Blue states, federal law enforcement, Gov. Ralph Northam, Liberty's Last Stand, local law enforcement, National Guard, Red States, state law enforcement, Stephen Coonts, Virginia Second Amendment rally
Yesterday, in The Second Civil War #13: The First Major Step? I updated readers on the Second Amendment Rally at the Virginia Capital. With that in mind, let us, gentle readers, imagine a future where a Democrat/Socialist/Communist has become president, the House and Senate are also controlled by D/S/Cs, and the Supreme Court has been packed with reliable Socialist/Communists. Let us further imagine the new 17-member Supreme Court has overruled Heller v. District of Columbia,
adopting instead the logic of the Heller dissent: The Second Amendment does speak to an individual right, but there is no anti-liberty/gun measure that violates the Constitution. The Second Amendment has not been entirely overturned, but the government may issue any restriction on keeping and bearing arms it wishes in the name of public safety.
Let us also imagine the Congress has passed a sweeping gun confiscation bill. Every semiautomatic firearm capable of using a detachable magazine has been outlawed, as have all magazines. All American must surrender their guns, and law enforcement agencies have been ordered to seize any and every one of these previously lawful firearms and accessories without search warrants, and massive penalties, up to life in prison, have been imposed for their possession. Tens of millions of Americans have become instant felons.
The question: who will enforce the law?
Federal: The lead agency would surely be the BATF, though because their numbers are few, various other federal agencies would surely also be ordered into the fray. Since the law has been changed, and the Supreme Court has ruled the Second Amendment into irrelevance without absolutely striking it down, would federal agents, knowing it would mean deadly force raids on the homes of honest, law-abiding Americans, enforce the law?
Some, knowing they’d be walking into firefights on ground giving the advantage to normal Americans, would either resign, or if they had sufficient years, retire. They would know their initial raids would be largely successful, but thereafter, they’d be walking into free fire zone ambushes. The Japanese in WWII knew better than to try to conquer the American mainland. Would the feds?
Some would be reluctant to kill fellow Americans over what amounts to a blatantly political, unconstitutional decision, but unless they were willing to abandon their jobs, generous benefits and pensions, they would have no choice. Some would be anxious to play Joe Tactical, and would enjoy killing under the cover of law. For once, the government would be entirely behind them; they’d be thoroughly covered. After all, the Supreme Court has ruled the Constitution says they can do what the Congress demands of them. On paper, at least, they’re on the side of the rule of law.
The result would there would be more than enough federal agents, of the BATF, FBI, DEA, Marshall’s Service, and a variety of other agencies with SWAT teams and weapons, to do the job, at least initially. For a likely forecast of how this might play out, Stephen Coont’s Liberty’s Last Stand, provides a good example.
State: State governments are under no obligation to enforce federal law, nor can they be made to be federal agents against their will. We’re assuming the new Congress and Supreme Court haven’t entirely wiped away the 10th Amendment. If they federalized all law enforcement, that would complicate things, and more state and local officers would likely resign, refuse and be fired, or even actively resist.
With the status quo, state agencies would normally consist of state troopers, a state division of investigation (a sort of state FBI), possibly game wardens, and a small number of other armed state law enforcement agents. In states controlled by D/S/Cs, the governor would surely order their law enforcement officers and National Guard to fully support federal gun grabbing. This would present unique problems.
In the old Soviet Union, and in contemporary China, military conscripts were always sent far away from their own communities to serve. That way, they would be more likely to aid the state in suppressing the population. They would be oppressing people they didn’t know, often of ethnic groups they might not be fond of, in far away places. No one would know them, their families or where they lived. It’s much easier to beat or kill strangers.
Not so in America. Every state officer, every member of the National Guard, lives among the people of their state. They’re involved in civic groups. Everyone knows where they live, where they work, where their families work, where their children go to school where they shop and go to the movies. Rank and file officers generally don’t directly owe their jobs and careers to politicians, and they become parts of their communities, seeing themselves as their protectors. If they begin attacking these people, seizing their property, beating, even killing them and their families, they know their neighbors well enough to know they, and their families, will never again be safe.
Any officer ordered to accompany the feds on raids, or to do them on their own, would face a much more immediate and serious predicament than the feds would. State officers tend to distrust all federal agents, who have their own agendas and care little for the realities of state level law enforcement. They’ve all had the experience that cooperation and intelligence only flows one way: in the fed’s favor.
