Militia Clause on the basis that the people of each of the states wanted to ensure that they were able to maintain adequate control, protect liberty, etc.

                They didn’t employ the rights language that you do or 99% of the people seem to today. It was discussed in terms of powers and maintaining sovereignty because even after the ratification of the Constitution, the states were sovereign and independent with respect to what wasn’t granted to the federal government.

                You do know dual sovereignty, right?

                In DC v Heller, did Mr Heller have standing to bring a second amendment defense?

                On my originalist grounds, it would have been the 5th.

                Yes, because the second amendment (aside from the 14th and incorporation) protects an individual right to keep and bear arms which Congress cannot infringe.

                There’s no language that it explicitly limits Congress, which is what the State Supreme Court of Georgia thought in Nunn v Georgia. Even after Barron, the state court applied the federal amendment to the state law. Go figure.

                The fact is that a plain reading, one that reads narrowly and within the correct framework of the Constitution’s division of sovereignty between the federal government and the states, rejects an individual right.

                Yes, I’m asserting that as much as you’re asserting your position, but I’ll get around to that soon.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                Boiled down your argument is that since the second amendment is a restriction on the federal government only, the right of the people to keep and bear arms cannot be an individual right.

                You have said that the 4th amendment protects individuals -but how can that be since the 4th amendment is a restriction only on the federal government?Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                @mike-hansberry

                You didn’t properly boil down my argument. I’ll have to see if you answered my question on the ratifying parties. If you didn’t, you need to.

                Again, stop looking at the Constitution from the perspective of rights. It is putting you at a huge disadvantage here.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                Of course, silly me for reading the Bill of Rights as having something to do with rights.

                The preamble to the BOR provides the parties:
                RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as Amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.:

                How does the identity of the parties determine the nature of the rights protected in these amendments? Are you claiming that it is not possible for amendments to the constitution which are ratified by 3/4ths of the state legislators to protect individual rights?Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                “The people” are those persons residing in an area. It includes natural born citizens as well as others who have strong connection to the community, but does not include those merely visiting or passing through an area.

                Whaahooo this is fun. What is your point?Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Mike Hansberry:
                “The people” are those persons residing in an area. It includes natural born citizens as well as others who have strong connection to the community, but does not include those merely visiting or passing through an area.

                Whaahooo this is fun.What is your point?

                My point is that you’re wrong.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                So your “mountain of evidence” is really just a naked assertion that I am wrong.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Mike Hansberry:
                So your “mountain of evidence” is really just a naked assertion that I am wrong

                Not a naked assertion at all. It seems that in all of your 2nd Amendment, pro-individual rights zeal that you have not applied the same brainpower towards the structure of sovereignty in our constitutional system. I don’t need evidence to make that claim. I can already see it.

                Read this again. Much of the debate over the Second Amendment revolves around
                constitutional structure. Forget your Coxe (hehe), Wilson, etc. Absorb as much Madison as you can, especially the Virginia Resolution, Report of 1800 and even his later writings like his Notes on Nullification.

                You’re welcome.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

                Dave,

                The Articles did not need a BOR because (as you correctly pointed out in the linked post) they operated directly on the states.

                The Constitution created a dual sovereignty in which the federal government operated directly on the people in some aspects. That is why a BOR was needed for the Constitution.

                Nothing you have said so far remotely supports your claim that because the BOR was restriction on the federal government only, those rights cannot be individual rights.
                One does not follow from the other.Report

              • Avatar Dave R in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                @mike-hansberry

                The Constitution created a dual sovereignty in which the federal government operated directly on the people in some aspects. That is why a BOR was needed for the Constitution.

                The Federalists thought a BoR wasn’t necessary. You seem to take the side of the Federalists when it supports your opinion and ignore them when they don’t. Me, I’m more principled. I’d call myself a moderate anti-Federalist.

                I get the whole BoR debate. We’ve already been there.

                Nothing you have said so far remotely supports your claim that because the BOR was restriction on the federal government only, those rights cannot be individual rights.
                One does not follow from the other.

                I never made that claim. In fact, if you re-read above, we’re down to discussing two clauses, not all of the amendments.

                By the way, you can make my strawman a little more buff next time? I’m looking a little small in the lats. Sorry 😀

                Go back and pick up where we were on the Fourth Amendment and people vs. persons. That’s going to be a very fun discussion.Report

        • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave says:

          Dave,

          Dave,
          What makes you think that Sherman and Wilson are referring to military service when they wrote about self defense?

          When Sherman refers to “private citizen” do you imagine Sherman is referring to their military rank? Not likely, instead he is referring to citizens in their private capacity, much like the exception John Adams made for citizens using arms at individual discretion for private self defense in his Defense of the Constitutions of the United Stated.

          When Sherman says “every citizen” do you imagine he is speaking only of those in the organized state militia?

          When Sherman says “essential rights” do you imagine he is speaking of a right granted by government?

          When Sherman says “to bear arms, as to resist every attack made upon his liberty or property, by whomsoever made” do you suppose he is limiting the bearing of arms to militia duty?

          When Wilson says they are bound “to keep arms for the preservation of the kingdom, and of their own persons” do you imagine that self defense is something different than militia duty or is it part and parcel of militia duty?Report

          • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

            Hansberry your putting up a good scrap, but there is not much need.

            Once you pick through the pieces and find the BOR was just written rule of law at the time, all this state, federal, blah, blah government bull doesn’t matter.

            Any government, state, or other social construct not following rule of law is not legitimate. If the thicker heads can’t figure this out with this BOR, it will have to be spelled out more distinctly in the next one.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

              Joe,

              As we’ve discussed, I have some problems with the whole social v individual construct thing and the topic gets a very confusing right quick, but if you characterized the debate emphasizing pragmatics and consequences I might completely agree with you. (Emphasis on “might” 🙂

              Which is to say, outcomes matter a great deal. As you already know.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

                I think you could count the number of people who understand individual constructs here on one hand and still have several fingers left.

                I’m sure that the polarization of the positions will continue until the outcome matters a great deal.Report

  9. Avatar Mike Dwyer says:

    @inmd

    Interesting post. Couple of things:

    1) I’m going to assume you purchased a tactical rifle, but that point is a little unclear in the post.

    2) This statement was a problem for me, “Though I now own this weapon, I have made a conscious effort not to fetishize it.” What exactly would that look like? I ask because I love, love, love some of my guns. My 12 gauge was an 18th birthday present and I’ve used it in the majority of my hunts. My little .22 Marlin was a gift from my dad also, and it has been with me on every squirrel hunt since I was 16. I carved my initials into the stock while sitting under a big oak tree one day. Lots of memories in that gun. ‘Fetishize’ is obviously used in a negative way here, but what else do you call affection for an inanimate object?Report

    • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

      @mike-dwyer

      Thanks for reading.

      For point number 1 you are correct. I’m being deliberately opaque on that though for reasons of personal privacy.

      On point number 2 my intent is to address a regular concern that I see raised, which is that people who purchase these types of rifles do so out of a belief that they are a solution to various social problems or see them as a means of intimidation. Im not talking about a soft spot for the shotgun you used to bring down your first buck or something along the lines of the other examples you used.Report

      • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to InMD says:

        @inmd

        But even if my hunting guns are okay to be affectionate towards, a lot of guys LOVE their tactical rifles. They’re fun to shoot, and it does make them feel good to have some expertise with a firearm they could use to protect their families someday. I would simply suggest that ‘fetishizing’ is a term coined by the anti-gun movement to make men feel guilty about their gun purchases. It’s similar to when they say that guns are compensation for penis size or something to that effect. They want to shame us. So…I would just caution feeling the need to placate them in your post. You don’t owe them anything.Report

        • Avatar switters in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          When i was a teenager, I would lie in bed at night and fantasize about someone coming into my house and threatening my family. So I could kill them. Eventually I got over this. I’ve always considered that a good thing.

          So I like his use of fetishize. And from my perspective, its not necessarily to shame them, and definitely not to make them feel guilty about their purchase of a gun. Its to simply mark myself as someone who believes the world would be a better place if fewer people were driven to dream about vigilante justice, or defending their families at the point of a gun. I also get that there vision of a better world may include more people like that.

          It also sounds a little strange to see you jump immediately into an “us” vs “them” posture, and assume InMD is just trying to “placate them”. I’ll defer to him of course, but I am open to the possibility that InMD actually believes what he says, rather than it being a tactic to gain some goodwill with his opponents.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to switters says:

            @switters

            The reason I mentioned placating those groups is because InMD said this, “On point number 2 my intent is to address a regular concern that I see raised…”Report

            • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

              @mike-dwyer @switters This actually probably most accurately gets to what I was trying to convey- I don’t see it as a means of administering vigilante justice. That is the concern that I was trying to address.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to switters says:

            That’s funny as all the other antis I can think of want to use the the word to shame gun owners in an attempt delegitimatize gun owners. Kind of like coining the term assault rifle. The first step to winning the argument is controlling the language used.Report

        • Avatar InMD in reply to Mike Dwyer says:

          @mike-dwyer

          Interestingly I’ve never heard the word ‘fetishize’ used by advocates of stricter laws that way. My intent wasnt to insult anyone who, as in the example you used has learned a skill and discipline they are proud of. What I was trying to convey was more along the lines of ‘I do not have an unhealthy obsession with it.’

          I don’t feel the need to apologize but I do want to reach out to people who don’t agree with me in a way that does not make them feel immediately defensive. I’m in a part of the country that’s largely hostile to my stance on this and, fair or not, I think that puts the burden on me and people like me to try and change their way of thinking.Report

          • Avatar Mike Dwyer in reply to InMD says:

            @inmd

            Perhaps I’m a bit reactive on this topic. Most of the apologetics I read about guns come from responsible folks that have nothing to apologize for (or to explain to the uninformed) so i tend to chafe when i see my fellow gun owners doing so.Report

          • Avatar notme in reply to InMD says:

            Interestingly I’ve never heard the word ‘fetishize’ used by advocates of stricter laws that way.

            Then I guess you haven’t been listening.Report

  10. Avatar CJColucci says:

    I have owned several guns in my time, and still do. What I’d like to know is why this particular gun? It’s fun to play with, of course, but a bad choice for just about any plausible civilian use. It’s a lousy hunting weapon and if your plausible home defense threats run to burglars rather than an invasion by the crew from a nearby meth lab it’s far more than needed to deal with the threat.Report

  11. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    Now that Trump is elected, does that change anyone’s mind about gun ownership?

    Everyone on the Left still sure we can trust the government’s sanity over multiple centuries?Report

    • Avatar Don Zeko in reply to Dark Matter says:

      It’s not a matter of trusting the government. It’s that armed revolt continues to be a completely unrealistic and horrifying remedy for government misbehavior.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Don Zeko says:

        Well… I guess if we agree that it’s unthinkable…Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Don Zeko says:

        “It’s that armed revolt continues to be a completely unrealistic and horrifying remedy for government misbehavior.”

        It’s not about armed revolt. It’s about increasing the cost of implementation.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

          There appears to be a thought that making armed rebellion easier somehow will work to the benefit of the people to water the tree of liberty.

          Yet experience shows from the KKK, to strikebreakers, to the Freikorps, to the murder of abortion doctors that easy access to firearms only works to the benefit of the dominant majority, to suppress the rights of unpopular minorities.

          Insurrection and revolution aren’t magical acts, self-evidently good and righteous. They can be done just as easily for the purpose of crushing liberty as supporting it.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            Yet experience shows from the KKK, to strikebreakers, to the Freikorps, to the murder of abortion doctors that easy access to firearms only works to the benefit of the dominant majority, to suppress the rights of unpopular minorities.

            The Klan would agree with you that gun control was a much needed and desirable thing.

            Further, “The KKK began as a gun-control organization. Before the Civil War, blacks were never allowed to own guns. During the Civil War, blacks kept guns for the first time — either they served in the Union army and they were allowed to keep their guns, or they buy guns on the open market where for the first time there’s hundreds of thousands of guns flooding the marketplace after the war ends. So they arm up because they know who they’re dealing with in the South. White racists do things like pass laws to disarm them, but that’s not really going to work. So they form these racist posses all over the South to go out at night in large groups to terrorize blacks and take those guns away. If blacks were disarmed, they couldn’t fight back.”

            http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/07/opinion/gun-control-and-white-terror.htmlReport

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

              See, you aren’t really constructing an argument against my comment, so much as trying to stitch together the words “gun control” with “KKK” and cap the resulting scarecrow off with a fright wig.

              Its like, like “Hitler favored maternity care jus’ like Hilary OOOGA BOOGA

              Disarming black folks was a minor point of the KKK, one they scarcely needed.
              They had seized control of the entire legal and political structure such that any white man could just shoot on sight any black man and not fear serious repercussion.

              Kinda like Tamir Rice on steroids.

              Which, is exactly my point.

              The free access to guns after the Civil War made paramilitary groups like the KKK much more lethal and effective at suppressing liberty.

              But even taking your argument at face value, that gun control was a tactic of racist majority to suppress the liberty of the minority, doesn’t that just point out that the problem isn’t gun control, but the oppression of the minority group?
              Because if the majority wants to oppress a minority, don’t they have ample tools, such as voting, to do exactly that?

              So logically we should favor eliminating voting, since that also was used extensively by the KKK to suppress black folks OOGA BOOGA.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                The free access to guns after the Civil War made paramilitary groups like the KKK much more lethal and effective at suppressing liberty.

                The KKK effectively owned the local Police and the local Government. Ergo the KKK didn’t need guns to terrorise, they could just use ropes to lynch people with the gov either looking the other way or actively assisting.

                The purpose and history of gun control in that era was to suppress liberty and keep the Blacks down, because having a rope doesn’t do you much good if the other guy has a gun.

                …the problem isn’t gun control, but the oppression of the minority group?

                Sure. But who is going to help the minority group? The gov (largely controlled by racist whites), or Blacks themselves?

                The Racist South is an example of the misuse of gov power which went on for almost a century. You’re insisting that giving the (highly racist) gov the ability and authority to take away guns is going to make things better?

                What type of gun control is going to disarm a KKK member whose day job is being a cop? Why are we supposed to think that he’s going to disarm his racist fellows? Strict gun control in this situation takes guns away from Blacks but not politically connected Whites.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Taking away guns won’t make racism better.
                Adding more guns won’t make racism better either.

                Guns aren’t some magical tool that sets things right.
                All guns do is make confrontations more deadly.

                It seems like its the fantasy of gun owners, whereby the criminal/ Klan member somehow is armed with nothing but a rope, and the victim magically produces a gun and turns the tables.

                Except outside of fantasy, that never happens. In any scenario where the victim is armed, the aggressor will almost surely be.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Well, now that the Republicans have the house, the senate, the White House, presumably the Supreme Court, and a supermajority of governorships and more than half of the legislatures of the states, we can really lean into how we need gun control and the people who think we don’t are living in a fantasy world.

                (For what it’s worth, I think that somewhere between 2020 and 2028 is your last shot at a centrally controlled Utopia. Better start doing groundwork now.)Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                Winning elections doesn’t make carrying a gun to get a cup of coffee any more rational.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Well, you’re going to want a more appealing class of rationality if you’re hoping to help midwife your imagined society into existence.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Honestly, I see the pendulum swinging back pretty hard in the next decade or so. You’ll have a shot at getting the glorious gun controlled future you daydream about.

                But not if you continue to fail to see the cultural differences that exist between your bubble and their bubble.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                If there are cultural reasons for carrying a gun everywhere we go, lets hear them.

                Like, a Sikh who carries a ceremonial dagger everywhere, or a military dress uniform that has a sword,.
                Sure, I can see that,.

                Is that what is being stated here?

                Because what I am hearing is “its a dangerous world filled with murderous psychopaths and I need to carry a gun everywhere in case a crazed lunatic shows up at StarbucksReport

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Yeah, I don’t have much hope.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Honestly, I see the pendulum swinging back pretty hard in the next decade or so. You’ll have a shot at getting the glorious gun controlled future you daydream about.

                I think that’ll depend on how badly the Trump GOP fucks thinks up.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                Go back to 2006 and 2008.

                Imagine saying “Man… how in the hell could Obama and the Democrats screw this up? And even if they do screw it up a little, how much damage could they do *REALLY*?”

                2016 is the answer.

                I suppose “Meh, Trump and the GOP will muddle through but they won’t do *THAT* much damage” is a very real possibility. Let’s hope for that, I guess.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                I don’t think Trump(ism) is a backlash against Obama screwups as much as backlash against “institutional thinking” and “establishment politics”, some of which is very clearly focused on liberals/Dems (identity politics, institutional corruption, THE ACA!!!, etc) but some of which is also directed at the GOP, for similar reasons.

                Short of a Trump/GOP disaster, I think the pendulum swing back the Dems will require the Dems to have adopted a new ideological approach to politics and policy. I’m not sure what that will look like. But if Trump actually IS a disaster, Dems won’t have to change a damn thing to regain control of national level politics as well as – perhaps! – make inroads at the state and local level.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Stillwater says:

                “the Dems to have adopted a new ideological approach to politics and policy. I’m not sure what that will look like. But if Trump actually IS a disaster, Dems won’t have to change a damn thing to regain control of national level politics as well as – perhaps! – make inroads at the state and local level.”

                I don’t want Trump to be a disaster because I don’t want the nation to suffer first and foremost. I welcome a Democrat return to power but would prefer they earn it then BY DEFAULT. The Dems need to reflect and renew regardless.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                One option is that the Dems obstruct the GOP along the exact same lines that the GOP has obstructed Dems during the Obama Presidency to maximize political leverage and play the long game.

                Another option is that the Dems, irrespective of national level obstruction, change their policy priorities etc. to become more competitive nationally, and thereby play the short game.

                A third option is that some Dem Senators vote to dismantle Medicare and Medicaid, and cut federal revenue while massively increasing spending, etc and so on, and decide to play Trump’s game.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Stillwater says:

                Predictions are hard, especially about the future.

                But I think part of the “Whats The Matter With Kansas?” syndrome where union members in Michigan vote republican, is that the Republicans have never been in a position to actually do what they have always muttered about privately, i.e., destroy Medicare and Social Security.

                That is, they have never been in a position to really screw over the white working class who love those programs. Bush tried in 2005 but had the political savvy to read the signals.

                Kansas itself is worth watching, as the effects of Reagan economics hit with full force.

                When Trump signs a bill cutting off Joe The Plumber’s Medicare and access to insurance, the results will be interesting.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Imagine saying “Man… how in the hell could Obama and the Democrats screw this up?

                I think lots of people did, actually. Palinism was on the rise not because of anything Obama (or the GOP, for that matter) did wrong*, but because the interests of large swaths of the electorate had changed. Those folks increasingly rejected the political-institutional structures upon which each party in a two party system conducted politics and policy.

                *on a certain conception of “wrong” anyway. I look at this election more as a paradigm shift than an internal critique. That’s why I think the Dems are in more trouble than the GOP (well, obviously, given electoral representation, but also ideologically)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

                The Tea Party was around for approximately 3 minutes before the political-institutional structures co-opted it.

                Trump was something the political-institutional structures was unwilling to co-opt.

                Oh, boy. This is going to have one hell of a feedback loop.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                In any scenario where the victim is armed, the aggressor will almost surely be.

                True.

                All guns do is make confrontations more deadly.

                More deadly than hanging by a rope?

                12 guys with hoods, ropes, and guns show up on your doorstep.

                Why are you better off if you’re unarmed?

                If the guys in hoods are the only ones armed, then all they have to be willing to do is kill. If everyone is armed then everyone is in danger and the guys in hoods also have to be willing to die.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Nah, how could an armed victim confronting and armed aggressor be more deadly? Without an armed victim all you have is another Luby’s massacre. It’s just another BS liberal argument.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                You offer two choices, being a tiny outnumbered minority armed against a mob, and being a tiny outnumbered minority unarmed against a mob.

                You can’t think of other options we should be pursuing?

                I mean, if this is your assessment of society, I think it just reaffirms my point about how the underlying fear and mistrust is the really issue, not the guns themselves.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                We can choose your option, living in a a fantasy land.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                You offer two choices, being a tiny outnumbered minority armed against a mob, and being a tiny outnumbered minority unarmed against a mob. You can’t think of other options we should be pursuing?

                Sure, lots of other options. Lots of things have failed in our example.

                But I don’t see how we can ethically say to someone who is in that situation, “You’re better off without a gun. Yes, you’re going to die without a chance to defend yourself, but our feelings are more important than your safety.”

                I mean, if this is your assessment of society, I think it just reaffirms my point about how the underlying fear and mistrust is the really issue, not the guns themselves.

