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Disarming the United States
By Wesley T. Miller
President & CEO
Collapse Network, Inc.
January 17, 2013 (3:30 PST) - Lake Oswego, OR -- It's time to have the uncomfortable conversation.
I am an expert on guns. I shot my first rifle when I was five years old. I grew up learning to shoot and to hunt responsibly, scoring a perfect 100% in the required gun safety class when I was in the eighth grade. I have owned guns since I was 12. I was company high-shooter in Marine Corps boot camp. I am a former state prosecutor who was deputized and qualified to carry a handgun, even in the courthouse. I shot handguns better than all but two deputies in the county where I worked. I have had concealed weapons permits in two states and have frequently carried a concealed weapon. I own so-called assault rifles and handguns, and I have fired virtually every caliber weapon commonly used in civilian and military applications – everything from a Ruger 10-22 to an M-16, AK-47’s and SKS’s, M-60 machine guns, Tommy guns, MP-9’s, Squad Automatic Weapons (SAW), even an M203 grenade launcher. I know guns.
I am also an expert on violence of all varieties, including gun violence. My first exposure to mass murder occurred when I was in the middle of the seventh grade. I worked in the lunchroom and my supervisor, who was also a seventh grade life science teacher, hunted down and murdered four people one night, including his estranged wife. He used a 12-gauge shotgun, a very common bird-hunting gun that is devastating to a human being at close range. I have been to a mass murder scene worse than any of the Charlie Manson murder scenes, where no guns were involved. I have been to the autopsies of murdered children. I have witnessed two murders – more accurately, the death of the two victims. I have been the victim of a very serious attempt on my life in which I used my discretion NOT to fire the weapon by my side in response because I didn’t want to take innocent lives while defending myself. And most recently, my mother and aunt narrowly escaped the Clackamas Town Center shooting. I know violence, I know the consequences of violence far too well, I know what it is to be a victim of violence and I know what it is to protect one’s self from violence.
I also run a news and social network website focused on helping people to survive the ongoing collapse of human industrial civilization.
Everything I have to say on this topic comes from a place of knowledge, experience, and as I hope you’ll see, wisdom. I am going to cut through the crap on all sides, speak from the heart and tell it like it is. Feelings may get hurt and beliefs will be challenged, but it is necessary. This is a search for truth.
There are over 300 million guns in the United States including millions of assault rifles and high-capacity magazines. The horse has left the barn. Anybody with sufficient money and Will can acquire virtually any kind of guns in any amounts with as much ammunition as they desire within a short period of time. That is the status quo. No new gun restrictions will change that fact, at least not in the short term.
But does that mean that sensible gun laws should not be put in place at all? Absolutely not. It is time to reverse the senseless drive toward more arms with more devastating effects destroying more lives in less time.
It is time to seek peace, at all levels of our society.
I'm not going to engage in a game of statistics or semantics. We have heard all of that already in the mainstream news, incessantly. I want to get to the heart of the issue regarding so-called assault rifles and high-capacity magazines, and our delusional need for ever more firepower.
First, let's talk about real self-defense needs. Any serious qualified expert will tell you that the single most effective home defense weapon is a 12-gauge shotgun in either pump action or semi automatic. The second-best home defense weapon is a .45 caliber handgun. The reason these are the best home defense weapons is that they provide maximum stopping power at short range and their loads are not likely to endanger your family or neighbors. Any of the common assault weapon calibers will shoot straight through many walls normally found in residential homes, meaning that you could very easily kill your family members in another room or your neighbors across the street while shooting at an intruder. For this reason, assault weapons are completely unfit for home defense.
Second, you can’t easily carry an assault weapon concealed, so they are absolutely useless for any practical self-defense needs while out of the home. And even if you could, you still have the same problem of too much firepower creating a big risk of killing innocents with stray (or still-traveling) rounds.
Moreover, assault weapons are useless for legitimate hunting purposes. A .223 round will tumble and rip up a deer, ruining the meat. An AK-47 round (.762 x 39 mm) does not have the accuracy or range for deer hunting. A .308 caliber round works for deer or elk (such as found in an M1-A), but you are only allowed to carry between 3 and 5 rounds in the magazine while in the field (depending on your State), so an extended clip is pointless and useless for hunting.
The only use for assault weapons is to kill people quickly and in mass numbers, or to practice killing people quickly and in mass numbers.
The one and only reason left, the one given by the defenders of the right to own assault rifles, is the fear of government tyranny. That is a well-founded fear, however it is far too late historically for that to be a serious rationale and justification in the modern United States.
We are already the most spied-upon society the world has ever seen. The U.S. government gathers and stores EVERYTHING we do digitally. Our civil rights have been steadily eroded or outright stripped via acts of Congress, Presidential overreach, and abrogation of duty to the Constitution by the federal courts. We effectively live in a surveillance state that the old KGB could never have dreamed of. This is nothing new since 911. CollapseNet and others have been reporting and publishing these stories for years. Yet I don’t see anybody grabbing their guns and heading toward Washington, do I?
