Mises Institute: Americans Are Buying Guns in Record Numbers

Ryan McMaken at the Mises Institute writes Americans Are Buying Guns in Record Numbers. The Washington Post Isn’t Pleased. about how rising political instability and violence in the US has led to a record surge in gun sales and especially sales to first time gun owners and how the media is desperately trying to spin this as increased gun ownership causing increased crime.

Social scientists have been trying for many years to blame homicides on the presence of guns. A favorite tool in this quest is the use of studies that show a correlation between gun ownership and crime. These studies are then reported as “evidence” that the presence of guns causes crime.

But there’s always been a problem with this attempt at showing causality between guns and homicides: causality can just as plausibly go the other way. That is, in times and places where the local population feels they are in danger of being crime victims, people are more likely to purchase guns for protection. So, rather than saying “guns cause crime,” we should be saying “crime causes guns.”

New Gun Purchases Soar as Uncertainty and Violence Increase

We’re likely seeing this phenomenon at work now.

In recent months, according to the firearm industry’s trade group National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), Americans have purchased millions of guns:

The early part of 2020 has been unlike any other year for firearm purchases—particularly by first-time buyers—as new NSSF® research reveals millions of people chose to purchase their first gun during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fox News reports:

Gun sales have skyrocketed during the past three months, and a record-breaking 80.2 percent increase in sales was reported in May compared to last year, according to the shooting foundation. April’s data showed a 71.3 percent increase from 2019, and there was an 85.3 percent increase in March, according to information previously released by Small Arms Analytics and Forecasting.

Many new gun owners during this period feared general unrest as a result of the government-mandated lockdowns. Potential first-time buyers still on the fence about buying a firearm in May were perhaps confirmed in their fears by the riots that erupted after the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers. Then, in the wake of the riots, serious violent crime appeared to spike. It was widely reported, for instance, that homicides in New York City spiked “21 percent in first six months of 2020.” Crime in other cities increased as well, ranging from a jump of over 200 percent in Nashville to 23 percent in Kansas City, Missouri.

Naturally, seeing these news stories, many potential gun owners are more likely to conclude that they need a gun for personal protection. This is especially true when combined with a perception that police organizations cannot be relied upon to engage in crime prevention and enforcement. And this has indeed been the perception in many places where police have appeared unwilling to intervene in June’s riots.

Many normal people would see these events as an illustration of how gun purchases result from fears over crime and uncertainty.

But now, perhaps predictably, left-wing media organizations like the Washington Post are trying to turn this narrative around: people aren’t buying guns as a reaction to violence and social disarray, the Post insists. All those new gun purchases are what’s causing the violence in the first place.

Says the Post:

Americans purchased millions more guns than usual this spring, spurred in large part by racial animosity stoked by widespread protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, as well as anxiety over the effects of the covid-19 pandemic.

That gun-buying binge is associated with a significant increase in gun violence across the United States.

The Post cites two new reports, one from the Brookings Institution and another from the University of California, both of which conclude that the rise in gun purchases has likely caused more “gun violence.”

Note the careful use of language here, though: the gun purchases are “associated” with an increase in gun violence, since causality cannot be established. Indeed, near the bottom of the Post article, the author admits:

The authors [of the Brookings and UC reports] caution that a study of this nature cannot prove causality, particularly at a time of massive social upheaval in a country dealing with an unprecedented public health crisis as well as a nationwide protest movement.

Of course, if one is already committed to the idea that guns cause crime, it makes perfect sense that millions of Americans in early 2020—after passing a criminal background check—will buy guns, and then almost immediately use those guns to commit crimes.

Moreover, it’s unclear that the two studies referenced by the Post article even imply that homicides result from more gun purchases.

The Brookings study, for instance, is more of an op-ed than a study. It’s simply a review of some past events which were followed by surges in gun purchases, including the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings. This appears to be true indeed, and is a helpful reminder that people do often purchase firearms in light of concerns over personal safety, or at least in light of concerns about future access to firearms.

The UC study is a bit more specific, but even this is far too general to be of any use in concluding that gun purchases lead to violence. Because of data limitations, the UC report, of course, doesn’t establish that the people who bought firearms this year are responsible for any increase in crime that may be occurring. But it’s not even established that surges in gun purchases correlate with surges in crime at the city or neighborhood levels. This is critical, since trends in homicides are not really on a statewide or even metro-wide level. Homicide trends in the US tend to be dominated by homicides in a relatively small number of cities and neighborhoods. For example, the homicide rate in Baltimore is ten times that of the US overall. But this doesn’t mean homicides in Maryland are remarkably high.