                How often are mass murder and riots in the news?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                But I don’t see how we can ethically say to someone who is in that situation, “You’re better off without a gun. Yes, you’re going to die without a chance to defend yourself,

                Well, if twelve people show up at their door with intent to kill, then that person’s being armed doesn’t mean a damn thing. THey’re gonna die.

                On the other hand, why are we focusing on an example where twelve people show up at a person’s door to kill them? If things have gotten that bad – that each of us should be legitimately fearful of TWELVE PEOPLE SHOWING UP AT OUR DOOR WITH INTENT TO KILL – then we should be rethinking the society we live in, yeah? Or our own behavior.

                Or is this a race to the bottom?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Well, if ten people show up at their door with intent to kill, then that person’s being armed doesn’t mean a damn thing. They’re gonna die.

                Finding ten who are willing to abuse or kill someone else is MUCH easier than finding ten who are willing to die to accomplish that. That’s one reason why 911 was such a shock.

                On the other hand, why are we focusing on an example where ten people show up at a person’s door to kill them? If things have gotten that bad – that each of us should be legitimately fearful of TEN PEOPLE SHOWING UP AT OUR DOOR WITH INTENT TO KILL – then we should be rethinking the society we live in, yeah?

                Perhaps you’d prefer one killer in a “gun free” bar who kills 50(ish) and wounds another 50(ish)?

                As for “rethinking society”, I think we’d need to eliminate ISIS, reinterpret a holy book, cure everyone with mental illness, and maybe do something about who can be elected President.

                If you have a different, more realistic plan, by all means put it on the table.

                Edit: Add to that list ending the war on drugs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dark, I’m just wondering why you think our policy decisions should be constructed around wildly improbable events. Sure, I’ve seen Clint Eastwood movies where he’s outgunned and kills a dozen people to save his ass. I’m just not convinced that THAT is the cultural or policy norm we should be basing our decisions on. Seems to me that acting as if at any moment twelve people could show up at our door with intent to kill suggests to me that those particular people need to calm the fuck down and act more decently.

                And ISIS? Really? (You just lost the argument right there, bro.)

                What’s the old saying? “If you think that everyone you meet in the course of your day is an asshole, then you’re the asshole.” Something like that, anyway.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Stillwater says:

                Stillwater,
                Glad to hear you think that Fayette County is wildly improbable.
                Seriously, this sounds like folks don’t get out to the country very much.
                (I have had relatives get run off of their farm, in that very gentlemanly, and still quite serious way the southerners do).Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Dark, I’m just wondering why you think our policy decisions should be constructed around wildly improbable events.

                You’re either narrowing the usefulness of a gun to “10 guys on my door” or you’re ignoring that these “wildly improbably events” show up in the news several times a year.

                And ISIS? Really? (You just lost the argument right there, bro.)

                We just had an ISIS thug kill 50 people in a gun-free gay bar. The FBI has his computer(s), he didn’t wipe them, they think he wasn’t gay or conflicted about his sexuality. His motivation was apparently exactly what he claimed at the time.

                The concept that gun control could possibly have kept weapons out of his hands is absurd, he used them professionally and had months or years to plan. But a group of hundreds of 20-40 year old men? Some of them were former or active military/law-enforcement or whatever. We can only speculate if any of them would have being carrying if it weren’t a gun free zone.

                What’s the old saying? “If you think that everyone you meet in the course of your day is an asshole, then you’re the asshole.”

                So because I’m pointing out that these situations Exist, I must be trying to claim that Everyone is in them All the time? Straw man much?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I think that this points out why gun discussions are so difficult.
                They are rooted in radically different ways of looking at society and our relationship to it.

                The view being expressed here is one I really just can’t wrap my head around.

                The view of government, and of our fellow citizens is so dark, so filled with malevolence and distrust, I can’t see how its adoption could lead to anything productive or beneficial.

                I mean, if I were to attend a get together of OT commenters- should I bring a gun in case I need to shoot Jaybird?

                Should I assume Kazzy might suddenly lunge at me with a knife?

                Should I pack a AR-15 to gun down the cops if they arrive to confiscate someone’s marijuana?

                If this sounds crazy to you, this is what it sounds like to me when people assure me how reasonable it is that they carry a gun to Walmart and keep it at home to defend against the government.

                I just don’t get it.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I mean, if I were to attend a get together of OT commenters- should I bring a gun in case I need to shoot Jaybird?

                Unless Jaybird has a history of insanity or radicalism, probably this is pointless.

                If this sounds crazy to you, this is what it sounds like to me when people assure me how reasonable it is that they carry a gun to Walmart

                Fire last year killed about 2,650 people. Fire alarms aren’t perfect but I have them. I have fire insurance. I’m careful how I use fire. I’d think you’d be nuts to insist that fire can’t possibly be a problem anywhere.

                The number of homicides last year was about 15,809, or roughly 6x as bad as fire.

                Not only are you insisting that it can’t happen to you, but you’re also insisting that it can’t happen to me. That I don’t live in an area where drug dealing is a problem, that there’s no nest of radicals in the town, that none of my daughters will ever have a stalker, etc.

                If that’s you’re claim, then imho you’d be right. I don’t own a gun because imho it’d add more risk than it’d take away.

                However, that really should be a personal choice. If one of my daughters picks up a stalker ex-boyfriend, then I may change my mind on carrying. And the people I know who do carry are ex-military, ex-law enforcement, and active hunters. If I had a livestyle which already included having guns around the house, then maybe I’d be carrying.

                Let’s reverse the question. What do you say to someone who is living in one of these exceptional situations? Say a woman being stalked whose stalker was arrested in her neighbourhood with a rape kit? Should she have a “dark” view of society and carry, or is she better off (being forced to) not having a gun?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Dark Matter says:

                What do you say to someone who is living in one of these exceptional situations?

                For someone who is living in an exceptional situation, exceptional measures apply.

                You do realize, that I live in downtown LA, 3 blocks from Skid Row?
                And we regularly take walks along the streets, in fact my wife just walked to MacArthur Park to go shopping, alone and unarmed?
                And we leave our apartment door and windows unlocked, 24/7?

                I just don’t have the same sense of danger and menace that gun toters do.

                For me, this is important. I don’t believe that any society can be civilized or cohesive without a sense of security and safety and trust in each other.Report

              • my wife just walked to MacArthur Park to go shopping, alone and unarmed

                That’s really dangerous. She could get cornered and sung at by a Richard Harris impersonator.Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I’ll bet you keep track of your cakes though. Think of the cakes!!!!!!Report

              • Avatar greginak in reply to greginak says:

                The wifeinak and i are going out to dinner in a few. As i repeat various macarthur park song lyrics she is going to look at me like A) I’m weird B) I’m just being myself or C) all the above. Good long term relationships have their advantages.

                In related news Glen Campbell has a good version of the song. Not a surprise. Gotta listen to the Donna Summer version after dinner.

                Like a striped pair of pantsReport

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I just don’t have the same sense of danger and menace that gun toters do.

                One doesn’t need to be afraid of fire in order to have fire insurance.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Compare

                One doesn’t need to be afraid of fire in order to have fire insurance.

                To: One doesn’t need to be afraid of fire in order to carry a concealed fire extinguisher with them at all times.

                Or: One doesn’t need to be afraid of getting shot to have life insurance.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                One doesn’t need to be afraid of fire in order to carry a concealed fire extinguisher with them at all times.

                You are the one trying to claim all people who are carrying are doing so because of fear, a dark view of reality, a misunderstanding of reality, and so forth.

                Thus far you’ve offered nothing to back up this claim other than Telepathy and a lack of understanding of the mindset. My expectation is that you’ve never actually talked to people who carry to find out what/how they think, whether they understand the odds and so forth. As far as I can tell, fundamentally it’s a gift to you and me. Their insurance may help others.

                If you’re serious about society needing to trust everyone, then trust that they know more about firearms than you do and understand that they’re lugging around a piece of metal that they’ll probably never use.

                We can talk about the events you claim never happen when they’re less in the headline news.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                You are the one trying to claim all people who are carrying are doing so because of fear, a dark view of reality,

                No, I’ve been responding to this claim you made upthread:

                But I don’t see how we can ethically say to someone who is in that situation, “You’re better off without a gun. Yes, you’re going to die without a chance to defend yourself,

                which elaborated on an earlier comment you made:

                12 guys with hoods, ropes, and guns show up on your doorstep.

                You’re the one who adopted a dark view of reality. I’ve just gone along for the ride.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                Dark Matter: 12 guys with hoods, ropes, and guns show up on your doorstep.

                You’re the one who adopted a dark view of reality. I’ve just gone along for the ride.

                That example was in the context of the old South dealing with KKK. The modern equivs show up in the news on a reasonably regular basis.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dark, please read the next few Supreme Court cases.

                Town of Castle Rock v. Gonzales
                Warren v. District of Columbia
                DeShaney v. Winnebago County

                They may or may not help you in this thread.

                Meditate upon them anyway.
                They could well help you in the next one.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Jaybird says:

                Thank you.

                Ouch. Gov can not only fail, but doesn’t really have the duty to succeed.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Yeah, these cases have a hell of a lot of implications that are not good.Report

              • Fire last year killed about 2,650 people. Fire alarms aren’t perfect but I have them. I have fire insurance. I’m careful how I use fire. I’d think you’d be nuts to insist that fire can’t possibly be a problem anywhere.

                The number of homicides last year was about 15,809, or roughly 6x as bad as fire.

                So you should be careful with guns and insist that everyone around you is careful as well. The analogy to “There are lots of gun deaths so I should go armed” is “There are lots of burnings, so I should carry a flamethrower.”Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Who had Chip Daniels in the “first to make a joke about casually killing one of the other OT members” pool?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                No worries.
                I’m a really bad aim.
                Especially if flying thru the air sideways whilst firing two guns at once.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I was just surprised because I had you in the “first to joke about putting me in a gulag” pool.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                It’s insurance, just like carrying jumper cables or a can of fix a flat when I go to wal mart.

                Oddly, you see in the media all the time where folks kill each other all the time over trifling things. So your vision of everyone holding hands and singing together is BS.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to notme says:

                So your vision of everyone holding hands and singing together is BS.

                You have correctly read my vision.

                Yep, in all seriousness, my vision of America runs to Bedford Falls, Hill Valley, and Mayberry, rendered thru Normal Rockwell, improved where needed with an inclusiveness and generosity of spirit.

                Places where the cops are friendly servants of the people, where everyone knows each other and feels a kinship of citizenship and everyone carries a sense of belonging.

                It is both entirely possible and achievable, and all that is lacking is the confidence in ourselves and each other.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dark,

                You’re talking about the 1% doctrine.

                If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.

                Which struck me as effing insane back then, and equally so in this context.

                BUT!, Cheney seemed to think it made sense…Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Dark Matter says:

                No worries Dark, not everyone lives in a socialistic inclined bubble where the default is to hand over whatever means of protection to social bureaucracy.

                This is another reason to bring up the idea that some people operate under social constructs and some operate under individual constructs. The other side will always look negative.

                The really piss poor part about it is the social constructors control policy, so every X amount of years we will have some major problems. The thing they don’t tell you about the ten men showing up at the door, is that they will be part of a social construct, probably under oath, probably there by written law.

                The only limiting factor to socialism is to show it enough of it’s own blood pooling on the ground.

                There is some really neglected math going on also. None of the social folks appear to be able to add all the enforcement/military agents and compare that to the other armed portion of the nation.

                Hell the social guys don’t even have enough of a head count to pass for a night-watchman state.

                😉

                There really isn’t much point jousting against (most!) social constructs folks, they start at ‘all men are social animals’ and disregard that some people live by a different set of parameters. They start at having already claimed social objectivity, social justice, and pretty much think they own the world on those grounds.

                The maypole is well traveled but I wish you better luck than I had.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Dark Matter says:

                We just had an ISIS thug kill 50 people in a gun-free gay bar.

                This I don’t understand.

                Suppose we had twenty gun carrying guys at the bar. Are we to suppose that they would be able to react, pinpoint who the shooter is, and take him off WITHOUT hitting any of the scores of innocent patrons surrounding the gallant gun carrying heroes.

                People really watch too many CGI enhanced movies. In real life, the twenty gallant heroes would just add to the carnage.

                The only scenario I can imagine gallant gun carrying heroes can take out a sniper is the classic water tower one. We victims are all here, and the bad man is up there, alone, and way over the heads of innocent bystanders.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to J_A says:

                I believe part of the logic is he chooses a “safer” target.

                This logic does not apply to suicide attackers.

                Ergo, this logic is flawed.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

                Suppose we had twenty gun carrying guys at the bar. Are we to suppose that they would be able to react, pinpoint who the shooter is, and take him off WITHOUT hitting any of the scores of innocent patrons surrounding the gallant gun carrying heroes.

                So you’re saying it’s better to let the bad guy shoot 100 people rather than risk an innocent or two getting hit in a cross fire?

                If every one of those twenty had accidentally shot four innocent people, the body count still would have been less than the reality, and people wouldn’t have been left bleeding for hours waiting for the authorities.

                As the people in the bar watched the shooter reload for the 10th time, they probably didn’t turn to each other and say “Think about how much worse it’d be if some of us were armed!Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Dark Matter says:

                +1 to all of this. This is exactly why some of the arguments here against guns are so moronic.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter

                Just going on for the fun of it….

                “If every one of those twenty had accidentally shot four innocent people, the body count stil would….”

                Because, of course, all of the twenty will magically know that the other nineteen good shooters are all fighting the lone bad ISIS guy together. At no time would they think that any of their nineteen co-heroes might be a second, third, fourth, …., nineteenth, twentieth, ISIS shooter, and start shooting at each other in all directions.

                No, that won’t happen. I guess they were all wearing white cowboy hats or something.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

                Because, of course, all of the twenty will magically know that the other nineteen good shooters are all fighting the lone bad ISIS guy together. At no time would they think that any of their nineteen co-heroes might be a second, third, fourth, …., nineteenth, twentieth, ISIS shooter, and start shooting at each other in all directions.

                If I don’t get to assume some Clint Eastwood movie, then you don’t get to assume the keystone cops.

                Not all of the 20 will be there, they certainly don’t have the ammo to reload many multiples of times, and they’ll probably think the bad guy is the one deliberately mowing down unarmed people.

                And the default situation without them is really, really nasty. Saying it will kill someone, or even a dozen people, is still an improvement.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I doubt they will feel great

                “Yes, I got three or four bystanders down with friendly fire, but at the end I got the bad guy, so I’m not overtly concerned about the other ones I killed. Even if I had hit a dozen people, is still an improvement”Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

                I doubt they will feel great. “Yes, I got three or four bystanders down with friendly fire, but at the end I got the bad guy, so I’m not overtly concerned about the other ones I killed. Even if I had hit a dozen people, is still an improvement”

                True. They’ll also have legal problems since the system only covers for police in “friendly fire”. For that matter they’d probably still feel horrible even if they only shoot the active shooter.

                But the other realistic option on the table is 100 people shot.

                Facing up to that is grim, but not facing up to it is looking at the world with rose filtered glasses.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Facing up to that is grim, but not facing up to it is looking at the world with rose filtered glasses.

                Then arm up Dark. I don’t think anyone has argued that you don’t have the right to do so. That’s a personal decision. What people object to (seems to me) is your advocacy that the solution to the problem of gun violence is more gunz. (Yikes!)

                Not to mention what’s been repeated throughout this thread: that your “arm up!!” advocacy is based on incredibly rare events and a notably “dark” conception of society.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

                What people object to (seems to me) is your advocacy that the solution to the problem of gun violence is more gunz.

                “Gun violence” stats are dominated by suicide and the war on drugs, neither of which seems likely to yield to a gun control solution (unless you count changing suicide-by-gun to suicide-by-something-else as a victory).

                The underlying “advocacy” which people are arguing for, and I’m objecting to, is that a gun in the hands of a good person is every bit as much of a problem as a gun in the hands of an active shooter.

                To be fair, some argued that “guns + alcohol is bad” which is at least passes some sanity test, but all too often I’ve seen the “more guns=bad” line of thought extended to “people are safer if they’re unarmed, even if there is an active shooter (or lynch mob) trying to kill them”, and we saw hints of that argument at various times here.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Gun violence” stats are dominated by suicide and the war on drugs, neither of which seems likely to yield to a gun control solution (unless you count changing suicide-by-gun to suicide-by-something-else as a victory).

                Actually, since many suicides are a spur of the moment thing, and many people that run into troubles to kill themselves then and there tend to not kill themselves after all, yes, not having ready access to a gun will reduce the total number of suicides significantly.

                (Same reason why fencing bridges with wire mesh reduces total suicides)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

                Actually, since many suicides are a spur of the moment thing, and many people that run into troubles to kill themselves then and there tend to not kill themselves after all, yes, not having ready access to a gun will reduce the total number of suicides significantly.

                There’s an intuitive attractiveness to this line of thought, but I doubt it’s long term utility. A country’s suicide rates isn’t related to its level of gun control. The reality is we’re surrounded by things (ropes, cars, knives, plastic bags, harsh chemicals) which can kill us.

                There are deep cultural (symbolism) factors here. In our culture, we have the whole gun=death thing. Removing guns or whatever symbol is dominate at the moment might help for a while but some other symbol would rise to replace it.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to J_A says:

                Suppose we had twenty gun carrying guys at the bar….

                While carrying under the influence is not a crime in Florida — using the weapon under the influence is, with an exception for self-defense — I am disinclined to frequent a bar alongside twenty gun-carrying people who are allowed to drink all they want. As my uncle the Green Beret was known to say, frequently, “Guns and alcohol are a really bad combination.”Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Michael Cain says:

                @michael-cain

                [sarcasm] You have to weight the odds properly. What for instance are the odds of a gun carrying drunk person entering into a fight with someone else? So close to zero we can even imagine. Now compare those with the very large odds of ISIS attacking my bar.

                Any sane, reasonable, person will be so much safer with twenty intoxicated gun carrying individuals in the bar any night of the week. Twice as safe on Saturdays (Fridays are ok because ISIS doesn’t work on Fridays).[endsarcasm]Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to J_A says:

                @j_a
                The only scenario I can imagine gallant gun carrying heroes can take out a sniper is the classic water tower one. We victims are all here, and the bad man is up there, alone, and way over the heads of innocent bystanders.

                Well, that situation is indeed friendly-fire proof, but the ‘heroes’ aren’t going to help much. Trying to use handguns to kill someone who is in a sniping perch high above you is a pretty difficult task. (Unless the theory is that everyone is walking around with *rifles*.)

                Assuming that there is some sort of *concealed* path to the sniper, like he’s in a belltower or something, the ‘heroes’ might be able to go after him…but probably should just wait for the police and work on warning people away.

                And note it’s pretty easy for the shooter to have barricaded doors and ladders and things, or set up noisy booby-traps that warn him someone is coming.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dark Matter,
                Problem is, guns don’t work well defensively. People should stop trying to say that one can use a gun as a defensive tool.

                You want me to stop a shooter in a bar? Fine. But give me a sonic weapon. Give me a smoke grenade. Give me something other than a weapon that I have to know where the fucking shooter is. And have decent aim, on top of it.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kim says:

                You want me to stop a shooter in a bar? Fine. But give me a sonic weapon.

                I think we run into the issue of “money” on that one.

                It wouldn’t surprise me if technology eventually changes the debate by introducing new options or making existing ones cheaper… but we’re not there yet.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Dark,
                Sonic weapons aren’t all that costly (my friend got Klipsch to downgrade their maximum volume by submitting a “this is how to make a sonic weapon out of your speakers” blueprint). Portable sonic weapons are a bit more, but really, it’s just a matter of a decently sized explosion.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Stillwater says:

                Stillwater,
                You’d be surprised what a decent defensive fortress can do against bullets. I wouldn’t be surprised if one trained person couldn’t hold off 12 people with guns. (Of course, given the choice, I’d rather have some dynamite or grenades inside…)Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The purpose and history of gun control in that era was to suppress liberty and keep the Blacks down, because having a rope doesn’t do you much good if the other guy has a gun.

                Have you forgotten what happened the few times blacks *did* have guns in that era? I talked about it last time.

                A black guy shoots at a white mob, they burn that house down. Then white people read about this in the newspaper and travel there to have a goddamn race riot over the next month and burn the entire town down.

                You’re insisting that giving the (highly racist) gov the ability and authority to take away guns is going to make things better?

                Three points:

                1) You seem to be imagining that if we set some sort of principle *now*, that, in the future, if the US because super-racist and fascist, that principle will *hold*. That they will be unable to alter that principle.

                This…doesn’t make a lot sense.

