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Old February 9, 2009, 01:36 PM   #1
carlosr77
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2nd Amendment; Why it's so important.

I decided to write this after reading so many of your thoughts and opinions on gun rights issues. I hope this story will entertain you, and give you a perspective on why the 2nd amendment is so important.

I immigrated to the USA in 1968. At the age of ten my immediate family left Cuba after a four year wait from the time of application. I was born one year before Castro took power. At that time my father owned a small piece of land and he operated a small country store. Clients rode in on horseback, horse and buggy, and a few on old 30's and 40's trucks.
After Castro had firm control, he first [B]disarmed the population..[B] He then took my father's land from him for redistribution to peasant population. They were to grow whatever crop the government demanded.
This also brought about my fathers first arrest. He was suspected of being a counter-revolutionary and imprisoned for a week, then released, with no due process.
Castro pushed Cuba in the direction of communism and demanded the citizens to register as such. My family refused. With the little money we had, my father moved us to a small town where he opened a small store. A year later, the government took all moneys in deposit in the banks from all Cubans. Pro government propaganda grew, contolled by Castro, with more insistance in being a good communist. The students and some teachers at the elementry school I attended ridiculed me for not being a communist. We were on food rationing now and were not receiving our full share. My mother had to smuggle food home from friends in the country-side at risk to herself, in order to feed me and my new little brother.
My fathers second arrest occured shortly after the bay of pigs, failed invasion. Not being a communist he could only be a simpathizer with the Americans.
Again just picked up, locked up, and later released after no proof of collaboration was found. In these times, people were being picked up of the streets, tortured, killed, plain dissapeared. Anyone who was discovered to be talking in anti-government tones was game. I remembered many a whispered conversations with adults around the kitchen. You never knew who was listening or who is a government spy.
At 7:30 am, three armed soldiers knocked on our front door. They demanded the keys to my fathers store. What could he do? He gave them the keys. His business and our livelyhood taken for no just cause, other than we were not registered communists.
Several months later my father organized a group of men in secret to attempt to escape from Cuba on a boat. We were being persecuted and had to go. 5 men, my pregnant mother, my brother and I,; we all boarded a boat whose motor broke and we were forced to return.
Because we had dissapeared for a prolonged period of time, rumors that we had escaped circulated. When we returned home, my father was arrested for a third time. Imprisoned for a month, interogated, with no due process. He was later released and ordered in to a labor camp. I remember makiing the train trip once a month with my mother to bring him supplies/basic nessecities.
It was finally in 1968 that our family was granted permission to immigrate. We came here pennyless.
If you remeber, at the beginign of this story, it was by disarming the population that the government was able to take control and abuse human rights with no fear of any armed assault to reverse the injustice.
Our constitution in the United States was drafted by our founders, two hundred years earlier to prevent just such a thing.
The second amendment was drafted so that we would have a means to protect ourselves from our government, So that it would never be able to take away the means by wich it's citizens could wrest control back from overreaching politicians. That a bullit could bring order, balance, and the restoration of our rights.
Why are people today afraid of guns? because they are ignorant of the facts. They don't understand the importance of civic involvement to keep politicians honest, and knowledge of history's lesons. Many are victims of misguided anti-gun movements.
God bless this country, with all it's faults, it is still the best nation in the world. Please support those organizations that help protect our rights, so we never have to contemplate raising the gun to do so.
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Old February 9, 2009, 03:51 PM   #2
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Thank you for posting your story.
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Old February 9, 2009, 07:21 PM   #3
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carlosr77,

Good post and thanks for your story. Unfortunately, in Cuba there has never really been a history of a democratic government that protected it's people's rights. The fact that Cuba had no Second Amendment did not not bring Castro to power. Fulgencio Batista and his corrupt Mafia-loving administration did that. So, Cuba exchanged a military, corrupt, gangster for a revolutionary undemocractic one. Namely Fidel Castro.

