This piece echoes that sentiment:
In the gun lobby’s dystopic view, Americans can no longer rely on government to keep them safe, so they have to do the job themselves. When everybody is armed and dangerous, the predators among us won’t be able to find any victims. Banning assault weapons and high-capacity clips is tantamount to unilateral disarmament, since it would leave law-abiding citizens outgunned in their confrontation with thugs and criminals.And
By this warped logic, it’s better to outsource public safety and law enforcement to private vigilantes than to curb public access to weapons of war. Conceived in paranoia, this mad project will make all of us more vulnerable to sociopaths with unlimited firepower. It would make America a less civilized country.And this very good point that for the NRA, government is both all powerful and will take your guns, and equally powerless and incapable of law and order.
The NRA has a schizoid attitude toward government. In fundraising appeals to members, it fans fears that jackbooted feds are coming for your guns. In the political arena, it depicts government as pathetically weak, overwhelmed by the orgy of violent criminality and insanity engulfing our society.
This, ultimately, is my biggest complaint with the gun culture argument. I don't want to kill, and I don't want bars on my home. I want to pay for police and good governance and good community that eases tensions and crime. I understand that none of that guarantees that I won't be a crime victim (though me having a gun has no guarantee either). As I have noted repeatedly, it is the height of cynicism to go out of your way to gut government programs and then claim that as a justification for self-arming.
Let's make this very clear. The pro-gun lobby didn't used to make this their centerpiece, but every but of lobbying I have seen from that side suggests that Obama or some Diane Feinstein-led raid will join a UN raid to take away your guns. Or make you get healthcare. I am not exactly sure which. (And I can't reiterate enough that many of the people paranoid about government tyranny are crying foul because of getting healthcare to poor people.)
Steve suggested that I was naive about our system, and that I should not believe it works all the time. I disagree with the charge of naivete and would suggest that I am probably more informed on the history of our country than he suggests--but at the end of the day, we are left with this suggestion that we should be planning for a potential armed revolution where we shoot at our fellow Americans in the Armed forces or Reserve--or at our community's cops, or at government agents (Americans) trying to enforce the law.
Smitty, in his fine Tyranny of the Lunatics, notes that this paranoid fantasy also disparages our military and military leadership:
I want good government. I want competent and trained police. I am not trying to take away your gun, but don't tell me that my only choice for safety for my community and neighborhood and household is to buy an AR and hunker down. Don't tell my neighbors that the only thing you will support to help secure their kids during the school day is to arm their teachers. And don't tell me that people who constantly rant about tyranny are patriotic.
Also, that fails to take into account that our troops are A) sworn to uphold the constitution; and 2) sworn to obey lawful orders. So for your delusion to come true, that means American troops would have no problem at all firing on....other fellow Americans. No. That's just fucking stupid.