So, have firearms purchases surged near the neighborhoods in Chicago, New York, and Kansas City where surges in crime have also occurred? It’s possible, since people bordering the most violent neighborhoods may feel the most at risk. On the other hand, it’s also entirely possible that firearms sales are occurring in places relatively distant from the places with surging homicides. The UC study only appears to give a state-level reading on this. In other words, the study really tells us very little.

Mises Institute: Three Ways Lockdowns Paved the Way for Riots

Ryan McMaken at the Mises Institute has an article on Three Ways Lockdowns Paved the Way for These Riots

There were many reasons to oppose the COVID-19 lockdowns.

They cost human lives in terms of deferred medical treatmentThey cost human lives in terms of greater suicide and drug overdoses. Domestic abuse and child abuse have increased. There is also good reason to believe that lockdowns don’t actually work. The lockdown activists capitalized on media-stoked fear to push their authoritarian agenda based not on science, but on the whims of a handful of experts who insisted that they need not present any actual evidence that their bizarre, draconian, and extreme scheme was worth the danger posed to human rights, health, and the economic well-being of billions of human beings.

Those who lacked the obsessive and irresponsible tunnel vision of the prolockdown people warned that there were other dangers as well, in terms of social and political conflict.

It didn’t require an especially clear crystal ball to see that destroying the livelihoods of countless millions while empowering a police state to harass and arrest law-abiding citizens would create a situation that maybe—just maybe—could lead to greater social and political conflict.

Specifically, there are three ways in which the lockdowns laid the groundwork for our current state of unrest.

The Lockdowns Created an Economic Disaster

The COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, business closures, and other forms of coerced social distancing have so far led to job losses for well over 30 million Americans. The unemployment rate has risen to levels not seen since the Great Depression. Food banks are under strain as Americans line up for free food. Thanks to government moratoria on evictions in many areas, it is still unknown to what extent homeowners and renters are unable to pay mortgages and rents, but a wave of delinquencies is almost certainly coming.

To advocates of lockdowns, this is all “worth it” even though these sorts of economic stresses often lead to suicide, stress-induced disease, and death. But impoverishment, unemployment, and financial ruin are all merely “inconvenient,” as described by head lockdown advocate Anthony Fauci.

To someone who isn’t enamored of lockdowns, however, it is clear that millions of job losses are likely to worsen a variety of social ills, sometimes even resulting in violence. Moreover, the current job losses appear to be affecting the young and those who earn lower incomes most.

Lockdown advocates have attempted to avoid responsibility for all this by claiming that it is the pandemic itself that has caused the current economic disaster, and not the lockdowns. This is a baseless assertion. As has been shown, neither the pandemics of 1918 or 1958 led to the sorts of job losses and decline in economic growth that we’re now seeing.

The Lockdowns Destroyed Social Institutions

Another outcome of the lockdowns has been the destruction of American social institutions. These institutions include schools (both public and private), churches, coffee shops, bars, libraries, barbershops, and many others.

Lockdown advocates continue to claim that this is no big deal and insist that people just sit at home and “binge watch” television shows. But researchers have long pointed to the importance of these institutions in preserving peace and as a means of defusing social tensions and problems.

As much as lockdown advocates may wish that human beings could be reduced to creatures that do nothing more than work all day and watch television all night, the fact is that no society can long endure such conditions.

Human beings need what are known as “third places.” In a 2016 report, the Brookings Institution described what these places are:

the most effective ones for building real community seem to be physical places where people can easily and routinely connect with each other: churches, parks, recreation centers, hairdressers, gyms and even fast-food restaurants. A recent newspaper article on McDonald’s found that for lower-income Americans, the twin arches are becoming almost the equivalent of the English “pub,” which after all is short for “public house”: groups of retirees meeting for coffee and talk, they might hold regular Bible study meetings there, and people treat the restaurant as an inexpensive hangout.

Third places have a number of important community-building attributes. Depending on their location, social classes and backgrounds can be “leveled-out” in ways that are unfortunately rare these days, with people feeling they are treated as social equals. Informal conversation is the main activity and most important linking function. One commentator refers to third places as the “living room” of society.