How many successful insurrections or revolutions have there been against the United States government? None. Obviously the Civil War came close, and it was the most costly war this nation has ever had in terms of lost lives. It was an experience that cannot, and will not, ever be allowed to occur again.
The United States military has the most sophisticated and deadly armaments in the history of mankind. There is no assault weapon that will ever be effective against a drone strike, or any of the other countless tools of efficient murder that are at the fingertips of our government. Just ask the people at Waco – oops, you can't because the government killed most of them.
Yes, I know for a lot of people that THAT is exactly the reason why they believe they need an assault weapon. But let's put this into proper perspective: if you shoot a government employee, especially law-enforcement personnel, you are lucky if you make it to a courtroom. It is and has been the unofficial policy of law enforcement throughout this nation to look out for their own and pay blood for blood. Every criminal knows that no matter what else you do, you don’t shoot a cop. Everybody knows (even if the MSM won’t admit it) that if you shoot a cop or a fed, they do everything they can to kill you rather than apprehend you.
Another case in point: Gordon Kahl. Gordon was a gun nut extraordinaire (he could shoot a flying duck with a rifle – not easy). He was a member of the Posse Comitatus, which is described by Wikipedia as “a loosely organized far right social movement that opposes the United States government and believes in localism.” Kahl was accused of tax evasion. He got in a shootout with federal marshals in North Dakota, killing two of them before going on the lam. When the feds caught up to him in Arkansas months later, they fired thousands of rounds into the house he was in before they set it on fire. There was no way Kahl was going to be taken alive. Call it a preview of WACO. And a cookie-cutter plan for the government’s response to armed rebellion.
The fact is that no person or group can beat any part of the U.S. government with firepower - not now, not ever. To try is to commit suicide. The only way the U.S. government can ever be defeated is in a court of law or at the ballot box through genuine political action and change.
Now that fighting a tyrannical government is off the table as a legitimate reason for owning these weapons, what we’re really talking about here is the fear of civil war, or rapid societal collapse such that law enforcement and the military become either nonexistent or non-functioning in the maintenance of civil society. This is CollapseNet, and we happen to know a thing or two about those prospects.
If the United States begins a fast-crash scenario today and ceases to function as a representative democracy form of government (I would argue it already has), what do you think will happen to all the weapons it has stockpiled or that are currently in use? Do you think military people will just walk away from the weapons? Or sell them off, as in the former Soviet Union? That they will be snatched up by gangs, hooligans, and “freedom fighters”? All of that is merely fantastic speculation that is ungrounded by factual reality.
Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does politics. When and if the United States government fails, it will immediately be replaced by another government, as happened in the former Soviet Union. Might there be some bloodshed? Some stolen weapons? Anything is possible but one thing is sure: whoever is in control of the United States military wins. And there is no possibility of defeating the military monstrosity that we have created through force of arms alone. Again, politics will ultimately determine if, when, and how that military equipment is ever used, and your assault rifles won’t mean a God-damned thing to the outcome.
Banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines will have zero effect on your liberty but it may have a tremendous affect upon your family’s safety and security. These really are weapons of war and they really do not have a place in civil society. Or even in a collapsed society. In fact, these weapons do not belong in the hands of regular law enforcement either. I believe the People would feel a lot less threatened by our government if it also started the process of responsibly disarming itself at all levels.
Let me say it again - the United States of America needs to start disarming itself at all levels of society including the military and police as well as the civilian population.
We’ve gone over the uselessness of assault weapons for civilians, so let’s look at the police “need”.
Police often claim that they need assault weapons to combat the bad guys with assault weapons. Cops always cry about being “outgunned”. It’s more bullshit. We see cops strut around with assault rifles while wearing body armor all the time in response to a mass shooting, looking for the bad-guy that is usually long dead. But when have the cops with assault weapons actually ever needed an assault weapon to stop a shooter? I don’t know of one single instance where an assault rifle was necessary for the police to do their job effectively.
The North Hollywood shootout in the early-90’s is often cited as the example of why police need more firepower. I disagree. All the police need to stop an active shooter, even a shooter wearing body armor, is one well-placed round from a .30-06, a 7mm Mauser or even a .50 caliber sniper rifle if they really want to be sure of the kill. Any one of those guns will easily pass through the best body armor money can buy. So instead of arming police cars with a AR-15’s, all they really need is a bolt action moose-gun with a qualified expert shooter behind the trigger. One well-placed round, end of threat.
