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writing for godot

Tyrant Trump Is the 2nd Amendment’s Covert Hell-Spawned Enemy

Written by Patrick Walker   
Monday, 28 September 2020 12:06

“When government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”

–Thomas Jefferson (spurious quotation)

That's seriously open to question.

An Unplanned “Tract” with Incendiary Origins

I began this “Tracts for Our Times” series from a sense of having some interesting, outside-the-box ideas tailor made for these highly perilous “interesting times.” Perhaps it’s emblematic of our times that I find it impossible “to keep my tracts on track.” In other words, something even more urgent pops into my brain that supersedes the content I promised in ending my previous tract. Such is my discussion of Donald Trump’s “bearing” (sorry, couldn’t resist the pun) on the Second Amendment here.

Like my previous piece (about my proposed Justified Outrage movement) this one began with an act of rash public speech. Speech so rash my nervous misgivings drove me to deeper reflection–which then became subject of a new “tract.” But unlike the passion-provoked taboo language of “vulgar satyagraha,” my rash, incendiary speech here was of the legally questionable kind–the kind that can bring law enforcement personnel a-rapping at your door.

To wit, I publicly proposed–in several tweets and in article comments at OpEdNews and Reader Supported News–the conditional assassination of one Donald J. Trump. More precisely, I proposed that leading liberal billionaires should put a $1 billion bounty on his head provided he refuses to accept an Electoral College loss in the upcoming presidential election.

Needless to say, numerous respondents–even those who agree with me that Trump is an unprecedented public menace–were shocked and horrified. Didn’t I fear being arrested for making an illegal public threat against the life of a sitting president? And why am I crazy enough to now publicly admit having made such a threat?

Why indeed? Because, on serious deep reflection, I’m by no means convinced conditional threats of this nature are illegal. For if they are, the right-wing’s ad nauseam justification for the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms–that it’s the safeguard of all our other freedoms–is the biggest imaginable piece of bull crap. Or better yet, of “bear” crap. In any case, I’d love to be arrested for my conditional threat–provided the ACLU is notified in advance–and turn this into the show trial of the new millennium. Specifically, about Trump’s tyranny and America’s less-than-worthless 2nd Amendment.

Why Conditional Threats on Tyrant Presidents Are Protected Free Speech

Readers should understand that I, in writing this. am a dyed-in-the-wool enemy of the Second Amendment–though not necessarily of regulated gun ownership. They should likewise understand that I do not desire the assassination of Donald Trump (wholeheartedly as I despise that fascist tyrant). Rather, fearing massive bloodshed–if not outright civil war–if he refuses to accept a clear electoral loss, I’m proposing the most powerful last-ditch deterrent available to stave off national tragedy (after all safer, saner ones are exhausted).

I do so based precisely on my scathing contempt for President (or better yet, Tyrant) Trump. See, I believe “President Bone Spurs” is a sniveling coward who’d snivellingly accept democracy’s harsh judgment on his four-year misrule if faced with likely assassination. Not wishing to see Trump–or anyone–die, I (as an avid chessplayer) base my proposed tactic on the old chessplayers’ adage “The threat is stronger than the execution.”

And despite finding the Second Amendment an outmoded piece of constitutional raw sewage (worse than useless against modern tyranny), I as a political tactician and strategist work with the laws–and prevailing legal theory–as I find them and not as I wish they could be. One prevalent legal theory, strongly embraced by most Trump supporters (and presumably by the conservatives on the Supreme Court), is that the Second Amendment offers our best (if not only) deterrent against government tyranny. So I’d love to see them embrace a theory of legally protected speech that renders the Second Amendment more useless (as a tyranny deterrent) than breasts on a mechanical bull. If we can’t publicly forewarn that a tyrant, upon undertaking certain clearly tyrannical deeds, is likely to be shot for them, what the hell kind of tyranny deterrent is the Second Amendment?