The lockdown advocates, in a matter of a few days, cut people off from their third places and insisted, in many cases, that this would be the “new normal” for a year or more.

Yet, these third places cannot simply be shut down—and the public told to just forget about them indefinitely—without creating the potential for violence and other antisocial behavior.

Indeed, third places act as institutions that provide a type of social control that is key to a well-functioning society. In his trenchant book The Revolt of the Elites and the Betrayal of Democracy, historian and social critic Christopher Lasch described the importance of third places in communicating political and social values and conventions to young people, and in setting the bounds of acceptable behavior within the community. Lasch notes that these institutions are also important in defusing violent impulses among the young. Also of great importance is the fact that third places provide a means of social control that is voluntary and not a form of state coercion.

Writing in the 1990s, Lasch was lamenting the decline of third places, although he emphasized their importance even in their modern reduced form. Thanks to the lockdowns, however, these places have been crippled far beyond what Lasch might ever have imagined.

The Lockdowns Empowered the Police State

The lockdowns have created a situation in which millions of law-abiding citizens have been deemed criminals merely for seeking to make a living, leave their homes, or engage in peaceful trade.

In many areas, violations of the lockdown orders have been—or even still are, in many places—treated as criminal acts by police. This has greatly increased negative interactions between police and citizens who by no moral definition are criminals of any sort.

Many have already seen the stories: police arresting mothers for using playground equipment, police arresting business owners for using their own property, police beating people for the “crime” of standing on a sidewalk.

Complicating the issue is the apparent fact that police have not enforced social distancing edicts “uniformly.” Some have alleged, for example, that the NYPD has lopsidedly targeted nonwhites in enforcement:

of the 40 people arrested [for social distancing violations in Brooklyn between March 17 and May 4], 35 were African American, 4 were Hispanic and 1 was white. The arrests were made in neighborhoods—Brownsville, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Cypress Hills and East New York—which have large concentrations of blacks and Latinos.

This may or may not reflect the reality of the general situation, but the fact is that the lockdowns created the perception among many that this is just yet another case of law enforcement targeting certain populations over small-time violations.

Moreover, it is quite plausible that lower-income populations have more often been on the receiving end of state harassment in the name of social distancing. After all, compliance with lockdowns is something of a luxury reserved for higher-income, white-collar residents who can work from home and remain comfortable for long periods in their roomy houses. Working-class people and those with fewer resources are far more likely to need to find income and venture outside during lockdowns. This attracts the attention of police.

Lockdown advocates, apparently in their usual state of extreme naïvete, perhaps believed that further empowering police to violently enforce government decrees against petty infractions would not lead to any unfortunate side effects down the road. Yet criminalizing millions of Americans and subjecting them to heightened police harassment is not a recipe for social tranquility.

Worsening a Volatile Situation

Of course, my comments here should not be interpreted as making excuses for rioters. Smashing up the property of innocent small business owners—or worse, physically harming innocent people—is reprehensible in all circumstances. But this isn’t about making excuses. We’re talking about avoiding extreme and immoral government policies (i.e., police-enforced lockdowns) that remove those institutions and conditions which are important in helping minimize conflict.

Some may insist that the riots would have occurred no matter what, but it’s easy to see how the lockdowns made a bad situation worse. Yes, some of the rioters are lifelong thugs who are always on the lookout for new opportunities to steal and maim. But experience suggests that the pool of people willing to engage in riots is often larger during periods of mass unemployment than during other periods. In addition, those people who exist on the margins of criminality—the sorts of people for whom third places serve an important role in moderating their more antisocial tendencies—are more likely to be swept up in these events when third places are abolished. And, as we have seen, lockdowns also create more opportunities for police abuse that ignite riots of the sort we’ve seen in recent days.

It’s true the responsibility for the riots lies primarily with the rioters. But we cannot deny that policymakers fuel the flames of conflict when they outlaw jobs and destroy people’s social support systems by cutting them off from their communities. It’s also wise to not provoke people by pushing for widespread human rights violations and additional police harassment. But this is what lockdown advocates have done, and their imprudence should not be forgotten.

