The Revolution will Not be Fought with Rubber Bullets

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Sniper watching protestors in Ferguson, MO
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As we watch the events unfold in Ferguson, Missouri I am struck by how forces seem to be compelling this confrontation of police and protestors towards a violent catastrophe that has far reaching ramifications for our society. Instead of a de-escalation of hostility there is more aggression and provocation on both sides. Instead of openness and transparency with productive dialog, there are efforts to stifle free speech. Rather than protestors communicating without violence the righteous desire for their voices to be heard and grievances aired, innocent store owners are robbed and their businesses destroyed by rioters and looters. All of this falls under the shadow of recently released U.S. Army training manuals that describe in icy detail the proper methods of killing unarmed protestors with military snipers. Is it me or does anyone else wonder at the almost too perfect confluence of factors that would seem tailor-made for a tragic and life changing set of events to unfold that will rip the fabric of this nation – which is already hopelessly frayed – completely apart.

We have seen recent cases of protests in other countries that stretch on for weeks and months. Some of these protests grew from seemingly far less outrage worthy issues like the .10 cent increase in the bus fare in Rio to larger and legitimate political upheaval on the other end of the spectrum like the overthrow of the Egyptian Government. In Egypt, the army was the one responsible for overthrowing President Morsi. In our country, our Army is training to kill their fellow citizens in the event of “unruly and violent crowds” where it is “necessary to quell riots and restore public order.” I believe that before it is all over with, the crowds in Ferguson will become “violent” with respect to law enforcement. The question is, what steps will be taken to restore order? More importantly, what will happen after that?

Description of how to escalate injury to the final point of death.
Description of how to escalate injury to the final point of death.

Where are we headed?

It is possible that the protestors will finally give up and go home. It is possible that cooler heads will prevail and the escalation of force on the side of law enforcement at large will start to show signs of stopping by the police reacting with less force and aggression to the protestors. I hope that this is what does indeed happen because we will step back from the edge of a cliff. I still see problems ahead, but always welcome a reprieve if we can get one. Avoiding any additional violence or escalation would give us that temporary relief and not push things to disastrous consequences at this stage of the game.

The way I view it there are two ways this can go. The first way is what I described above. We would be lucky if nothing more serious that what has already happened occurs. As time passes, the rage that protestors feel will wane and perhaps they will use other methods to voice their frustration that don’t end in physical altercations or destruction of property. It could be that we find incontrovertible evidence that the police officer was highly justified in his actions and eventually people will calm down and realize this was just another needless death that was not the result of racism, but rather illegal or life threatening behavior.

The way I fear this will go is that someone will take it to the next level. Someone in the crowd will do something that makes the police and National Guard feel that the crowd has become violent. All it takes is for one gunshot or explosive device or Molotov cocktail lobbed into a crowd of police officers or National Guard members and then the pent-up fear and aggression we have seen for the last week will explode. If this happens, I see a bloodbath initially because the police or National Guard will no longer be using rubber bullets. The bullets will be real and real people will die again.

This isn’t without precedent, just look at Kent State where the National Guard was brought in to quell protests on a college campus. The protestors were protesting the invasion of Cambodia by President Nixon. You could argue that radical forces joined in with the campus demonstrations and the protests became more inflamed than they might if they were left to their own devices. Invading another country is one thing to get upset about, but when you have the death of a young man and compound that with racial tension as well as groups like the Nation of Islam, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton stoking fires I think the scenario in Ferguson could be exponentially more flammable and prone to explode. All it takes is the right trigger event.

Where to aim if you want to kill someone.
Where to aim if you want to kill someone.

What next?

If we have an event where people are killed or the violence continues to escalate and the crowds continue to grow, next comes Martial Law at least in Ferguson but maybe that will spread to other areas. During Martial Law, your rights are pretty much thrown out of the window. Police will come door to door and you will have gun confiscations just like they had in Katrina in New Orleans. Both the shootings at Kent State and the gun confiscations in Katrina were perpetrated by the National Guard. You may think the National Guard would never do anything like that. How could they take guns away when that violates the constitution? People who are scared of gun confiscation are conspiracy theorists, right? It will never ever happen. Ever.

If this does happen again, those are two events could crystallize this issue in the hearts of others outside of Missouri. As a nation many have grown more concerned with the path this country has been taken down by its politicians.  Coincidentally enough,  St. Louis has already been the site of military training exercises back in 2012 so you could argue this has been planned or at least envisioned by someone in the past so it’s logical to assume they already have contingencies in place to enact martial law in a place just like this and conduct military exercises. The Army manual describing how to shoot unarmed civilians to “Exploit the psychological effect of a show of force” seems to go hand in hand with the numerous accounts of police snipers training their rifles directly on protestors in Ferguson. This reminds me of the Ukrainian protests where Ukrainian police snipers shot at protestors. That could never happen here, right? That is just a crazy conspiracy.

