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Author Topic: The Virginia Shooting, Gun Rights, and Revolutions (Split from News thread)  (Read 14836 times)

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Offline gaggedLouise

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Indeed, and fewer guns would have kept those charming Tsars in power, what with their history of social equality.  Oh!  And involved in the Great War.  What's a bit of forced military service and a staggering casualty rate between friends?

Tongue in cheek aside, I get what you're saying; but I still have to side with the right of a people to have some say in what their government is.  Even if that is sometimes the lesser evil or even a very bad choice, it is at other times the birth of democracy.


I suspect there were quite a few guns and rifles in the hands of some private citizens, or changing hands, in Russia in 1917/18 anyway. They were emerging from a long and bloodletting war in the west, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers were going home, some of them bringing their service rifles and a bag of munitions (most of those folks didn't join the Bolsheviks at once). And many people were hunters in their spare time and would have had guns at home anyway - just like in America today. Still, I'm not too sure that some pockets of resistance with handguns here and there would have stood the ground against machine guns and cannon, which is what Lenin and his guys had once they had won over some parts of the army and navy and taken control in St.Petersburg and Moscow.

For the record, neither I nor Dashenka are in support of Lenin and his methods.

I do think the amendment on gun rights should be seen in the context of what kind of guns were available at the time, in the late 18th century: automatically-reloading guns didn't exist, still less assault rifles and machine guns. It wasn't even imaginable that a gun could spit out twenty or a hundred bullets per minute, and anyway if one would want to set up a long-term effective "armed militia" able to overthrow the US government today or successfully resist an occupying army that had *already* beaten the regular American army, handguns and rifles would get you nowhere, so I don't see how the amendment serves that purpose anymore in today's world. I do see why it is morally important and cherished by many people in America though.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 05:52:49 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Caehlim

If more ordinary people had had guns in Russia as of 1917, Lenin wouldn't have been able to take over (or remain in power, anyway) and everything would have been different from then on.

*tries to keep a straight face*

Ummm, but... Lenin was the ordinary people of Russia deposing a government that had turned against the people. Exactly like the hypothetical American example. They were overthrowing Nicholas the bloody for his tyrannical and autocratic abuses of the Russian people. It was partly a response to the Bloody Sunday massacre.

Are you maybe getting Lenin and Stalin mixed up? Because they were very different situations.

Offline TheGlyphstone

Heck, let's throw the French Revolution into the mix. That one turned out pretty well for the common people who were doing the revolting, even if the consequences for the rich elites and nobility were infamously savage and lethal. And like the American and Russian ones, it was in partial response to the abuse and neglect from said nobility. It also led to Napoleon down the line, admittedly, but there could be a (loose) parallel traced there between that situation and the Lenin-Stalin interaction.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 05:59:46 PM by TheGlyphstone »

Offline LisztesFerenc

Heck, let's throw the French Revolution into the mix. That one turned out pretty well for the common people who were doing the revolting, even if the consequences for the rich elites and nobility were infamously savage and lethal.


   Uuummmmmm...you sure? Did the French Revolution lead pretty quickly in blood tribunals of any opponents to the newly formed governments, in a manner much more gruesome than most nobles before them? Plus the storming of the Bastille, that was a prison, and last I heard, not for political prisoners. They were...actual prisoners.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Ummm, but... Lenin was the ordinary people of Russia deposing a government that had turned against the people. Exactly like the hypothetical American example. They were overthrowing Nicholas the bloody for his tyrannical and autocratic abuses of the Russian people. It was partly a response to the Bloody Sunday massacre.

Are you maybe getting Lenin and Stalin mixed up? Because they were very different situations.

No, Lenin and the Bolsheviks had nothing to do with overthrowing the´Tsar. The ordinary people busted the Tsar - the February recvolution in St.Petersburg is almost as close as you could get to a spontaneous revolution that erupts out of general misery, hunger and war weariness and drives the politicians ahead of itself.

Lenin was taken completely by surprise when he heard from a friend in Zurich, a thousand miles away from Russia that "there's a revolution going on at home...man, the papers are saying they deposed the Tsar!". He didn't even believe it at first, and his party hadn't had anything much to do with what happened.  ;) His next priority was to get home to Russia as soon as possible and try to rebuild his positions and get his hands on the steering wheel, which is an intriguing story in itself - but nope, he had nothing to do with taking the tsar down from the throne.

The October revolution, which took Lenin into power, was essentially a coup d'état, though it was accepted for the time being by a decent amount of people in St.Petersburg.

Offline Caehlim

Uuummmmmm...you sure? Did the French Revolution lead pretty quickly in blood tribunals of any opponents to the newly formed governments, in a manner much more gruesome than most nobles before them? Plus the storming of the Bastille, that was a prison, and last I heard, not for political prisoners. They were...actual prisoners.

Actually the Bastille had largely been used for political prisoners. (Just remember prisons weren't a thing in the 17th Century. If you were a criminal you were flogged, mutilated, branded, exiled or executed.) However by the time the Bastille was seized in the revolution it was mostly disused and had been containing mostly just seven mentally ill patients if I recall correctly.

The ensuing reign of terror under Maximilian Robespierre was... unfortunate. Although the really bloody tribunals didn't start until the King and Queen tried to flee to their cousin in Austria allowing the Jacobins to dominate the revolutionary government.


Offline Caehlim

The October revolution, which took Lenin into power, was essentially a coup d'état, though it was accepted for the time being by a decent amount of people in St.Petersburg.

Oh thankyou, I always have trouble remembering the different revolutions in Russia. I can see I got that one mixed up myself.

Offline LisztesFerenc

Actually the Bastille had largely been used for political prisoners. (Just remember prisons weren't a thing in the 17th Century. If you were a criminal you were flogged, mutilated, branded, exiled or executed.) However by the time the Bastille was seized in the revolution it was mostly disused and had been containing mostly just seven mentally ill patients if I recall correctly.

The ensuing reign of terror under Maximilian Robespierre was... unfortunate. Although the really bloody tribunals didn't start until the King and Queen tried to flee to their cousin in Austria allowing the Jacobins to dominate the revolutionary government.

  So overall, French Revolution, maybe not a shining example of the good that can result from a rebellion.

Offline Blythe

Have split this into it's own topic, folks. Debate/discuss away!

(If I missed a post, someone PM/poke me)

Offline eBadger

*sits back eating popcorn*

*Steals popcorn*  I seem to've stirred a hornet's nest. 

  Not bad. Got any more recent ones, since I mentioned "in this day"?

Sure. 

Naturally, the more recent we get, the messier things remain.  Revolutions aren't pleasant things.  Like birth, there's a lot of screaming, ugliness and pain, but that doesn't mean they're inherently bad.  Even if a few kids do turn out to be horrible people. 

So... one succesfull revolution, a couple hundred years ago justifies the use of guns all over the world in the present day?

The other 300 revolutions that happened are completely ignored?

Then you should have asked me to name more than one.  I could certainly go on, if there were a point.  The Irish seem happier.  France is pretty jazzed about not having a third estate.  I don't hear a lot of Vietnamese regrets about the good old days.  China seems okay about the emperor thing.  Eastern Europe sounds good about their independence. 

Your turn: name a revolution against a government with a clean record on human rights. 

Completely ignoring the people that live in that region and who suffer on a daily basis because Russia is arming the militia and the US is arming the government forces.

We're discussing civilian weapons, not government.  I, at least, don't want to waste any breath on something as futile as arguing world disarmament.  So yes, we can simply take away all the militia's guns.  I suspect that would quickly end the conflict - would that be a successful resolution?  You seemed pretty supportive of the independence movement before. 

All revolutions, all wars, they could all have been solved using diplomacy. Not with guns. Overall, guns have killed a lot more people than they saved and that is fact that you cannot deny.

Every argument can be solved with diplomacy.  You won't get your way, but it is solved.  I prefer to live in a world in which there are things worth dying for.  In which case, I would say that nearly every citizen of an industrialized nation has been saved by guns. 

Offline LisztesFerenc

Naturally, the more recent we get, the messier things remain.  Revolutions aren't pleasant things.  Like birth, there's a lot of screaming, ugliness and pain, but that doesn't mean they're inherently bad.  Even if a few kids do turn out to be horrible people. 

  This is a great argument if the USA is the only democracy in the world. So as long Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia are in fact fictional nations, I have no counter argument.

Offline eBadger

  This is a great argument if the USA is the only democracy in the world. So as long Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia are in fact fictional nations, I have no counter argument.

What?

Offline Scribbles

What?

I'm not sure -- my history is horrible -- but I believe he's pointing out nations that achieved their democracy without a violent revolution.