                If the US government is super-racist, it is, presumable, that way *because the majority of people want that*. And if the majority of people do not want minorities to have guns, they will figure out a way for that to happen.

                2) You also appear to be ignoring the fact the government *does* have the authority to take away guns, of minorities, and is doing it right now, by simply keeping guns away from felons. And it’s pretty easy to make minorities into felons with selective enforcement of the laws, especially if you can constantly hit them with fines they cannot pay and then arrest them for lack of payment.

                3) You’d think, if this was actually the logic, the *absolutely most important thing* for the anti-gun-control movement would be to stop police from shooting black people with guns. Not even pretend guns, but *actual* guns. Because right now, the police have effectively outlawed black people possessing handguns, because they are, essentially, threatening to shoot them randomly if they do.

                Somehow…this doesn’t seem to be on the radar.

                Also not on the radar: Black people shooting racist cops in self defense and not going to jail. You know, the *exact thing* you seem to think gun laws are for? (That specific thing doesn’t even work for *white people*.)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                Have you forgotten what happened the few times blacks *did* have guns in that era? I talked about it last time. A black guy shoots at a white mob, they burn that house down. Then white people read about this in the newspaper and travel there to have a goddamn race riot over the next month and burn the entire town down.

                What you mean is “a” black had “a” gun, and the rest of the town enjoyed your gun free utopia.

                You seem to be imagining that if we set some sort of principle *now*, that, in the future, if the US because super-racist and fascist, that principle will *hold*. That they will be unable to alter that principle.

                Disarming a population where guns are common is much harder than disarming one where guns are rare.

                if the majority of people do not want minorities to have guns, they will figure out a way for that to happen.

                This would be a starkly clear sign that it’s time to get out.

                And it’s pretty easy to make minorities into felons with selective enforcement of the laws

                And you think anti-gun laws won’t be selectively enforced?

                You’d think, if this was actually the logic, the *absolutely most important thing* for the anti-gun-control movement would be to stop police from shooting black people with guns. Not even pretend guns, but *actual* guns. Because right now, the police have effectively outlawed black people possessing handguns, because they are, essentially, threatening to shoot them randomly if they do.

                The entire police situation is less clear than you’re trying to imply.
                http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/12/upshot/surprising-new-evidence-shows-bias-in-police-use-of-force-but-not-in-shootings.html

                http://www.dailywire.com/news/7347/7-statistics-show-systemic-racism-doesnt-exist-aaron-bandler

                However even taking it at face value, I think the NRA has some awareness that they want to arm black males. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/spencer-critchley/nras-top-priority-arming-_b_3596576.htmlReport

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                What you mean is “a” black had “a” gun, and the rest of the town enjoyed your gun free utopia.

                Yes, the best way to stop white people imagining that black people are having a race riot and shooting white people en-mass (Instead of just the one actual shooting) in a nearby town, resulting in them pouring into said town to burn it down is….is for black people to start *actually* shooting at the white people.

                I’m sure that would have calmed everything down.

                Is your theory that the population of a small, mostly black town could have *taken over the country*? If not, your premise really doesn’t make any sense.

                Disarming a population where guns are common is much harder than disarming one where guns are rare.

                Authoritarian governments don’t need to disarm ‘the population’. There is no reason to do that. Authoritarian governments almost always govern with the consent of the majority.

                They will enact laws allowing them to disarm the small group of malcontents. (Both majority and minority.)

                Having non-governmental forces have guns is actually *useful*, because authoritarian often try to co-opt *civilians* into violence against the disliked group. In fact, that works pretty well if *everyone* has guns, then you have *both* violence the government can’t be criticized for, and then when the out-group starts defending themselves, the government cracks down on them.

                Seriously, I can’t even *follow* how the right thinks authoritarian government works. They seem to think it’s, like, some sort of *invasion*, like it collects an army somewhere and marches into town and seizes control.

                Newsflash: The government *already* controls your town. (It also, despite what those Jade Helm people think, also controls Texas.) It doesn’t need to do *anything*. Why would it?

                Authoritarian governments do not *invade* their own country. The government *becomes* authoritarian either by election or by coup, and *everything remains the same for 90% of the people*. Authoritarian governments just pick some group to decide are the enemy.

                And, honestly, this inability to understand exactly how this works is starting to piss me off, considering who we just elected. We’re not *at* authoritarianism yet, but we’re *very clearly* moving in that direction, and it’s goddamn right that’s doing it.

                They don’t get to make up nonsense about ‘We’re going to fight the government off with our guns!’ at the same time they’re demanding the government monitor specific religious groups, and run around demanding that political opponents be locked up. The first thing has nothing to do with authoritarianism…and the others are literally defining *hallmarks* of it.

                The entire police situation is less clear than you’re trying to imply.

                The article I can read there is a whole bunch of gibber-gabber right wing nonsense, including things like talking about how likely blacks are to be shot by other blacks, and trying compare the percentage of black people subject to strop and frisk to the percentage of violent criminals, which doesn’t even make sense.

                The main actual point in that is, from what I can tell, is that *when police officers are in a simulated environment*, they get hesitant against shooting black people. Which, uh, is equally likely that they *know* they’re biased, and they *know* they’re being watched, so have decided to stop and think before reacting when it’s a black person.

                However even taking it at face value, I think the NRA has some awareness that they want to arm black males.

                LOL. That article is not saying what the NRA *is* doing, it is satirically presenting it *as* the next logical thing the NRA should do. It’s making exactly the same point I am, that if the purpose of the NRA is to fight against the government deciding to kill innocent people, it’s black people who need the guns, and it’s black people the police need to stop shooting because it appears they can’t legally carry guns…and yet, somehow, that’s not what the NRA seems to care about.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                Yes, the best way to stop white people imagining that black people are having a race riot and shooting white people en-mass (Instead of just the one actual shooting) in a nearby town, resulting in them pouring into said town to burn it down is….is for black people to start *actually* shooting at the white people.

                So you’re claiming that the old South Blacks, faced with the KKK, were better off disarmed and helpless?

                We’re not *at* authoritarianism yet, but we’re *very clearly* moving in that direction, and it’s goddamn right that’s doing it.

                The Right only opposes increasing the size of gov when they’re not in power. The Left only opposes the Imperial Presidency when they’re not in power.

                The first thing has nothing to do with authoritarianism…and the others are literally defining *hallmarks* of it.

                Using the IRS to repress political opponents hits the radar as a step in the wrong direction, ditto not holding arms of the gov accountable for things like that. Similarly making laws so complex that literally everyone is guilty of something also seems like a bad idea.

                Expanding gov and gov complexity are steps towards authoritarianism by themselves.

                The main actual point in that is, from what I can tell, is that *when police officers are in a simulated environment*, they get hesitant against shooting black people.

                And we’ve got that black economist who wanted to support BLM with his study, and found that adjusted for situation they’re not dying disproportionally. If it’s not racism driving this then, after the police force is remade so they’re proven to be not racist, the number of deaths won’t go down much or at all. The overall situation is horrible, it’s driving all of this, and if we’re not fixing that then we’re wasting everyone’s time and leaving people suffering.

                and yet, somehow, that’s not what the NRA seems to care about.

                As far as I can tell, politicians in black controlled areas get elected by supporting gun control.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                So you’re claiming that the old South Blacks, faced with the KKK, were better off disarmed and helpless?

                I am claiming there is no possible way that firearms could have made their situation better. (Erm, in defense, obviously. I mean, maybe hunting would have helped them economically.)

                You *also* seem unable to actually explain the useful outcome you think guns would have resulted in. Seizing and maintaining territory? Overthrowing the entire state government? (And presumably nearby ones?)

                Please state, *specifically*, what you think could have happened if enough black people had guns at that time.

                The Right only opposes increasing the size of gov when they’re not in power. The Left only opposes the Imperial Presidency when they’re not in power.

                Authoritarianism is charactorized by some very specific things. The Wikipedia page is useful: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authoritarianism
                1) limited political pluralism; that is, such regimes place constraints on political institutions and groups like legislatures, political parties and interest groups;
                2) a basis for legitimacy based on emotion, especially the identification of the regime as a necessary evil to combat “easily recognizable societal problems” such as underdevelopment or insurgency;
                3) minimal social mobilization most often caused by constraints on the public such as suppression of political opponents and anti-regime activity;
                4) informally defined executive power with often vague and shifting powers.

                First, as I’ve said repeatedly, over and over, here, the size of the government has very little to do with how authoritarian the government is. (*Totalitarian* governments, OTOH, attempt to make the government be everything (Hence the name) so have to be big.)

                And while it is possible to somehow wedge ‘the imperial presidency’ into *being* the fourth trait of authoritarianism, in reality most of what the Democrats *and* the Republicans actually do that is called ‘imperial presidency’ are meddling with *internal* government stuff, and, perhaps more important, *could be stopped* if legislators would bother. 90% of ‘imperial presidency’ stuff is just ‘the president is getting the executive branch to do something that it wasn’t given the power to do, but is not specifically illegal’.

                (There were a few iffy ‘national security’ thing Bush that did try to *ignore* specific existing laws, but there were really very few of those.)

                Trump, meanwhile, *started* with #2, and seems be very #4 also (For example, he seems to think it’s up to him if Hillary Clinton should be prosecuted.) The others can’t really start until he’s in office, although threatening to sue journalists seems like it fits under #1.

                Using the IRS to repress political opponents hits the radar as a step in the wrong direction, ditto not holding arms of the gov accountable for things like that. Similarly making laws so complex that literally everyone is guilty of something also seems like a bad idea.

                Dude, you realize that *claiming* that the people the IRS targeted were ‘political opponents’ *literally makes what those people did a crime*, right? Those groups *were not supposed to be political groups*.

                A few years ago, the IRS was hit with a flood a preclearence requests for 501(c)(3)s that sounded political, *mostly* conservative, but with a few liberal ones.

                The IRS investigated them based on stupid criteria, like looking at their names and seeing if those names sounded political. (Again, both left and right sounding.) Yes, this was a stupid way to select groups, but stupid is not the same as criminal.

                The Republican Congress repeatedly demanded that the IRS talk about the *conservative* groups it was investigating, thus creating the idea that it was *only* conservative groups.

                And, again, in reality, you aren’t really *allowed* to be a political 501(c)(3) anyway.

                No one investigated anyone’s political opponents (Which shouldn’t have been those groups to start with) and the president didn’t order it.

                Expanding gov and gov complexity are steps towards authoritarianism by themselves.

                No they are not.

                And we’ve got that black economist who wanted to support BLM with his study, and found that adjusted for situation they’re not dying disproportionally. If it’s not racism driving this then, after the police force is remade so they’re proven to be not racist, the number of deaths won’t go down much or at all. The overall situation is horrible, it’s driving all of this, and if we’re not fixing that then we’re wasting everyone’s time and leaving people suffering.

                By ‘adjusted for stituations’, you mean ‘Black people are more likely to be criminals, so the police *should* be shooting more of them’.

                Now, I’m going to be charitable and choose to believe you *didn’t actually understand* that was what the article was saying, but please stop pretending that gibberish and racist article has any claim to truth at all.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                You *also* seem unable to actually explain the useful outcome you think guns would have resulted in.

                Shooting the person trying to lynch you seems like a pretty good outcome right there, regardless of whether his friends kill you.

                Dude, you realize that *claiming* that the people the IRS targeted were ‘political opponents’ *literally makes what those people did a crime*, right? Those groups *were not supposed to be political groups*.

                It is very dangerous to have the government regulating speech. It is doubly dangerous when the gov is selectively enforcing laws on the administration’s political enemies.

                Yes, this was a stupid way to select groups, but stupid is not the same as criminal.

                So the gov can suppress the administration’s political enemies without it being criminal?

                They’re allowed to put conservative groups under a microscope to see if everything is fine when they don’t do the same for liberals? And then stand on their 5th AM rights so they can’t be investigated? And somehow magically the people who need to be questioned have had their hard disks fail?

                If something looks/acts/sounds like a duck, it probably is one.

                First, as I’ve said repeatedly, over and over, here, the size of the government has very little to do with how authoritarian the government is.

                Only somewhat true. Gov grows until it doesn’t work. Then in outrage the people turn to someone who offers emotion.

                So when [the rich] begin to hanker after office, and find that they cannot achieve it through their own efforts or on their merits, they begin to seduce and corrupt the people in every possible way, and thus ruin their estates. The result is that through their senseless craving for prominence they stimulate among the masses both an appetite for bribes and the habit of receiving them, and then the rule of democracy is transformed into government by violence and strong-arm methods. By this time the people have become accustomed to feed at the expense of others, and their prospects of winning a livelihood depend upon the property of their neighbors, and as soon as they find a leader who is sufficiently ambitious and daring . . . they introduce a regime based on violence.

                -Polybius

                By ‘adjusted for situations’, you mean ‘Black people are more likely to be criminals, so the police *should* be shooting more of them’.

                The police shooting someone is the last step in society’s disparate impact on Blacks, not the first step. The “situation” includes concentrated poverty, the war on drugs, etc, etc.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                Shooting the person trying to lynch you seems like a pretty good outcome right there, regardless of whether his friends kill you.

                …regardless of whether his friends kill you *and everyone else with your skin color in the county*

                They’re allowed to put conservative groups under a microscope to see if everything is fine when they don’t do the same for liberals?

                They *did* do the same for liberal groups! You just didn’t *hear* about it because Congress decided to hold hearing repeatedly demanding the IRS talk about the *conservative* groups they investigated.

                The list of keywords they used is public knowledge. It included some conservatives words, but also included things like ‘Occupy’ and ‘Progressive’. In fact, the only group that had anything *denied* under this was an affiliate of ‘Emerge America’, which eventually resulted in Emerge America itself’s 501(3)(c) status being revoked.

                Yes, they investigated more conservative groups than liberal, but that was because the entire thing was prompted by a completely idiotic push of ‘Tea Parties’ and other such group that did not understand that political advocacy groups do not belong under 501(c)(3).

                And then stand on their 5th AM rights so they can’t be investigated?

                You mean someone who had been dragged into a witchhunt said ‘Nope, not going to talk about it.’

                This complaint might be a bit saner if the Republicans hadn’t *made up* an allegation about Koskinen lying under oath and acting like they were going to impeach him because he *did* choose to testify.

                At this point, if the Republicans call me to testify in Congress, I sure as hell will not be saying anything either.

                And somehow magically the people who need to be questioned have had their hard disks fail?

                Had them fail years earlier, in fact.

                Incidentally, 30,000 emails were recovered.

                And this seems to be a consistent refrain: Congressional committees inventing problems, demanding emails from years back, and then complaining they don’t get them. Congressional committees demand people testify, and then threaten to jail them lying to Congress if they do, or contempt of Congress if they don’t.

                It’s a goddamn Star Chamber, and one that *keeps not finding anything*.

                If something looks/acts/sounds like a duck, it probably is one.

                If Congressional Republicans keep operating committees that find *no wrongdoing at all*, perhaps you should, at some point, automatically stop believing in wrongdoing.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to DavidTC says:

                “…regardless of whether his friends kill you *and everyone else with your skin color in the county*”

                Yes! Regardless. How many people would go out and harass, beat up, etc. (insert you preferred victim here) if they knew there was a high risk that they would not come home later. I’d gladly trade my life to take out someone trying to kill me because it’s one less of them for someone else to worry about and might put the fear of god into the rest of the bastards.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                …regardless of whether his friends kill you *and everyone else with your skin color in the county*

                First of all, *Yes*.

                2nd of all, if you’re not going to defend your life because some terror group might get upset, why stop there? They might burn down your town if you get all “uppity” and get a job, or out think one of them, or for nothing connected to you at all (false allegations of rape for example). The modern equiv would be eliminating women’s rights because that’s what is really angering ISIS.

                3rd of all, the only reason that threat is on the table is because gun control (i.e. the KKK) was successful. With more guns around every group of 10 members of the KKK (or rioters) need to worry about which of them does the dying so that the others can do the killing.

                In a world of imperfect choices, shooting the murderous scumbag who is trying to kill me is the least imperfect.

                They *did* do the same for liberal groups! You just didn’t *hear* about it because Congress decided to hold hearing repeatedly demanding the IRS talk about the *conservative* groups they investigated.

                The WSJ did a time line on this and they didn’t start doing liberal groups until the conservatives started making a fuss. Further wiki says the depth, degree, and intrusiveness was worse for the conservatives.

                It’s a goddamn Star Chamber, and one that *keeps not finding anything*.

                I’m going to quote the USA today here: “For a scandal that is frequently derided as ‘fake,’ it is amazing how often real evidence disappears. The disappearing act is so frequent, it is reasonable to wonder whether it is really a systematic attempt to destroy evidence of abuse of power.”

                And note that the back-up explanation (i.e. mismanagement and total incompetence) is hardly better. The people in charge of regulating speech have so poor an understanding of the rules that they can look like they’re “accidentally” coming down on the administration’s side and “accidently” suppressing its enemies.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                2nd of all, if you’re not going to defend your life because some terror group might get upset, why stop there?

                We are not talking about a ‘terror group’.

                We are talking about the *entirety of the United States of America backed up with full military force*.

                You seem to think there was some tiny group of white people that went around terrorizing black people.

                That…did not even slightly describe the US from ~1880 to ~1950. That *maybe* was the situation during Reconstruction, but that’s it.

                The actual state of the country was the white people put up with the black people as long as the black people stayed where they were supposed to and di what they were supposed to, and if they didn’t, the white people would kill them. (At *best*, for very minor infractions, would run them out of town.)

                They would not kill them with ‘rioters’. They would kill them with the police, with either during arrest, or after being arrested, or with a biased judicial system that would always find them guilty.

                Or, in short, please read To Kill a Mockingbird.

                3rd of all, the only reason that threat is on the table is because gun control (i.e. the KKK) was successful. With more guns around every group of 10 members of the KKK (or rioters) need to worry about which of them does the dying so that the others can do the killing.

                Why are you talking about rioters and the KKK?

                The second black people start shooting white people as some sort of systematic force, it would have been *the state militia* showing up and killing them.

                The WSJ did a time line on this and they didn’t start doing liberal groups until the conservatives started making a fuss. Further wiki says the depth, degree, and intrusiveness was worse for the conservatives.

                I have not read anything that suggested this happened at ‘different times’.

                And note that the back-up explanation (i.e. mismanagement and total incompetence) is hardly better. The people in charge of regulating speech have so poor an understanding of the rules that they can look like they’re “accidentally” coming down on the administration’s side and “accidently” suppressing its enemies.

                The IRS has always had an extremely idiotic and vague understanding of the 501(c)(3) rules this entire time. That sort of incompetence lead directly to what you are talking about.

                Political groups are not supposed to be operating under 501(c)(3) rules. Period. 501(c)(3) are legally called *charities* and have to be doing *charitable work*. (Or, alternately, religious work, even if that work doesn’t seem to benefit anyone else.)

                Unfortunately, instead of enforcing the *clear letter of the law*, the IRS has, *for decades*, tried to invent dumbass guidelines about what these groups can and cannot do. Because these groups keep claiming they are ‘educational’, as education is one of the things charities can do.

                As in, they claim ‘trying to sway people to our political viewpoint involves us stating facts and thus is educational’. And the IRS is like ‘Herp derp, that sounds fine! I’m sure that’s what the law really is trying to say!’

                I’ve actually ranted about this IRS stupidity here before, *well before* this scandal happened. I wish I could find some of those posts.

                And then the IRS got flooded with a whole bunch of new organizations that seemed to be near or over the lines that they, themselves, had sorta vaguely drawn into the dirt, instead of the clearly painted line that the actual law said. And the IRS went completely stupid in trying to handle it.

                So, yes, I fully believe the IRS mismanaged this situation, because they literally have *always* mismanaged the situation, because they are apparently too stupid to just say ‘No, this is a clearly a political organization, we’re not giving it 501(c)(3) because you claim to be ‘educating’ people about abortion rights or whatever.’.

                If the IRS *had* started saying that, if they’d followed the law, two decades ago, instead of letting the lines get blurred, none of this would have happened.

                Note that there are all sorts of non-profits that political advocacy groups can *freely* operate under. A 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, or a 527 political action committee. Hell, there had *just* *been* a ruling that vastly expanded the powers of a PAC, letting them turn themselves into super-PACs. And if you’re a 501(c)(4), you don’t have to disclose donors!

                Or you can do the dual structure that long established groups (Created *before* the IRS decided laws didn’t matter) like the ACLU or the NRA or the Sierra club did…have a 501(c)(3) for actual, real educational stuff, and pro-bono legal work, and a 501(c)(4) for the political stuff.

                But there was one advantage to making a 501(c)(3): All money given to it was a tax-write off.

