Huffington Post contributor H.A. Goodman wants you to know that you rebel scum will never overthrow King George, so you might as well give up your dream of becoming independent colonies with liberty and justice for all:
The 2nd Amendment might state, “A well regulated Militia,” but in reality it doesn’t mean a way to combat the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. Guns might protect one’s home, or enable one to hunt, or provide a symbol of freedom, but gun ownership won’t overthrow the government or change laws. What is tyrannical to you might have been a necessary Whiskey tax to George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, and what is tyrannical to me might be your desire to wage a war overseas. When the word “tyranny” is subject to so much debate, it’s best to let discourse, voting, and participation in government provide a means for change in our society.
Any illusion that owning one gun, or one hundred guns, would frighten or alter the way government behaves is not only unrealistic, but something George Washington would find unacceptable. The view propagated by the NRA that gun ownership keeps the federal government “in check” is not only historically inaccurate, but also contrary to the actions of our Founding Fathers.
Mr. Goodman presumably wrote his column on April 18, 1775, as the Founding Fathers rather convincingly proved this argument wrong the next day when American militiamen rallying to Lexington and Concord came within a hair’s breadth of annihilating elite light infantry and grenadiers drawn from ten regiments of the British Army, along with a battalion of His Majesty’s Marine Forces who were on a gun control raid, kicking off the conflict we now know as the American Revolutionary War.
All kidding aside, one wonders what prompted such a pampered progressive apologist to write such a post. Is he trying to reassure himself that government abuses of the citizenry will go on in perpetuity, unchecked and unchallenged? It’s an interesting perspective, and carries with it certain “whistling past the graveyard” tone.
But let’s look at his argument by doing some simple math.
As we noted in a previous article, the current U.S. military is at roughly 2 million souls, including the National Guard and Reserves. The vast majority of these servicemen are part of the “long tail” of logistics. Perhaps a hundred thousand are actual fighters, the proverbial “tip of the spear” that trains to fight with weapons against enemies at close range. Everyone else in the military supports these units, and are not very competent with firearms. These support units either do not shoot at all after they undergo basic training, or “qualify” on static targets with a magazine or two of ammunition once a year. They have the basic small unit tactics training of your average Cub Scout troop.
It’s worth noting that those troops on the “tip of the spear” in the combat arms units are also those least likely to fight on the side of the government. They swore an oath to the Constitution, not any particular President. No less than 1,100 current and former Green Berets—soldiers that exist to train and fight insurgent forces to depose governments—have made it perfectly clear that they will side with American rebels should the government overplay its hand and attempt to undermine the Constitution. You can likely expect a high defection rate among other Green Berets, SEALs, Rangers, MARSOC, Army infantrymen, Marines, and other people who shoot bad people for a living. The military that would remain loyal to the government wouldn’t be toothless, but they would be greatly diminished. Expect that a rogue government would find itself with a large number of people in uniform that are simply not trained primarily to fight.
Joining this hollowed-out military would be those local, state, and federal law enforcement officers who have decided to throw in their lot with the federal government. This will be some subset of the total law enforcement presence of 800,000 in the nation, which, like the support troops of our military, simply aren’t trained as fighters. They qualify once or twice a year with a box of ammunition on static ranges at close distances. Outside of SWAT/ERT units they have no small unit training, and they do not train to engage at typical combat ranges.
All told, a tyrannical federal government would likely have something less than 2 million supporters from the military and law enforcement, and most of them would not be competent fighters, with little familiarization with arms and little to no small unit tactics experience, which is the core of any modern fighting unit. They would of course also draw support from those politically aligned with the government, but relatively few would be gun owners or otherwise competent at arms… what the Founders called “well-regulated militia.”
Opposing this pro-government force would be a subset of America’s estimated 80-100 million gun owners. Thanks to recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, recent combat veterans would make up a significant portion of the force. Joining them would be some number of the 1,100 Special Forces troops scattered around the nation who will stand by their vow and motto, de oppresso liber. Small units would probably function as loosely affiliated, both otherwise compartmentalized units that would typically act independently but which would come together for larger raids.
It is not just possible, but probable, that this sort of asymmetric warfare scattered over the entire country would result in the fracturing of the federal government in very short order, with the government only controlling certain urban enclaves, if not collapsing entirely.
No sane person would want such a divided, fractured, and uncertain state. Americans prefer the soapbox and the ballot box over the cartridge box.
It makes us wonder, however, what anti-gun, big government statists are up to when they start to try to reassure themselves that they’d survive a conflict that pits the federal government against the people.