I am the father of two children. I picked them both up at daycare after work this evening.
Tonight, there are fathers in Connecticut who could not pick up their children because they were dead. This is because there was yet one more massacre by another lunatic without a prefrontal cortex who decided to get out his angst toward society by availing himself of our copiously available assault weapons.
I am from Vermont, a state that is armed to the teeth. We have the lowest crime in America. I grew up around weapons. My family has guns. I am a crack shot. I do not demonize weaponry. Also, I have no use for firearms in my day-to-day adult life.
As of today, witnessing two mass murders this week, I have had it with people suggesting that allowing the completely unfettered availability of small arms is essential to the operation of a modern democracy. You are not going to preserve democracy through the availability of your deadly-yet-inconsequential assault weaponry. You are only increasingly the likelihood of miscreants murdering our children or random people at malls.
I know you don’t like this. I don’t care anymore.
The roots of your fantasy
I am a fully traditional American, and I understand the myth of the American revolution. Yes, an armed population took on the largest imperial force in the world back in the late 18th century. (We only won because of the French wanting to screw with their main global rivals, but it still counts.) And let’s examine, just briefly, the armaments that went into that victory:
- Guys with muskets
- Guys with cannons
- Guys with frigates
- Guys with muskets
- Home field advantage
- Squirrel meat
Pretty even match up, wouldn’t you say? Our infantry was roughly equivalent, though the British regulars were (as opposed to American myth) way, way better trained. The Limeys had more money, less knowledge of the terrain, and, only at the end, the French Empire funding their opponents, so they walked away in favor of India, South Africa, and other, more profitable adventures. The Colonists should have lost, but fate intervened.
As a result, Americans maintain the belief that they will still be able to reform and/or defeat government on its soil using “The Second Amendment.” This clause of the Bill of Rights makes way for Americans to maintain armaments much in the same spirit of 1775, such that its citizens might once again rise up with muskets whenever necessary to Defeat Tyranny on Their Soil.
There is one major problem with this dangerously outdated assumption: the chasm between government weaponry and civilian weaponry is comically large. Like, from here to Venus large. So large that your defense of arming every schizophrenic and bipolar douchebag with AR-15s because you want to “prevent tyranny from taking root” is absurdly, ridiculously stupid.
Oh, you think you have a shot at overthrowing The Current American Government? Really? Well let’s backtrack.
Your odds of taking back America with an over-under shotgun
Before I get to the weapons comparison, let’s just get on the same page about something. If you’re a libertarian conservative type and you enjoy the idea of overthrowing tyranny with your hunting rifles, the last decade has been something of a clusterfuck. If your dream of dreams is personally overthrowing a misguided totalitarian militarist regime, well, you’ve been headed in the wrong goddamn direction.
Since those nineteen barbarian asswipes from the Middle East used our own technology to murder 3000 of our citizens, the American Military Industrial Complex has been on a bit of a rampage. The Patriot Act. The Department of Homeland Security. Total Information Awareness. Iraq. Afghanistan. Baghram. Guantanamo. Enhanced Interrogation. Satellites, reading your email, backscatter scans at the airport, dickheads feeling in your wife’s underwear band. Yeah, there sure are a lot of unchecked federal government security operations these days because a few Arabs snuck one by the goalie.
Problem is, there were a whole lot of people in America who cheered for this crap, and tragically, they are the same people who claim they want freedom from the Gubmint. It’s pretty hard to argue for a weak government at home when you want it strong enough to invade Mesapotamia. Either way – we have funded and cheerled a very, very strong federal military apparatus with the power to project its volition all over the globe.
OK, let us take a step back and assume that you, on the Thursday of your choosing, decide that you would like to break the bonds between your holy territory in Dogballs, Arkansas, and the Federal Gubmint in Washington DC. And you are planning on using, in the words of our great stateswoman, Sarah Palin, “Second Amendment solutions.”
AWESOME! LET’S GET IT ON!!! And let’s do a quick comparison between what you, the aging suburbanite have, versus the current American Armed Forces, battled hardened in Mazar-e-Sharif and Fallujah after 50 years of major R&D.
Weaponry available to the American citizenry
What kinds of nasty toys will you bring to bear against the Military-Industry Complex when you’ve had enough and decide to get filled up with bourbon and gumption?
Bushmaster M4 Patrolman
|Caliber:||5.56mm or .223 Rem.|
|Magazine Capacity:||30 Rounds (accepts all M16 type)|
|Overall Length:||34.75” [88.27 cm]|
|Length – Stock Retracted:||32.5″ [82.55 cm]|
Ruger SR22 Pistol
|Slide Material:||Aluminum||Slide Finish:||Black Anodize|
|Grip Frame:||Black Polymer||Sights:||Adjustable 3-Dot|
|Barrel Length:||3.50″||Overall Length:||6.40″|
ZASTAVA PAP AK-47 COPY
- 7.62x39mm caliber
- stamped receiver
- hinged top cover
- weighs 5.69 lbs.