                And, once again, the IRS shows their utter cowardice at going after wealthy people trying to abuse tax law.

                Yes, this entire problem exists because the Tea Party groups created themselves under the *wrong* classification because they wanted to let donors get a *tax-write off* for donating to ‘charity’. And the IRS had sorta-kinda-maybe been allowing that sort of thing as long as the group *pretended* it wasn’t political…but then had a bunch of groups that barely bothered pretending at all apply for pre-clearance. And the IRS was like ‘Uh, okay, that’s a bit far, how do we deal with this? Maybe…if they sound like they’re political, let’s ask them some stupid shit to find out if they’re political?’

                So, yes, this was mismanagement. The IRS has been completely mismanaged for *decades*, especially in this regard.

                As for the idea this was going after political enemies…these groups had literally just sprung into existence, *and* they did not actually need pre-clearance to operate. These would be a very pointless target, and it would be exceptionally stupid to target them in this way. There are plenty of actually *established and powerful* groups that the IRS could have targeted, like the NRA, instead of a random smattering of brand-new Tea Party groups that, by definition, hadn’t done anything yet.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                Why are you talking about rioters and the KKK?

                Because when I read about incidents like Rosewood, extrajudicial white mob action seems to be how people died. That *backed up with full military force* thing seems more a description of Nazi Germany than the Old South.

                white mob action frequently occurred in towns throughout north and central Florida and went unchecked by local law enforcement. Extrajudicial violence against blacks was so common that it seldom was covered by newspapers.
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosewood_massacre

                Unfortunately, instead of enforcing the *clear letter of the law*, the IRS has, *for decades*, tried to invent dumbass guidelines about what these groups can and cannot do.

                Ignoring that we shouldn’t want the gov regulating political speech, what you’re pointing out is that for decades the actual policy has been that these groups can do what they’ve been doing.

                There are plenty of actually *established and powerful* groups that the IRS could have targeted, like the NRA, instead of a random smattering of brand-new Tea Party groups…

                The IRS targeted soft groups that didn’t have lawyers. Targeting the weak and vulnerable with new interpretations of policy doesn’t imply that the IRS believed what they were doing was fine.

                Maybe…if they sound like they’re political, let’s ask them some stupid shit to find out if they’re political?’

                Like ask for donor lists which, if supplied, will somehow end up in the hands of groups which abuse the people on those lists? Further the statement that liberal and conservative groups were treated the same seems to be wrong.

                November 2010 version of the IRS’s BOLO list indicates that liberal and conservative groups were in fact treated differently because liberal groups could be approved for tax-exempt status by line agents, while tea party groups could not…
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IRS_targeting_controversy#Controversial_intensive_scrutiny_of_political_groups

                But supposedly these were misjudgements by front line people? And we’re supposed to think the groups being targeted weren’t chosen because of the political leanings of the higher level people who then pled the 5th? And all this in the context of evidence repeatedly “disappearing”.

                If we’re looking at gross incompetence (as opposed to an Obama loyalist misusing the machinery of government), why wasn’t anyone fired? Could it be that if they fired someone, he’d say he was acting under orders?

                We’ve got two problems here. The first was the IRS targeting people inappropriately and making people spin for years. The 2nd was a total lack of accountability. Who made the choices to target these groups? I’d be fine with giving everyone involved immunity from legal judgements if they’d come clean, but so far that doesn’t seem to have happened. We’ve got finger pointing at the nameless and assurances that there’s nothing to see and we should just trust that.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                Ignoring that we shouldn’t want the gov regulating political speech, what you’re pointing out is that for decades the actual policy has been that these groups can do what they’ve been doing.

                It’s not a matter of the government regulating speech, it’s a matter of those groups trying to claim the special tax rules of 501(c)(3), which they can only do if they are *charities*, which have to exist for certain specific purposes. If the groups do not want to follow those regulations, they had at least two *other* perfectly good categories to file taxes under that I am aware of, as a 501(c)(4) (Which is almost identical to a 501(c)(3) except for the tax deduction.) or they could have organized as a 527.

                And as for ‘these groups can do what they’ve been doing’, a few points:

                1) Those groups *were* allowed to do that. All the decisions were in favor of those groups, except for one *liberal* group. (A liberal group that certainly *shouldn’t* have been allowed, and their parent group shouldn’t have been allowed in the first place.)

                2) If the IRS had *rejected* those groups, they *still* would have been allowed to do whatever they wanted. They would have just had to file taxes as a 501(c)(4) and donations to them would not have been tax deductible. Additionally, no one stopped those groups from working while the IRS looked at their tax status.

                3) The IRS had always been looking into groups that sounded political but tried to file as a 501(c)(3). There’s always been these sort of questions. It’s just a bunch of groups suddenly started doing that all at once, so they made a bunch of dumbass guidelines about what groups to look at, instead of it just being done haphazardly.

                Like ask for donor lists which, if supplied, will somehow end up in the hands of groups which abuse the people on those lists? Further the statement that liberal and conservative groups were treated the same seems to be wrong.

                501(c)(3) are *required* to give the IRS a list of their donors of over $5000. That is *already* a law. It is intended to make sure that those donors do not have undue influence over the direction of the organization.

                Also, they’re a 501(c)(3)! Their donors *file their donor receipts with the IRS*.

                If those organizations wishes to operate with *secret* donors, that is literally what a 501(c)(4) exists for.

                November 2010 version of the IRS’s BOLO list indicates that liberal and conservative groups were in fact treated differently because liberal groups could be approved for tax-exempt status by line agents, while tea party groups could not…

                What the National Review *opinion piece* (That is what ‘the Corner’ is, and I have no idea why Wikipedia thinks it’s reasonable to cite.) is talking about is that we know that the word Tea Party were in a BOLO in 2010, and were piling up because no one could close them. It is talking about this:
                http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/JW-v-DOJ-IRS-FBI-302s-1-01239-pg-49.pdf

                What we *don’t* know is that there weren’t any liberal terms on that list. We have no evidence of that. There was not an official 2010 BOLO list, and we have no idea what other terms agents were told to look for.

                All that interview really shows is that there weren’t a bunch of liberal groups caught up in this in 2010, which we already knew, mostly because the flood of applications in 2010 was from conservative groups!

                The later ‘official’ BOLO lists do show a bunch of liberal terms on there.

                And, moreover…even if that *was* the first political term in a BOLO, it doesn’t prove what you think The problem was a flood of new applications from *mostly conservative* groups, resulting in the IRS trying to figure out how to handle them.

                ‘Assume that anything named ‘Tea Party’ counts as political and send it upward for further review’ is a *perfectly reasonable* directive to send out while trying to figure out the real way to do this.

                Then someone, tasked with actually dealing with this, sat down to create some real rules. In a world where they were smart, they would have figure out how to do this in a neutral sounding way, avoiding political terms at all. However, because the IRS’s non-profit stuff is operated by gibbering idiots, they just made a nice big list of all the political terms they could think of and put them in a BOLO list.

                And then, because the IRS is a) completely underfunded, and b) has no actual idea how to investigate a non-profit because they’ve just been letting them do whatever the hell they wanted for decades, the IRS acted extremely slowly and completely idiotically in trying to make their determination.

                If we’re looking at gross incompetence (as opposed to an Obama loyalist misusing the machinery of government), why wasn’t anyone fired?

                Erm, you mean like Steve Miller?Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to DavidTC says:

                BTW, that liberal group that certainly shouldn’t have been allowed as a charity was a chapter of a group called ‘Emerge America’, and that group’s stated purpose was, explicitly, to elect more Democratic women. That was the stated goal of the group

                And the parent group was *approved as a charity* under Bush’s IRS. It claims it ‘provides leadership training and resources’ to Democratic women, thus it’s ‘educational’.

                Because, as I said, the IRS’s non-profit division is a bunch of gibbering idiots who can’t read the clear meaning of laws or do any sort of critical thinking.

                Hell, that doesn’t even work at face value, because charities are not allowed to discriminate based on political affiliation and yet here was one blatantly saying they were only educating Democrats! It wouldn’t be legal for a 501(c)(3) charity to operate an actual charity program, like a food bank, just for Democrats, much less this pretend ‘educational’ nonsense that is really just a cover for helping Democratic women get elected.(1)

                They all need to be fired and the entire division dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

                1) I, of course, have no problem with political organizations helping Democratic women get elected. (Or any organization helping anyone get elected, at least not a problem with them existing, even if I don’t like who they’re trying to get elected.) I do have a problem with them posing as a *charity*, though.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                They all need to be fired and the entire division dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.

                Agreed. Interesting that they weren’t thrown under the bus when this blew up.

                The only real reasons why they wouldn’t be are “management failure” and “plot”… and to be fair my inclination is to go with incompetence where possible.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            @chip-daniels
            Insurrection and revolution aren’t magical acts, self-evidently good and righteous. They can be done just as easily for the purpose of crushing liberty as supporting it.

            No, that is still slightly wrong, because you’re still working within the wrong framing.

            As I’ve mentioned here before, no armed revolt has ever resulted in a free society, at least not one that is stable and lasted more than ten minutes. The more violence in the revolt, the worse the resulting government is.

            Americans delusionally think that can happen, because we don’t understand history and think it happened here. In reality what happened is that our state governments had a secession war. We didn’t replace *our* government, our government replaced its own government. Everyone in my state went to bed Georgians, and woke up Georgians. Georgia just stopped being under the control of England.

            Or, to put it another way: Revolutions have no reason to ever *stop* using violence, even after they win. That tool worked, there is no reason to put it away. In every other sort of war (Including our Revolutionary War.), we have very strong norms about where and when violence can be used, and a population in control that says ‘We won, now to stop the violence.’. Not in revolutions.

            The best anyone’s ever done is removed a *powerful* bad government, and replaced it with a *weakened* bad government, allowing peaceful transitions later. Or sometimes there actually *is* a benevolent dictator that eventually turns the reins over.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to DavidTC says:

              One thing the “watering the tree” revolutionaries (of all political persuasions) prefer to forget, is that tyranny is usually very popular. Thats how it gets into power in the first place.

              We have this romantic fantasy of the partisans storming the barricades or the Minutemen confronting the Redcoats, but in both revolutions, the government had a large supply of defenders who liked the status quo just fine.

              It isn’t “The People” versus “The Government”, but more commonly it is “This Group” versus “That Group”, one of which holds the government.Report

        • Avatar Slade the Leveller in reply to Dark Matter says:

          I’m a bit befuddled by this. The U.S. government spends, depending on how you look at it, anywhere from 1 in 6 to 1 in 2 budgeted cents on the military. The Wolverines wouldn’t stand a chance.

          I’m not quite sure what level of government misbehavior will rise to the notice of America’s gun owners, but it seems to me there’s been plenty of grist for the mill of late.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

            I’m a bit befuddled by this. The U.S. government spends, depending on how you look at it, anywhere from 1 in 6 to 1 in 2 budgeted cents on the military. The Wolverines wouldn’t stand a chance.

            True, but not the point.

            Think of the amount of money and manpower the gov used at Ruby Ridge.

            Yes, the gov “won”. Yes, their “victory” was set from the start. But how many similar “victories” can the gov realistically do?

            Does the gov really have 10k armed teams to send after 10k families? 100k?

            Unarmed, the Weavers could have be handled by a pair of police officers with handguns. Since they were armed it got messy.

            1% of the population can be easily abused if they’re unarmed. If they’re armed then it’s much harder (which is not to say impossible).Report

        • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

          @dark-matter
          It’s about increasing the cost of implementation.

          As I have pointed out before, this is complete bullshit. Implementation of *what*?

          You’re imagining a world where the military shows up at your door and hauls you away. There is absolutely no reason that any government would operate that way.

          Instead, the government will have a court order, and the person at your door will be the local sheriff. And they will be *arresting* you for violating a law, or because they put pressure on the bank and had them evict you.

          You know, for people who spend a lot of time and effort worried about ‘the government’ doing things, the right doesn’t actually seem to understand *how a government would do things*.

          If you are an outspoken critic of a future fascist US government, the government doesn’t show up in the middle of the night and haul you away. Why the *hell* would it do that? The government slaps you with a huge lawsuit for slander or states secrets or something, and a court injunction to stop you from talking. If you violate that injunction, they arrest you. If you don’t, when you lose the lawsuit, they seize all your property, maybe get you to sign a consent decree that you *won’t* talk about the government anymore in exchange for keeping a tiny fraction of it.

          And that guy you’re shooting at to stop this? It’s some local sheriff deputy with a court order. And now you’re in jail *forever*.

          It’s really hard to take the right wing’s worries about ‘a government that slides into fascism’ seriously when they literally cannot even conceptualize how that would actually go. When they, clearly, have not even *thought* about that process in any manner.

          (Note me *refraining* from pointing out the right literally just elected a person who wants to make it easier to sue people who insult him, the president. Oh, oops, I forgot to refrain from that.)Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

            You’re imagining a world where the military shows up at your door and hauls you away. There is absolutely no reason that any government would operate that way. Instead, the government will have a court order, and the person at your door will be the local sheriff. And they will be *arresting* you for violating a law, or because they put pressure on the bank and had them evict you.

            The US historical example on the table is the KKK. I don’t think they used court orders.

            And that guy you’re shooting at to stop this? It’s some local sheriff deputy with a court order. And now you’re in jail *forever*.

            There are roughly a million cops in the US (as of 2008, wiki & google). There are 124.6 million households in the US, roughly a third of them have guns.

            The gov can do anything it wants to any individual. Doing the same to large numbers of people is harder.Report

            • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

              The US historical example on the table is the KKK. I don’t think they used court orders.

              Oh, no, the *historic* example in the US of an authoritarian government is not the KKK. This is because the KKK is, obviously, not a form of government.

              Not quite sure what you think it proves to say that the entity specifically created to operate *outside* the law because the US government had seized control of ‘the law’…did not operate within the law. Uh, duh.

              Please note that as soon as Federal troops were withdrawn, the KKK *went away*. (The first one, at least. It lasted maybe a decade.) Why? Because they didn’t need to do that shit in secret anymore.

              Also, authoritarianism sorta requires modern communications. As far as I know, no historian thinks anything before WWII should be labeled authoritarianism.

              Autocratic, yes, totalitarian, yes (Starting about 50 years earlier), authoritarian, no.

              The gov can do anything it wants to any individual. Doing the same to large numbers of people is harder.

              Erm, no it’s not. Let’s say the government doesn’t like, oh, 20% of the population. They do not like the political opinions of those people, and do not wish for them to have political power.

              It makes that list, and hands that list over to every bank and employer, saying ‘Do not do business with these people or we will charge you with a crime’.

              Result without guns: All those people are poor and homeless and thus have no political power.

              Result with guns: 90% of those people are poor and homeless and thus have no political power. 10% of those people attempted to shoot the police when the police came to evict them. Half of them won, and are now on the run, and thus have no political power, and the other half were arrested or killed, and thus have no political power.

              Like I keep pointing out, no one on the right actually seems to be doing *any* logical thinking *at all* about how the government would *actually do things* in a modern society.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                Oh, no, the *historic* example in the US of an authoritarian government is not the KKK. This is because the KKK is, obviously, not a form of government.

                No, the issue on the table is not “authoritarian government”. The issue on the table is gun control, and with the KKK (and lynchings) as the example, the question is whether or not it was better for the Blacks to be disarmed. Government failure/cooperation in the face of the KKK is only a backdrop to these issues.

                Please note that as soon as Federal troops were withdrawn, the KKK *went away*. (The first one, at least. It lasted maybe a decade.) Why? Because they didn’t need to do that shit in secret anymore.

                The last of the federal troops were withdrawn via The Compromise of 1877. The Klan’s membership peaked in 1924. Lynchings occurred most frequently from 1890 to the 1920s, a time of political suppression of blacks by whites, with a peak in 1892.
                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching_in_the_United_States

                Like I keep pointing out, no one on the right actually seems to be doing *any* logical thinking *at all* about how the government would *actually do things* in a modern society.

                We always respond to the last emergency, not the next one.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The last of the federal troops were withdrawn via The Compromise of 1877.

                And *that* Klan was basically taken apart in the early 1870s by the Federal government.

                So, looking at it, I guess I was wrong it went away when that could be done in the open. It went away because the government took it apart. (It’s a *lot* easier for law enforcement to figure out who is running around in masks than superhero comics make it out to be) It just didn’t *come back* after the federal government left.

                The Klan’s membership peaked in 1924. Lynchings occurred most frequently from 1890 to the 1920s

                That was the *second* Klan, founded in 1915, which was mostly anti-Catholic and anti-Jewish. (I mean, I’m sure they were anti-black too, but they mostly cared about Catholics and Jews.)

                a time of political suppression of blacks by whites, with a peak in 1892.

                Which wasn’t done by the Klan. The Klan literally didn’t exist in 1892. (This is, oddly, a *bad* thing, not a good thing.) Those lynching were done by…basically all of white society.

                The reason I say it’s a bad thing that the KKK didn’t exist in 1892 is that it didn’t exist because it didn’t *need* to. The KKK is a weird organization that has, three times, sprung into existence because bigots wanted to do something that they *couldn’t* do openly. It only exists when there is *pushback* against that sort of behaviour.

                The first one existed because Federal troops were in control, and didn’t let people attack blacks. And the Feds eventually stomped it out. But, like I said, it didn’t come back when they left…and it didn’t because it didn’t need to.

                You wanted to lynch blacks in 1892, you could just lynch blacks. People would hold little lynching parties, where everyone could come and watch a lynching. No one needed to do it *secretly* in masks.

                The second KKK sprang into existence in 1915 because it turns out that Jews and Catholics were not quite the politically-powerless minorities that blacks were, and being openly discriminatory against them resulted in a lot of pushback.

                And the third incarnation of ‘the’ KKK (Or rather, a bunch of groups started using that name and trying to claim that tradition.) sprang into existence in the 1950s, when openly attacking blacks *finally* became unacceptable in society.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                …Klan…

                Interesting… the history goes deeper and is more complex than I’d realized.

                It’s a *lot* easier for law enforcement to figure out who is running around in masks than superhero comics make it out to be…

                Any realistic description of superheros has them instantly being outed and turned into celebrities. Insane or criminal supers would be killed, not imprisoned, and the rest could find work a lot more profitable (and legal) than ‘fighting crime’.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                We always respond to the last emergency, not the next one.

                If people actually want to stop the US from slipping into authoritarianism, they need to stop pretending that they can shoot their way out of it, which a) is not only really unlikely, but, b) likely to justify crackdowns and more violence against others, even if they somehow managed to escape the country…and instead work on stopping it from happening.

                This requires strengthening checks and balances in the government, and not cheering when the checks and balances fail *even if* it’s your own side coming out ahead. It requires a pushback on spying that no one seems willing to do. It requires making, as a hard and fast principle of US law, that the US cannot detain people without charge. *cough*Bush*cough* And it requires having neutral systems in place, and not letting elected officials apply pressure to them, except via actual laws.

                …and it also requires not electing goddamn Donald Trump, who apparently thinks it’s his decision if Hillary Clinton is charged with a crime (And also thinks the government ‘presses charges’ against people.)…but a little too late for that, apparently.

                ——–
                And, you know what? Let me pause and address, partially tongue-in-check, the people who *do* actually think we’re headed into authoritarianism and thus need guns:

                You people couldn’t run a damn resistance movement to save your life. A few *really obvious* points:

                1) Stop walking around with your guns, you fools, you’re giving the game away. Oh, sorry, I forgot, you’ve made it *illegal* for the government to keep track of that, and we all know the government would never secretly do that. If you want to prepare for a guerrilla war, figure out a way to get guns that the government doesn’t know about, and DON’T TELL ANYONE OR EVER LET THEM SEE THEM.

                Stop loving caressing them on Facebook and talking about how you’re going to shoot the government when they try to take them away. Which, BTW, will be the printouts held up to the media when they ask why your house was firebombed by the military. ‘This terrorist was sitting there with his guns ready to kill the police. We had to use extreme measures.’ And everyone nods and goes home.

                2) What is immensely more useful than gun in a resistance are *supplies* and *shelter*. We live in a modern world. This means, if you become a political enemy of an authoritarian state, the government will figure out some justification for freezing your bank accounts and making you homeless and thus politically powerless. And even if you have GOOOOLD, the electric company isn’t accepting that as legal tender.

                There isn’t anything you, specifically, can do about that if they do it to *you*. But what you can do it is make it harder for them to do it to *others*. Spend some effort to build an apartment in your house where you can give shelter to someone. This might even include *secret* apartments, in case sheltering those people is illegal, or if they are actually doing the concentration camp stuff you all pretend to worry about.

