Fight a Cop, Buy a Gun

Surprisingly, this was posted by Glenn Reynolds.

This is the same old bizarre libertarian fantasy that is being regurgitated since the days of Murray Rothbard in the 1960’s.  How much more obvious can it be?  If the entire culture wants a police state, then you aren’t going to live very long if you try to shoot at cops who give you tickets!

Either have the guts to declare a real revolution (good luck with that) or give up on this notion that you will fight the police state by shooting cops!

Right now, a revolution in the streets would be illegitemate.  Let me make that painfully clear.  A revolution is a bloody thing.  You don’t start mass killing because of red-light cameras.

There are many reasons to own a firearm, and I would encourage every able-bodied adult to own at least three (a pistol, a rifle, and a shotgun).  But “defending” yourself from cops is not among them.


I want to clarify something else that seems to be causing some confusion.  Guns don’t replace cops.  Guns in the hands of the citizens do not perform the same function as cops.

Every man has the right to his own life and property.  Those are givens for this discussion.  So if a criminal comes along intent to deprive him of either, he must necessarily have the right to use force in defense of his rights (or the rights of others).

Obviously the cops can’t be there every minute, everywhere to defend you.  By the time they arrive, the criminal has either done his deed, or been scared off, or is lying on the ground.

But equally obvious is that private citizens with guns can’t pursue criminals to retaliate.  Men who do that are called “vigilantes” and are a grave threat to the liberty and security of everyone else.

Why?  Because the retaliatory use of force must be under objective control.  That means two things.  First, it can’t be put into the hands of partisans to the original incident.  Second, it must be under the strict control of the law, and answerable to the courts.

You can’t compensate for cops who abuse their power by giving vigilantes carte blanche.  One does not negate the other.


9 Responses to “Fight a Cop, Buy a Gun”

  1. Glenn Reynolds Says:

    Er, I wasn’t suggesting a revolution. I said cut taxes and buy a gun. Thus replacing the cops.

  2. Or, and stay with me sparky…….he could have been saying reduce taxes,lay off some cops and protect yourself. So you familiar with the concept of projection? Not the sharpest tool in the shed are ya?

  3. Swing and a miss, Ragnar. It’s obvious from the context (cut taxes and buy a gun) that Reynolds means cut taxes to get rid of the cops (not shoot them) and then use the gun purchased with the tax savings to protect oneself.

  4. ::blink:: I didn’t see that at all and isn’t it amazing that just several days ago Reynolds posted a review of Ron Paul’s latest screed where Reynolds _specifically_ mentions he, Reynolds, _isn’t_ a Rothbardian?

    I usually find that I blunder when I slag a blog because of something read elsewhere or emailed to me without actually, you know, checking the facts myself.

    And why the hell has that turd Rothbard suddenly been the subject of so many blog posts? Including, I’m afraid, some of my own.

  5. ragnard Says:

    OK, I obviously missed Mr. Reynold’s point. I apologize.

    But, if I understand the points made here by Reynolds and others, it’s still anarchism.

    We have many bad laws today. So don’t repeal law enforcement; repeal the bad laws!

    Of course, there is no support in today’s culture to do this. Which is the same reason why it’s meaningless to propose laying all the cops off, and why it would be insane to hole up in a bunker with your guns waiting for all comers.

  6. Where did you hear “all” in that comment? He wasn’t advocating doing away with police forces and forming posses – he just thinks a society with fewer cops and a healthier attitude toward personal responsibility for protection might breed more of an attitude of public service and less of “orderlies guarding the nuts in the asylum” than we have now…

  7. rasqual Says:

    Reading Glenn quite wrong.

    Not withstanding your update, consider Chicago — where helpless citizens getting shot up this year inspired the police chief and Daley to call for arming the cops with assault weapons, at a cost of millions.

    That way, when they show up after the crime, they can be well-armed while taking witness’s names in a city where citizens aren’t allowed to have guns handy to defend themselves.

    Reduce taxes and let the citizens be armed. Bring back deterrence, restoring symmetry between the miscreant and his victims. “Is that petite Latina armed? Might be. I’ll leave her alone.”

    I wish every would-be mugger or rapist thought that way — but some states’ laws basically pump just one thought into criminals’ heads: “That looks like a law-abiding person. Ergo, they’re an easy, unarmed mark.”

  8. The problem isn’t just bad laws its that cops are not accountable. Take a poll and see how many people think cops are responsible or use their authority properly, I would wager it is quite popular to make cops more accountable.

  9. […] A while back, I posted a link to a piece by Glenn Reynolds at […]

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