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"Human Rights Atrocities: The Consequences of United Nations Gun Confiscation in East Africa"

That's the subject of a new Issue Backgrounder just published by the Independence Institute, co-authored by Paul Gallant, Joanne Eisen, and me. The monograph details how U.N.-backed gun confiscation programs in Kenya and Uganda have led to murder, torture, and arson, and have turned tens of thousands of pastoral tribespeople into starving refugees. The paper is available in PDF and in HTML.

Brian Garst (www):
U.N. - Keep your hands off my gun!
6.30.2006 7:50pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Umm, it sounds like you are oversimplifying the situation. I guess we could go back to the 1860's and '70s in the U.S. and view the Indian wars as nothing more than a U.S. government attempt to deprive the Native Americans of their arms. It would be exceedingly silly, simplistic, and dishonest to do so. I imagine your article is much the same.
6.30.2006 8:05pm
Federal Dog:
"It would be exceedingly silly, simplistic, and dishonest to do so. I imagine your article is much the same."


Geez. Not even a quick read through before trashing the work?
6.30.2006 8:08pm
Gordo:
Federal Dog: After reading the article, I have to agree that it is a massive piece of hyperbole whose foundation is a few isolated incidents of government thuggery in Uganda and Kenya in the service of gun confiscation.

Two problems with the article:
-I suspect that the Kenyan and Ugandan governments have committed thousands of atrocities against their own civilians, only a few of which appear to be in the guise of gun confiscation.
-The ties between the actions of Kenyan and Ugandan soldiers/police and the UN is about the size and strength of dental floss.

Finally, I question whether any lessons can be drawn from attempted gun confiscation in lawless, despotic African nations, as opposed to in the United States. Where you have the rule of law, you don't need the rule of guns.

Frankly Mr. Kopel, I found your Harry Potter analyses far more enlightening than this article.
6.30.2006 8:20pm
RKV (mail):
10 out of 10 murderous tyrants prefer their victims disarmed and unable to resist.
6.30.2006 8:28pm
Bret (mail):

-I suspect that the Kenyan and Ugandan governments have committed thousands of atrocities against their own civilians, only a few of which appear to be in the guise of gun confiscation.


You're implying here that because atrocities are plentiful in these nations that the few "which appear to be in the guise of gun confiscation" are somehow unimportant. I would beg to differ. All atrocities, especially those made under the guise of some seemingly benign program, are important.


-The ties between the actions of Kenyan and Ugandan soldiers/police and the UN is about the size and strength of dental floss.


If the link is tenuous, then why would the UNDP halt financial assitance to the Ugandan disarmament program? Obviously, the UN believed there was a large enough link to pull funding.


Finally, I question whether any lessons can be drawn from attempted gun confiscation in lawless, despotic African nations, as opposed to in the United States.


This argument isn't made in the paper as far as I can see. Strawman perhaps?


Where you have the rule of law, you don't need the rule of guns.


The ability to defend oneself from one's own government is a central requirement for Rule of Law.
6.30.2006 8:58pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
I may be wrong, but I think Uganda is the only country where a modern ruler actually ate some of his subjects. Its probably a good idea to have a gun there. Those blow guns like they used in "Raiders of the lost Ark" might work also.
6.30.2006 9:13pm
Gaius Obvious (mail):
"I suspect that the Kenyan and Ugandan governments have committed thousands of atrocities against their own civilians, only a few of which appear to be in the guise of gun confiscation."

