What is the second amendment supposed to actually protect us from?
James Allworth wrote a compelling piece on the complete breakdown of logic in the Apple vs. FBI situation. In meme format summary, Larry Willmore:
I’m skeptical of what the FBI’s goals really are in this situation. Are they
- To decrease the amount of gun violence in the United States?
- To increase the FBI’s access and reach in all its tasks?
Their actions would lead me to believe that their goals are more aligned with the second (Allworth’s example indicates that the Australian government prioritized the first). And the FBI might argue that the second enables them to do the first but the benefits of the American people shouldn’t be a convenient by-product of their primary goals — it should be the primary goal.
In any case, what intrigues me more here is the incentive behind everything. I grew up in Texas so I’ve known quite a few gun lovers and people who believe that they don’t only have the right to guns but that they need to acquire as many as humanly possible. When I ask why, it usually comes to down to the ability to protect themselves. And when I ask from whom they need protection, there are sometimes a few words here and there about criminals, terrorists, etc (and this line of answering tends to head into racist territory). However, more frequently the answer is someone else. And while politicians and the media will invoke massacres and terrorism during heated gun debates, even they point to another, more fearful, entity. So who, might you ask?
In this National Review article, linked from Ted Cruz’s 2nd amendment position page, the author references several historical Americans regarding the right to bear arms all referencing the same potential aggressor: our government. I’m emphasizing ‘our’ because it’s not another combatant government or organization, it’s the government of which the gun owner is a citizen. Of course in our case, it’s the United States government.
These conversations almost always immediately allude to Nazi Germany. “I need guns to protect myself from a government that either already is or could become a dictatorship,” or something like that. We fear the government prying into our shit, which makes the Apple case all the more bewildering.
While all those arguing in favor of the FBI’s position aren’t necessarily all gun advocates, there does seem to be plenty of overlap. There certainly is with the Republican candidates (Rubio agrees but expertly chose the vaguest language). I’m asserting but won’t necessarily articulate why here (because there are a ton of other places that do it well with better knowledge and authority) that unlocking this iPhone starts a disastrous precedent that ultimately gives our own federal government continuous and direct access to us — the very thing the founding fathers referenced in the National Review article feared. So it feels like what’s being argued in this case is
“Apple should allow the government to invade our shit so that we can continue to have guns to stop the government from invading our shit.”
What's the fucking point?