RE: Guns as antibodies in the body politic [82 lines; essay; medium heat, but abstract, no
RE: Guns as antibodies in the body politic
[82 lines; essay; medium heat, but abstract, not directed at anyone specific]
I've been reading about some aspects of the mammalian immune system recently.
In particular, how the body deals with malignant invasions like gram negative
One important dynamic consists of antibody molecules gravitating towards the
threatening cells, after which the cells bearing these markers are more easily
identified and attacked by the defensive cells (macrophages and neutrophils).
It occurs to me that weapons sometimes play a similar role in regard to
unusual groups in our society. The more dangerous and malignant groups have a
differential attraction for weaponry and paranoia. There is an undeniable
tendency for these groups to eventually be destroyed, one way or another; ATF
may be one of the macrophages (engulf and destroy). At the same time, other
unusual groups (even some wackier than those described above) who are less
dangerous have less tendency to accumulate armaments; this doesn't mean that
they have no weapons at all, just that they don't go zonkers about it. And
they *don't* tend to be destroyed by armed intervention from the ATF, etc! Of
the estimated several thousand "cults" around the country, the ATF has
focussed only on a tiny fraction who are gun nuts, allegedly to the degree of
collecting illegal weapons (or so a judge thought credible). In the Waco
case, whether or not there were illegal weapons, their response to the warrant
demonstrated exactly the malignancy which always gets destroyed.
What lessons have we learned from the events at Waco? Well, there are many
lessons, but in particular there are two major strains: some people and groups
will believe that Waco proves the government is so dangerous, that they must
prepare themselves for a similar armed confrontation with law enforcement,they
must invest in lots of weapons and training and paranoia and all that. Will
anybody be surprised if some of these groups manage to bring onto themselves
just what they are manifesting energy around? Some of *them* will;others will
just feel that they have proven their case. These cells are actively
collecting "antibodies", tho they don't realize it. The paranoid path is
self-reinforcing - when you realize that your legal weapons are just not going
to stand up to law enforcement, you will be sorely tempted to get automatic
weapons or explosives to even the odds a bit; then you really make yourselves
a target. You will never accumulate enough to alleviate your paranoia (the
more you get, the more reason for MORE fear of the government), nor to win the
resulting shoot-out; there's no good ending to this path.
Note though that even without illegal weapons, if you arm to fight law
enforcement, you WILL draw its attention, and they WILL come in heavily armed
to serve any warrant of any sort, weapons related or not. The heavy handed
warrant serving is tied to your expected violent response, NOT to the nature
of the warrant itself - you can be shot dead after a minor traffic offense -
IF you pull a gun on the cop. Some people get this; some don't, and will say
that someone was killed for running a red light, outrageous!
The other type of lessons: other people and groups will look at all the
strange but not weapons-oriented groups living undisturbed by the feds, and
then at Waco, and draw some intelligent conclusions for their lessons.
Which of these "lessons" is more survival oriented?
Misraelia suggested that Camp Gaia could consider itself a possible target.
There are two ways to handle this: make themselves into less of a target, or
make themselves into a certain target by becoming a BD-like armed compound. I
have faith that the responsible parties will move in the former
direction,dealing with rational fears rationally, rather than with paranoia.
By the way, I will state again: going the low profile direction does not mean
that a group can have NO weapons (many, many groups have a few weapons without
any problem). It means they don't start arming themselves for a firefight
with law enforcement. You don't need a million rounds of ammunition and
scores of semi-automatic rifles to hunt rabbits (sorry Thumper), or to protect
yourself from burglars; this distinction is often easy for the macrophages to
In this message, I'm not talking about "how things should be", I'm talking
about "how things are" in virtually all large human societies. Waco
notwithstanding, the US is one of the slowest to respond - in any other
developed country (and most undeveloped ones), the arming of the BDs would
have attracted the macrophages of the body politic even earlier than in Waco.
In more than a few, tanks would have been used *as tanks*, not as disarmed
passive moving shields.
We are taking an overview, not concentrating on legal details. It is a
non-survival trait to step in front of a moving car, whether or not the law
says you have the right of way. Collecting antibodies *in preparation for a
shootout with law enforcement* is just as non-survival oriented. Neither you
nor I can change either of these in the short run, we can only demostrate
whether we are intelligent enough to recognize it or not - and by
"intelligent" I refer more to concepts of natural selection than to IQ tests.
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank