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According to gun control advocates, it is pointless for Americans to own rifles like the AR-15, since owners could never realistically defeat the U.S. military with personal small arms — though they do not often know that word and instead refer to such weapons as toys. What follows is endless quibbling over definitions and arguments over the history of asymmetrical warfare, along with suspicions that people who have semiautomatic rifles are secret insurrectionists.

But there is a foundational point to be considered here, namely the role of individual and popular agency in relation to the government and society as a whole. The inevitable end of the line of reasoning offered by gun control advocates is that government is beyond our reach, that its power is categorically above us. …


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Nazi slogan: The banner must stand, even if the man falls.

Donald Trump has been banned from Twitter, and while he has held a mysterious meeting with the MyPillow CEO and the rumors abound about where he will flee to before Air Force One is no longer his personal jet, he is for the moment at loose ends. He and his cult are having to work out what comes next.

For the rest of the country, there are a couple of lessons that we must learn here. The first is the obvious parallel with the Beer Hall Putsch of the Nazis against the Bavarian government in 1923. A coup attempt is no less a coup attempt for being a poorly carried out exercise in wild optimism. Much like the way in which Hitler and his followers confused enthusiasm and doctrine with likelihood of success, Trump’s crew believed that they could overturn the results of an election — one that they claim without good evidence was stolen from them — by storming the Capitol building, with some of them hoping to seize Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi — the next two officials in the line of presidential succession after Trump — and others, perhaps to hold them hostage or possibly to kill them. …


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The bumbling assault on the Capitol building on the 6th of January presents a lesson on the tactics and strategy of attempts to take over a country by armed force. The attack on the legislative seat of the American government has a parallel in the Beer Hall Putsch in Germany in 1923, both in its failures and in its warning of what may come, and those of us who discuss gun ownership in terms of personal defense and defense against tyranny must understand what the event is teaching us.

First, some definitions. A coup is more concerned with replacing the leader, while an insurrection seeks more radical change — or to replace the ruling class. Sedition is the crime of advocating for the replacement of the government through illegal means. …


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Donald Trump has been permanently removed from Twitter, among other social media sites, following his encouragement of the attempted coup on the 6th of January in which the Capitol building was invaded and five died — four rioters and one Capitol Police officer, Brian Sicknick.

Many of his supporters on Twitter have promised to abandon the site in favor of Parler, though the latter will no longer be hosted by Amazon or available on Apple or Google app stores, resulting in discussions about the return to prominence of MySpace or of a boost in sites like Gab and Minds. Where the Trump wing of the right might go after that when those companies find themselves threatened with being kicked off hosting systems if they permit the same types of speech that Trump and company gave out for years is for computer experts to speculate about, but I will predict that the conversations will occur increasingly in the darker parts of the Internet, walling off in an echo chamber thoughts that would be best confronted in the open. …


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Image courtesy of Jeffrey Beall and Wikimedia Commons

Lauren Boebert, a Republican who was elected in 2020 to represent the Third Congressional District of Colorado, has declared her intention to carry her Glock in the Capitol building. This practice will be nothing new, thanks to a rule enacted in 1967, though the D.C. chief of police would like a word with Boebert regarding the laws that govern the capital city.

Washington, D.C. has some of the worst gun laws in the nation, even after having been smacked down by the Supreme Court over the city’s de facto ban on legal handgun ownership, and there is a regular trickle of cases in which visitors from the rest of the country get arrested for possessing firearms without having secured permission first, so the caution from the chief of police is of general application, and a lot of people confuse capitol and capital in any case. I would like to think that someone who gets elected to be the voice of a congressional district in the House of Representatives would already be informed on these matters, but given the typical performance of members of Congress these days — of both parties — I cannot be hopeful. …


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Socialism is a political term that the right wing in America has disparaged for decades as a legacy of the Cold War and out of a love of the anarchy for the rich and entrapment of the rest that libertarian economics represents. The word has been pulled into vogue, especially on social media, this century as we have leapt into two ill-conceived and ill-executed wars, while our leaders continue to feel free to devote our wealth to the benefit of the few. To the right, at least according to their public statements, socialism is both whatever they believe was the Marxist-Leninist system of the Soviet Union and whatever is going on in this country that they do not like, be that anything grabbed out of the bag of topics that include abortion, public education, discussions about pronouns, or guaranteeing healthcare to all. …


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With Trump’s loss in November and a pair of Georgia senate runoffs indicating that the Senate may also be in Democratic control as of the 5th of January, the party is anticipating holding two branches of the federal government together for the first time since Obama’s first two years as president. What they will do with this is unlikely to be anything resembling progress, given Biden’s promise to wealthy donors that “nothing would fundamentally change” if he became president and the general establishment Democrats’ opposition to programs like Medicare for All.

There is, however, one policy objective that has obsessed the Democratic Party for decades: gun control. Joe Biden was at the heart of the last attempt at a radical restructuring of gun ownership in 1994 with the Assault Weapons Ban and background checks required at the sale of each new gun, and he is hoping to redouble that legislative accomplishment with a new order of magnitude of intrusion into the lives of Americans with guns. His plan is nothing new. He wants to move so-called assault weapons onto the list of firearms regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934, thereby making semiautomatic rifles and magazines of greater than a ten round capacity the same in legal terms as machine guns, requiring a license and a $200 tax paid for each one. Beyond that, he wants gun makers to be sued out of existence on the basis of what customers do with guns, not because of a defective product, and to mandate background checks on every gun sale, whether from a licensed dealer or a private owner. …


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Image courtesy of GodefroyParis and Wikimedia Commons

The fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in April of 2019 was symbolic of what has gone wrong with the world since the end of the Cold War. The likelihood that the event was an accident, rather than terrorism, say, only reinforces my interpretation, given that from what is known so far, the ignition was due to faulty wiring or to cigarettes being smoked around the inflammable roof timbers, and given the ineptitude of the security staff when the alarm sounded. The people who are supposed to be in charge of keeping our social systems going are bumbling around, and their supervisors are mostly concerned with cutting costs so as to avoid having to ask the well-to-do to pay a little more in taxes. …


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Image courtesy of ZappaOMati and Wikimedia Commons

A man shooting himself in Great Mall in Milpitas, California near San Jose on the 20th of December resulted in the shopping complex being locked down until cleared by police officers. The mall in question belongs to the Simon Property Group, a corporation that bans weapons from their property. And the state in which the incident occurred is notorious for having among the worst gun laws in the country.

The shooting was apparently an accident, suggesting that the man was carrying a firearm illegally and did something foolish with it. This raises once again the discussion about how successful gun control regulations — whether corporate policy or something that is legislated by the state — can be. If someone can bring a firearm into a facility that forbids such things and behave badly with it when people generally are supposed to be maintaining some level of distancing under medical guidelines during a pandemic, the implication is that such efforts at control are so much busywork with no promise of reducing incidents of injuries and deaths. …


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Susura lifted the hem of her dress above her knees and sank to the ground to study a beetle as it crawled across a fallen log. Its articulated legs folded and flexed with each step, reminding her of a heron plodding through water in search of a frog. There must be a network of strings and pulleys and bellows inside for her to observe — if only she could get tools fine enough to separate the parts. And if she could find an insect large enough for each element to be visible.

Perhaps she could convince Asclepiodorus to let her use his instruments — when he wasn’t bleeding one of the slaves. …

About

(((Greg Camp)))

Gee, Camp, what were you thinking? Supports gay rights, #2a, #1a, science, and other seemingly incongruous things. Books available on Amazon.

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