Some people, but not all view actions like this as horrible and worrisome. There are those who will not tolerate actions like this from government and view that type of event as just one more sign, one more step down a path to tyranny. I don’t know what will happen if these events come to pass. There are many more of you who think this is conspiracy theory and have no problem with police taking guns away from law-abiding citizens. I guess this article isn’t meant for you.

What does this have to do with prepping?

For one thing it means that going to demonstrations is futile and could get you killed. I wouldn’t go to riots if you plan on making a difference. The only difference you will make is in your own mind. I also would never destroy anyone’s property who had nothing to do with the incident you are protesting because that is just stupid. Looting? Do I really have to say why this is a bad idea? Contrary to Al Sharpton, shoplifting and robbery are the same thing.

As I said in a recent post, it depends on what the disaster is that you are prepping for. If you are prepping for a power outage and have no problem with the events of Ferguson then this might not concern you. If you are prepping for a hurricane and do not care if guns are confiscated, or our military rationalize shooting its citizens, then you have nothing to worry about. If you think that nothing bad can ever happen to bring our country down; that it is perfectly fine our borders are being flooded with illegals every day who get free travel to other destinations while we get groped if we try to fly, no problem. I you don’t give a rip that we are amassing so much debt that there is no way in the world it can be repaid, that Ebola carriers are flown back into the states,  or that our government thinks it is perfectly fine to spy on every single thing you do and kill you with drones if necessary then you must live a wonderful life. Ignorance is bliss.

Prepping for me is about more than natural disasters. I prep for man-made disasters too and I am not referring to global warming. The officials in charge of this country have for many years (on both political sides) taken steps to prepare for war with the American people. This isn’t a conspiracy, it is a published fact that DHS views Veterans and gun owners as potential terrorists. I choose to prepare for these contingencies as well as I fall into both categories.

I am not one to call for revolution and that is not the intent of this article. On the contrary, I have said before that people should not want this type of event to come to our nation. An all out civil war or a national protest where the military would actively be engaged in killing protestors would be a horrible future that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I think the responsibility to resolve this situation falls squarely on the men and women who are being asked to follow these orders that target civilians. It is the servicemen and women behind the sniper scopes, militarized police forces and political offices that create policies and process who need to show restraint and deference to the public and the constitution who you swore to defend. Our soldiers do not kill innocent people in foreign countries if they are protesting, so why is our nation less deserving of restraint? It is not the responsibility of free citizens to cower to overwhelming and growing signs of aggression from our police. It is not the people who pay for the military with our taxes and send our children in service of our country who should become the targets in the sniper scopes.

I do not wish for Revolution, but it is a potential path I can see our nation headed down. You may disagree with me, but if it does happen, anyone out there who thinks that our country will go quietly without a fight should remember that there are millions of us who love freedom just as much as you seem to love to take it from us. If the scale and scope of this event spiral to the point where we see our own national protests in America it would be the 2nd Revolution. One thing to consider though is that in one respect we don’t have the same equipment as the police. Any American revolution will not be fought with rubber bullets.

I hope as I said above that cooler heads prevail and that by some miraculous intervention our country can step forward on a path towards healing. Healing from racism, tyranny and oppression in all forms so that we can live out the promise that was paid for with the blood of our forefathers in the first revolution. We don’t need a second.

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usmarinestanker
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usmarinestanker

Spot on Pat. I was going to ask you your take on how to regain control in Ferguson and then give my ideas, but then I saw this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/22/us/ferguson-missouri-protests.html?_r=0 Looks like things may have settled down. In closing, you mention we don’t need a second revolution. I am inclined to believe as Thomas Jefferson did in his letter to William Stephens Smith, dated 13 Nov 1787, though I sincerely wish it were not so. I have taken lives in combat; it is not glorious. It is not natural to kill people. Sadly though, sometimes its the only option in… Read more »

Pat Henry
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Thank you very much! I struggle sometimes with balancing an article so that my words accurately reflect my thoughts, but at the same time present the issue in what I think is a relatively equitable light with respect to whatever I am ranting about. Even when I think I have done that, my words on the screen don’t have the same inflection as in my head; my point isn’t as clear as I envision. It is usually articles about the government or freedom in some form or fashion. I believe exactly as Thomas Jefferson did with respect of the need… Read more »

Thisisme Turley
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Thisisme Turley

It has been the unwritten rule for the last two hundred years. Those with the guns make the rules……….

usmarinestanker
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usmarinestanker

Even longer than that. Thucydides wrote back in the 4th century BC on the “History of the Peloponnesian War”:

“Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must.”

Scott
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Scott

Very interesting article. As disturbing as it is that our gov has a FM on shooting unarmed civilians, it reminds me of the essay “When the Music Stops” here on your site. Lethal force is a deterrent for sure. It is my hope ( I also wish I were taller) that a LEO or military personel in most cases, would not fire upon their fellow Americans. However, I work with LEO’s on a frequent basis, used to be one in reserve. The amount of contempt they show towards the average person is shocking. “Opto Optimus… Para Pessimus”

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