I maintain that the robustness and maturity of the US politically democratic institutions protect us far more than the Second Amendment does. It is those institutions that protect us from corruption and tyranny. See the recent impeachment and most certain imprisonment of Gov Rod Blagojevich. That sort of stuff never happened in Cuba. Politicians were replaced, but by coup and assassination rather than lawful means. After Cuba was no longer a colony of Spain it's history was soiled with civil war, race wars, foreign interventions and finally dictatorship.

Fortunately in America, after our independence, we created the best democratic document the world has ever seen. The Constitution of the United States. Today, even though not perfect the people in power in our government reflect the will of the people as they have for the last 200 + years or they are voted out of office. Power changes hands through elections and not coups or revolutions. That is the reason for our freedoms today, the ones you now enjoy and the ownership of firearms by civilians is not the reason for that.
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Old February 10, 2009, 12:30 AM   #4
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to gentleman from Tennessee

Thank you for your thoughful response. I too have made the observations you refer to. The change of power when Nixon left the white house and the Ford family stepped in. Tip O'neal (speaker of the house)stood by a window looking out on Pensilvania Avenue that night, and made this observation. That with all this turmoil in government, there are no tanks on the streets, soldiers to protect the house. Just a few cars driving by, and some folks looking from the street on this historic night.
I appreciate deeply, perhaps more than most, what Jefferson and John Adams did for this land, and it's peoples, when they authored the Constitution.
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Old February 10, 2009, 10:35 AM   #5
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It would not be correct to imagine that the current state of our rights have a single source, just as it would be wrong to suggest that any individual right played no part in the current state of our liberty.

Quote:
Tip O'neal (speaker of the house)stood by a window looking out on Pensilvania Avenue that night, and made this observation. That with all this turmoil in government, there are no tanks on the streets, soldiers to protect the house. Just a few cars driving by, and some folks looking from the street on this historic night.
I appreciate deeply, perhaps more than most, what Jefferson and John Adams did for this land, and it's peoples, when they authored the Constitution.
Indeed. This describes a trust in law that comes with a history of stability and observance of men's rights as provided by that law. That isn't our only experience. About a century before O'Neill's observation we had some unpleasantness between the states, and in the 1960s and 1990s some populations have rioted violently at least in part in reaction to their perceptions of the legal system.

However most of our experience is in a system that provides individuals recourse through the legal and political process, and trusts them enough to allow exercise of those rights. Within that context, the government should have no fear of the militia, or of it being properly and effectively armed.

That speaks to the differences of balance between government and people in our model and that used in a lot of the latin world. When people note the importance of specific rights, especially those enumerated in the COTUS, they are very often decrying an erosion of the tradition of our rights not only in terms of arms.

In a system in which the militia are substantially disarmed, individuals are subject to speech codes enforced by government, eminent domain is used in unconventional ways, the electoral process is doubted by a growing population, or government serves as a medical and financial nanny or tyrant, it is fair to wonder how long O'Neill's observation of confidence and the ensuing order would last.
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Old February 17, 2009, 10:36 PM   #6
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2nd amendment fact>>>>>

When the second amendment was written black powder flint locks were the standard, not SKS, AR-15's etc. remember that fact.
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Old February 17, 2009, 10:53 PM   #7
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those blackpowder flintlocks were the AR-15's of that time. the evolution of small arms has no bearing on the second amendment.
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Old February 18, 2009, 04:02 AM   #8
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Carlos, thank you for your post. A reality check from time to time is refreshing. Sometimes stories such as this will remind us of the country we live in, not take it for granted and helps give us the strength to fight and keep it "the best country in the world".
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Old February 24, 2009, 11:26 AM   #9
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With less than 50% voter turnout each election, you can hardly say that our government representatives reflect the will of the people. They reflect the will of the vocal minorities, the media groups that cover their campaigns, and political action committees that finance them. The level of apathy and indifference among the people of voting age in this country is going to destroy it for all of us!
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Old February 24, 2009, 12:00 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miroslav
With less than 50% voter turnout each election, you can hardly say that our government representatives reflect the will of the people.
Cliche alert! Vote and the choice is yours, don't vote and the choice is theirs!
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Old February 24, 2009, 03:31 PM   #11
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Let me ask this