The point being that the Kenyan and Ugandan governments were only able to commit those atrocities in the absence of a well-armed citizenry. The fact that the citizens are not well-armed enough to resist government-sponsored atrocities is due to the presence of well-funded UN programs aimed at removing those weapons from the hands of those victims.
6.30.2006 9:30pm
Brian Garst (www):
The point is not that without gun confiscations there would be no atrocities. It is, rather, that the coerceive gun confiscation efforts currently being undertaken in the name of human rights are themselves not adhering to basic human rights. If you're going to promote a program under the guise of human rights, it should be more than just lip service to the cause of human rights. A body that prides itself on such noble enterprises should actually care about such complaints. But, given the history of the U.N. and its failure to do anything about widespread abuses (like the Congo sex scandal), it's no surprise that they don't particular care in this instance.
6.30.2006 9:58pm
Gaius Obvious (mail):
Quote: "The ensuing genocide of the Amin regime was perpetrated against a populace whose primitive armaments did not approach the effectiveness of the killer government."
6.30.2006 10:13pm
David Matthews (mail):
"I may be wrong, but I think Uganda is the only country where a modern ruler actually ate some of his subjects."

I think you are probably wrong. Back in the early '90s, I forced myself to sit through a video of the torture of President Samuel Doe of Liberia, after having been captured by Prince Johnson's folks, in which he was forced to eat his own ear, shortly before his execution -- I'm not sure if he still qualified as the ruler by that point.... But fairly well substantiated rumor had it that he had partaken of various "medicine parts" of innocent civilians as well as of potential rivals. This hideous practice was also followed by many of the militia members of the various factions during the civil wars in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the '90s. I'd be very surprised if Charles "Ghankay" Taylor (president from '97 to 2003 or so) didn't also consume choice bits of some of his subjects.

Several of the military leaders in Nigeria were also rumored to have engaged in "medicinal" cannibalism.
6.30.2006 10:33pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Geez. Not even a quick read through before trashing the work?

I read the work and that is why I made the comment. It was obvious that there was a hell of a lot more going on in all these situations than simply trying to enforce small arms bans. Even the article, through the clouded lense of depriving poor tribesmen of their guns, couldn't conceal the obvious implication that these were longstanding tribal and border issues where the central government was trying to bring autonomous or rebellious regions under the control of the central government.

That is why I made the comparison to our own experience with our own tribal regions in the mid to late nineteenth century. To say that was dispute about gun rights is just ridiculous and dishonest.
6.30.2006 11:03pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
And I will also note for all your love of guns and armed struggle there has been exactly one successful armed revolution in the entire history of the world--and that is the American Revolution--unless you want to count Castro's revolution in Cuba. The Romanian Revolution of 1989 the jury is still out on. And for the fans of the Texas Revolution. That is just the greatest act of armed robbery the world has ever seen.
6.30.2006 11:09pm
RKV (mail):
As usual Freder is wrong. Let's name a few successful armed revolutions - Afghanistan (and let's remember that the American revolution had help from France, just like the Afghanis had help from the US), the Russian revolution (hey, no one said the revolution had to better than the prior state), the Chicoms, the Irish war of independence from Britain,etc. Many other examples.
6.30.2006 11:16pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Afghanistan (and let's remember that the American revolution had help from France, just like the Afghanis had help from the US), the Russian revolution (hey, no one said the revolution had to better than the prior state), the Chicoms, the Irish war of independence from Britain,etc. Many other examples.

The most recent Afghanistan war was not a revolution but rather the instution of a government where none existed before (and it is far from certain it is successful). As for the Russian and Chinese revolutions, I hardly would consider them "successful", even from the perspective of their leaders, most of whom ended up the eventual victims of purges. The Irish War of independence ended in a political, not military, settlement with the British, and the Irish ended up fighting eachother, and Michael Collins, one of the leaders of the Irish Resistance was killed not by the English, but by rivals in the Republican movement. That is hardly the hallmark of a successful revolution.

Many other examples? Please name them.
6.30.2006 11:28pm
RKV (mail):
Freder stop making excuses. You made an untrue and overbroad statement (as per typical). Your post hoc attempt to qualify your position is a failure. I also recall the Mexican Revolution of 1910, and elsewhere in the Americas you might take a look at the career of Simon Bolivar since he ended Spanish colonial rule in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and Bolivia by force of arms. All successful revolutions by the way.
6.30.2006 11:32pm
RKV (mail):
Ditto Brazil (1822 vs. Portugal), Argentina (1816), add Algeria in Africa and so on...
6.30.2006 11:39pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
I also recall the Mexican Revolution of 1910, and elsewhere in the Americas you might take a look at the career of Simon Bolivar since he ended Spanish colonial rule in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and Bolivia by force of arms. All successful revolutions by the way.