                Basically, you need to have a group of people so that, whoever the government comes after, you can protect *them*, and thus they would protect *you*. And by ‘protect’ I mostly mean ‘hide’. No one, by themselves, can protect themselves.

                3) Secure your communications. Communications is *literally* the most important thing of any resistance. It is how they succeed, and how they fail. Learn how to use encryption. Find someone who can run a *internal* mail server (No outside sending or receiving mail) for you, give trusted people accounts on the server, and make sure they use encryption and strong passwords to connect. And get Signal on your cell phone.

                The advent of encryption, on top of instant communications is a massive, massive, massive technological advantage that has happened in the last few decades, and anyone who ignores it is an idiot.

                And there’s a few others, but that really is enough for now.

                To be clear: All this is nonsense, because this isn’t anywhere near happening. But anyone who *seriously* thought this was going to happen would be doing this. And this is just stuff I know from being generally curious and reading a lot! I’m sure there are experts who know a lot more.

                And note there *really are* people who are doing all this…they’re just smart enough not to announce it. (No, I’m not one of those people, because otherwise I wouldn’t have said this…unless this is a complicated double bluff of some sort…)

                But the vast majority of ‘2nd amendment people’ who *claim* to think this is going to happen, OTOH, are clearly just deranged LARPers who can’t tell their game from reality anymore, and haven’t actually said ‘Hey, wait, can I actually fight off an army with this gun? And if I do…then what?’

                Wooooooolverines!!!Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                …they need to stop pretending that they can shoot their way out of it…

                Ya, if we hit the point where guns become the solution then it’s beyond ugly.

                This requires strengthening checks and balances in the government, and not cheering when the checks and balances fail *even if* it’s your own side coming out ahead.

                Agreed. Which means no ignoring Congress just because they’re being a pain.

                It requires making, as a hard and fast principle of US law, that the US cannot detain people without charge. *cough*Bush*cough*

                It goes beyond Bush. The legal system isn’t setup to deal with illegal soldiers, Geneva only addresses it to condemn it. We need alternatives other than treating illegal enemy soldiers as civilians (that would be rewarding behavior which should be punished).

                The Obama solution is to kill them before they end up in the Justice system. I’m not sure that’s an improvement.

                …and it also requires not electing… Donald Trump…

                This isn’t the first, nor last, time we’ve gotten someone like him. The people who cheered the imperial presidency and the expansion of government should understand they’re building tools for others.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                The Obama solution is to kill them before they end up in the Justice system. I’m not sure that’s an improvement.

                Well, it sounds worse, but at least we’re using *our own* information to track them down (Usually by tracking cell communications and watching satellite images), as opposed to Gitmo, where we just paid bounties for people who other people *asserted* were terrorists.

                But I’m still not on board with it.

                In an *actual* war, in a real military situation like the one with ISIS (Where we have permission from the government to be there, or the legitimate government has lost control of the area.), drones are fine. I’m fine with *military* use of drones in general, as long as we can target soldiers with enough specificity.

                But I’m not fine with the CIA use of drones in killing people who are not declared soldiers. (And not even currently *acting* as soldiers) That is not something we need to be doing. If we know there are terrorists in a certain house in Yemen, then Yemen needs to go get them. If Yemen doesn’t want to do that, but doesn’t have a problem with us doing it, than fine, *our* soldiers can do it, I’m mostly okay with that, as long as it’s under some reasonable level of risk.

                What I’m not okay with is just blowing the place up. People cannot be blown up by the US just because they’re in contact with a criminal who planted some bomb in yet another country. (I’m not even sure why *we* would be arresting them.)

                Nor am I okay with Yemen not *really* approving of us doing that, but being forced to look the other way because we’re keeping it classified and if they make a big deal of it, it just makes them look weak because they can’t defend their country from our drones.

                That is exactly how we *shouldn’t* be treating the sovereignty of other countries. It’s that sort of crap that builds anti-American resentment…and that’s just the ‘Forcing Yemen to ignore the bombing’, not the actual ‘Hey, we just blew up a bunch of people’. (We don’t actually *know* how much these countries are on board with these bombings, because the US government refuses to admit they’re doing them!)

                Which, incidentally, is a pretty clear indicator that the US government knows something is morally wrong: When they attempt to keep it classified and claim they’re not doing it long after *everyone knows it*.

                The legal system isn’t setup to deal with illegal soldiers, Geneva only addresses it to condemn it.

                We don’t need to deal with them in *our* legal system. If we capture ISIS members, for the duration of the war, *we* should treat them like captured soldiers from a country that didn’t sign Geneva. (Some protections, but without a lot of fancy stuff.)

                ISIS soldiers did not commit crimes against the US. ISIS soldiers, acting as an army, fought off the US, possibly even killed a few of them. But the world have decided that *that* behavior, by soldiers, is not illegal and not something the soldiers should be punished for. You cannot punish soldiers for shooting at an invading army, you can’t even punish them *for* invading.

                Of course, there’s already a nearly-fatal Catch-22 under Geneva for soldiers who *do not have a country*. Namely, they’ve got nowhere to go at the end of hostilities. If there is not ‘Nation of ISIS’, when ‘the war’ is over, we turn them over *to the country we captured them in*, which is probably going to have a lot to say about their behavior towards its citizens. (Again, the soldiers aren’t *supposed* to be punished for fighting other soldiers, but ISIS has actually killed and injured plenty of civilians, which the soldiers *can* be punished for. But *not by us*. It is not against US law to kill random Syrians in Syria.)

                This, incidentally, is assuming we *win* this fight. If we lose, if the battle concludes with ISIS winning signing a peace treaty, and actually keeping some territory, than that means we return their soldiers to them. And, as much as it might suck, that’s sorta how it’s supposed to work.

                As for everything else: ‘Unlawful combatant’ detention is bullshit, mostly because there are only *specific* reasons the US can detain people.1) They are an enemy soldier, in which case, Geneva, 2) There is a court order detaining them, aka, they have been charged with or convicted of a crime or held in contempt of court, 3) Short-term police arrest *without* a court order, usually limited to 48 hours, 4) They are danger to themselves or others, aka a psychiatric hold, or the extremely rare forced medical quarantine.

                That’s it. That’s all there is. There are no other legal methods of detaining people available to the government. None. The government had to try to justify what it was doing by claiming it wasn’t doing it in the US, which is the stupidest damn argument I’ve ever heard of. (If only because that plus #3 would allow the government to detain people for no reason for 48 hours, during which they just have to move the person *out* of the US and now can detain them forever.)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                Well, it sounds worse, but at least we’re using *our own* information to track them down (Usually by tracking cell communications and watching satellite images), as opposed to Gitmo, where we just paid bounties for people who other people *asserted* were terrorists.

                Living people go to Gitmo and are often released, drone strikes kill that person plus everyone around them. And I don’t share your trust that “our own” information isn’t actually just paying for tips.

                But I’m not fine with the CIA use of drones in killing people who are not declared soldiers.

                That’s rewarding activities which should be punished. Soldiers who aren’t wearing uniforms or obeying the laws of war don’t magically become civilians and the police don’t magically gain the ability to control the battlefield they’re on.

                If we know there are terrorists in a certain house in Yemen, then Yemen needs to go get them.

                Mostly we use drones where the local government doesn’t actually control “its land”. Us putting boots on the ground there would also raise sovereignty issues.

                We don’t need to deal with them in *our* legal system. If we capture ISIS members, for the duration of the war, *we* should treat them like captured soldiers from a country that didn’t sign Geneva. (Some protections, but without a lot of fancy stuff.)

                This takes us back to guantanamo bay or something like it.

                ISIS soldiers did not commit crimes against the US.

                ISIS is committing genocide, various other crimes against humanity, and is a thinly disguised/mutated/renamed/reincarnation of the 911 Al-Qaeda attackers. One of ISIS’s previous names was “Al Qaeda in Iraq”.

                there’s already a nearly-fatal Catch-22 under Geneva for soldiers who *do not have a country*. Namely, they’ve got nowhere to go at the end of hostilities

                I thought you were opposed to holding people forever without charge? Hostilities may not end this century.

                They are an enemy soldier, in which case, Geneva,

                Sure, but this brings us back to Geneva giving rights to soldiers who follow the rules, however these groups aren’t following the rules. All the other categories you mention assume police control of the scene, which is simply nonsense in terms of a battlefield.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                That’s rewarding activities which should be punished. Soldiers who aren’t wearing uniforms or obeying the laws of war don’t magically become civilians, and the police don’t magically gain the ability to control the battlefield they’re on.

                That is a reasonable description of who the *military* is killing with drone strikes.

                It isn’t an accurate description of who the *CIA* is killing with drone strikes.

                The CIA, for a made-up example (Because they refuse to tell us anything about what they are doing), is killing some guy in Yemen who is not on a battlefield, and has not actually ever shot anyone. He is, let’s say, a radial Imam that teaches that people *should* join ISIS, and perhaps even funnels money to them.

                Attempt to manipulate language where this person is a ‘soldier’ is just that…a manipulation of language. They do not qualify as a soldier under any laws of war. You aren’t a soldier just because you *fund and encourage* soldiers. (If that were the case, *almost all American* would count as soldiers.)

                Now, if you want to claim the people in Al-Qaeda that were shooting at American forces in Afghanistan were soldiers (Despite not representing a country), I can see that justification.

                And ISIS soldiers *are* soldiers, period. ISIS considers itself a country, the people it has hired to shoot guns are, therefore, soldiers. (It doesn’t matter that we don’t *recognize* ISIS as a country…it presents itself as such.)

                But those are not who the CIA is killing.

                Mostly we use drones where the local government doesn’t actually control “its land”. Us putting boots on the ground there would also raise sovereignty issues.

                Us putting drones in their air *also* raises sovereignty issues.

                It just does it in a weirdly undemocratic way where everyone can pretend it’s not going on. US citizens can’t object, because we don’t ‘officially’ know anything, and US legislators can’t legally talk about it because it’s classified, citizens of that country also aren’t officially told, and now there’s the precedent in hat country that America might reign death from the sky and *their own governments* either cannot, or choose to not, do anything about it. (Which also raises interesting due-process concerns in *their own* country. America should be exporting the *rule-of-law*, not we-can-kill-anyone-we-want.)

                Thus building resentment against a) the US, and b) the pro-US forces in their own government.

                And then, years later, when *that* country has voted in an anti-US government, we’re like ‘Oh, man, how did that happen?’ Gee, I wonder.

                I mean, if *our* government decided to secretly let *Britain* operate drones over *our* country and used them to kill people funding the IRA (In a world where The Troubles were still happening.), and both governments denied that was what was going on, I wonder if we’d be upset about that? I wonder if *we’d* elect a government that wasn’t so close to Britain.

                In reality, if a country cannot control its own territory, a better solution would be for it to ask for help from US or some multi-national forces to fix that.

                This takes us back to guantanamo bay or something like it.

                No. Gitmo was nothing like a proper POW camp. For one thing, we tortured people there, which is illegal under Geneva *even if* the country is not a signatory. As is humiliating people.

                ISIS is committing genocide, various other crimes against humanity, and is a thinly disguised/mutated/renamed/reincarnation of the 911 Al-Qaeda attackers. One of ISIS’s previous names was “Al Qaeda in Iraq”.

                Al Qaeda in Iraq barely existed before 9/11, and for several years after it. Additionally Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t (and really never had) any real connection to Al Qaeda in the first place, and certainly wasn’t let in on their 9/11 plan. The odds of anyone at all in current ISIS even *knowing* about 9/11 in advance, much less having anything to do with planning it, is almost nill.

                And as for them committing genocide…yes, and they could be charged with that war crime. However *we* are not a signatory to the ICC, so us trying to prosecute war crimes is a bit dubious. (Additionally, our recent spat of torture sorta disqualifies us.)

                We need to hold them until hostilities are over, and then *turn them over* to a court that will prosecute them. I’m not sure why we even need to worry about war crimes…almost all ISIS soldiers have committed actual criminal actions under the laws of Iraq and/or Syria, and will be sentenced to death for *that*.

                I thought you were opposed to holding people forever without charge? Hostilities may not end this century.

                I am not opposed to holding people in POW conditions forever. I am opposed to holding people in *prisons* without charge, which is what Gitmo is…actually, I lie. It’s way worse than any prison could legally be.

                Although I find the idea of the war with ISIS taking forever a bit silly.

                Sure, but this brings us back to Geneva giving rights to soldiers who follow the rules, however these groups aren’t following the rules.

                There nothing in Geneva that treats soldiers differently if they break the rules.

                Now, ISIS soldiers *are* treated differently because ISIS has not signed Geneva, but that doesn’t really matter either, because there are plenty of protections for non-Geneva solders under Geneva. Like no torture, and no humiliation.

                What the Bush administration did was, basically, invent a *new* category of solders called ‘unlawful’ and claim they were outside Geneva *entirely*. Which is nonsense, as Geneva literally applies to anyone on the planet (In a combat zone, or taken from a combat zone) who is not actively soldiering. Here’s the actual thing:

                In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the following provisions:

                (1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed ‘ hors de combat ‘ by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
                To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

                (a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

                (b) taking of hostages;

                (c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;

                (d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.

                (2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                It isn’t an accurate description of who the *CIA* is killing with drone strikes.

                So we transfer the program to the Pentagon.

                The CIA, for a made-up example…

                If we’re going to make things up then we might as well claim they’re always targeting nuclear terrorists or the next 911.

                Now, if you want to claim the people in Al-Qaeda that were shooting at American forces in Afghanistan were soldiers (Despite not representing a country), I can see that justification.

                I do claim that. They have a command structure, take orders, are not motivated by money, have ranks, promotions, act to enforce politics, etc. They’re a non-state army.

                ISIS soldiers *are* soldiers, period.

                Agreed. But they were also soldiers before they managed to take territory, and they’ll be soldiers after they lose their territory.

                Us putting drones in their air *also* raises sovereignty issues… America should be exporting the *rule-of-law*, not we-can-kill-anyone-we-want.

                This is a last resort, not a first. If the states in question had the ability to exercise sovereignty over these areas we’d have them do so or go to war. Rule-of-law isn’t something we can simply give them, they don’t have a police force which can arrest potential mass murderers.

                Thus building resentment against a) the US

                True. The US does lots of things which are deeply unpopular in that part of the world. They disliked our killing Bin Laden, our letting women have rights, our letting people have the freedom to leave their religion, our tolerating Jews&Gays, and so forth.

                In reality, if a country cannot control its own territory, a better solution would be for it to ask for help from US or some multi-national forces to fix that.

                Their government viewed this as a problem, but not a priority. Getting control would be painful enough that they’ve just ignored the problem until we got dragged into this mess.

                So now it’s a huge embarrassment that we are repeatedly pointing out their total lack of sovereignty by blowing up people they should be arresting. We’ll stop when the war is over or they get control. If we weren’t doing this our expectation is they’d be doing at best nothing and at worst making the situation worse.

                No. Gitmo was nothing like a proper POW camp. For one thing, we tortured people there, which is illegal under Geneva *even if* the country is not a signatory. As is humiliating people.

                Gitmo tried to go right up to the line on what was legal, they might have stepped over it (although every investigation has shown not technically), but in any case everything you’re pointing out can be (and has been) fixed with the stroke of a pen. It’s a POW camp where the people are going to be held until the war with Al Qaeda… which might be a century.

                Al Qaeda in Iraq barely existed before 9/11, and for several years after it. Additionally Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t (and really never had) any real connection to Al Qaeda in the first place, and certainly wasn’t let in on their 9/11 plan. The odds of anyone at all in current ISIS even *knowing* about 9/11 in advance, much less having anything to do with planning it, is almost nill.

                This is a bunch of meaningless quibbles. Legally we’re at war with Al Qaeda and it’s affiliates. When you join an army (such as Al Qaeda) then you’re on the hook for the war. Wars can go on for decades or centuries. If a war goes on long enough then everyone involved in the openly will be dead.

                And as for them committing genocide…yes, and they could be charged with that war crime. However *we* are not a signatory to the ICC, so us trying to prosecute war crimes is a bit dubious.

                The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide became effective in 1951, we signed in 1948 and fully ratified it 1988. In 1994 the Clinton administration did legal, ethical, and linguistic back-flips to avoid calling the Rwandan situation “genocide” because they thought the US would then be obligated to go to war.

                Prosecuting them for “war crimes” may or may not be useful (even in Nazi Germany we prosecuted very few people), but that’s a side note.

                We need to hold them until hostilities are over…

                True, but hostilities aren’t over simply because ISIS loses its land. Hostilities are over when the other side surrenders and/or there is no army that POWs can return to. This probably won’t be true in our lifetime.

                As Geneva put it, “…no repatriated person may be utilized in active military service.”

                At the moment, our expectation is that the POWs we let go will try to rejoin their war. Ergo we shouldn’t be letting them go, even if they haven’t committed any war crimes. You don’t need an excuse for holding hostile soldiers POW for as long as the war goes on.

                There nothing in Geneva that treats soldiers differently if they break the rules.

                … the concept of an unlawful combatant is included in the Third Geneva Convention…

                …Article 5 of the Third Geneva Convention states …After… determined that an individual detainee is an unlawful combatant, the “detaining power” may choose to accord the detained unlawful combatant the rights and privileges of a prisoner of war as described in the Third Geneva Convention, but is not required to do so….

                …The Geneva Conventions do not recognize any lawful status for combatants in conflicts not involving two or more nation states. A state in such a conflict is legally bound only to observe Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and may ignore all the other Articles.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unlawful_combatantReport

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                @dark-matter
                So we transfer the program to the Pentagon.

                I don’t understand why you think that is important. The important part is we are killing people who are not engaged in any active hostilities against anyone.

                And the reason it’s in the CIA is that the military has a couple of things the government would trip over. Like having to report how much collateral damage is done, and also getting the military to do targetted killings is somewhat tricky. (‘Kill that guy’ is not a normal military objective.)

                The military *could* be doing some percentage of what the CIA is doing. The problem is, if that was how it was operated, the American people would know enough to be outraged about what is going on. We’d have discussions that the Bush administration didn’t want us to have at the time, and the Obama administration didn’t want us to start having.

                If we’re going to make things up then we might as well claim they’re always targeting nuclear terrorists or the next 911.

                …under that logic, that means the US government can just classify anything and you’re fine with it? The example I gave is a perfectly reasonable generalized example of what the CIA program is doing. We don’t know specific examples because they refuse to tell us, but we’ve been able to reverse engineer some of the CIA drone attacks and they are, indeed, attacking people who are, as far as anyone can tell, not a member of any radical organization, but might be stating and giving support to them.

                This is a last resort, not a first. If the states in question had the ability to exercise sovereignty over these areas we’d have them do so or go to war. Rule-of-law isn’t something we can simply give them, they don’t have a police force which can arrest potential mass murderers.

                And the reason our military can’t work *with* their military to regain control of that area is…

                …that that would be massively unpopular in that country. So much so there would be backlash.

                We are exporting a lack of democracy. (Which is apt, because there’s a lack of democratic controls at our end also!) We are taking countries where democratic controls are already weak, and we’re walking all over them, showing people either a) their government is tacitly accepting of America military operating uncontrolled in their country, but refusing to admit it, or b) their government is too weak to stop that.

                As I said, that is a *really good* way to make elections happens. Anti-American elections.

                In that part of the world, anti-American is almost *always* radicalizied Islam. (Except, ironically, for Saddam Hussian and the Baathists.)

                True. The US does lots of things which are deeply unpopular in that part of the world. They disliked our killing Bin Laden, our letting women have rights, our letting people have the freedom to leave their religion, our tolerating Jews&Gays, and so forth.

                They also dislike us *bombing their country*. Which, incidentally, is exactly the sort of behavior that *gives power and justification* to the anti-Western stuff you just described.

                Pretending all their dislikes are unreasonable, while at the same time arguing it’s perfectly fine to bomb their country, is a bit absurd.

                America plays a specific role in most of the world. The role we *like to think* we play in the world is the role we play in Europe, where we are sort of a genial rich uncle.

                There is a *reason* we can’t play that role in the Middle East. It is *this* sort of crap. (And a slightly different, but related, reason we can’t play that role in South America.)

                So now it’s a huge embarrassment that we are repeatedly pointing out their total lack of sovereignty by blowing up people they should be arresting. We’ll stop when the war is over or they get control. If we weren’t doing this our expectation is they’d be doing at best nothing and at worst making the situation worse.

                Gee, I wonder if the US government hugely embarrassing Yemen might, uh, enable anti-American support *in* Yemen, causing an anti-American faction I will randomly name ‘Houthis’ to seize control of the capital.