How fair do you feel this last election was??? Did ACORN have a part in what happened? Did race play into this election more so than experience and knowledge?? Carlos..I really liked your post. I lived in Columbia South America right before Escobar took over and it really helped me appreciate what we have in America...My fear is that we are letting it slowly slip away with out a shot being fired!
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Old February 24, 2009, 03:49 PM   #12
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Warning - Acorn, Race - the election - politics are not the purpose of the forum. If one wants to talk about excercise of the right to vote to preserve the RKBA, fine. But we don't want to to redo the last election.
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Old February 24, 2009, 04:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
My fear is that we are letting it slowly slip away with out a shot being fired!
I hope you are being metaphorical. What shot is it, precisely, that you want fired?
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Old February 24, 2009, 05:09 PM   #14
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Yep, we have decided not to do revolution threads. Talk about voting strategies. We are on the brink here!
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Old February 24, 2009, 06:00 PM   #15
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Quote:
I maintain that the robustness and maturity of the US politically democratic institutions protect us far more than the Second Amendment does. It is those institutions that protect us from corruption and tyranny. See the recent impeachment and most certain imprisonment of Gov Rod Blagojevich. That sort of stuff never happened in Cuba. Politicians were replaced, but by coup and assassination rather than lawful means. After Cuba was no longer a colony of Spain it's history was soiled with civil war, race wars, foreign interventions and finally dictatorship.
What you forget is that Cuba has been independant from Spain for just over a century. In our first century of independance from Great Britain, we had foreign intervention (we were invaded during the war of 1812), more that our fair share of racial tenisons, and a civil war. Also, it must be remembered that the longstanding state of relative tranquility and freedom from tyranny that we enjoy today was a very recent development at the time the Constitution was drafted. If one examines the Bill of Rights, we find that every amendment contained in it contains either a limit upon the power of government or an enumeration of individual right. Certainly there are some rights which were omitted from the Bill of Rights such as the right to ingest or smoke certain substances, the right to travel in freedom from regulation, etc but for some reason the founders thought that these rights were important enough to be specifically enumerated. If one examines history, we find that tyrannical governments are usually quick to take away certain rights such as freedom of speech and press, due process of law, and the right to bear arms. I think that the founders knew that prevention of the removal of these vitally important rights would help to prevent the rise of a tyrannicla government. Evidence of this is easily observed in the text of the Second Amendment: A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Because the founders specifically included the word "free," I'm inclined to think that the Second Amendment was included in the bill of rights not only to ensure the security of the state, but the freedom of the state as well.
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Old February 24, 2009, 06:34 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Also, it must be remembered that the longstanding state of relative tranquility and freedom from tyranny that we enjoy today was a very recent development at the time the Constitution was drafted. If one examines the Bill of Rights, we find that every amendment contained in it contains either a limit upon the power of government or an enumeration of individual right.
Quite right. I think freedom of speech was not even at the state level before the 14th amendment and wasn't even incorporated until the 20th century. It surely took time to develop but we developed our democratic institutions to a fine degree and were able to avoid any dictatorship and wholesale loss of our civil rights (even though Lincoln suspended Habeus Corpus during the Civil War it was restored after the war was over). Also, Congress took authority over the militia (except for appointing it's officers) which was a huge step the anti-federalists decried but they lost the argument overall.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Because the founders specifically included the word "free," I'm inclined to think that the Second Amendment was included in the bill of rights not only to ensure the security of the state, but the freedom of the state as well.
Freedom (the operative term I think) is used throughout the COTUS and the BOR. I think an insecure state cannot by definition be free since fear would enslave it's people. I think the security part came first to protect the state from foreign invaders and lawless insurrection allowing our freedoms to follow in the checks and balances that restrict government and it's powers.