A significant number would refuse. State agencies are so short staffed, their bosses would be loath to fire them all, but there would surely be some consequences. Those that could retire, would, others would simply resign, but there would be a few deviants that would, like their federal counterparts, look forward to the opportunity to abuse and kill people under color of law. Some would remain out of a misplaced sense of duty. How many? That would depend on whether they were in a red or blue state. There would be more in blue than red states, to be sure, but perhaps 30%? Enough to do a great deal of damage, surely.
Attitudes: Let us take a moment to discuss the political leanings of law enforcement and the National Guard and military. Most rank and file people in those positions are highly likely to be sympathetic to the actual Second Amendment and Constitution, not a leftist revision of either. They own and enjoy guns, and feel strongly about the rule of law. Surveys consistently reveal that some 90% of police officers fully support the right to keep and bear arms and have no fear of armed, law-abiding citizens. The same is true of our military in general.
So who are the 10%? Police chiefs and higher-ranking police and military officers. These are the people whose jobs depend on careful attention to the political winds. These are the bureaucrats, not cops and warriors, who don’t get to be police chiefs and higher-ranking officers without knowing whose backsides to kiss. No one becomes a police chief of a D/S/C ruled city without being politically reliable.
However, it is the NCOs and mid level police supervisors that make things run. If they don’t carry out the orders of bureaucrats, nothing is going to get done. Again, some will go along to protect their pension, and some will do it because they agree with tyrants, but D/S/Cs imagining they’re going to issue orders and have them universally obeyed are in for a rude, even fatal, awakening.
Local: Relationships with, and feelings of belonging to, a community are even stronger on the local level. State officers may be sent from place to place during their careers, but local officers tend to live in and serve one city or county. Sheriffs are elected officials, and usually, by state law, the preeminent law enforcement officers in their counties. As such, they tend to be more independent than police chiefs, and in some ways, more immune to overt political concerns. Sheriffs in blue states, and in rural counties of red states, would be far more likely to tell feds to fold it six ways and stick it where the sun don’t shine. What they say goes for their deputies. Even Sheriff’s agencies beholden to D/S/C politicians would be even more likely to find officers refusing, resigning and retiring, and overall, fewer officers would be expected to participate. This is particularly true when so many counties and cities are declaring themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, even outside Virginia. Many sheriff’s agencies, even city police agencies, would not only refuse to participate, they would actively protect their friends and neighbors.
Municipal police agencies are somewhat different. In Democrat controlled cities, particularly large cities, police chiefs and higher- ranking officer/administrators do not get and keep their jobs without being politically reliable. Most are overtly hostile to the Second Amendment, so a willingness to assist the feds—in this at least–would come more or less naturally to them. On the other hand, rank and file officers, the people who actually live and work among the public, would tend to see things entirely differently. As with a sheriff’s office, many, perhaps most would retire, resign, or refuse to do as ordered. Many of them would be fired, at least in cities run by D/S/Cs. Better to have fewer, politically reliable officers, would be their thinking.
Officers in agencies not run by leftist politics would be likely to be even more resistant to assisting the feds. All local officers would tend to be even more closely aligned with their communities, and would know very well the consequences—from their neighbors—they would absolutely face should they have a role in abusing or killing them, their family and friends. Even if they did nothing of the kind, merely wearing the blue suit would be bad enough. They, and unthinkably, their families, would face severe social consequences, and possibly, worse.
The sad fact is there would always be enough officers, federal, state and local, to do the government’s will on at least a limited basis. Whether through a misplaced sense of duty, personal loyalty, because they cannot afford to be unemployed, to lose all those years of time toward a pension, or because gun seizure raids would appeal to the lowest impulses of the lowest officers, there would always be some.
And this would be the tipping point. Federal officers or military personnel of any kind invading communities and seizing guns would force state and local officers to act. They would not be able to simply sit on the sidelines. It would be up to the invaders to start a second civil war. Certainly, state and local resistors could attack the vehicles of invaders rather than the invaders themselves, escalating to deadly force only if they had no other option. Invaders would probably, but not certainly, have the opportunity to step down, to reconsider their actions.
Particularly in the heartland, where food is grown, gas and electricity are produced, and distances are vast, terrain and logistics would all be on the side of Americans resisting tyranny. Federal agencies rely on local jails and support. They rely on local motels and restaurants. If they show themselves to be enemies of Americans–murderers–they’ll quickly discover they’re in the middle of hostile territory. It’s not going to work out the way deep state despots imagine.
When and if they start killing Americans, there will be no going back. Because of the betrayal inherent in any civil war, there will be no quarter given. It doesn’t have to be that way, but D/S/Cs seem determined, in their arrogance and hatred, to go there, perhaps beginning in Virginia, and soon. Let us all hope cooler, smarter heads prevail.