None of which lasted more than a few years before they descended into or were overthrown by corrupt military dictatorships. Maybe I wasn't clear by what I meant by successful armed revolution. I should have said armed revolution that established a successful democratic government where the leaders of the said revolution died at home in their beds.

Overthrowing a government by means of arms is (relatively) easy. Turning that violent act into a government that can actually govern under the rule of law is extremely difficult and very rarely succeeds. The record of countries that achieve independence through political, non-violent means without violence and go on to form stable, democratic governments is much better.
6.30.2006 11:42pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
add Algeria in Africa

Most definitely not. The violent revolution in Algeria was crushed. Four years later, the non-violent revolution forced the French out.
6.30.2006 11:45pm
RKV (mail):
Freder, lots of countries have had violent periods in their histories - the US had the Civil War, in fact, so the Brits in the 1680 (IIRC). No you were very unclear as to what you meant by sucessful and I refuse to allow you to change the terms after the fact. You tend to spout off quite a bit, and based on what I saw on another thread here today, came close to being banned based on what the people who run this place said. Further, Kopel's article is well written, cogent and nothing you have said contradicts his points. Simply put, some governments are evil and disarming the citizens makes them vulnerable to democide.
7.1.2006 12:00am
RKV (mail):
Freder, I speak french and have studied in France, so don't even hope to keep up with me on Algeria and French colonial history. You think the vote on independence held in 1961 would have taken place without the threat of more violence, violence which almost resulted in a military coup in France (1958)? Hah, hah, ha.
7.1.2006 12:08am
Barbara Skolaut (mail):
"Human Rights Atrocities: The Consequences of United Nations Gun Confiscation in East Africa"

Now there's a "Well, duh!" headline. Is there anything the UN is involved in that doesn't turn out bad for the poor people involved? Particularly if the Anglosphere isn't also involved?

As near as I can tell, the last good thing the UN did was eradicate smallpox (in nature).

But then what can you expect from an organization whose main purpose seems to be to use our money to lend legitimacy to dictators and kleptocrats?

The world would be much better off if we defunded the Useless Nitwits and started a League of Democracies instead.
7.1.2006 12:09am
RKV (mail):
Barbara, Agreed. I hadn't seen the Useless Nitwits moniker before. Well done. Dave and company continue to do us a service (in a league with Claudia Rossett imho).
7.1.2006 12:17am
Harry Eagar (mail):
Except that they may have happened on the same piece of dirt, I fail to see the slightest connection between a gun roundup in Kenya in 1950 and gun roundups in recent years.

There was the little matter of change of regime in between.

The piece seems designed to whip up the converted rather than to persuade an agnostic like me. The closest comparison I can think of offhand is a compendium of all the murders in Texas in the late 19th century alleged to have been committed by Indians. No context please, just keep serving up the atrocities.
7.1.2006 2:49am
Freder Frederson (mail):
Freder, lots of countries have had violent periods in their histories - the US had the Civil War, in fact, so the Brits in the 1680 (IIRC). No you were very unclear as to what you meant by sucessful and I refuse to allow you to change the terms after the fact. You tend to spout off quite a bit, and based on what I saw on another thread here today, came close to being banned based on what the people who run this place said. Further, Kopel's article is well written, cogent and nothing you have said contradicts his points.

Yeah I was obliquely chastised for being "uncivil" when I jumped all over Randy and you for going off on a irrelevant tangent.