As I have posted before I do not hold with the Insurrection Theory which holds the 2A not only grants the personal right to bear arms, but gives citizens the right to rebel against a government perceived as tyrannical, since it cannot hold water against Article One Section Eight or Article Three Section Three of the COTUS.
Would any interpretation of the 2A make sense to say that a well-regulated body authorized by the government is intended to train itself for action against the government?

I think the militia was established to protect the state which in turn protects our freedoms. Today a professional police force and military performs that function and the militia is no more.
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Old February 24, 2009, 08:37 PM   #17
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If we fail to question, then yes, we will be just like Cuba!!!!Kleinzeit you may want to read a book written by Karl Marx that explains the take over with out uprising!

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Old February 24, 2009, 09:09 PM   #18
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Quote:
Freedom (the operative term I think) is used throughout the COTUS and the BOR. I think an insecure state cannot by definition be free since fear would enslave it's people. I think the security part came first to protect the state from foreign invaders and lawless insurrection allowing our freedoms to follow in the checks and balances that restrict government and it's powers.

As I have posted before I do not hold with the Insurrection Theory which holds the 2A not only grants the personal right to bear arms, but gives citizens the right to rebel against a government perceived as tyrannical, since it cannot hold water against Article One Section Eight or Article Three Section Three of the COTUS.
Would any interpretation of the 2A make sense to say that a well-regulated body authorized by the government is intended to train itself for action against the government?

I think the militia was established to protect the state which in turn protects our freedoms. Today a professional police force and military performs that function and the militia is no more.
I agree in that I don't think the Second Amendment enumerates a right to armed insurrection. The result of the Civil War illustrates that. However, a lack of right to do so will not stop insurrection if enough of the population is armed and inclined to do so and the founders knew this (afterall, the American Revolution was viewed as treason by the British government). I think part of the purpose is to deter tyranny in the first place. I think the founders knew that tyranny is far less likely to occur if the government is unable to disarm the population as the police and military cannot control a population if the majority of that population is armed and unwilling to comply. Thusly, the government will be far less likely to become tyrannical if it fears that an armed population may not be willing to comply with such tyranny. While I agree that insecurity threatens the freedom of a nation, a nation's population can be secure without being free. China seems quite secure as did the Soviet Union for most of its history but neither nation's population was (or in the case of China is) free.
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Old February 24, 2009, 09:16 PM   #19
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What started out as a simple observation soon turned into a discussion on the whether the rights granted by the Bill of Rights secured our fragile democracy or was it the institutions created after the framers had placed their pens back in the ink wells.

The arguments are compelling that what secures our rights today are the institutions created (i.e. law enforcement, nation guard, military, etc.). But was the case back in 1778? There was no real US Military, no Federal Agency protecting Americans. And the State Militias were not all that well organized. So what was it that held this country together?

I think what really holds this country together is the power of the people. And it is more fragile than we think. It has been strained a few times. But we have remained civil. During the Great Depression, instead of looting and mass rioting, the people worked to pull this country out. Some economists give credit to the work programs of the government. While other economists claimed that prolonged the depression and it was the war that ultimately pulled us out. But either way, the people remained civil.

The power rests in the people. We just have to be willing to use that power.

I enjoyed the story and the posts for the most part.
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Old February 24, 2009, 09:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kirpi97
But was the case back in 1778? There was no real US Military, no Federal Agency protecting Americans. And the State Militias were not all that well organized. So what was it that held this country together?
Good question! I think what held this country together was a dream that we have only recently (last 100 years) fully realized. However, the militias were a part of that and served a great purpose for our young country (even though George Washington did not like them)

Where I part company with some is that the an armed citizenry does not guarantee or really protect those freedoms today. When they further argue that we need to have military weapons such as machineguns and grenades in order to be able to fight our own military, I jump off that boat.

I am reminded of post Katrina when Mayor Nagin illegally and unconstitutionally confiscated property (firearms) from law-abiding citizens. The fact that those citizens were armed did not stop him from acting as a tyrant, but a court order filed by the NRA did. And a lawsuit made him give them back. Nixon gave up the tapes when the courts told him to and not when armed citizens stormed the White House. Cuba, never learned that and today they are not free.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Thusly, the government will be far less likely to become tyrannical if it fears that an armed population may not be willing to comply with such tyranny...China seems quite secure as did the Soviet Union for most of its history but neither nation's population was (or in the case of China is) free.
True indeed Webley, just being secure isn't enough but having guns doesn't do it either.

