Is the Second Amendment obsolete because the government has drone technology?
In other words, is the military might of the U.S. government so powerful, so technologically advanced, that it renders a civilian militia armed with modern sporting rifles, shotguns and various other small arms completely useless against the rise of an oppressive regime?
To quote the Borg directly, is resistance futile?
It’s an interesting question. And certainly, there are plenty of pro-gun control advocates who believe that we should scrap our right to keep and bear arms because the protection it provides against tyranny is null in void in a world filled with drones, laser-guided missiles, stealth bombers, etc.
Case in point, David Stockman, former budget director to President Ronald Reagan, argued this very point on HBO’s Real Time last week:
Since 1787 the world has moved along…People who believe in liberty, like I do, we’re up against a 21st-century state equipped with drones, hundreds of satellites in the sky, watching everything we do, and why would you believe that an 18th-century citizen militia equipped with the equivalent of muskets has anything to do with liberty? It doesn’t.
The only way that we protect liberty is with the ballot-box. And the real shield for liberty in America is the First Amendment. Freedom of speech, freedom to organize, freedom to assemble. That’s how we get liberty, not with guns!
Well, what do you say to that?
One way to answer the question, of course, is to explain that the Second Amendment isn’t only about keeping a corrupt government in check; that it’s also about guaranteeing an individual’s right to self-defense. This is not the conjecture of a pro-gun pundit, but what the Supreme Court has explicated in the landmark Heller decision.
So, there’s that. Stockman – and any other pro-gun control advocate – should look up the High Court’s ruling if he doesn’t believe it.
However, I do think that this question deserves a direct response, even if it’s purely hypothetical. Alright, I have two simple points to make.
First point, the War on Terror. That is to say, if the American military is so omnipotent, why has it been at war for over a decade against what amounts to AK-toting cave dwellers, primitives and bandits in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Let me be clear, this is not a knock against our troops who are the best in the world, but rather it’s an indictment of the real world limitations of technology to prosecute a war against a resourceful and determined foe.
Considering the amount of money the government has poured into fighting the War on Terror ($4 Trillion? $5 Trillion?) and considering the lackluster results – Are we really any safer? Did we succeed? Can we even declare victory? – it makes one wonder if the might of the military is not greatly over exaggerated. Sure, bin Laden is dead, but other terrorists, Islamo-Fascists and anti-American miscreants are alive and well.
Which brings me to my second point. Imagine if it really went down. Imagine if there was an organized resistance of armed citizens against a tyrannical U.S. government. What would that look like?
To perhaps oversimplify the point, if the government has had that much trouble fighting Al-Qaeda and the Taliban as well as other terrorist cells, imagine how much more difficult it would be for them to uproot and combat millions of gun-owning patriots (many of whom would be veterans, law enforcement, concealed carry permit holders, i.e. the entire gun community) on their own turf.
In the end, maybe the government could win the war. Maybe the drones would be the undoing of the resistance. But, it wouldn’t be easy. And we sure as heck wouldn’t go down without a fight.
I know this is purely speculative and somewhat stupid to even discuss, so take it all with a grain of salt. Also, this is commentary that is not directed at the Obama administration or the Bush administration or any former U.S. government. This is just food for thought.
All that said, what are your thoughts? Is the Second Amendment obsolete due to today’s military technology?