But back to the subject at hand. Kopel's article claims that gun control is the cause of the oppression rather than a convenient excuse to resolve other longstanding issues. As such it is just dishonest and ignores a myriad of other factors.
7.1.2006 11:11am
RKV (mail):
Randy raised the subject of the militia in the first place Fred and you are a liar if you deny it. And it was YOU that was getting talked to about getting banned for your language, not me, Fred. You do attempt to hijack threads. As exemplifed in your first post here you fail to support your arguments - you just like to disagree with Randy and Dave. In your subsequent posts in this thread you overgeneralized and when caught short, make excuses and change the goalposts. Pathetic performance. I will no longer respond to you at any time in the future, since you are so obviously a troll and disruptor. Everyone else here has you figured out.


[DK: As Charles Martel always said, "n'alimentez pas les trolls."]
7.1.2006 2:02pm
Enoch:
Maybe I wasn't clear by what I meant by successful armed revolution. I should have said armed revolution that established a successful democratic government where the leaders of the said revolution died at home in their beds.

If that's your definition of a "successful armed revolution", why did you cite Castro's Cuba as an example? Do you really think this is a "successful democratic government"?

The Irish revolution was unquestionably successful. Without armed resistance, the British never would have left, and a functioning democracy - that has remained a democracy for over 80 years! - was established in southern Ireland as a result.

The violent revolution in Algeria was crushed. Four years later, the non-violent revolution forced the French out.

What RKV said. The non-violent revolution ONLY succeeded because the French were exhausted by years of violence.

Let's add Palestine (1948) as a successful armed revolution that established a democracy.

But, if one excludes the absurd and factitious condition that the revolution must result in a "democracy" to be considered successful, then without a doubt armed revolt has been the most common, decisive, and successful form of warfare in the 20th century.
7.1.2006 2:34pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
But, if one excludes the absurd and factitious condition that the revolution must result in a "democracy" to be considered successful, then without a doubt armed revolt has been the most common, decisive, and successful form of warfare in the 20th century.

Warfare maybe. I was referring to revolution that leads to stable governments. And although armed revolts may lead to overthrow of governments, when the government is forcibly instituted rather than through a negotiated settlement, the results have been almost universally disasterous, usually with the perpetrators of the revolt destroying eachother through purges and being as oppressive as the governments they replaced.

It is only when the factions lay down their arms and negotiate a peaceful transfer of power that there is a chance that the successor government will provide stability and rule of law. The idea that the constant threat of violent uprising is the only thing that keeps governments honest is contrary to the very concept of a peaceful democracy and the rule of law. It is nothing more than the endorsement of mob rule.
7.1.2006 3:34pm
Grayson Hill:
It is only when the factions lay down their arms and negotiate a peaceful transfer of power that there is a chance that the successor government will provide stability and rule of law. The idea that the constant threat of violent uprising is the only thing that keeps governments honest is contrary to the very concept of a peaceful democracy and the rule of law. It is nothing more than the endorsement of mob rule.

But first they have to have arms to lay down. Perhaps it is true that a crushing revolution by force of arms rarely results in a generally peaceful nation-state or whatever after. (It is interesting, BTW, that the most oft-cited example is America, where the resulting government was deliberately kept smaller than the original regimes, unlike, say, France's.)

The point yet remains that you generally have to have the guns to force the original regime to come to the table. It also helps if you're fighting against the anglosphere. If Churchill were Mao, India would be Tibet. Which begs the question: if peaceful means are so great, why is the Dalai Lama still in exhile? I can't think of a better sponsor of peace than the Buddhist Master.

In contrast, the Kosovars forced the issue into the public sphere by force of arms. When there's genocide, there's always a Kofi Anan to spin it or a Clinton to downplay it. When there's a war going on, it's a little harder not to notice the bombs. Everyone suffers, including the side that still has a press to complain about it.

Tyrants love disarmed people, not out of a preference for discussing the niceties of who gets to own the oil refineries and trains, but because then they never really have to discuss who gets to own the oil refineries and trains.

The idea that the constant threat of violent uprising is the only thing that keeps governments honest is contrary to the very concept of a peaceful democracy and the rule of law. It is nothing more than the endorsement of mob rule.