- comes with two hi-cap magazines
- Maximum range – > 500 yards; effective range- < 300 yards
OK, all set with what The American People will be playing with? Let’s move onto the more interesting set, the toys of the Rogue State that we are supposed to oppose with our Second Amendment Solution!
Weaponry available to the United States Armed Forces
M-1 Abrams Tank
The M1 Abrams is a third-generation main battle tank produced in the United States. Highly mobile, designed for modern armored ground warfare, the M1 is well armed and heavily armored. Notable features include the use of a powerful gasturbine engine (multifuel capable, usually fueled with JP8 jet fuel), the adoption of sophisticated composite armor, and separate ammunition storage in a blow-out compartment for crew safety. Weighing nearly 68 short tons (almost 62 metric tons), it is one of the heaviest main battle tanks in service.
Active protection system
In addition to the armor, some Abrams are equipped with a Softkill Active protection system, the AN/VLQ-6 Missile Countermeasure Device (MCD) that can impede the function of guidance systems of some semi-active control line-of-sight (SACLOS) wire and radio guided anti-tank missiles (such as the Russian AT-3, AT-4, AT-5, AT-6 and the like) and thermally andinfrared guided missiles. The MCD works by emitting a massive, condensed infrared signal to confuse the seeker of an anti-tank guided missile (ATGM). However, the drawback to the system is that the ATGM is not destroyed, it is merely directed away from its intended target, leaving the missile to detonate elsewhere. This device is mounted on the turret roof in front of the loader’s hatch, and can lead some people to mistake Abrams fitted with these devices for the M1A2 version, since the Commander’s Independent Thermal Viewer on the latter is mounted in the same place, though the MCD is box-shaped and fixed in place as opposed to cylindrical and rotating like the CITV.
The Abrams is protected by armor based on the British-designed Chobham armor, a further development of the British ‘Burlington’ armor. Chobham is a composite armor formed by spacing multiple layers of various alloys of steel, ceramics, plastic composites, and kevlar, giving an estimated maximum (frontal turret) 1,320–1,620 millimetres (52–64 in) of RHAe versus HEAT (and other chemical energy rounds) and 940–960 mm (37–38 in) versus kinetic energy penetrators. It may also be fitted with reactive armor over the track skirts if needed (as in the Urban Survival Kit) and slat armor over the rear of the tank and rear fuel cells to protect against ATGMs. Protection against spalling is provided by a Kevlar liner. Beginning in 1987, M1A1 tanks received improved armor packages that incorporated depleted uranium (DU) mesh in their armor at the front of the turret and the front of the hull. Armor reinforced in this manner offers significantly increased resistance towards all types of anti-tank weaponry, but at the expense of adding considerable weight to the tank, as depleted uranium is 1.7 times more dense than lead.
Boeing AH-64 Apache
The AH-64 Apache features a nose-mounted sensor suite for target acquisition and night vision systems. It is armed with a30-millimeter (1.2 in) M230 Chain Gun carried between the main landing gear, under the aircraft’s forward fuselage. It has four hardpoints mounted on stub-wing pylons, typically carrying a mixture of AGM-114 Hellfire missiles and Hydra 70 rocket pods. The AH-64 has a large amount of systems redundancy to improve combat survivability.
One of the revolutionary features at the introduction of the Apache was its helmet mounted display, the Integrated Helmet and Display Sighting System (IHADSS); among other abilities the pilot or gunner can slave the helicopter’s 30 mm automatic M230 Chain Gun to his helmet, making the gun track head movements to point at where he looks. The M230E1 can be alternatively fixed to a locked forward firing position, or controlled via the Target Acquisition and Designation System (TADS). The AH-64′s standard of performance for aerial gunnery is to achieve at least one hit out of 30 shots fired at a wheeled vehicle 800–1200 m away
BONUS: Here’s the Apache in action against Taliban insurgents on their home territory.
Tactical nuclear weapons
Okay, enough said.
You are better off writing blog posts
Can we get real here? You are not going to defeat the United States Military. At all.
Are you thinking that if the system of governance in the United States doesn’t suit you, it is always a possibility to use your stockpiled AK-47 ripoffs to force a new rule of law at the point of a gun after a few years, just like back in 1776?
No fucking way.
How are you going to organize? Government agents can monitor your email, search engine requests, Facebook communications, and phone calls if they have any reason to worry about you.
Are you going to attack military facilities? Really?
Are you going to hide in the hills? In the cities? Are you going to face down Seal Team Six, which dealt with Osama bin Laden deep inside of Pakistan? With a few bottle rockets? Honestly?
If you want change, you are better off writing poems. The notion of taking on a military that is unchallenged in the world is utterly absurd.
Write about justice. Think about peace. Argue for economic opportunity. All good things.
Fight for smaller government. Start all the libertarian blogs you want.
But cut it out with the nonsense that making assault weapons available to all of North America does something other than provide schizophrenics with props for their murder fantasies. Because you aren’t George Washington, or Nathaniel Green, or Patrick Henry. You are somebody wondering when the next mass murderer is going to invade a daycare.
Just like I am.
This essay and others like it are in my latest book The World After Normal, available in digital and print versions.