                Wait, no, I didn’t make that up, that actually happened.

                In fact, a hell of a lot of pro-Democracy Arab Spring movements rapidly turned into Islam-based anti-American movements, which seems a bit odd, Islamic rule is no fan of democracies….until you realize that US government is, literally, the largest anti-democratic force in the area. If there is a reason the people of a country have no say in what is happening in their country, the US government is probably to blame for that in some manner, be it just ignoring their wishes and bombing the country, propping up dictators, or, just, sometimes, invading their country.

                Gitmo tried to go right up to the line on what was legal, they might have stepped over it (although every investigation has shown not technically)

                No. Torture is not legal, and no investigation has found it to be.

                This is a bunch of meaningless quibbles

                You were trying to list reasons we could charge people in ISIS with crimes in America, and listed 9/11, aka, the premise being we could charge them with murder. But there is really no way that anyone in ISIS had anything to do with causing 9/11, or even had advanced knowledge of it. There is no way that works in an actual court. ISIS is derived from a group that barely existed at the time of 9/11, and only had a very loose affiliation with AQ to start with.

                You want to argue we’re at *war* with them, that’s something else entirely. I was arguing ISIS *have not committed crimes in America*, and thus cannot be charged with any crimes here. (Possibly war crimes being something else that *we* wouldn’t be charging them with.)

                At the moment, our expectation is that the POWs we let go will try to rejoin their war. Ergo we shouldn’t be letting them go, even if they haven’t committed any war crimes. You don’t need an excuse for holding hostile soldiers POW for as long as the war goes on.

                I have no problem with holding them indefinitely *as POWs*. (POWs from a non-signatory, but POWs none-the-less.)

                Of course, a rather large problem is that a lot of the people in Gitmo weren’t even that. They were people handed over for money (Which we shouldn’t have held at all), or what would best be described as ‘mercenaries’, Afghanis paid 50 dollars and handed a gun and told to defend an AQ base. (Even if you can come up with some *legal* justification for holding those people, there doesn’t seem to be any logical or ethical reason to do so once Afghanistan surrendered and AQ run out. Again, under the laws of war, *we do not punish people for shooting at opposing soldiers*.)

                Under POW rules, prisoners are supposed to have the chance to argue they should not be prisoners. At Gitmo, we *eventually* pretended to set that process up, after taking forever, but it took so long, and was so rigged without minimal protections like the right to see evidence against the accused, it functionally didn’t exist…and then, eventually, it *did* end up having to let almost everyone go!

                Even the absurdist almost kangaroo-court we set up said ‘Yeah, we can’t figure out why most of these people are here’.

                Gee, if only we’d done that *years earlier*. It almost makes me wish people had some sort of right to a speedy trial in this country, and it was illegal to torture them while we waited.

                Oh, wait.

                The Geneva Conventions do not recognize any lawful status for combatants in conflicts not involving two or more nation states. A state in such a conflict is legally bound only to observe Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions and may ignore all the other Articles.

                Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is precisely what we broke. It’s what I listed above.

                And note that Geneva is the *minimum* we have to follow, because, duh, we also have a constitution and laws that forbid various things, and we didn’t bother following them either.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                The important part is we are killing people who are not engaged in any active hostilities against anyone….

                Being a member of Al-Qaeda, by definition, means you’re “engaged in active hostilities”. We can shoot soldiers, even if they’re not at that moment shooting at us. We can also shoot at the other members of their army who are not soldiers, just like they get to shoot at anyone wearing a uniform.

                ‘Kill that guy’ is not a normal military objective.

                Bin-Laden appears to have changed that.

                The example I gave is a perfectly reasonable generalized example of what the CIA program is doing.

                Source? Better yet, examples?

                And the reason our military can’t work *with* their military to regain control of that area is… …that that would be massively unpopular in that country. So much so there would be backlash.

                So we can’t do it, they can’t or won’t do it, and anyone trying to becomes unpopular. That means whatever we want to do is going to be ugly, and we’re into cost effective damage control. The expensive way to do this is invade the country, like after 911.

                Pretending all their dislikes are unreasonable, while at the same time arguing it’s perfectly fine to bomb their country, is a bit absurd.

                We’re bombing their country because their dislikes are unreasonable. All of the behavior I described predates us bombing them. We’re fighting them in their home because 911 proved they’re going to knock down buildings here if we don’t.

                We are exporting a lack of democracy.

                So if their version of “democracy” means homosexuals and heretics are put to death, women have no rights, and 911 attackers are celebrated and shown to the population and what they should do, you’re good with all of that? You view that as the least evil thing we can do in an imperfect world? After 911 we should have just turned the other cheek because invading them would be unpopular?

                a lot of pro-Democracy Arab Spring movements rapidly turned into Islam-based anti-American movements, which seems a bit odd, Islamic rule is no fan of democracies…

                Hardly “odd”. Islamists believe their religion should be running the government and it doesn’t matter how they gain power. They’re just fine being voted in, they’re not fine being voted out. After they were voted in they take steps to make sure they’ll never leave, and that’s a big problem. So they’re Islamists first and Democrats only as long as they win.

                If there is a reason the people of a country have no say in what is happening in their country, the US government is probably to blame for that in some manner

                The US government’s ability to get other countries to play nice with their people is overstated.

                No. Torture is not legal, and no investigation has found it to be.

                True, but this raises the “what is torture” issue and the legal definition may differ from the practical and/or common sense one. The Administration did a review to see where the lines were drawn, and what were clear lines after 911 became grayer years after it.

                You want to argue we’re at *war* with them, that’s something else entirely… I have no problem with holding them indefinitely *as POWs*. (POWs from a non-signatory, but POWs none-the-less.)

                Agreed, and Good.

                Of course, a rather large problem is that a lot of the people in Gitmo weren’t even that. They were people handed over for money (Which we shouldn’t have held at all),

                I assume Bush (and if not him, Obama) have already released people like that. Bush released hundreds of people, Obama entered office thinking Gitmo was as you say with a few serious criminals who could be tried. Some of the people he released ended up on the battlefield again and what we have left is the ‘too dangerous to release but who can’t be taken to court’.

                it functionally didn’t exist…and then, eventually, it *did* end up having to let almost everyone go!

                Numbers? I haven’t found anything which is very user friendly on this. I can’t tell if the number let go via this process was small or large.Report

              • Some of the people he released ended up on the battlefield again

                Where battlefield sometimes means “Criticizes the US publicly and vehemently for having imprisoned them for years with no cause.” Which is so unreasonable.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Where battlefield sometimes means “Criticizes the US publicly and vehemently for having imprisoned them for years with no cause.” Which is so unreasonable.

                Sure, if you’re willing to handwave the murder, kidnapping, blowing things up, and rejoining Al-Qaeda, then they’re innocent little lambs.

                The question is why is it a good idea to handwave that part of the situation?

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_former_Guantanamo_Bay_detainees_alleged_to_have_returned_to_terrorismReport

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Sure, if you’re willing to handwave the murder, kidnapping, blowing things up, and rejoining Al-Qaeda, then they’re innocent little lambs.

                You realize a huge portion of that list is gibberish, right? Despite the title, there are a lot of *Taliban* people on it, who returned to the *Taliban*. The Taliban…are not terrorists. The Taliban were a government, and now are rebel forces against the new government, but that doesn’t make them *terrorists*.

                The member of the Taliban we’ve captured get released at the end of the war, period. (Unless we can prove war crimes, but the Taliban, while morally reprehensible and repressive, didn’t really do any of those.) If the released people join some sort of resistance movement after that, whatever. We are not in control that of that, and have no right to hold people forever because they might do that. We should have handed them all back to Afghanistan the second their government had the resources to hold them.

                There are also a lot of people on the list who clearly are just being detained by *other people* illegally. But, uh, us detaining someone without charged is not justifiable because some other country decided to detain them without charges later! Like Abdullah al Noaimi, and probably ?brahim ?en.

                And there’s a bunch of completely unsubstantiated claims, like the ones about Mohammed Nayim Farouq (Who, as far as anyone knows, has not returned to the fight, but never was in it to start with.) and Muhammad Ismail Agha (Who has not actually been recaptured.) and Sahib Rohullah Wakil (Who, flatly, has never been a terrorist. He’s a politician in Pakistan.)

                Or, to clarify things a lot: You notice there are *five* lists supposedly there. If you actually read what they claim, you will notice those lists are supposed to be *cumulative*. If they were listed in 2007 as having been released from Gitmo and returned to combat, they logically *still* should be on the 2008 list.

                But if you actually look at those lists, a very weird fact will arise: About a third of the names get removed from year to year.

                Where did Mohamed Yusif Yaqub and Abdul Rahman Noor go in 2007?

                That list is a goddamn Gish Gallop of listing people. An extremely long list where almost *none* of the people on it actually hold up.

                The closest thing to what that list is being represented as is the three Russians Timur Ravilich Ishmurat, Ruslan Anatolivich Odijev, and Ravil Shafeyavich Gumarov, who did proceed to blow up a Russian pipeline. The problem is…we didn’t actually release them. We handed them over to the Russians because the Russians wanted them. The *Russians* released them.

                And there’s the awkward problem of people like Mohammed Mizouz. He might, indeed, have become a terrorist, after release or even have already been one…but he was originally captured by *Pakistan*, in Pakistan, *before* 9/11, tortured, and then randomly turned over to us, and we really had no evidence that he’d anything to do with terrorists at all.

                In fact, almost all the *verifiable* people who have ‘returned to combat’ (Barring those three Russians.) never were in damn *combat* to start with. At least, we didn’t find them in combat. Pakistan was holding them, often before 9/11, and for years after, and then handed them over to the US, who eventually had to release them because Pakistan is not that big on, you know, ‘collecting evidence’ and other stuff like that.

                Are we supposed to detain people *forever* on the word of *Pakistani intelligence*? How exactly is this supposed to work? Yes, some of the people Pakistan hands to us are, indeed, terrorists….and other people are just people Pakistan does not like.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                We should have handed them all back to Afghanistan the second their government had the resources to hold them.

                Agreed.

                Yes, some of the people Pakistan hands to us are, indeed, terrorists….and other people are just people Pakistan does not like.

                And we’ve had years to filter out which is which. Your rhetoric leads towards just closing the camp and letting everyone go. We have heard this sort of thing from the left in general and Obama specifically. But there’s a disconnect between the reality that rhetoric assumes and the reality that Obama’s actions describe.

                Obama made closing the camp a high priority. Congress stopped him from dumping all of them into the US prison system, but he’s got lots of other alternatives. He can pardon, he could just let people go by finding they’re falsely accused innocents, probably he could just let them go by declaring the war is over, etc.

                And with all of that, while he did let some go, there’s a lot Obama hasn’t released and doesn’t want to let out. Presumably he’s unwilling to release POWs during an active war.

                It’s possible Obama will prove me wrong in the next few weeks. He’ll be no longer beholden to political blowback so he could show he really does believe his own rhetoric just before he steps down. If he really thinks these men are innocent and only in there because of mistakes, malice, and US-red-tap, then he SHOULD do this.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Obama made closing the camp a high priority. Congress stopped him from dumping all of them into the US prison system, but he’s got lots of other alternatives.

                Actually, Congress *also* barred him from using any Federal funds to let them go except with their permission. This would even apply to ordering the military to unlock their cells and let them out.

                And, uh, we don’t release prisoners into the middle of military bases, that would just be weird. We generally want to send them home, or at least home-ish.

                People have, hilariously, considered things like this…like have Obama just hang around Gitmo, wait until they are led to food or given exercise, and leaping in and personally taking the prisoner and walking them out of camp. (Perhaps he could also order Gitmo soldiers to not fire on some sort of non-profit sending boats to pick them up, or something, because riding back with him is probably not permissible.)

                But baring the sort of silliness that Obama has not been known for, no, he can’t just let them go, because he is not allowed to spend any money on that.

                He can pardon

                Obama can only pardon people of crimes. None of the people at Gitmo have been convicted of crimes. [Edit: Well, three have, but those are the people we *don’t* want to release! We just want them in normal prison!]

                he could just let people go by finding they’re falsely accused innocents

                No he can’t. Congress has set up rules that say they can only be let go if specific things happen. (Or, rather, Federal money can only be spent letting them go if…)

                probably he could just let them go by declaring the war is over, etc.

                I don’t see how that makes any sense at all. They supposedly *aren’t* POWs.

                And with all of that, while he did let some go, there’s a lot Obama hasn’t released and doesn’t want to let out.

                59 people remain in Gitmo.

                22 have been recommended for release (I.e., jumped through the hoops Congress set up, which they did back in *2010*), but have not been released because their country is too unstable. I find it astonishing we think it’s acceptable to keep people we *have said should be released* for *six years*.

                3 have been convicted in a military tribunal of war crimes. Not sure what dumbass reason we’re still keeping them at Gitmo instead of just putting them in prison, except Congress.

                7 have been charged with war crimes and not got to trial yet. (You know, of all the civil rights we have, ‘right to a speedy trial’ is often underappreciated.) Not sure why we’re even bothering with this…there is an actual ICC we could hand them over to if they’ve actually committed war crimes, but whatever.

                The remaining 27 are the problem. The system that Congress set up recommended that they not be released and yet they have not been charged with anything. (And since 2010, a lot of the evidence against them has gotten more dubious.) Obama cannot release them, or, rather, he cannot use any Federal funds to release them.

                Although, as you point out, he probably *could* release them, or anyone he wants, in the early morning of January 20th, and then dare anyone to do anything about it. Technically, he could then be charged with a crime (Well, after noon on the 20th, he could.), but that seems extremely unlikely to actually happen. Or he could just do something that dodges around the law enough that case seems dubious, like ordering no one to relock cell doors and not put handcuffs back on people and not recapture them if they try to walk out, meaning the *absence* of military action released the prisoners. (Technically, even sending orders to do that to Gitmo would violate the law, but that would be a hell of a hard sell in court.)

                I…am not sure that is a precedent we want to set moving forward, though. The last day of the presidency is not a free for all. It’s bad enough that dubious pardons are done at the end, but that’s just to stop political blowback. Those are, at least, *legal*.

                Of course, if he wanted to be super-duper clever, he could do it, immediately resign, and have Biden pardon him. Which is probably an even *worse* precedent.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC says:

                (Or, rather, Federal money can only be spent letting them go if…)

                I don’t see how this is a serious impediment. Everyone with a gun on that base takes orders from Obama. As you pointed out, there are non-profits with boats and whatever. In theory you open the door and let them walk out for a budget cost of nothing.

                Further, although I’m not a lawyer, I doubt the constitutionality of a law trying to prevent the President from giving the military orders, overseas, in a time of declared war, at a budget cost of nothing.

                22 have been recommended for release (I.e., jumped through the hoops Congress set up, which they did back in *2010*), but have not been released because their country is too unstable.

                Meaning we think they’d be killed if they go back and no one else is willing to take them.

                7 have been charged with war crimes and not got to trial yet. …there is an actual ICC we could hand them over to if they’ve actually committed war crimes, but whatever.

                In any government program we should ask ourselves if the jobs it’s creating are worth the cost.

                It’s bad enough that dubious pardons are done at the end, but that’s just to stop political blowback.

                We already have the Clinton example of pardoning unreformed terrorists for his wife’s political advantage, so imho a last day adventure doesn’t set new ground.

                The remaining 27 are the problem. The system that Congress set up recommended that they not be released and yet they have not been charged with anything.

                They’re POWs, we should be facing that reality.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Dark Matter says:

                It goes beyond Bush. The legal system isn’t setup to deal with illegal soldiers, Geneva only addresses it to condemn it. We need alternatives other than treating illegal enemy soldiers as civilians (that would be rewarding behavior which should be punished).

                We have alternatives. The problem is that our approach to the War on Terror made certain aspects of dealing with unlawful enemy combatants tricky to say the least. I’d go back and read some of the key cases (Hamdi, Hamdan, Padilla, Rasul and Boumediene).Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Dave says:

                Dave: We have alternatives.

                Upon landing, Dasch and Burger turned themselves in to the Federal Bureau of Investigation with some difficulty, since the FBI did not believe them immediately. They convinced the FBI that they were telling the truth and the remaining six were taken into custody in New York and Chicago, Illinois by FBI agents. The FBI had no leads until Dasch gave his exaggerated and romanticized version in Washington, D.C.

                … On August 3, 1942, two days after the trial ended, all eight were found guilty and sentenced to death. Roosevelt later commuted the death sentence of Dasch to 30 years in prison and the sentence of Burger to life in prison, as they had both confessed and assisted in capturing the others.

                Relying on cells to turn themselves in (knowing that we’d then sentence them to death), seems problematic.

                The problem is that our approach to the War on Terror made certain aspects of dealing with unlawful enemy combatants tricky to say the least.

                Agreed. The actual solutions on the table are “blow them up before they have access to lawyers”, or “lock them up as POWs forever, with or without charges”.

                I’m not sure what other alternatives we’ve got.

                I suppose we could capture and release, but politicians don’t want to take responsibility for the people who’d be later killed by a released terrorist.Report

    • Are you asking whether George Zimmerman fans electing a president changes my mind about gun ownership?Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Mike Schilling says:

        Are you asking whether George Zimmerman fans electing a president changes my mind about gun ownership?

        Basically, yes, exactly that.

        There are people running around saying they’re afraid and/or making Hitler-before-the-holocaust comparisons. I suspect they’re the same people who were saying a few months back how gun ownership is something we should do without and America will never be in a Hitler situation.

        What I’m really asking is if the first opinion changes anyone’s mind about the 2nd.

        However I’d also like to ask if anyone has changed their mind enough that they want a gun now, before it’s too late.Report

        • Sure, it changes my position. I’m far more concerned that background checks become universal now.Report

          • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Mike Schilling says:

            Sure, it changes my position. I’m far more concerned that background checks become universal now.

            No shit.

            There are three *actual* attributes of authoritarian regimes (As opposed to the pretend ‘invading army on their own soil’.) that are relevant here:

            1) Harsh crackdown against an entire out-group when members of the out-group commit any sort of violence at all. (I.e., collective reprisals.) All crimes of the out-group count against the entire group.
            2) ‘Unauthorized’ violence, or authorized-by-clearly-excessive violence by the in-group against the out-group that, while technically illegal, is not really punished or stopped in any way.

            Resulting in:
            3) Harsh crackdown against the out-group when members of the out-group do eventually response to the violence against them with their own violence.

            We *already* were nearing this point with protests against police shootings that the right keeps trying to justify. I posted an article here a while back that pointed out that we were getting *dangerously* close to the ‘Revenge killing of cops’ point if the police didn’t at least start *talking* about changing.

            And now we have Trump.

            People who understand the slightest thing about authoritarian regimes knows what the outcome of ‘Being armed and attempting to fight back against the government is’…they kill you. They arrest everyone near you. They demonize everyone that looks like you.

            And the movement gets *more* popular support, not less. They just took out an *enemy of the state* who tried to overthrow the government! I guess all their warnings about how dangerous that sort of people were was *entirely true*…that sort of people are now *openly shooting* at us! (And by ‘us’ I mean ‘the in-group’)

            More guns out there makes the situation *worse*. In some *extremely hypothetical* instances, maybe some out-group members have guns *do* fend off the government or in-group attackers and, I dunno, manage to escape into Canada…and now they’re just created justification to goddamn bomb ‘those sort of people’ from drones so they can’t do that in the future, because everyone knows that those sort of people resort to violence at the drop of a hat (I mean, just look at what the last group did, killed these nice honorable police officers. Here’s a widow or two we’ll parade up and down.) and need to be put down like the rapid dogs they are.

            Seriously, I don’t even have the strength to even *argue* against the right’s nonsensical ‘guns are need to stop tyranny’ anymore. They’re basically demanding the right to carry water balloons in case the house catches on fire (Which can’t put out any sort of *real* house fire.) …and at the same time, electing someone who is pouring gasoline over everything and judging lit matches. What. The. Everloving. Fuck.Report

  12. Avatar Joe Sal says:

    Good work InMD, this was excellent.

    I don’t fully understand why you would buy a gun for protest of social constructs, instead of subjective preference in hunting or personal protection. I kind of appreciate it in a concept sense, but in the end I think subjectivity is the larger protest.Report

  13. Avatar Kazzy says:

    @dark-matter

    How do you feel about nuclear proliferation? Should the US be involved in stopping other nations from developing/acquiring nuclear weapons?Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

      How do you feel about nuclear proliferation? Should the US be involved in stopping other nations from developing/acquiring nuclear weapons?