False. It is what makes the Rule of Law possible. Right off, you beg the question of what makes people adhere to Laws. (Think Maslow.) Always, always, there is underlying things human, the threat of destruction, of loss. If men were angels, we would not need laws. If men obeyed the laws and bargained in good faith, we would not need guns. Or did you think we apprehend rapists and murderers with committees and bargaining? Why would a tyrant and his militia be any different?

We need guns because men are not angels, do not obey laws and do not bargain in good faith. Without a credible resort to the Rule of Annihilation, you often only end up with the Rule of Men, which is really just the Rule of Annihilation in the hands of the few, the tyrants.

As elegantly stated in a thread somewhere else, your Kant needs a Hobbes.
7.1.2006 4:07pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
If Churchill were Mao, India would be Tibet.

Unfortunately for your thesis, the entire Soviet empire collapsed with barely a shot being fired in anger (Romania was the only one that experienced significant violence).

We need guns because men are not angels, do not obey laws and do not bargain in good faith.

I never realized that I needed to pack a pistol if I wanted to get a good deal next time I buy a car. You must live in a world full of violence and fear. I would sure hate to live where you live or even have to buy gas or shop for groceries where you do. Every simple transaction must involve threats and gunplay.
7.1.2006 4:21pm
Brian Garst (www):
I never realized that I needed to pack a pistol if I wanted to get a good deal next time I buy a car. You must live in a world full of violence and fear. I would sure hate to live where you live or even have to buy gas or shop for groceries where you do. Every simple transaction must involve threats and gunplay.

That's just about the single dumbest thing I've ever read. Being prepared for bad things does not increase their chance of happening. Wearing a seatbelt does not make you more likely to get hit by another car. Having a gun for protection in my home does not make me more likely to get robbed, it simply makes me better prepared if I am.
7.1.2006 4:34pm
luagha:
As per Freder's post: "Unfortunately for your thesis, the entire Soviet empire collapsed with barely a shot being fired in anger (Romania was the only one that experienced significant violence)."

You live in a different world.
"On January 10, 1991 Mikhail Gorbachev issued an ultimatum-like request addressing Lithuanian Supreme Council demanding restoration of validity of constitution of USSR in Lithuania and revoking of all anti-constitutional laws. The next day Gorbachev approved the attempt of the Soviet military to overthrow Lithuania's government. As a result, at least 14 civilians where killed and more than 600 injured on January 11-13, 1991 in Vilnius, Lithuania. Strong Western reaction and actions of Russian democratic forces put president and government of Soviet Union into awkward situation, as news of support for Lithuanians from Western democracies started to appear."

And

"Hard-liners in the Soviet leadership launched the August Coup in 1991 in an attempt to remove Gorbachev from power and prevent the signing of the new union treaty. During this time, Gorbachev spent three days (August 19 to 21) under house arrest at a dacha in the Crimea before being freed and restored to power. However, upon his return, Gorbachev found that neither union nor Russian power structures heeded his commands as support had swung over to Yeltsin, whose defiance had led to the coup's collapse. Furthermore, Gorbachev was forced to fire large numbers of his Politburo and, in several cases, arrest them. Those arrested for high treason include the "Gang of Eight" that had led the coup."

I seem to recall tanks in Red Square... maybe you weren't there. I wouldn't call that 'peaceful'. An armed robbery where someone sticks a gun in your face is violent whether or not the trigger is pulled.
7.1.2006 5:08pm
Grayson Hill:
Brian, It's also an evasion. The Soviets were bankrupted and unable to provide for their people both by the inherent contradictions of socialist economics and by... a credible force of arms. Ours. They faced us and their own people. In our case, we faced only them, because we could provide for our own people - rather, because our own people were able to provide for themselves.

I dare say most of the Soviet Union faced significant violence. At least that's what Solzhenitzen said. And they faced it and faced it and faced it. Tens of millions of them faced it. Had we not strained the Soviet system by forcing them to compete across the globe I would not want to bet on the idea that the Soviet Union would be gone today. There resources could have been spent controlling their population.

