Did Congressman Eric Swalwell Actually Declare Nuclear War on the US?
What Did Swalwell Write?
Congressman Eric Swalwell wrote an op-ed (opinion-editorial) about gun control. In this op-ed he wrote that we need to pass a gun ban and buy back “military style assault weapons.” He further went on to say anyone who doesn’t give up their guns will be prosecuted and face jail time.
In the wake of this, Joe Biggs (@Rambobiggs) responded to the op-ed via Twitter: “So basically @RepSwalwell wants a war. Because that’s what you would get. You’re outa your ****ing mind if you think I’ll give up my rights and give the gov all the power.” He said, mirroring many gun owners opinions of this idea.
Swalwell responded “And it would be a short war my friend. The government has nukes. Too many of them. But they’re legit. I’m sure if we talked we could find common ground to protect our families and communities.”
This was followed by a slew of comments, and countless articles and videos have been made in response as well.
Some gun rights groups are tearing this Tweet apart for it’s blatant ridiculousness. The idea being Swalwell must be stupid if he thinks the government would use nuclear weapons on it’s own people.
I feel that kind of response is unproductive team mentality, though. The real intent isn’t that the government will nuke the people. If that’s not what Swalwell meant, though, what was he trying to say?
Does This Really Mean Swalwell Wants to Nuke US Citizens?
While some have addressed the issue expecting Swalwell meant it. “The government will nuke the people. End of story.” I’m convinced there’s a deeper point he was trying to make (and he was trying to be cute). A point that gets touched on, but not often in a coherent way.
The point isn’t that the government will nuke the citizens. The point he’s trying to make is that firearms aren’t the only resource of the military. Unfortunately, many who want gun control don’t understand weapons technology well enough to be clear about it.
With the technology available, there are many ways for the government to act. Nukes are the big one that most of us understand. Some people trying to make a big point take the lazy way and reference nuclear weapons.
To be truly clear about this idea takes more a concerted effort to understand weapons. The argument is really that the military has much more impressive weapons than our publicly available firearms.
The Real Argument is, “The Military has a Monopoly on Dangerous Weapons”
Simple firearms pale in comparison to other technologies available. Indeed, if you compare a hand gun (or an AR-15) to the might of the US Armed Forces, it seems citizens stand no chance. So, how can an armed citizenry stand up against the government?
The government has the means to produce much more powerful weaponry than the ordinary citizen. I believe Swalwell, like many others, is saying this tips the balance of combat strength to the side of the government.
Swalwell, and others arguing for gun control, posit the idea that the second amendment is obsolete. The claim is essentially that powerful technologies render firearms useless against our military. It's like saying, “the government has superior firepower, so just trust them to protect you.” That’s the basic idea, anyway.
The intent is to grant the government moral authority over firearms. In doing so we’re all expected to recognize the government and military are to be trusted with our safety.
This argument assumes the government has moral authority because it has the strength to make it so.
Putting it that way, I just realized something funny. In D&D terms, this idea epitomizes the values of “Lawful Evil” ideology.
“Might makes right.”
Do We Get Rid of the Second Amendment?
Gun control advocates sometimes openly consider getting rid of the second amendment. The idea that the second amendment is obsolete inevitably leads to discarding it. Swalwell, in fact, is talking about taking our guns by force.
He says if we make them illegal, we’ll give them up willingly.
It’s hard to respond to this with anything but derision. I’ll try.
This mentality is exactly what the second amendment is designed to protect against. (I already addressed the second amendment, so if you want to argue this point, please comment on that article.)
To quote David Jennemann (@WoodenTiger74) on Twitter; “This IS EXACTLY WHY the 2ND Amendment exists. When a State Rep Warns that the US Military will SQUASH WE THE PEOPLE in order to take away our "GOD Given" and 2nd Amendment Protected Rights in order to "enforce" laws of tyranny...
@RepSwalwell, you can't have our guns.”
We do live in new times. Those who started this country aren’t alive today. Their lessons need to live on, but our ideals need to influence those lessons for us to grow. It’s already clear we understand that as a society. We’ve already imposed many limits on weaponry. Automatic weapons, for example, take some serious effort and expense to purchase legally. Background checks happen, and many truly dangerous products take special licensing to obtain and operate. That’s a far cry from, “shall not be infringed.”
So to say we don’t allow any “common sense gun laws” is ridiculous, in my opinion.
So, How Can an Armed Citizenry Stand Up Against the Government?
Now to address that elephant in the room that is “the government has nukes.”
Those in favor of gun control would have us believe an armed populous cannot possibly resist our government.
To quote David McCombs (@DKMcCombs1) on Twitter; “May current history be your guide. Yes we have nukes, but we have been at war in Afghanistan for how many years? A war between federal government and gun owners trying to preserve their constitutional rights, inside the homeland no less, would be quite protracted.”
With tens of millions of people owning guns in the US, a war would last quite some time. I hear Americans tend to be quite a pain to fight when cornered as well. No, the firepower doesn’t equal that of the government. It doesn’t need to, though. It just needs to be enough trouble that government officials would think twice before overreaching.
The threat that a large scale resistance would be a motivated and armed rebellion against tyranny, is enough. It’s enough to stop tyranny from complete control. We wouldn’t have to overpower a military who’s function is to protect us. Just resist enough to make the point.
If police raids resulted in hundreds of deaths every day, many gun owners would rise up against that level of tyranny. You think gun owners are passionate now? Just imagine if a law was passed that ended the lives of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Swalwell talking about the buyback program with Tucker Carlson
"Dissent is the Highest form of Patriotism."
One of my favorite quotes is "dissent is the highest form of patriotism." Thomas Jefferson is said to have coined this phrase, but I can't validate it.
The suggestion is that to challenge unjust laws is one of the greatest things we can do as citizens. Indeed that's how our country was founded. (The part where people were trying to escape tyranny, not so much the violent invasion of foreign lands.)
My point is, the notion that law abiding citizens will simply follow unjust laws, as Swalwell thinks we'll do, is silly. The whole reason many gun owners squirrel away weapons and ammo is to protect against those who would take them by force.
I would love to hear your thoughts. It's through discourse new ideas are shared and new results can happen. Comment below.
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