Look at Somalia or many other third world countries. Plenty of arms, and I mean the good stuff (machineguns, rocket launchers) that you and I have debated over but are they free? I have been to some of those places and I assure you they are not. They live short brutish lives but they are well armed.

See, arms alone won't make you free either. Rule of law that the people will support does the job. I teach an ethics course to a group of LEOs from time to time. I tell them that what really keeps them safe on the street is that 99.999% of our population respects the rule of law and so the thin blue line holds. If that respect and support were not there then it would be Dodge City for sure.
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Old February 24, 2009, 10:11 PM   #21
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
Thusly, the government will be far less likely to become tyrannical if it fears that an armed population may not be willing to comply with such tyranny...China seems quite secure as did the Soviet Union for most of its history but neither nation's population was (or in the case of China is) free.

True indeed Webley, just being secure isn't enough but having guns doesn't do it either.

Look at Somalia or many other third world countries. Plenty of arms, and I mean the good stuff (machineguns, rocket launchers) that you and I have debated over but are they free? I have been to some of those places and I assure you they are not. They live short brutish lives but they are well armed.
While I agree that right to arms alone does not make a population free, it goes a long way towards it. If you look at most of the atrocities that we see comitted in the third world, we find that it's typically one segment of the population that is well armed dominating or killing another segment that, for whatever reason, has inferior weapons or is totally unarmed. Likewise, the dominated segments of the population, armed or not, are usually poorly organized and incapable of mounting an effective resistance.

To tie in with the OP, it would seem that the police officers and soldiers, regardless of Castro's wishes, would have been more reluctant to carry out their heinous acts in Cuba if they feared resistance and/or retaliation from an armed population. By first disarming the population however, the ensured that they could go about their business unopposed. In comparison to our own country, I think that if our own government did become tyrannical without first disarming the population, it would have trouble getting the military and police to go along with it's wishes as the soldiers and LEO's would fear that the armed population may fight back.

Quote:
See, arms alone won't make you free either. Rule of law that the people will support does the job. I teach an ethics course to a group of LEOs from time to time. I tell them that what really keeps them safe on the street is that 99.999% of our population respects the rule of law and so the thin blue line holds. If that respect and support were not there then it would be Dodge City for sure.
Yes, the vast majority of the population respects the rule of law now, but if the government became tyrannical, that segment of the population would surely decline and would have to be kept in line by force. Such force would be much more difficult to execute if the population is armed and able to resist. I contend that the case is not that we are armed because the government is not tyrannical, but rather that the government is not tyrannical in part because we are armed. I feel that the part of the purpose of the Second Amendment (besides protection from foreign invaders) is to foster a healthy fear within the government of an armed population and thereby prevent tyranny.
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Old February 24, 2009, 10:21 PM   #22
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Great little post!!!!
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Old February 24, 2009, 11:04 PM   #23
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sam1chlt, you confuse me. First you wrote:

Quote:
My fear is that we are letting it slowly slip away with out a shot being fired!
and I asked whether you meant to say by this that, because of the last election, someone should actually be shooting guns now. (That really is what you seemed to be saying.) Now you write to say,

Quote:
Kleinzeit you may want to read a book written by Karl Marx that explains the take over with out uprising!
and that really confuses me.

Perhaps I don't know Marx as well as I should. My understanding is that he saw history as a process in which the working people would eventually take up arms in revolution to overthrow their elitist, tyrannical oppressors. And that he thought this was a fine idea.

Now, I'm a bit slow, so humor me here. What I have so far is that you want me to read Marx, and you think we should start shooting... So, I think perhaps you want to start a Communist revolution in America. Is that it?

Because if you are talking revolution of any kind, you might want to take that talk somewhere else.