Take China as an example, again. Yes, they reformed their economics. But China only had limited military engagement with the U.S. in Korea and Viet Nam. They could largely rely on - despite their differences - the Soviet Union to use its resources to push against America and Western democracy. That bought them time to figure out they needed to change their economic situation. But did peace work in Tiannenmen? Last I recall it got run over with a tank and stabbed in an alley with a bayonet. Is it working in the Lao Gai - the real gulags of our time - where people are shipped for meditating in public?

Of course Freder knows I'm not talking about small transactions. That by bargaining, I mean the people and the State. That the State will not simply say, "we're doing this and too bad. We've got the shotguns, you ain't got one, this land was made for me and mine."

But let's humor him. Let's say you're talking about a large monetary transaction that is legal. You give the other party money. He doesn't give you the goods. You call to complain. Nothing. You go court. The court says, "Give him up his goods or return his money." Nothing. You go to court again. The court says, "Give him his goods or we throw you in jail." Nothing. You go to court again. The court says, "We're ordering the constabulary to pick him up." The cops come.

He refuses to come out or surrender the goods. (If it helps, think of it as taxes and the IRS.) How do the cops get him out? By kicking in the door with guns in their hands. That's an example of one citizen using the state to coerce another citizen for a simple transaction for which one side refused to behave fairly. At the bottom - if you must arrive there - is force.

It almost never goes that far, certainly. But that's because the State represents a greater force than the other guy. So then, do tell, Freder, what - at bottom - forces the State to obey its citizens? What forces it to obey the Rule of Law? Nice words? A big round table where everyone can exercise their win-win bargaining skills?

The citizens don't need to destroy the State. They only, eventually, need to kill enough of the right parts of it to make the rest realize there's a new sheriff in town. If you're a tyrant or a part of his regime, that could well mean you.

When buying a car, it is in your interest to do right. Competition pretty much requires it if you want to stay in business over the long run. If not, the cost of even exploring legal action will usually force you to behave.

But the point of being a tyrant is that there is no competition and you are the law. If you will not do right because you don't want to, if you will not do right because no law can force you, then you will do right if the threat of extinction becomes real. Or you'll die. Either way, that part of the equation gets solved.
7.1.2006 5:09pm
markm (mail):
Dave, the links to the report are broken.
7.1.2006 8:52pm
betsybounds:
Well it is far into the day, and there might be little attention remaining to this thread. But I must enter--something occurs to me: The notion that, under a regime of the rule of law rather than men (notice, if you please, the essential predicate--we are not merely under the rule of law, but we are under the rule of law as opposed to the rule of men, and this distinction is essential), the enforcer is the government. However, the second amendment recognizes implicitly (not explicity) that the government is not given pre-eminent power. In fact, the entire of the Bill of Rights is intended to state the limits, as opposed to the powers, of government. All the arguments herein presented about the powers of the people (implicitly bearing arms) against the government, I grant. There is another dimension involved, and some on this thread have alluded to it: Personal protection. We are sometimes told (I hope this will be recognized as something other than a "straw man") that nowadays we can rely on duly designated police to protect us, and therefore need not bear arms for our own protection. Excuse me, but I prefer not to entrust my own safety, and that of my family, to the tender mercies of 911. The local police consist almost entirely of a cleanup crew. Short of an action against an overpowering government and in response to a criminal cohort, I will insist on my right to protect myself and my family against hostiles of any origin, and refuse to await the abilities of any branch of a government. If freedom means anything, it means this.
7.1.2006 9:06pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
The Swiss revolt against the Austrians was by gunfire and seems to have worked out OK, Fred
7.1.2006 9:20pm
Barbara Skolaut (mail):
Thanks, RKV. AFAIK, the "Useless Nitwits" is mine - though if someone else can show they thought of it first, I'll gladly concede.

