What It Must It be Like to Fear Your Own Government

One of the big National Rifle Association arguments in favor of free access to weapons of all kinds is the alleged Second Amendment right to bear arms as a deterrent and/or defense against the government of the United States.  According to the NRA and extreme gun rights advocates, this “right” springs from the fear that the Founding Fathers justifiably had about strong governments taking away the rights of the people. After all, that is essentially why the Revolutionary War was fought — to end the tyranny of the King of England over the colonies.

Fast forwarding to the present, these folks appear genuinely to believe that there is reason to fear that the federal government, which through the President, commands one of the most powerful military forces in the world, may someday during their lifetimes turn on the people, confiscate their weapons under color of some gun control law or the other, and enslave everyone.

Call it paranoia, call it wacko, call it what you will, many of our citizens appear to deeply fear that scenario. Some of them have acquired arsenals of semi-automatic rifles with high-capacity magazines with which to resist forcibly the imagined takeover. Some of them apply camouflage coloring to their faces, like the real military they’ve seen on TV and, deep in the remote woods of (mainly) the south, practice drills, running and shooting at stationary targets and so on. This activity, they believe, will prepare them to defend hearth and home against an invading army of United States Marines, Army soldiers, perhaps aided by the local police and National Guard (who would most certainly be called up during a takeover) equipped with tanks, true tactical training and supported by the most advanced and fearsome combat aircraft on the planet.

Of course, those guys, mostly guys, running around in the woods are shooting at stumps and cardboard figures that don’t shoot back. One must wonder how would perform in the face of a squad or two of U.S. Marines in full battle gear. But, hey, they’ll go down fighting which seems to them like the best alternative to the imagined takeover and the dystopian Hunger Games-like life that would ensue. Living with such fear must be a terrible burden to carry through life.

The more one thinks about this scenario, the more ridiculous it seems, putting aside the idea that the government could or would actually try this. I suppose that if you watch enough conspiracy movies, in which a handful of military people secretly agree to order the U.S. military to attack the citizenry, striking at the TV stations, electric grid and internet server farms to gain instant control over communications, you could come to believe such a thing is possible in the United States. Then again, when you consider the physical scale of the country, the complexity of its physical infrastructure, the ubiquity of the internet, the certain massive resistance by the majority of the population and the awareness that the failure of such an enterprise would be conviction for treason punishable by death, is it even remotely plausible that a federal takeover using the military could occur here?

In my mind, to ask the question of plausibility is to answer it, but I must recognize that no matter how implausible the scenario is, there are many people who apparently live in constant fear that the federal government is about to enslave everyone. Curiously, many of these same people are the most ardent supporters of the current president who, among all modern presidents, is the most likely to attempt to subvert the country into a totalitarian regime. This irony is missed by all of those who live in fear and claim that the Second Amendment somehow gives them the protection they require.

I get the argument that “anything is possible” but when considering that, why can’t these people see that the “possible turned reality” is already here in the form of irregular but recurring slaughters of children in schools, not to mention the thousands of others who die by gunshot every year. American exceptionalism, of which that crowd seems so certain and so proud, has placed us high in the world in gun-related deaths, especially among countries with significant socioeconomic success. http://n.pr/2BrbmUh

You don’t have to imagine any conspiracy to understand this; just open your mind to reality.

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