Offline LisztesFerenc

What?

  The arguments that "having guns isn't perfect, but its necessary fr our democracy", kinda falls apart when you consider all the other democratic countries that don't have a second amendment, and don't seem to be suffering for it. Hell, some gunless countries actually have more democracy, implying that guns actually relatively little to do with the thing.

Offline eBadger

  The arguments that "having guns isn't perfect, but its necessary fr our democracy", kinda falls apart when you consider all the other democratic countries that don't have a second amendment, and don't seem to be suffering for it. Hell, some gunless countries actually have more democracy, implying that guns actually relatively little to do with the thing.

So many points.  Pardon my inevitable horrid organization. 

First, Japan was a horrible example of a democracy emerging without violence. 

Also, I'm a bit boggled: are you really saying the UK and Europe emerged in a world devoid of armed conflict?  Tell me more about this notion. 

I'm also quite certain I specified the whole guns-qua-freedom thing as a unique aspect of the American character.  As much as the rest of the world seems tired of our assuming they should have our values, I find it terribly odd how much protest arises as the concept we don't always share theirs. 

Next, I don't believe I claimed democracy can't exist without guns.  Don't think I ended up posting it, but I even had this whole bit written up about how I don't believe guns are at all necessary to counter the current US government.  Those people are crazy pants.  I've stated that weapons have proven effective at addressing grievous harm to human rights, and the 2nd Amendment is part of our system of government, providing a resolution for tyranny should all other checks and balances fail. 

Offline Scribbles

I hope nobody minds if I approach this from a different angle but does anyone else feel that Bryce may have been honest in his allegations of racism, and that the shooting may have simply been the result of someone who felt utterly beaten and with no other options? I don't believe Bryce was correct in his actions at all, even if this was possibly a case of the straw breaking the camel's back, but I've been catching a surprising amount of racial incidents coming out of the US lately. I just find it difficult to believe that Bryce can be comparable to the average mass-shooter as there's been no mention of him being sociopathic or similar in the news. And I find it difficult to imagine an average person killing someone, especially so publically, without an extreme motivation.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 07:34:57 PM by Scribbles »

Offline LisztesFerenc

Next, I don't believe I claimed democracy can't exist without guns.  Don't think I ended up posting it, but I even had this whole bit written up about how I don't believe guns are at all necessary to counter the current US government.  Those people are crazy pants.  I've stated that weapons have proven effective at addressing grievous harm to human rights, and the 2nd Amendment is part of our system of government, providing a resolution for tyranny should all other checks and balances fail.

  Vietnam kinda disproves that, and the difference between the technological capabilities of the US army and the militias it will be fighting the in scenario you have outlined above have only widened since.

  But wait, didn't the US love the Vietnam War? Yes, but only because they stopped fighting because supporting the war had become political suicide, which would not be a factor in a revolution. By any other comparison, the US was and had always been winning the Vietnam War.

  Having guns in case you need to launch an uprising against the US government is like keeping moldy cheese in case aliens invades. Except moldy cheese kills far less people.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 07:13:09 PM by LisztesFerenc »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Democracies that emerged or defended themselves without the people pushing a violent revolution or an armed rebellion? or without relying on gun rights? Here goes...

Poland in the 1980s and up to the fall of the iron curtain was 99% about unarmed, non-violent resistance. At least if we're talking serious weapons like firearms, guns and bombs, the opposition never relied on that. And I don't think you could argue that Poland and the rest of eastern Europe was just being pulled limply out of oppression by the proxy power of U.S. forces in western Europe; it was very much their own work, an effort of moving away from autocracy and denying the rulers a real sense of being your legitimate rulers. Even if they were helped by the Soviet Union realizing that it would have to hold back some of its final assistance, the people in those countries were very much acting on their own through their own parties and movements, and it happened without stocking up a lot of guns.

France has had half a dozen revolutions and periods when the people busted the government - or tried to do so - after the great revolution. They don't have a gun rights amendment.

Spain moved from Franco's dictatorship to democracy and people feeling ownership of their society again in the years after Franco died, and democracy there survived a military coup attempt in 1981. Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina went through the same kind of change after years of brutal military dictatorship. Guns, ambushes or assassinations of government figures and military junta guys weren't the main reasons that the comeback of democracy succeeded in any of those countries - assassinations are surprisingly unhelpful sometimes, they provide an excuse for fresh repression and constructing straw men.