I've got other names for the UN, too - most of which can't be printed on a semi-family blog. ;-p
7.1.2006 10:25pm
Grayson Hill:
Betsy: I always thought that the primary human right was the right to self-defense. After that, you have details. Without that, you have nothing.
7.2.2006 3:27am
Unix-Jedi (mail) (www):
Freder:
Isn't Moving the Goalposts a 15 yard offense and loss of down?
<i>And I will also note for all your love of guns and armed struggle there has been exactly one successful armed revolution in the entire history of the world—and that is the American Revolution—unless you want to count Castro's revolution in Cuba.</i><br>
<i>None of which lasted more than a few years before they descended into or were overthrown by corrupt military dictatorships. Maybe I wasn't clear by what I meant by successful armed revolution. I should have said armed revolution that established a successful democratic government where the leaders of the said revolution died at home in their beds.</i>

Man. You didn't just move the goalposts, you loaded them up and changed their zip code.
Well, that hardly describes Cuba. Not democratic in the slightest, Castro *might* die in his bed, but Che certainly didn't.
If you would care to retract your statements when (brutually) proven wrong, rather than being snarky, insulting, and demeaning to people who disagree with you, I think you'd stand a better chance of convicing people.

<i>Overthrowing a government by means of arms is (relatively) easy. Turning that violent act into a government that can actually govern under the rule of law is extremely difficult and very rarely succeeds.</i>

Ah, the "Rule of Law". Funny thing, there are lots of despotic, or non-liberal governments that quite clearly have the "Rule of Law".
The "Rule of Law" in and of itself is *not* by itself a legimate target in my opinion, for a government to have. It's also open to arguement, as our Constitution pretty clearly demonstrates that your desire to remove personal weaponry *violates* the "Rule of Law".

<i>But back to the subject at hand. Kopel's article claims that gun control is the cause of the oppression rather than a convenient excuse to resolve other longstanding issues. As such it is just dishonest and ignores a myriad of other factors.</i>

Did you actually read it before saying that? You've already admitted you "knew" what it said <i>" It would be exceedingly silly, simplistic, and dishonest to do so. I imagine your article is much the same.</i>". Given you were certain what you imagined, you'll have to excuse me for imagining that your opinion is excedingly silly, simplistic, and dishonest.

<i>Unfortunately for your thesis, the entire Soviet empire collapsed with barely a shot being fired in anger</i>

Unfortunately for yours, that's an incredibly simplistic and obviously nonsensical version of what happened. You're exhibiting the classic disassociation with "violence" that many people who want to use the "Rule of Law" to remove personal weapons do. Just because you are ready and capable of something doesn't mean if you don't do it, you're unable to. The entire Soviet empire collapsed - because of a credible *possibility* of shots being fired in anger.

And if that revision to history wasn't enough: <i>I never realized that I needed to pack a pistol if I wanted to get a good deal next time I buy a car. You must live in a world full of violence and fear. I would sure hate to live where you live or even have to buy gas or shop for groceries where you do. Every simple transaction must involve threats and gunplay.</i>

It's called "projection", Freder. And if that's not your worldview, then that's incredibly insulting, as well as incredibly myopic. Or, are you going to move those goalposts as well, since noone actually does believe what you've declared that we do?
7.2.2006 11:22am
Andy Freeman (mail):
> Kopel's article claims that gun control is the cause of the oppression rather than a convenient excuse to resolve other longstanding issues.

Cause? No. Kopel claims that gun control reduces the costs of oppression. It makes it easier "resolve" longstanding issues such as "those folks are in the way of the paradise that I see". In fact, that's the point.

Why does Frederson think that one party should always be unable to "say no" effectively?
7.4.2006 3:53pm
Enoch:
The Soviets were bankrupted and unable to provide for their people both by the inherent contradictions of socialist economics and by... a credible force of arms. Ours.

This is not the scenario under discussion here (whether or not armed revolutions can succeed in overthrowing repressive regimes).

Had we not strained the Soviet system by forcing them to compete across the globe I would not want to bet on the idea that the Soviet Union would be gone today. There resources could have been spent controlling their population.

The Soviet Union did not lack the resources to control their population, and did not fall because they failed to control their population. They had the means to control their population, if they chose. What they lacked, in the end, was the will.
7.5.2006 9:43am