We're Never Safe From Tyranny | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly
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We're Never Safe From Tyranny

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There are many common American “myths” that are as true as the Easter Bunny. The NRA’s myth that the Second Amendment keeps us safe from tyranny is one of the most egregious and damaging. Personal weapons can aid in self-defense, if one is attacked, but would not keep the U.S. Army at bay if they turned their weapons on the populace. What has happened under the umbrella of “guns protect us from the government” is that even more powerful weapons are being offered for sale. This promotes an arms race within the civilian population, so now you need to buy the next new thing so you won’t be outgunned. Money drives the NRA—money from the arms dealers. If the only weapons in civilian hands were handguns, then you would only need a handgun for protection. Once assault weapons became available, criminals got them first, followed by police departments and then civilians wanting protection.

The biggest defense we have against tyranny is not the right to own guns but a functioning representative government. The U.S. government is not functional. Special interests are carving up power. The president’s executive branch continues to grant itself more power as time goes on. The ineffectual Congress, which careens like a drunkard, stumbling from one self-inflicted crisis to another, only works for the person or group that has the most money.

The wheels of tyranny are in motion. I have no idea how long it might take, but the storm clouds are on the horizon. As the Patriot Act shows, Americans give up their constitutional rights for safety. Americans have allowed even the most fundamental right of due process to be redefined. The current president can kill any American for any reason as long as he deems it justified. The vast amounts of electronically stored information—“big data”—and our growing ability to understand connections in that data can easily be turned to bad purposes.

The scenario by which we lose our freedoms might be: A crisis such as hyperinflation from all our profligate spending erupts. The government moves quickly to consolidate power to solve the immediate problem. Of course, some would rebel. Through the use of big data, pockets of resistance are identified, all funds are frozen, and areas of resistance are cut off from power and all services. Cameras and sensors everywhere feed intelligence information, and individuals are identified and located. The last picture taken of the valiant rebel is of him holding an assault rifle with two 30-round magazines, quizzically looking upward, surprised to see the hellfire missile that will instantly vaporize him. Tyranny will not have to take the gun from your cold, dead hands; there will be no need, because your hands will have been vaporized.

EDWARD CHEADLE
Sandy