And countries like Britain, Denmark and Sweden moved from an old-style aristocratic order to modern democracies with full and equal right to vote and a good civic rights record without a violent revolution. No gun amendment in any of those countries - gun licensing and trade control are a good deal stricter than in America -  and the presence of guns in public and the frequency of multiple-victim killings are much lower than in the US.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2015, 07:41:22 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Vekseid

...there is only one country in the world in which I can host Elliquiy and be in full compliance with that nation's laws.

I've looked. The Netherlands is our only peer. In that technically hosting some of what we do would be illegal there but I'd be confident in getting it overturned.

Claiming other countries are more democratic than the US is very, very specious. There are countries with better individual components, but we take freedom of speech more seriously than any other nation has. Ever.

Offline LisztesFerenc

Claiming other countries are more democratic than the US is very, very specious. There are countries with better individual components, but we take freedom of speech more seriously than any other nation has. Ever.

  Freedom of Speech may be a very important part of democracy, but it is far from the only one. Not to mention their are dark sides to this approach to freedom of speech, such as the inability to criminalize the naming of a rape victim. Seems like something a nation could do without, even in the name of freedom.

Offline Vekseid

  Freedom of Speech may be a very important part of democracy, but it is far from the only one.

Freedom of speech causes and protects democracy. Through successive periods of weakness, the King of England couldn't stop the free expression of ideas, and that led directly to both Britain's dominance over the globe and to the American democratic system.

And I didn't say it was the only one. But it's up there on the importance scale. Freedom of speech in the US safeguards democracy outside of it.

Quote
Not to mention their are dark sides to this approach to freedom of speech, such as the inability to criminalize the naming of a rape victim. Seems like something a nation could do without, even in the name of freedom.

As long as the limits to freedom of speech have clear, algorithmic restrictions ("Do not publish works naming, displaying, or detailing non-public individuals without their express consent." Where 'public' has some hard bar, as well as the ability to establish consent.), it can be worked with.

Offline eBadger

By any other comparison, the US was and had always been winning the Vietnam War.

We were winning by any measure except that we lost?  I'm really not sure how to respond to that. 

So I'll just quietly note that asymmetric and unconventional warfare among a civilian populace has repeatedly proven to be the biggest threat to American occupation since WW2. 

Having guns in case you need to launch an uprising against the US government is like keeping moldy cheese in case aliens invades. Except moldy cheese kills far less people.

Nor am I sure how the chances of a successful revolution/insurgency/show of force, however slim, are improved by not having weapons.  If aliens invade, I suppose I'd rather have moldy cheese to throw than nothing: germs worked in War of the Worlds. 

Offline Dashenka

If people really think that the only way to get to a democracy is through a violent revolution filled with guns and bloodshed, and justify the current gun laws in the US with that, because who knows what kind of government you might get (read: elect),

I think I have to bow out of this discussion. It's logic I will never understand unfortunately.


Comparing revolutions that happened a hundred or more years ago with today, is a bit silly as well. Times were different back then. It's the time when people didn't wipe their bottoms after using the toilet. Not sure about you guys, but I've moved on from that.

Guns kill a lot more people than they safe. Worldwide, but I'm pretty sure in the US as well.

If you want to defend gunownership because you might need to against the government one day and the fact that the US somehow won the Vietnam war (I'm guessing you also won the Balkan war, the Iraqi war and the Afghanistan war, good luck to you. I'm at risk in saying stuff that might get me banned again and it's just not worth it to me.

Offline eBadger

Times were different back then. It's the time when people didn't wipe their bottoms after using the toilet.

Dash, you're awesome.  Best quote of the debate. 

Offline Caehlim

Australia was indeed federated without any sort of violent struggle against the British. However I think most people would agree that the British response to Australia was heavily shaped and influenced by their earlier interactions with America. Had the war of independence not occurred then I do not know that Australia would have had the same results in 1901.

Guns were also prominent in our acquisition of said land through violence against our native peoples.

So overall, French Revolution, maybe not a shining example of the good that can result from a rebellion.

It really is just vastly more complicated than that. It did remove the Ancien Regime and acted as a deterrent to autocratic rule not only in France but across Europe and with follow on effects for America and the rest of the world. A lot of people died, a lot more suffered, grave injustices were done but some of the results still work to our benefit today.