      Yes.Report

      • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

        @dark-matter

        So American individuals should have access to weapons for self-defense and deterrence reasons but nation-states should not?Report

        • Avatar J_A in reply to Kazzy says:

          But we are talking about “us” and “them”. It’s not remotely comparable, come onReport

        • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

          So American individuals should have access to weapons for self-defense and deterrence reasons but nation-states should not?

          Most nation states haven’t gone nuclear because of bribes, the risk, the expense, and so forth.

          However nation states that think they have a “self-defence” need for nukes have always gotten them. They’ve mostly been the states which live in rough neighbourhoods (although in NKorea’s case a combo of paranoia and fanaticism are probably at root).Report

          • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

            You didn’t answer the question.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

              Kazzy: So American individuals should have access to weapons for self-defence and deterrence reasons but nation-states should not?

              Dark Matter: …nation states that think they have a “self-defence” need for nukes have always gotten them.

              Kazzy: You didn’t answer the question.

              Go re-read that steam again. Regardless of what “should have access” means in this context, the reality is that the moment “self-defence” is on the table the state has gone nuclear.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                “Should” vs “do”…

                Answer the question…Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

                Restate it. One of us has lost the other.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                So American individuals should have access to weapons for self-defense and deterrence reasons but nation-states should not?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

                So American individuals should have access to weapons for self-defense and deterrence reasons but nation-states should not?

                What on Earth gives you the idea that nation states don’t have access to weapons? Despite all the moral posturing the US tries to put on, as far as I can tell we’ve failed to stop anyone from going nuclear the moment they think they need nukes for self-defence.

                Our allies (Israel), our enemies (North K, Iran), with Pakistan we knew what they were doing and the President called them up and basically begged/bribed them not to go nuclear and it still didn’t work.

                Nation states have “individual choice” as far as whether or not they have weapons, and yes, most of them live in comfortable suburbs and don’t arm themselves.

                Your question would be better phrased as “Shouldn’t American individuals have access to weapons for self-defence just like states do?”Report

              • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

                Still dodging.

                You said the US Government should allow Americans to have guns for self-defense and deterrence reasons AND the US Government should aim to stop nations from acquiring nuclear weapons for self-defense and deterrence reasons.

                That is your position as you’ve laid out. I’m asking you to justify the difference in treatment you advocate.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

                That is your position as you’ve laid out. I’m asking you to justify the difference in treatment you advocate.

                You’re pointing out a linguistic difference, not a policy difference.

                The US is able to make it impossible for a person to defend himself. Not difficult, not expensive, not against morals, but actually impossible via “we’ll arrest you if you try”.

                The US sometimes even does this without offering any effective defense for that person (“gun free” zones enforced not by armed guards but by trusting criminals to obey the law, various cities where guns are outlawed but people get shot on the street).

                Despite lip service, the US is unable to force the same thing on countries. (We don’t threaten to nuke any country which gets nukes)

                It is a good thing to have effective law enforcement and other things which prevent the need for weapons at a personal/country level. It is a good thing to try to convince countries/people they don’t need them. It’s a bad thing to force people to die merely so that you can feel good about your ethics in your comfortable home where you can ignore the risks they face.Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to Kazzy says:

      How do I feel about it? Depends on the state. If Coasta Rica had a bomb tomorrow I wouldn’t care. Iran, I’d be concerned. Frankly I’m not sure why we keep our friends like South Korea nuke free when they are threatened by the North. Let the South have a couple of nukes and we could leave.Report

  14. Avatar Dark Matter says:

    Stillwater:
    You’re talking about the 1% doctrine. If there’s a 1% chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al-Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response. It’s not about our analysis … It’s about our response.

    You’re comparing “going to war and killing many thousands of people” with “carrying a gun and not using it unless you have to”.

    IMHO a better comparison would be “insurance”.Report

    • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

      Does insurance ever carry the risk of…
      …being turned around to harm the carrier?
      …accidentally harming innocent bystanders?
      …being stolen or lost and then used to harm others?
      …being misused or misapplied and harming others?Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

        Does insurance ever carry the risk of…
        …being turned around to harm the carrier?
        …accidentally harming innocent bystanders?
        …being stolen or lost and then used to harm others?
        …being misused or misapplied and harming others?

        The first one is a risk to the person carrying so they should decide for themselves. The 3rd is a problem with firearms existence and beyond the scope of this discussion (unless you want to argue for total gun confiscation of everyone).

        The 2nd and 4th are better, the question is whether or not they’re reasonable fears on your part.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Dark Matter says:

      See Dark, if you were speaking of insurance in the terms of a individual construct: ‘this is my preference to insure my own protection’ you may have maintained subjective ownership of the individual construct.

      The moment you don’t define that, and insurance falls in the area of a social construct, then it falls prey to social objectivity and social justice. It is no longer yours.

      This isn’t to pick on kazzy, which I am sure has best intentions and comes to the table with good faith. Just that there exist different starting positions.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Joe Sal says:

        The nice thing about CCarry as insurance is it can help the people around you.Report

        • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

          IT can also kill them.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Kazzy says:

            IT can also kill them.

            The question is whether or not this is a reasonable fear.Report

            • Avatar Kazzy in reply to Dark Matter says:

              You want to talk reasonable fear? AWESOME!

              What are the odds of being shot by ISIS? A “gangbanger”? A loved one?

              What are the odds a weapon purchased for self defense is used to protect innocent life? Is used to harm innocent life?Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Kazzy says:

                What are the odds a weapon purchased for self defense is used to protect innocent life? Is used to harm innocent life?

                This would be a very interesting statistic

                How many times a private gun is used in a household or the street to stop a crime

                How many people are killed or injured in handgun accidents (I’m excluding rifles because of the hunting thing)

                The balance will tell you a lot about how good firearms are to protect your home and life.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

                @j_a @kazzy

                You want to talk reasonable fear? AWESOME! What are the odds of being shot by ISIS? A “gangbanger”? A loved one? What are the odds a weapon purchased for self defense is used to protect innocent life? Is used to harm innocent life? What are the odds a weapon purchased for self defense is used to protect innocent life? Is used to harm innocent life?

                This would be a very interesting statistic. How many times a private gun is used in a household or the street to stop a crime. How many people are killed or injured in handgun accidents (I’m excluding rifles because of the hunting thing). The balance will tell you a lot about how good firearms are to protect your home and life.

                :Amusement: No, you don’t get to lump all sorts of gun risks into the stats. People who carry mostly come from hunting/law-enforcement/ex-military communities and they’ve already got the risk of having guns in the house. Similarly suicide is off the table.

                The issue is whether *your* fear of being injured via someone who carries is reasonable.

                We had roughly 475 people die from mass shootings last year (pbs).

                One of these anti-carry websites claims we’ve had 700 people die in carry incidents over the last 10 years. Ideally we’d subtract incidents where the person carrying gets himself killed but whatever.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

      No, I’m comparing your decision-making to Cheney’s, irrespective of subject matter. It’s not about your analysis, it’s about your response.Report

      • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

        DarkMatter: You’re comparing “going to war and killing many thousands of people” with “carrying a gun and not using it unless you have to”. IMHO a better comparison would be “insurance”.

        Stillwater: No, I’m comparing you’re decision-making about this issue to Cheney’s 1% doctrine. It’s not about your analysis, it’s about your response.

        I must be missing something here. You seem to be claiming that carrying a gun is extremely aggressive in and of itself (and can be sensibly compared to the deaths in a war), even if it’s never used.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dark Matter says:

          I must be missing something here

          Yes, you are: you’re missing the entire thread, the whole point, of the discussion. It’s like arguing with a person with ADD.

          You wrote that arming up is a legitimate response since on your analysis twelve armed people with intent to kill can show up on anyone’s porch at any time. Hence, it’s not about your (faulty) analysis, but your (perfectly legitimate) response.Report

          • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to Stillwater says:

            You wrote that arming up is a legitimate response since on your analysis twelve armed people with intent to kill can show up on anyone’s porch at any time. Hence, it’s not about your (faulty) analysis, but your (perfectly legitimate) response.

            Are you claiming that’s the only situation in which a gun would be useful? We’ve got that gay bar shooting on the table as an example, it doesn’t count?Report

            • Avatar J_A in reply to Dark Matter says:

              We’ve got that gay bar shooting on the table as an example, it doesn’t count?

              It doesn’t, because guns in the hands of alcohol-impaired againts-ISIS self-appointed vigilantes are way, way, more dangerous that any ISIS murderer will ever beReport

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

                It doesn’t, because guns in the hands of alcohol-impaired againts-ISIS self-appointed vigilantes are way, way, more dangerous that any ISIS murderer will ever be

                What we know about our sample 20 potential carriers is that they disarmed because of a sticker on the door, i.e. they’re law abiding.

                This suggests that the entire alcohol+guns thing could be fixed via regulation, rather than a flat ban.Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Dark Matter says:

                If they did disarm upon arrival, they are also powerless against the ISIS murderer, unless they can get to the coat rack for their guns.

                So our hope hangs now only on non law abiding vigilantes. Who might be non law abiding in other matters besides protecting fellow drinkers from ISIS murderers. Like taking their gun out because someone made a pass at their boyfriend (gay bar, remember)Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

                If they did disarm upon arrival, they are also powerless against the ISIS murderer, unless they can get to the coat rack for their guns.

                20 law abiding people and none of them are a designated driver? Is it legal to drink and drive in Florida?Report

              • Avatar J_A in reply to Dark Matter says:

                I’m waiting for a TV campaign about being the designated anti ISIS murderers vigilante.Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter in reply to J_A says:

                I’m waiting for a TV campaign about being the designated anti ISIS murderers vigilante.

                Any reason not to drink is a good one.Report

  15. Avatar Mike Hansberry says:

    Burt Likko,

    Burt Likko: It may also be the case that a restriction of governmental power is the manner in which an individual right is protected, as the Constitution has been framed. That’s derived from the concept of “negative liberties,” which is that liberties by definition are limitations upon the ability of the government to control an individual’s autonomy. This seems an eminently defensible philosophical and legal idea to me

    Yes, and even more so when the text of that restriction on government power actually refers to a “right”. One might argue that the “freedom of speech” is not a right but only a restriction on government (though I do not see why anyone would) but it strikes me exceedingly silly to argue that a restriction on government which is presented as a right -is not actually a right.Report

    • Why can’t something like freedom of speech be both?

      There’s no argument (at least between you and I) that the First Amendment restricts the power of Congress. I don’t see any acknowledgement from you about incorporation, but that’s irrelevant to this discussion.

      There’s also no argument (as far as I can tell) that freedom of speech is somehow a basic human right.

      The question is whether the First Amendment protects a basic human right or whether it limits the government’s power. My point is, this looks like a false dichotomy.Report

      • Avatar Dave R in reply to Burt Likko says:

        @burt-likko

        The question is whether the First Amendment protects a basic human right or whether it limits the government’s power. My point is, this looks like a false dichotomy.

        Personally, I think his approach is so focused on individual rights because he needs to sell that to make his Second Amendment argument work. Having spent time brushing up on the individual rights view of the 2A, I think it evokes a kind of libertarian nationalism that would have made people like Webster and Story blush.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Dave R says:

          I guess I’m just, you know, a lawyer, so I can’t get past the fact that the First Amendment is a law. It is not statement of political philosophy or a declaration of some kind of norm. Because it’s a law that purports to restrain Congress, it must necessarily be the highest law of the land.

          And being, you know, a lawyer, I can’t help but get to the idea that the purpose of the law is the protection of the basic human right of free speech.

          That’s what it is, and why it’s there.

          The difference between the First and the Second Amendment is the “why” is a bit murkier. The “what” is identical: these are laws.Report

          • Avatar Dave R in reply to Burt Likko says:

            @burt-likko

            The difference between the First and the Second Amendment is the “why” is a bit murkier. The “what” is identical: these are laws.

            The “who” is the biggest debate of all.Report

      • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Burt,

        I agree it is both a restraint on government and a right.

        What you are missing is that some here deny that the freedom of speech of the first amendment is an individual right.

        Dave R doesn’t go that far, he just thinks some rights expressed in the bill of rights are not individual rights.Report

  16. Avatar Dave R says:

    @mike-hansberry

    All these sub-threads are confusing so I brought it down here. I need more room to write anyway:

    Of course, silly me for reading the Bill of Rights as having something to do with rights.

    I love your flair for the dramatic. It’s like mine although I’m sure people will notice yours given that you’re likely taller than me…like everyone here. Anyway…

    The preamble to the BOR provides the parties:

    Nope. The states, or more specifically the “states people”, the sovereign people as a political unit, were the parties to the compact. They were 100% sovereign prior to ratification, and as a condition of ratification, they were giving up some portion of sovereignty to the newly formed “We the People of the United States”, the creature created by compact. We the People of the United States then ordained and established the Constitution.

    How does the identity of the parties determine the nature of the rights protected in these amendments?

    I’m glad you asked. What the identify of the ratifying parties does is give meaning to the word “the People” in the constitutional text. That’s very important.

    Consider Article I Section 2: The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States. By “People” (capitalized by the way), the Framers meant plurality of individuals or by people did it mean the selection of Members would by the responsibility of the sovereign body politic which would then establish the necessary rules and regulations for voting?

    Consider the three-fifths compromise: “, three fifths of all other Persons”. In that sense, persons is individuals in the way “People” is not.

    What was formerly Article I, Section 9 refers to persons as well…

    Other appearances of “persons” include Amendments 12, 14, and 20.

    If the drafters wanted to use “people” to describe individuals in plural, it had plenty of opportunities to do so. They didn’t because “the people” would have had a very distinct legal meaning…hence its inclusion in the Preamble.

    People meant the people of the state in their highest sovereign capacity. It did just as much as it did in the 2nd Amendment as it did in the assembly clause in the 1st as well as the 9th and 10th. When you read the language of the Second Amendment narrowly with that meaning of people in mind and the history that addresses the concerns the people of the states had with making sure they had control over the militias, it becomes painfully easy to accept the interpretation of the 2A only applying to the “states people”.

    The Second Amendment clarified the structure of dual sovereignty by assuring that the “states people” could exercise a sovereign right to bear arms in its own defense, which it would do through calling forth the militia. That’s all the Second Amendment was concerned with.

    The individual right vs. collective right vs. limited individual right? Meh. That’s more of a function of 20th and 21st Century academia (maybe legal academia) than what I think wasn’t really as big of a deal as others make it out to be. It’s probably no wonder why there was so little jurisprudence for so long.
    Are you claiming that it is not possible for amendments to the constitution which are ratified by 3/4ths of the state legislators to protect individual rights?

    No.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Dave R says:

      20th and 21st Century academia, nope this damn rule of law battle had been going on for a long time. Bear arms has had some pretty specific background even before the first state was formed on american soil. It may have not been stated in the recent ‘rights’ terminology, but has been around since the early church was trying to produce laws to disarm people attacking the clergy guard, or monarchs trying to keep their defenders alive. This didn’t even really start with a state or statish government and any concept of federalism.

      The attempt to say the BOR or the original Virginia DOR text was trying to tiptoe around that history appears a modern attempt at revisionism to fit a ‘new social democracy’ model, instead of a republic.

      Hell the mention of compact and ‘they were giving up some portion of sovereignty’ gives the game away again. That’s the chant of the social democracy folks. Yall are reading the same damn source material, drawing the same conclusions of social constructs.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Joe Sal says:

        @joe-sal

        Let me see if I can understand this…

        Hell the mention of compact and ‘they were giving up some portion of sovereignty’ gives the game away again. That’s the chant of the social democracy folks. Yall are reading the same damn source material, drawing the same conclusions of social constructs.

        Did you just equate the 18th Century compact theory of the states to modern social democracy?

        That’s a first….Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

        Joe,

        Hell the mention of compact and ‘they were giving up some portion of sovereignty’ gives the game away again.

        What game is that? Let’s suppose that what Dave wrote is factually correct. If so, what “game” were “social constructionists” playing when they made that presumably rational decision?

        {{This gets close to one of my major concerns, if not disagreements, with your views on this stuff: what you call a “social construct” often strikes me as the practical result of individual rational self-interest interacting with a complex and dynamic world.}}

        Add: ALso, I get that your analysis may terminate in a fundamental mistake akin to “the eating of the apple”. Which is fine, I guess, but given that – by analogy! – the entirety of human history devolves from that “mistake”, I’m inclined to decline believing it actually suffices for an account.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Stillwater says:

          @stillwater

          I’m trying to figure out if his disagreement with sovereignty puts him in the camp of people like John Taylor of Caroline, Abel Upshur, Alexander Stephens, John Calhoun, etc.

          It wouldn’t bother me but I’m struggling how I went down the social democracy road when the compact theory is the best argument for a very strict reading of the Constitution.

          I’m at a loss.Report

        • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

          {{This gets close to one of my major concerns, if not disagreements, with your views on this stuff: what you call a “social construct” often strikes me as the practical result of individual rational self-interest interacting with a complex and dynamic world.}}

          Where do you think legitimate individual consent comes from? That stuff doesn’t grow on trees. Complex and dynamic? Damn skippy, so why do the social constructing folks think a constant increasing set of rules leads to any kind of consent in the end?Report

          • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

            Suppose a nation of a hundred million people who completely reject social constructs and adopt only individual constructs. Each of these individuals would presumably still want to trade goods and services with others, engage in social activities, maximize their own self-interest (presuming that none of those are social constructs, of course 🙂

            In very short order, however, we find that people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. (Is that a social construct?) In response, other folks try to quash the burgeoning conspiracy via the application laws and enforcement. (Is that a social construct?) And so on and on in all the myriad ways human beings interact.Report

            • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

              Geezus H. don’t make me explain how capitalism is supposed to work again. Jus play the socialism record backwards until capital formation primarily occurs at the owner operator level again.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Geezus H. don’t make me explain how capitalism is supposed to work again.

                So, capitalism – or at least how it’s supposed to work – is a social construct then, eh? 🙂Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’ve already explained how capitalism doesn’t have to be a social construct based on individual production and individual means of exchange.

                Of course feel free to carry on with the breaking bad ‘capitalism’ that’s going on.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Joe Sal says:

        @joe-sal

        Bear arms has had some pretty specific background even before the first state was formed on american soil. It may have not been stated in the recent ‘rights’ terminology, but has been around since the early church was trying to produce laws to disarm people attacking the clergy guard, or monarchs trying to keep their defenders alive. This didn’t even really start with a state or statish government and any concept of federalism.

        This I agree with 100%

        The attempt to say the BOR or the original Virginia DOR text was trying to tiptoe around that history appears a modern attempt at revisionism to fit a ‘new social democracy’ model, instead of a republic.

        This you need to explain.

        I never said they tiptoed around it. Somewhere in this long mess of posts I even suggested that a private right to bear arms, a right by common law, could have been construed in the PA Declaration of Rights in Section I. It would have been a better fit than in Section XIII which talks about bearing arms in the context of defense.

        Even today, I think laws restricting private rights of gun ownership can be challenged on due process grounds. That’s where I prefer the challenges to take place.

        The funny thing is that I may be closer in sync with the pro 2A than not but their near religious insistence on keeping it with the 2A is something I find odd.Report

        • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Dave says:

          It’s not so odd when you see the history of the text. ‘Bear arms’, ‘free state’, even though it’s not included in the 2nd, ‘freemen’ all that gets unpacked in the path of history and it’s relation to rule of law, leading to the ‘shall not be infringed’ part which again points to a repeated path of social constructs treading on land mines of individual sovereignty throughout history.

          The part you are asking me to explain is how there has been an attempt to try and claim by the ‘new social democracy’ that the country, was always a monolithic social democracy under compact theory giving portions of individual sovereignty. It is true that the rest of the constitution lends heavily to compact theory, but at the time it was ratified there was no individual consent to compact theory or giving up any individual sovereignty. The BOR was added to try and avoid a damn shooting civil war over this very thing and attempt to hold together a Republic. This country is not a monolith of social democracy via compact, it never was, it never will be.Report

    • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

      Dave,

      Your dismissal of my response to your question as to who were the parties to BOR is amusing. I quoted from the language of the preamble to that document and it is not in dispute that all amendments comprising the BOR were ratified by 3/4th of the state legislatures.

      Of course it makes sense to read a term such as “the people” in context to determine what sense it is meant.

      Are you really denying that the word “their” in the 4th amendment refers back to “people”?
      This is basis grade school grammar, your earlier comment about backward reversion was non-sense.Report

    • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave R says:

      Dave,
      Facts are facts, the amendments comprising the BOR were ratified by Congress and the state legislatures. But of course you are free to make any philosophical arguments you wish.

      We agree on one item, it makes sense to read a term such as “the people” in context to determine in what sense it is meant. But are you really denying that the word “their” in the 4th amendment refers back to “people”?