Mises Institute: The School Closures Are a Big Threat to the Power of Public Schools

Ryan McMaken at Mises Institute writes about how US school closures during this pandemic are changing the way people think about schools, confidence in the institution, and how it may lead to changes in the future. The School Closures Are a Big Threat to the Power of Public Schools

Twenty twenty is likely to be a watershed year in the history of public schooling. And things aren’t looking good for the public schools.

For decades, we’ve been fed a near-daily diet of claims that public schooling is one of the most important—if not the most important—institutions in America. We’re also told that there’s not nearly enough of it, and this leads to demands for longer school hours, longer school years, and ever larger amounts of money spent on more facilities and more tech.

And then, all of sudden, with the panic over COVID-19, it was gone.

It turns out that public schooling wasn’t actually all that important after all, and that extending the lives of the over-seventy demographic takes precedence.

Yes, the schools have tried to keep up the ruse that students are all diligently doing their school work at home, but by late April it was already apparent that the old model of “doing public school” via internet isn’t working. In some places, class participation has collapsed by 60 percent, as students simply aren’t showing up for the virtual lessons.

The political repercussions of all this will be sizable.

Changing Attitudes among the Middle Classes

Ironically, public schools have essentially ditched lower-income families almost completely even though school district bureaucrats have long based the political legitimacy of public schools on the idea that they are an essential resource for low-income students. So as long as the physical schools remain closed, this claim will become increasingly unconvincing. After all, “virtual” public schooling simply doesn’t work for these families, since lower-income households are more likely to depend on both parents’ incomes and parents may have less flexible job schedules. This means less time for parents to make sure little Sally logs on to her virtual classes. Many lower-income households don’t even have internet access or computing equipment beyond their smartphones. Only 56 percent of households with incomes under $30,000 have access to broadband internet.

Nonetheless, working-class and lower-income parents are likely to return their children to the schools when they open again. Many believe they have no other choice.

Attitudes among the middle classes will be a little different, however, and may be more politically damaging to the future of the public schools.

Like their lower-income counterparts, middle class parents have long been happy to take advantage of the schools as a child-care service. But the non-educational amenities didn’t stop there. Middle-class parents especially have long  embraced the idea that billions of dollars spent on school music programs, school sports, and other extracurriculars were all absolutely essential to student success. Sports provided an important social function for both the students and the larger community.

But as the list of amenities we once associated with schooling gets shorter and shorter, households at all income levels will start to wonder what exactly they’re paying for.

Stripped of the non-academic side of things,  public schools now must sell themselves only as providers of academic skills. Many parents are likely to be left unimpressed, and this will be all the more true for middle class families where the parents are able to readily adopt homeschooling as a real substitute. The households that do have the infrastructure to do this are now far more likely to conclude that they simply don’t need the public schools much of the time. There are now so many resources provided for free outside the schools—such as Khan Academy, to just name one—that those who are already savvy with online informational resources will quickly understand that the schools aren’t essential.

In addition to this, many parents who were on autopilot in terms of assuming they were getting their money’s worth may suddenly be realizing that public schools—even when they were physically open—weren’t that much of a bargain after all…(continues)

Mises: How to Avoid Civil War

Echoing the thoughts of intelligence analyst Sam Culper of Forward Observer in his previous videos on Civil War, the Mises Institute weighs in on the need for political separation in the United States in order to avoid a bloody civil war.

How to Avoid Civil War: Decentralization, Nullification, Secession

It’s becoming more and more apparent that the United States will not be going back to “business as usual” after Donald Trump leaves office, and it is easy to imagine that the anti-Trump parties will use their return to power as an opportunity to settle scores against the hated rubes and “deplorables” who dared attempt to oppose their betters in Washington, DC, California, and New York.

This ongoing conflict may manifest itself in the culture war through further attacks on people who take religious faith seriously, and on those who hold any social views unpopular among degreed people from major urban centers. The First Amendment will be imperiled like never before with both religious freedom and freedom of speech regarded as vehicles of “hate.” Certainly, the Second Amendment will hang by a thread.

But even more dangerous will be the deep state’s return to a vaunted position of enjoying a near-total absence of opposition from elected officials in the civilian government. The FBI and CIA will go to even greater lengths to ensure the voters are never again “allowed” to elect anyone who doesn’t receive the explicit imprimatur of the American intelligence “community.” The Fourth Amendment will be banished so that the NSA and its friends can spy on every American with impunity. The FBI and CIA will more freely combine the use of surveillance and media leaks to destroy adversaries.