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Old February 24, 2009, 11:15 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
While I agree that right to arms alone does not make a population free, it goes a long way towards it.
No it doesn't really make you free just powerful which leads to..

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
most of the atrocities that we see committed in the third world, we find that it's typically one segment of the population that is well armed dominating or killing another segment that, for whatever reason, has inferior weapons or is totally unarmed.
This is not freedom in action but rather power being exercised over another group. In Rwanda the Tutsi first had the power oppressed the Hutu who later took over and massacred the Tutsi. Arms just provided the means to do it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
it would seem that the police officers and soldiers, regardless of Castro's wishes, would have been more reluctant to carry out their heinous acts in Cuba if they feared resistance and/or retaliation from an armed population.
I think the Bay of Pigs proved that wrong. The people of Cuba in the majority wanted Castro and allowed him to stay in power. Otherwise the CIA plan would have worked and millions of indignent Cubans would have risen up and overthrown Castro. Didn't happen and would Cuba had been any freer after the exiles took over? I don't think you can say that webley. Isay based on the lack of said democratic ideals and foundations you might well have had another fascist dictator in Ccuba.

Rule of law and the democratic dreams and ideals we have today will keep
Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
if the government became tyrannical
from ever being a reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Webleymkv
I contend that the case is not that we are armed because the government is not tyrannical, but rather that the government is not tyrannical in part because we are armed.
Can you show any instance in history where an armed population keep a leader from doing something tryannical. We have had instances of that. The suspension of Habeus Corpus by Lincoln, the sedition laws of WWI, the Japanese Interment in WWII. Did armed citizens stop those? Please do not cite the rural myth of the Battle of Athens:barf:

We are armed today and can defend ourselves from criminals because we have a democratic government whose checks and balances have kept power diffused so that one man or party could not take over as a tyrant. Even when things got bad during the Cvil War or the Great Depression we maintained our COTUS without the use of armed citizenry.

We don't have a tyrannical government because of those institutions, free press and the rule of law. Not because there is an armed minority.
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Old February 25, 2009, 12:48 AM   #25
kirpi97
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Join Date: November 20, 2008
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Quote:
Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman:
When they further argue that we need to have military weapons such as machineguns and grenades in order to be able to fight our own military, I jump off that boat.
I am in agreement with you on this point. I am not a believer in the average citizen owning an assault rifle or any weapon that is customarily associated with the military. But given the climate of our democracy and the pursuits of some that when you give in to one point, they then use that as the new standard from which to erode more points. There is no end. So we draw arbitrary lines in the sand about which we will not budge.

Quote:
Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman:
arms alone won't make you free either. Rule of law that the people will support does the job.
Again we are in total agreement. As long as the population respects the law and civility reigns, then you have a democracy. When that fails, anarchy or a sort of nature's feudal system--might makes right exists. Somalia was a perfect example. Weapons everywhere. But the rule of law was established by Warlords.

Quote:
Originally posted by Tennessee Gentleman:
Can you show any instance in history where an armed population keep a leader from doing something tryannical.
Bit of a loaded question wouldn't you say. If I could point to such an event, we wouldn't know it because the leader never did anything. But if they stop him by use of force, then it is a revolt.

But if we are going for an example of where the perception of the use of power thwarted the moves of a tyrant, we need only look at America. For years policy of Mutual Destruction thwarted the Soviet Union. We never had to employ the force. The threat of it was enough.

And in Turkey, the Constitution gives the Military the power to over take the Government should it try and depart from secularism. The government has tried on occasion and the military stepped in. Restored the government back to the Constitution and then relinquished control back to civilian authorities.

Today, the military is the protector of the Constitution. The mere presence and knowledge that the military will step in keeps the Islamic Party from grasping hold of the government and turning it into another Iran.

I know these are not examples of ordinary citizens thwarting tyranny because they have weapons. But it is as close as I can get. It is like Switzerland. Who has no real standing Army. Just a nation of armed citizens. And they seem to maintain a democracy.

So the military itself doesn't guarantee freedoms. It goes back to the will of the people.

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