      Can you say with straight face that the “persons, houses, papers, and effects” mentioned in the 4th amendment are the common property of the body politic? At a minimum the people as used in 4A must refer to the individual members of the body politic.

      Did you notice that the word “persons” itself is used in two somewhat different meanings in 4A? The first usage of “persons” is definition 4B and the second usage is definition 1 below.

      Merriam Webster Definition of person
      1) human, individual —sometimes used in combination especially by those who prefer to avoid man in compounds applicable to both sexes
      2) a character or part in or as if in a play :  guise
      3) one of the three modes of being in the Trinitarian Godhead as understood by Christians
      b :  the unitary personality of Christ that unites the divine and human natures
      4) a) archaic :  bodily appearance
      b) the body of a human being; also :  the body and clothing
      5) the personality of a human being :  self
      6) one (as a human being, a partnership, or a corporation) that is recognized by law as the subject of rights and duties
      7) reference of a segment of discourse to the speaker, to one spoken to, or to one spoken of as indicated by means of certain pronouns or in many languages by verb inflection

      Does “the right of the people” in the first amendment refer to individuals or to some unitary body politic? Must the entire body politic of California assemble for that protection to have effect? The obvious answer is that the protection is afforded to the individuals who comprise the body politic and the protection applies to any and all who choose to assemble.

      Your argument is little different than the Collective Rights non-sense. Switching “body politic” for “the people in a collective sense” makes little difference. It is the same house with different window treatments.

      But I am gratified that you finally laid out your theory, though was hoping for more than a retread of an interpretation that lost 9-0 in Heller.Report

      • Avatar Dave Regio in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

        @mike-hansberry

        I can’t go into the kind of detail I want, but I’m going to hit this quickly and come back at some point…

        We agree on one item, it makes sense to read a term such as “the people” in context to determine in what sense it is meant.

        In theory, yes. In practice, we don’t. You refer to dictionary definitions of words whilst ignoring both the textual differences in words (people vs. persons) as well as completely ignoring that the definition of “people” may have been understood as something completely than what would be considered the norm today if only because the nature of modern constitutional law, right or wrong (in this case horribly wrong), focuses on plain meaning almost detached from all historical context.

        That may work in a court of law in 2008. That shit would not have flown in 1789.

        To your point:

        But are you really denying that the word “their” in the 4th amendment refers back to “people”?

        Let’s back up and play the dictionary game one more time:

        their

        1. belonging to or associated with the people or things previously mentioned or easily identified.

        Now:

        “[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated

        Persons, houses, papers and effects each are things that are distinctingly and directly associated with the people. That there is a VERY CLEAR use of “their persons” after the word people is VERY CLEAR INDICATION that persons belong to are associated with the people.

        If Y is associated with X, then Y is not the same thing as X. Therefore, if People has “their persons”, “their persons” is not the same as people. It’s that simple. The very text of the Constitution that you hang your entire argument on disputes your claim that people and persons should be read the same. My theory has a perfect explanation for people because I tie it back to founding era political thought, notions of sovereignty and the true nature of the Constitution as a compact as well as the nature of the states prior to ratification. You haven’t even made a dent in that and I was only getting warmed up

        Where the Framers intended to use the word “People” it did, and it did so when it was referring to the people as a sovereign political unit, which makes sense since the ratifying conventions represented those units and only those units could consent to the Constitution. It was also completely consistent with the political thought of that era (google Popular Sovereignty).

        Where the Framers spoke of people as plural individuals, it used persons, something you’d know if you could read past the Bill of Rights and try to use other sections of your text to make your point.

        Does “the right of the people” in the first amendment refer to individuals or to some unitary body politic? Must the entire body politic of California assemble for that protection to have effect? The obvious answer is that the protection is afforded to the individuals who comprise the body politic and the protection applies to any and all who choose to assemble.

        Congress shall make no law…abridging…the right of the people peaceably to assemble

        So there’s no confusion, if you want to best understand the definition of “assemble”, you may want to go back to the Preamble of the BOR, the same one you wanted to tell me over and over how much you quoted.

        Look at the word “assembled”. That’s the understood meaning of assembly for the purpose of the First Amendment. A right to assemble in Convention would have only been held by the people in the sovereign sense. Individuals exercising that right of assembly would have been seen as representatives of the sovereign people as opposed to individuals qua individuals.

        So no. People still does not equal individuals in plural. People under right of assembly, under a definition of assembly I just drew from your own BoR does not mean individuals plural. If that isn’t enough to smack some sense into you, the use of “their” after the word people and before the word persons shows that one is associated with the other, which makes sense since individuals were associated with a sovereign body politic, right.

        Not bad for a retread theory.

        To my original point:

        The resisting government explanation of the 2A has to be one of the most idiotic things I ever heard.

        I stand by this. Anyone that has a first-grade level understanding of dual sovereignty and still thinks this is a complete idiot.

        After all, it’s not like there weren’t (partially) sovereign and independent states in the constitutional system that didn’t need the Second Amendment’s permission to take up arms against a tyrannical federal government.

        Maybe I can call that view “Permission Slip Constitutionalism”. I like the sound of it.Report

  17. Avatar Mike Hansberry says:

    Dave Regio: Persons, houses, papers and effects each are things that are distinctingly and directly associated with the people.

    Why yes, those things are in fact possessed by the people of 4A. But are they possessed by the body politic in a collective sense? Or are those things owned individually by each and every one of the people?Report

    • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

      @mike-hansberry

      Are individuals bound to a sovereign?Report

      • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave says:

        Dave,

        Yes.

        But as anyone with basic reading skills could tell us their “persons, houses, papers and effects” are possessed by individuals, and the people is understood in the plural sense.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

          @mike-hansberry

          It wasn’t a yes-but proposition. “Persons” had its own meaning. “People” had its own meaning. Considering the compact nature of the Constitution, one was there to describe individuals and the other to describe the sovereign parties to the compact.

          So what was it? Sloppy drafting to include two words that mean the same thing?

          Yes a sovereign people, a single unit, could possess persons, houses, effects…etc.

          Here, try this:

          The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen every second year by the people of the several states

          By people do you suggest that applies to individuals?

          You’re running out of room to manuever. You’re clinging to what little you have left.Report

          • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave says:

            Dave: Yes a sovereign people, a single unit, could possess persons, houses, effects…etc

            But did they Dave? Did our forefathers possess their houses, papers, and effects collectively? Its not a trick question, just a matter of fact. A fact you can deny, but not plausibly.

            Maybe on the other side of the looking glass you will find such a place where everything is collectively owned. But in reality the people possessed their houses, papers and effects individually. And they certainly possessed their own bodies individually.

            Have you never heard of a person being charged with carrying a concealed weapon on or about his person?

            Words can have more than one meaning, even in the same sentence -whether you can grasp it or not.

            ,Report

            • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

              I’m sure the resident lawyers may come in here and muck it up, but having read all sorts of legal documents pertinent to my business, I can tell you that I’ve never seen one that has one word covering two different sentences.

              Remember, the Constitution is not just a grant of power but it’s a legal document, whatever you think about normal everyday interchangability of words doesn’t apply here.

              All you’re doing is trying to undermine my argument by introducing doubt into the equation, you can’t structure an argument to actually provide a definition of “the people” like I did, which I did through the founding era political thought as well as a constitutional “retread” theory that was eloquently laid out by none other than James Madison himself. You? All you’re doing is trying to hit me over the head with a dictionary.

              I’ve brushed off my notes on original meaning originalism and I can see why the Heller case brought so much criticism to it.

              But did they Dave?Did our forefathers possess their houses, papers, and effects collectively?Its not a trick question, just a matter of fact.A fact you can deny, but not plausibly.

              How we possess things is dependent on how the sovereign body allows us to possess them as a matter of law. Didn’t kings through their divine right routinely claim ownership over lands and everything on them? Same basic principle applies only a different sovereign without a king’s arrogance I suppose.

              You’re really hung up on this people thing are you? Maybe you should go read some of Kurt Lash’s work on the NInth and Tenth Amendments.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Dave says:

                I agree Dave, on both counts (were there more than two…?).

                On your first point, legalese inherently requires disambiguating terms’ meanings. Eg, in some sections of the Code the term “the United States” is explicitly defined as referring to all federal holdings as well as the fifty states, and in other sections it is defined as merely “federal holdings” excluding the fifty states. This is usually apparent when you read the subtitle in every section called “definitions”. 🙂

                Re: the second point, I think it’s pretty clear (I mean, we all seem to agree on it) that the BoR circumscribed federal power. Now the dispute is whether that restriction was applied to the states or individuals. And given that we all – including Mike, I think – agree that until Incorporation theory and the 14th amendment those “privileges” didn’t “pass thru” the states implies that they only held against state power. To think otherwise would mean that the BoR accorded a basic right to individuals which states could – not necessarily did, but could – violate. Which is something we all agree on, including Mr. Likko. And that, by my lights, doesn’t constitute a “right” in any sense of the word, since a “right” that can be violated without recourse to the law isn’t a right at all. Until Incorporation, anyway (amongst other things).

                Given that, it seems Mike’s argument is that the bare fact the BoR codifed protections which can be attributed to individuals constitutes an argument that those protections in fact DID accord rights to individuals. But that’s inconsistent with not only the fundamental purpose of the BoR (to circumscribe federal power re: the states) but also that states in effect could violate those purported “rights”.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave says:

                Dave,

                The 5th amendment protects private property -how can that be?
                How does our sovereign body actually allow us to possess things?
                This people thing is the lynchpin of your argument. You are the one saying words “the people” can only mean on thing -despite the obvious meaning of the words of the 4th amendment in context.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Hansberry, man this fight is lost. The constitution is a social construct, it doesn’t matter what the words mean. All they have to do is get the social objectivity of a faction of the country to agree that it means something else.

                It sucks man. The constitution isn’t yours as an individual. Hell the president can write some shit on a piece of paper that goes completely against it and those orders will be carried out. Secret Courts can make laws that go against it. This democracy is not yours, it belongs to the social constructors.

                Walk away from it. Don’t vote. Join the republic, if enough of us defect, the democracy will fall.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave says:

                Dave,

                SCOTUS disagrees with you, as would anyone with basic grasp of the English language, except justice Stevens and a handful of individual rights denying kooks.

                Olmstead v. United States; decided June, 1928:
                “The well known historical purpose of the Fourth Amendment, directed against general warrants and writs of assistance, was to prevent the use of governmental force to search a man’s house, his person, his papers and his effects, and to prevent their seizure against his will.”

                How can it be that the Supreme Court interprets the first use of the word “person” in 4A as I do?

                How can it be that SCOTUS says the well known historical purpose of 4A was to protect the individual’s house, person, papers and effects?

                Your argument is based on the claim that “the people” in the BOR and Constitution always refers to the collective. But 4A disproves your argument. Not only does 4A use “the people” in the plural sense, it uses the word “person” in reference to an individual’s body rather that an individual.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                @mike-hansberry

                SCOTUS disagrees with you

                You return to grace us with your presence by appealing to authority, and one that gave us Wickard v Fillburn. That’s right in line with the original meaning of the Commerce Clause, right? Oh, and then there’s the whole General Welfare thing…

                as would anyone with basic grasp of the English language

                Gasp! Not the appeal to idiocy!!! Noooooooooooo….

                Dude, do you even lift?

                individual rights denying kooks

                Who said I deny an individual right? I agree that it was long held under the common law. My view is that it didn’t change when the Bill of Rights was ratified.

                How can it be that the Supreme Court interprets the first use of the word “person” in 4A as I do?

                I don’t know. I’m trying to figure out why you think I”m disagreeing with you based on the definition of person.

                Your argument is based on the claim that “the people” in the BOR and Constitution always refers to the collective.

                Yes and for reasons that you refuse to believe. If you don’t believe me, might I suggest Kurt Lash’s work on the Ninth Amendment? As much as I admire Randy Barnett for almost single-handedly reviving Ninth Amendment scholarship, Kurt Lash has a better argument and it supports my thesis.

                But 4A disproves your argument.

                You said this two weeks ago. Did you really wait two weeks to come back here only to repeat yourself?

                Obviously I disagree.

                Not only does 4A use “the people” in the plural sense, it uses the word “person” in reference to an individual’s body rather that an individual.

                Are you suggesting a collective people can’t hold a right that applies individually? That’s exactly what the 4th does and the 9th Amendment supports that unless you want to claim that “people” meant individuals in the 9th and 10th Amendments.

                We never went down that road so I’m sure you’ll come up with some fresh ways to keep me entertained 😀

                Personally, I would have taken Joe Sal’s advice but welcome back. You were missed.Report

              • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Dave says:

                Dave,
                The appeal to authority is weaker still when the supposed authority is oneself. I’ll take SCOTUS writing directly on point well before Incorporation over a Kurt Lash essay in which he does not even address the fourth amendment.

                Since 4A uses the word “person” in two different meanings that is yet another exception to your rule regarding the supposed exclusive usage of “the people” and “persons” by the framers.

                What I am suggesting is that in 4A “the people” surely possessed their persons, as well as their houses, papers and effects, therefore “their” refers to each member rather than the collective. But you can continue to argue that “their” refers to collectively owned houses and “persons” if you like -or maybe you will double-down on the “associated with” argument?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

                Holy shet, Hansberrys back. Man I didnt know if we was going to see you again until the shooting started.
                😉Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Joe Sal says:

                @joe-sal

                LOL

                Either he misses me dearly, which is no surprise given my charming personality or he just hates to lose so badly that he can’t let it go and wants to reignite a debate on the Fourth Amendment.

                Meh. That anyone is stuck on one word for so long and then ignores arguments that undermine his position tells me there isn’t a serious debate going on anymore. It’s all ego at this point. Not interested.Report

    • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

      Anarchy or despotism, what do you choose?Report

      • Avatar Mike Hansberry in reply to Joe Sal says:

        Joe,
        Ah, the old false dichotomous question. That would be a refreshing respite from the blather Dave is spewing.

        I suppose next Dave will next be asking What is the air-speed of an unladen swallow? Anything to avoid the obvious that “their” in 4A refers back to “the people” and so “persons, houses, papers, and effects” are the property of individuals, and “the people” in 4A is plainly to be understood in the plural sense.Report

        • Avatar Dave in reply to Mike Hansberry says:

          Mike Hansberry:
          Joe,
          Ah, the old false dichotomous question. That would be a refreshing respite from the blather Dave is spewing.

          I suppose next Dave will next be asking What is the air-speed of an unladen swallow? Anything to avoid the obvious that “their” in 4A refers back to “the people” and so “persons, houses, papers, and effects” are the property of individuals, and “the people” in 4A is plainly to be understood in the plural sense.

          Oh, a shit talker after my own heart.

          By the way, are you one of those people that believes in the insurrectionist view of the 2nd Amendment?

          You strike me as the type.Report

      • Avatar Dave in reply to Joe Sal says:

        @joe-sal

        No such thing as despotism so long as you have your individual right to bear arms to keep that despot in check. Case in point: Second Amendment.

        Sorry…just got back from the gym. Being a smart ass is the best way to cope with leg day pain.Report

        • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Dave says:

          Well, if despots were despots and singular in nature, they are easily cured. The great point load of right wing authoritarianism.

          The problem is despots grow from the left also. They grow from social constructs. You kill one, another steps into position, before you know it, you have to kill 27 million despots in a row. That’s a lot of shooting brother, but a worthy task.

          Our friend seems to think this is a question of false dichotomy and not worthy of a answer, supposing it is valid, what do you choose?Report

          • Avatar Dave in reply to Joe Sal says:

            @joe-sal

            You can either take anarchy or throw off the despots via the social construct and right of revolution. I suppose they may lead down the same road if I think about it at a very abstract level.

            Don’t worry about him. He found half of what I wrote not worthy responding to, maybe even more. You get desensitized to it after a while.Report

            • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Dave says:

              The right of revolution can be suppressed by social construct, often the same social construct producing the despots. That has a lot to do with where I prefer sovereignty.

              I often think if you drill down into a individualist republic you will find individual anarchy at it’s bedrock.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Joe Sal says:

                @joe-sal

                I think I’d have to agree. I would equate individual sovereignty to the state of nature.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Dave says:

                I think individual sovereignty is the basis of the modern republic. State of nature can imply it is of the past, instead of the present and the future.Report

              • Avatar Dave in reply to Joe Sal says:

                @joe-sal

                In my view, individual sovereignty is the state of nature. Is it not?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Dave says:

                There is kind of a timeline problem in reference. State of nature typically refers to pre-organized political constructions.

                Individual sovereignty is a more recent term that has slowly evolved in response to attempts to consolidate sovereighnty to central social constructs.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

                In philosophical writing the state of nature is more a conceptual place than a physical one, defined by the absence of agreed upon constraints which promote the long term self-interest of society’s members. Hence, social contract theory.

                Nowadays, individual sovereignty also refers to a conceptual place, one built upon, or out of, existing institutions which in their ideal aren’t coercively imposed, but a concept which also presupposes – and then disgards – the historical genesis of those institutions. Hence, it assumes that the absence of “social engineering” which justified coercive control in the first place has in fact already attained a level where so no more coercion is necessary.

                People disagree about that.

                Also, to your last point, people may in fact be freer and have more individual soverignty now than ever before in human history. What metrics would we use to determine an answer to that?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

                What we see in these philosophical writings is a claim of social objectivity. One that requires individuals surrender individual sovereignty, to a social construct , in this case ‘contract theory’, and to invest authority in a social construct like the state, religion, or government. Eventually underpinning this into a rule by law scenario because ‘every man is at war with every man’ or ’brutishness and misery’ otherwise.

                I find this no accident that social constructors promoted this from its time of being written and continue to use it as justification to impose rule by law. It is a tenet of the authoritarian left.

                The greatest opponent to the authoritarian left is the anti-authoritarian right. Where are their historical philosophical writings? Is there an awareness as to why there are few to none? Maybe because the anti-authoritarian right is anti-institutional. The agreed upon constraints don’t have to be written down, as the constraints are defined by interactions of individual construct. There is no need for social contract theory as that is handled through interactions of individual construct.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

                What we see in these philosophical writings is a claim of social objectivity. One that requires individuals surrender individual sovereignty

                Absolutely. By voluntary consent, or force if necessary, for those who don’t voluntarily agree. (Eg, murder is a heavily regulated activity!)

                , to a social construct,

                No, the argument is ultimately based on pragmatics: individual’s pursuit of long term self interest within a society requires peace and stability; peace and stability require a set of enforceable rules; enforceable rules require a third party to adjudicate disputes.

                in this case ,contract theory’, and to invest authority in a social construct like the state, religion, or government.

                But the state isn’t a social construct: it’s a power structure which emerges naturally, causally, from individuals just like us interacting over time.

                Whether we’ve evolved to a point where we, as a global society, can do away with states – and enforceable rules and so on – is perhaps an interesting question, but one that requires making a prior argument that such a society is actually possible. I don’t think it is, myself.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

                The social contract theory doesn’t regulate murder. One could say murder is the result of individual constructs not interfacing in a peaceable manner, which no ideology in the realm of society has been able to resolve.

                “No, the argument is ultimately based on pragmatics: individual’s pursuit of long term self interest within a society requires peace and stability; peace and stability require a set of enforceable rules; enforceable rules require a third party to adjudicate disputes.”

                Again this is the premise of high authoritarian left thought. This isn’t pragmatics, it isn’t even the dominate political ideology. On the political compass it occupies only 25% of the political landscape.

                I disagree that the state emerges naturally. Typically what is seen is failures of populations to peaceable interact within their own individual constructs produces conflict. That conflict seeks factional social power to be the dominating force to impose a asymmetrical preferred outcome.

                Here is the part I find interesting. If you start with a population unable to create peace through its individual constructs, pragmatically what is the probability that social rules and third parties will be able to make those individual interfaces ‘get along’. What I see is the social construct of the rules and third party will get captured in escalating authoritarian swings by various factions that have very little to do with the individual or more importantly, individual preference. I find it a interesting question if society is sustainable with constant escalating authoritarianism of faction.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

                Joe, I guess what I’m saying here (and in earlier conversations) is that there are ways to account for all this stuff without recourse to what you mean by the terms “individual and social constructs”, and given that, I (personally) see no reason to adopt an account which is less descriptively accurate and has less explanatory power.

                But obviously that’s just me.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal in reply to Stillwater says:

                If you consider previous writings as more legible and somehow resolved, I guess there is nothing to discuss.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Joe Sal says:

                More the opposite. Perhaps unfortunately, I view your previous proposals/analyses as unresolved (because from my pov they’re confused) and that the resulting disagreement will persist.

                But like I said, that’s just me.Report