Thursday, July 31, 2014

Heads, I win, Tails, you Lose

There is an irrational madman shooting at you and your family. So far, he's missed, because you and your family have taken concealment. You go to return fire, but the madman is using his own daughter as a human shield, and in order to shoot him, you have to shoot his daughter.
Do you:
A. Do nothing but huddle behind your concealment until the shooter shoots you and/or your family through your concealment

B. Shoot him through his daughter.

C. Try to reason with the irrational madman, even though other people who've tried to reason with him have been shot at, and you've already tried it with no result.

There is only one ethical answer - B. Anything else results in the murder of people who you are supposed to defend.

As an outside observer do you blame for the daughter's death? The man who shot her in order to defend his family, or the man who used her as a human shield?

This is the situation that Israel is currently in. They can do nothing as Hamas shoots rockets at their citizens, they can try to negotiate with Hamas, or they can grit their teeth and shoot at Hamas, despite the terrorist group's willingness to hide behind human shields. Israel chose least bad of the three answers, and they cannot truly be blamed for it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Unorganized Rebellion

The Unorganized rebellion is a state of revolution where, rather than operating in an organized and identifiable group, the rebels act individually, taking it upon themselves to assassinate the politicians who are the cause of the grievance. The goal of the unorganized revolution is to force the government to change it's policy in order to avoid the risk of assassination of the individuals in charge of policy.

The Reason:
An individual assassin lacks the greatest weakness of any revolution - the need to trust. Since the individual operates alone or with a small group whom they know well, there is very little chance of counterrevolutionary infiltrators leading to discovery and death. In addition, the assassination of policy makers (in large enough numbers) may lead to the elevation of sympathetic policy makers, or the fearful capitulation of the already in place policy makers.

The Weapons:
There are a multitude of firearms in the US (approximately 1 firearm per individual), but for the purposes of this post, the concern is with rifles (with a ratio of approx. 1:3), and more specifically, with rifles capable of allowing an individual to assassinate an individual from a distance where a protective detail would be incapable of detecting the assassin or responding in time to capture said assassin (assuming a well laid escape plan). This excludes a great deal of rifles in a variety of calibers, but still leaves behind a considerable amount of weapons. Unfortunately, there are no estimates of the number of rifles with this capability, an estimate made more difficult due to the ease with which a scope can be attached to a scope-less rifle. Even without such attachments, it must be noted that the most successful sniper in history used a scope-less rifle designed in 1891, and during the American Civil War sniper kills as far away as 800 yards were recorded. The standard infantry rifle of the Union, the Springfield 1861 rifled musket, had a maximum range of 1000 yards, with trained soldiers capable of accurate aimed fire at 500 yards. No amount of bodyguards can protect an individual from a halfway competent shooter. The ability of the shooter to escape depends upon the person assassinated, the location where the assassination took place, and any measures that the individual took to prevent identification.

Even if only a third of all rifles are capable of being used for the proposed purpose, there would still be millions of them. Should the line in the sand be crossed, and large numbers of citizens choose to exercise the political power inherent in a gun, the proverbial "rifle behind every blade of grass" will be aimed at the politicians responsible for crossing the line.

Given that it is effectively impossible to disarm a populace that doesn't want to be disarmed (e.g. Chechnya) the citizenry of the US will always have the means to express their extreme displeasure.

A disorganized rebellion, with individual sharpshooters running around taking potshots at politicians will quickly establish  that no policy maker is truly safe from a sufficiently disgruntled populace.