The right to violent revolution

Rick Holmes

In Sunday’s MWDN, Matthew Trask, a Framingham attorney, makes the anti-gun control argument Rob has made here, but which isn’t heard much in the mainstream media:  That the Second Amendment isn’t about hunting or self-defense; it protects the citizenry’s right to form armed militias to challenge the government.

I won’t go into the arguments of historians and jurists over what the Founders really meant when they wrote the ambiguously-worded amendment.  I support the National Guard, the modern descendent of the militias the Founders were talking about most of the times they used the word.

My questions go to the practical application of the assumption that armed organizations challenging the power of the government is somehow a good thing:  Are the Latin Kings, a notorious gang of drug traffickers, a militia?  How about the Black Panthers or the KKK?  Would more of those militias be the culmination of the Founders’ vision?  Should America encourage tribal warlords like those in Afghanistan, with private armies to enforce their own ideological agenda?

Is that the logical expression of a belief that , as a commenter on Trask’s piece said, “that government should not have a monopoly on interpersonal coercive power”?  Does that make it OK that some wackjob in New York challenged authority with his own “interpersonal coercive power” by setting a house on fire and killing two of the firefighters who responded, putting his constitutionally protected assault rifle to use in the way Jefferson intended?

Asking these questions is a way to take this interpretation seriously. They may sound rhetorical, but not nearly as rhetorical is the other question that leaps to mind when I hear this line of thinking: “Are you crazy?”