As Dr. Strangelove memorably said about the Doomsday Machine ultimate deterrent, “Of course, the whole point of a “doomsday machine” is lost … IF YOU KEEP IT A SECRET! WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL THE WORLD, EH?” Since the whole point of the 2nd Amendment as a credible tyranny deterrent is that prospective tyrants be forewarned of the vigilant citizens who are forearmed–and of their intent to act. While presidents are generally aware of many U.S citizens being armed to the teeth, these citizens so rarely (like never) signal their intent to invoke “2A” against tyranny that its credibility as a tyranny deterrent absolutely depends on public speech signaling intention.

Of course, with a government vastly–indeed, unimaginably–more heavily armed than the citizenry, the consequences of invoking “2A” against general tyranny (say, by corporate influence) are so grave that few dare do so, and with uninvolved citizens so likely to be caught in the crossfire, public opinion (and not just force of arms) is virtually certain to be strongly against those who’d dare. Plus, our government possesses vastly greater propaganda tools for shaping public opinion than militias of armed citizens. These considerations alone should convince us that the 2nd Amendment–almost certainly not intended by the Framers as a tyranny deterrent–is virtually worthless in that role. And yet that toothless right-wing justification is dogma for millions of gun-toting Americans–and possibly soon for a majority on the Supreme Court.

Refusing Peaceful Transition Creates a Strong Presumption of Tyranny

Despite the persistent (wrongheaded) belief that the 2nd Amendment is Americans’ best safeguard against tyranny, the bar of public opinion is set extremely high for what constitutes actionable 2nd Amendment tyranny. Apparently, for example, plutocrats’ iron stranglehold on U.S. policy doesn’t remotely qualify. If “2A” is to retain any value at all as a credible deterrent against tyranny, perhaps we need to distinguish between normal instances of “tolerated tyranny” and truly egregious cases of intolerable, beyond-the-pale tyranny. I’d say, if the Second Amendment offers any deterrent value against tyranny of any sort, Trump’s threatened refusal to leave office peacefully upon losing the election qualifies as the egregious kind. As such, it makes the perfect test case for whether the theory that having a heavily armed citizenry deters tyranny is just “bear crap.”

Precisely what makes Trump the Second Amendment’s “covert, hell-spawned enemy” is that Trump’s refusal of peaceful transition–the best test case for testing whether “2A” can deter tyranny we’ve ever witnessed–puts his heavily armed supporters in a terrible bind. If they truly believe it’s a deterrent, they must support the theory that discussing conditional assassination of Trump is protected free speech; “2A” can’t possibly deter Trump from a proposed egregiously tyrannical act if we can’t freely warn Trump he’s putting himself at risk of being shot. Failing to permit public speech about conditional assassination renders the 2nd Amendment completely toothless as a deterrent to proposed tyrannical acts.

On the other hand, if Trump supporters “stand by their man” and refuse to protest such speech, they risk flushing their beloved “2A” down the constitutional toilet. Among other things, they create the legally indefensible impression that the Second Amendment is just for right-wingers and can never be invoked by the left. If 2A is good law, leftists should be just as free as right-wingers to invoke it as an anti-tyranny deterrent. Neither side, of course, should invoke it over trifles, but risking civil war by refusing peaceful surrender of power carries a pretty strong legal presumption of being an act of tyranny. It’s hard to imagine the right not screaming tyranny at deafening decibel levels if a Democrat president attempted a similar coup.

Whichever party’s president attempted such a coup, it ultimately comes down to a question of facts. Unless there’s powerful evidence that, as Trump claims, voter fraud is massive and the election is really being stolen from him, it’s almost impossible not to view his refusal of peaceful transition as a dangerous act of tyranny. My proposal is that we have our election carefully scrutinized by the most objective available outside observers–for example, those from the UN or international civil society organizations.

Of course, I find it highly probable that Trump supporters would accept as objective observers only loyalists from their own side. Which leads us to the most powerful way in which Trump is a veiled, hell-spawned enemy of the 2nd Amendment: he’s living proof it can enable fascism.

More on the close connection between fondness for guns and support for fascism in my next “tract.” your social media marketing partner
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