“What about the threat of terrorists?”, you ask? Well, we have yet to see a Mumbai-style attack here in the States, but I’ll grant the possibility. That is one of the reasons why, many years ago, police departments started creating Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) units. Let those squads play with our military special forces guys, as they do now, for the one-in-a-million chance that they might be needed some day. What we don’t need is a militarized police force in every city, or in any city in the U.S. It just creates more animosity and fear amongst the public, harming the ability to do real, effective police work.
Now let’s pull back further and take a look at the even bigger picture.
The US spends more on its military than the rest of the countries in the world combined. Who are we afraid of? Guys with box cutters living in caves half a world away, most of whom we’ve already killed? That’s bullshit, too, and we all know it. Our bloated military exists to ensure our steady access to oil and complete U.S. dominance over any minute threat that the military industrial congressional complex can possibly conceive.
The truth is that our gargantuan defense complex is the biggest corporate welfare program ever devised and it is completely unnecessary to the physical security of the USA. We could spend one-fifth of the amount that we do and still remain absolutely dominant across the globe. No country could ever successfully invade us and our nuclear stockpile ensures the complete destruction of any nation who would attack us on a significant scale. So why do we keep building more instruments of death and keep using them on countries with whom we are not at war?
If we want peace we must demonstrate peace. We must live in peace. But we don't do that in the U.S.A. The truth is we like war in this country. It’s our biggest business by far. Our admiration of violence has spawned multi-billion-dollar movie and video game industries. We prop up the “warrior class”, making heroes out of our trained killers for no other reason than they are ours. We deny and then try to excuse our country’s war-crimes and the murder of millions of people in the last 50 years based upon what we know were complete lies. We spend a great deal of money teaching our military to be the best at murdering upon command, but we spend very little time questioning the ethics or morality of doing so, and even less in deprogramming those killers or caring for them when they leave the service. The U.S. is a nation full of blood lust, so is it any wonder that so many media-entranced would-be “warriors” want the same ability to kill as our “proud” military?
After a decade of two wars, our society has literally tens of thousands of trained, experienced - and often depressed and hopeless - killers. Are we addressing that issue sufficiently? Or the complete neglect of our mentally ill and schizophrenic homeless population? More to the point, do we want any of these folks armed with assault rifles as collapse unfolds further? I sure as hell don’t.
But as I said near the top, the horse has left the barn. New gun laws will not likely stop any gun violence from happening in the near future, and gun restrictions alone are not the answer. We have an entire society steeped in violent culture.
I have said several times on the World News desk since the horror at Sandy Hook that the rush of people seeking more guns for fear of new gun laws is foolish and dangerous. Legitimate gun collectors are in no rush, nor are serious “preppers”. Those folks are already well-stocked. No, the mass of people rushing out to buy guns now are buying guns they absolutely don’t need and who are frequently not qualified to handle those weapons in the first place.
Like it or not, face it or not, there is much more going on here – we have a cultural deficiency, a collective delusion about the nature, purpose, and usefulness of guns, and a passive acceptance of a violent culture and society as the norm. This country has a deep, pervasive and often deserved resentment and fear of our own government that is so strong as to overcome common sense and the larger good of the public as a whole. We have a government that is feared and loathed at home and abroad for its oppression and wanton acts of murder for money and profit, ratcheting up the feeling of need to protect ourselves from its abusiveness.
It all has to change, or we will not have a society worth living in or defending. We must do it before we end up like Somalia, where everything is run by warlords and every kid has an AK-47.
It is time for our culture to change. It starts by changing our own minds. Then we change our actions. Then, maybe, we can start changing our culture toward one of love and peace rather than death and destruction.
I fully support the Second Amendment to the Constitution and I will never support complete gun bans for citizens. I have personally seen or been a victim of enough violence to ever let myself or my family be vulnerable to the will of evil men. But that amendment does not convey any individual right to own weapons solely designed for the efficient and rapid murder of innocent people. If there is a circumstance in my life wherein I need more than 10 rounds to either end the threat to my life or to escape the danger, I’m pretty much fucked anyway. Like it or not, so are you.
The bottom line to me is that there is no fantasy scenario justifying weapons of war being commonly available for psychos and criminals to use against my fellow human beings. I'm not giving up all my guns but I will give up my assault rifles if that's what it takes to bring about a more sane world, a more peaceful existence for my children and for all children. It may take 20 years before any safety affects are realized by our society from an assault weapons ban, but we've got to start someplace and we’ve got to start working toward the goal of disarmament some day.
It makes far better sense to do so now than after another senseless tragedy.
(January 19, 2013 - 8:30 AM (PST) - Correction: Last night I was informed that the type of weapon used in the accidental shooting I had previously discussed was not an assault rifle, but a handgun. For that reason, although I don't think it matters all that much to many of the points I was trying to make, I have cut all references and arguments made related to that incident from this updated article as a matter of journalistic integrity. I'll publish the cut portion in a comment below.)
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