"You cannot invade the mainland United States.
There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass."
- Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
Now, I cannot find where he actually said this, but the message was certainly true. The idea that Americans armed serves as a deterrent to Tyranny was one of the principles behind the Second Amendment.
Deterrence has not always worked. In 19 Apr 1775, General Gage's troops marched out of Boston with the intent to remove arms and equipment from our Fathers to prevent a rebellion. This was from an order handed down by King George and Lord North, to seize arms and munitions and to arrest the leaders of the dissident groups in New England. Now, Gage and his officers, if not the King himself, should have known that the colonials would not stand by and let this happen. In the first Powder Alarm in 1774, over 20,000 militia surrounded Boston in response to Gage seizing the powder at the Provencal Powder House and some cannon in Cambridge. You would think this would have been enough Deterrence, and show of force, but it failed, as Gage sent out on two other powder raids in 1774.
And then the big one in 1775, the one that finally pushed our Fathers into open Rebellion and into combat with their own King's soldiers.
Deterrence failed. That is a fact. But why it failed is another issue. Plainly, reading the accounts from before that day and after, the King's men and officers held the colonies in disdain, and thought they had no military skill or powers, and considered our Fathers to be but rabble and mobs, not a fighting force. Experience had taught them in the past that armed soldiers could put down a much larger force of such rabble by shock and awe, not the least of which was their bayonets, 16 inches long and gleaming at the ends of their Brown Bess muskets. The cannon, the cavalry, the Grenadiers, all overpowering and disciplined.
So comparing the two, the might of the impressive awing army and the homespun clothed militia, non uniform in appearance, arms and equipment, how could they be deterred by such? They laughed at our Fathers attempts at drill and marching.
Of course, they never saw them shoot until it was too late.
Skill to use the arms is what makes for Deterrence. That rifle means nothing if you do not know how to use it. The same hold true for your pistols and shotguns. All the ammo in the world does not matter if you cannot use the equipment to the fullest extent of what it is capable of.
7 Dec 1941, our pacific fleet lay on the bottom of Pearl Harbor, for all intents and purposes. Yet the Japanese did not invade, nor did they have any plans to do so. Why?
Take the Swiss. For the last 100+ years they have been at the peak (I do love puns)of deterrence. I doubt the Alps alone have protected them. Prior to WWI, the German Kaiser asked in 1912 what the quarter of a million Swiss militiamen would do if invaded by a half million German soldiers. In response a man from Switzerland replied: "shoot twice and go home".
Deterrence? The fact that Switzerland has been at peace for years points to the fact that in defence anyway, they have anyone else beat, hands down.
Deterrence only works if they fear your response more than they want to opress you. The home invader, the common mugger, the sadistic killer, they would all avoid an encounter with an armed citizen. Those who are armed with the skill to use the weapons at hand is so much more safe than the under skilled but armed, who themselves are safer than the unarmed.
When more people per capita are armed, the whole population is safer, due to the increased chance that the common criminal faces an armed and ready man, woman or child. The common criminal may not know who is, the same as they cannot know who isn't. So they are more likely to pass by criminal opportunity.
That is deterrence.
Do we stand the test of 7 Dec 1941 today? I think not. We can, however, get it back. Through hard work. Through increasing our skill. Through being ready. All the time.
You do not have to walk through the streets with your rifle accross your back to deter those who would oppress you. All though in, say, Detroit, you may prefer to.... You do not have to beat your chest in your front yard dressed up like an extra from Platoon, though your neigbors probably would quit complaining about your grass being too tall. Just be ready, if your fellow man ever calls upon you.
Or comes calling.
Keep the Faith,
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