Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Potential Man-Made Disaster (part 1)

We live in interesting times. While most of those reading (and writing) this blog are trying to prepare for disasters and emergencies, there is a part of our audience who don't get much attention: they're preparing for a man-made disaster that is looking more possible every day.

When we started this blog and the Facebook group, one of our first rules was “No Politics”. Political discussion is by definition divisive, and we choose to avoid chasing away potential readers. We don't really care what your political views are; we're here to help you prepare for when bad things happen. There is, however, one subject that carries a lot of political potential and I have tried to avoid it, but things are getting close to becoming serious and I feel a need to address some of the causes and ways things could go wrong.

The subject I'm talking about is gun control.

Firearms are a common tool in most prepper circles. They are useful for hunting and self defense, and if properly maintained, a quality firearm will last more than a lifetime. The oldest in my small collection was made for WW1, so it's about 100 years old now and it still works. Firearms are old technology, not hard to make with modern tools and a little training, and they are still evolving.

The USA has a history of firearms ownership and the right to arms is protected by our Constitution. It will take an amendment to our Constitution for the gun control people to get their way, and that's not an easy task. Not many other countries have our level of firearms ownership, and even fewer have the right to them in their basic law. With more guns in the USA than there are people, I don't see them going away any time soon.

The proponents of gun control come in a few different flavors, with some falling into more than one category:

Those who have suffered a personal loss
I understand grief and loss. I understand wanting to prevent tragedy from happening again. These do not give you special status to proclaim that you're right and everyone else is wrong, nor do they override the rights of people who had nothing to do with your tragedy.

Those who don't understand guns
The amount of bad information and outright lies being spread about guns is appalling. Movies portray them in farcical ways, the blathering idiots on the news have no clue about the subject, and special interest groups tell blatant lies about their capabilities. Some of this is lack of education, but a lot of it is willful ignorance. Willingly and loudly denying facts, along with inventing your own “facts” is a common problem now. The only other subject I can think of that gets this kind of treatment is nuclear power.

Those who use gun control as a means to gain influence
Politicians want to get re-elected, so they say what you want to hear. Since there is a national election coming up, we're hearing all kinds of grand statements from candidates right now. Groups looking for donations will say what they need to in order to keep the money flowing (this happens on both sides of the subject). The second-tier political class of lobbyist and “experts” want to stay influential in order to keep their jobs. It's all about the money to them, and greed is a powerful motivator.

Those who want control over others
There are always going to be those who think that they are rulers. In their minds, they are the rightful leaders and should be in charge of everyone else. Dissent is seen as a personal attack on them and is usually met with anger and a defensive attitude. These people realize that it is hard to force an armed person to bend to their will and thus seek to disarm anyone “beneath” them. These people are the ones responsible for millions of deaths over the last hundred years. These are the people who created the first gun control laws after the slaves were freed in order to prevent them from being able to defend themselves. In recent decades they have chosen the incremental approach to gun control, nibbling away at our rights while always seeking complete control.

All four groups seek to punish people who have committed no crime for the actions of someone who has. The current ideas being thrown around vary from background checks (already in place) to confiscation of certain types of guns. They are being met with resistance from a few different types of opposition:

Vocal protest
There are some people willing to be the face of opposition, and they deserve some respect and support. I choose to ignore the lunatic fringes of both sides for the most part, but they are the ones who get the most news coverage. They have chosen to be the lightning rod for an increasingly violent discussion and the rules of political discourse have changed dramatically in recent years. Threats of violence and the public dissemination of personal data (doxxing) are now standard procedure. Deep searches of every public statement, and many private ones, has been simplified with the Internet and digital archives. Something said or done decades ago is now being used to silence anyone who doesn't fall in line with the “narrative”. There are signs that the pro-guns side is starting to use the same tactics, which is a sign of escalation.

Silent protest
There are a lot of people who are quietly buying as much ammunition and as many firearms as they can to be prepared for any eventual ban or restriction. Having sufficient stores of arms and ammunition to provide food and safety for your family is a good goal in my book. Some of those silent protesters are arming for what they see as a coming “Civil War 2.0”, where they will have to fight to recover rights that are being taken away. This is a scenario that will not end well for either side, and everyone caught in the middle will suffer the most.

Being ignored
Countries and states are passing stricter laws covering magazine capacity and sometimes types of firearms, byt hey are routinely being ignored by the average citizens. Canada's failed national registration, California and New York's “assault rifle” registration, New Jersey's failed magazine ban, and several others are all proof that passing a law doesn't mean everyone is going to obey it. The majority of criminals have been ignoring the laws for years, so passing more isn't going to affect them at all.

I'm not sure which way things are going to go in the near future. We could see more incremental erosion of our rights, or the current push for more laws may stall out. Any attempt at confiscation on a large scale would be enough to push a lot of gun rights supporters into becoming criminals and their opponents would label them terrorists or worse. I believe this would create a spiral into that “Civil War 2.0” that some are seeking, leading to a lot of grief and bloodshed.

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