I apologize for the political nature of many of my posts recently. I promise to write about less controversial subjects next week. Besides, there hasn’t been any discussion in the comments, which either means you all agree with me, or I’m scaring people away.
There was an article today that grasped my imagination more than usual. Farleigh Dickinson University released the findings of a poll that suggests three in ten Americans believe that an armed rebellion will be necessary in the next few years to protect civil liberties.
Not being a headline believer, I found even more interesting information in the article. The same poll revealed that one in four Americans believe the Sandy Hook shooting occurred in order to advance a political agenda. That is to say, it was an act of the government, not a mentally unstable young man. The relationship between the two percentages seemed an odd coincidence. Although the sample was 863 registered voters, I’m having difficulty believing it was a random representation of Americans. It is possible that registered voters do not represent the average American, I would tend to think that in the non political sense, registered voters tend to be more conservative, believing in democracy.
A look at conspiracy theories finds that if someone believes one theory, they are more likely to believe in other conspiracies. This does not mean these people are paranoid, it means they find conspiracies more comforting than the idea of random crazy individuals. I’ve often thought this was the reason the JFK assassination theories are so popular. It’s easier to believe a massive plot is required than to believe that one lone gunman can assassinate the President of the United States.
I have known a variety of ersatz revolutionaries, and a few real ones. Seeing the real thing tends to make you very aware of what is missing in the posers. Were an armed rebellion to take place, my experience with the American on the street indicates that the populace will support whoever appears to be winning at the moment. It’s much more fun to wave a flag than to be on the front lines. We’ve become a nation of internet activists, clicking “like” is in no way equivalent to exchanging fire with your countrymen. The current epidemic of post traumatic stress syndrome appears to validate the notion that taking a life in reality is not as gentle on the soul as playing a video game.
War sucks. It sucks so much that it should be our very last resort. I had thought that watching footage from Viet Nam every evening had convinced a generation of that fact. Unfortunately, that was two generations ago, the generation in between came to see war zones as video games, this generation is paying the price for that naivete. President Clinton eviscerated the intelligence community and believed he could just fire cruise missiles. In the ensuing years our Presidents (and in a more extreme sense their targets) have paid the price for inaccurate targeting. Armed rebellion mean dead people. Dead neighbors and relatives. Not just on television, but blood on the living room carpet.
I hear the talk. I’ve spoken it myself in the past. I’m not really worried about people who stockpile weapons. I don’t own any firearms, I am perfectly capable of defending myself and my family with what is left behind after the first skirmishes. I just don’t think it will ever get that far. I know how to survive, working with animals taught me the principle of “being the bigger dog”. Big dogs don’t bark, they just bite. It is my belief that all the barking about armed rebellion is coming from the chihuahuas.
I do worry. I worry about those caught up in the rhetoric. I worry about those who become caught up in the moment and commit acts they can never wash away. I believe the lesson to learn from the recent bombings in Boston is not what two misguided young men can accomplish, but the psychological impact that the bombing has on the surviving brother.
There is the very real possibility that we’re on the eve of destruction, and even though when Barry McGuire rewrote his song last year he didn’t include the allusions to nuclear war, the threat still exists. North Korea shows no awareness of the effects of nuclear weapons. Iran continues to press the envelope of diplomatic relations. India and Pakistan nearly started a nuclear exchange a few years ago. Our biggest post Soviet era fear was that nuclear weapons in the former Soviet Union would fall into the hands of criminals, the underworld, or terrorists. As we look at the current war in Syria, we see a society that has broken down, it’s not just “anti-government” forces, every feud between groups is being fought simultaneously. Unstable nuclear armed states are the scariest of current scenarios. In case anyone forgot, we’re a nuclear armed state. There’ll be no one to save, from a world in a grave.