Anyone who objects to the deep state’s wars on either Americans or on foreigners will be denounced as stooges of foreign powers.

These scenarios may seem overly dramatic, but the extremity of the situation is suggested by the fact that Trump — who is only a very mild opponent of the status quo — has received such hysterical opposition. After all, Trump has not dismantled the welfare state. He has not slashed — or even failed to increase — the military budget. His fights with the deep state are largely based on political issues, and not on major policy disagreements. Trump, for example, sides with the surveillance state on matters such as the prosecution of Edward Snowden.

His sins lie merely in his lack of enthusiasm for the center-left’s current drive toward ever more vicious identity politics. And, more importantly, he has been insufficiently gung ho about starting more wars, expanding NATO, and generally pushing the Russians toward World War III.

For even these minor deviations, we are told, he must be destroyed.

So, we can venture a guess as to what the agenda will look like once Trump is out of the way. It looks to be neither mild nor measured.

And then what?

In that situation, half the country — much of it from the half that calls itself “Red-State America” may regard itself as conquered, powerless, and unheard.

That’s a recipe for civil war.

But how can we take steps now to minimize this polarization the damage it is likely to cause?

The answer lies in greater decentralization and local autonomy. But as long as most Americans labor under the authoritarian notion that the United States is “one nation, indivisible” there will be no answer to the problem of one powerful region (or party) wielding unchallenged power over a minority.

Many conservatives naïvely claim that the Constitution and the “rule of law” will protect minorities in this situation. But their theories only hold water if the people making and interpreting the laws subscribe to an ideology which respects local autonomy and freedom for worldviews in conflict with the ruling class. That is increasingly not the ideology of the majority, let alone the majority of powerful judges and politicians.

Thus, for those who can manage to leave behind the flag-waving propaganda of their youths, it is increasingly evident that something other than repeating bromides about teaching high-school civics, reading the Constitution, or electing “strong leaders” will have to be done…

Writing at The American Conservative, Michael Vlahos, for example, appears unconvinced that violence can be avoided. But even he concedes the violence is unlikely to take the form of mass bloodshed as seen in the 1860s:

Our antique civil wars were not bound to formal rules, yet somehow they held to well-etched bounds of expectation. American society today has very different norms and expectations for civil conflict, which certainly will constrain how we fight the next battle.

Today’s America no longer embraces a national landscape of an industrial-lockstep battlefield (think Gettysburg, D-Day). Our next civil war — as social media so eloquently reminds us — will enact its violence on a battle campus of equal pain, if less blood.

Many devotees of perpetual federal supremacy, of course, won’t admit even this. Any attempt at decentralization, nullification, or secession is said to be invalid because “that was decided by the Civil War.” There is no doubt, of course, that the Civil War settled the matter for a generation or two. But to claim any war “settled things” forever, is clearly nonsense.

It is true, however, that if the idea of a legally, culturally, and politically unified United States wins the day, Americans may be looking toward a future of ever greater political repression marked by increasingly common episodes of bloodshed. This is simply the logical outcome of any system where it is assumed the ruling party has a right and a duty to force the ways of the one group upon another. That is the endgame of a unified America.

Click here to read the entire article at Mises Wire.

Mises: Why We Can’t Ignore the “Militia” Clause of the Second Amendment

Author, economist and political scientist Ryan McMaken has an article at Mises on the Second Amendment and the militia clause. The analysis is, for the most part, good, but not new to those who spent time studying the history of the Second Amendment and the militia. I disagree where he says that “privately-armed citizens can only offer relatively token resistance” to today’s standing armies, and I suspect a lot of enemy fighters would disagree as well, unless we can call eighteen years of war against lightly armed Afghani resistance fighters “token.”

Why We Can’t Ignore the “Militia” Clause of the Second Amendment

While many defenders of private gun ownership recognize that the Second Amendment was written to provide some sort of counterbalance against the coercive power of the state, this argument is often left far too vague to reflect an accurate view of this historical context surrounding the Amendment.

After all, it is frequently pointed out that private ownership of shotguns and semi-automatic rifles could offer only very limited resistance to the extremely well-equipped and well-armed United States military.

It is often, therefore, just assumed that the writers of the Second Amendment were naïve and incapable of seeing the vast asymmetries that would develop between military weaponry and the sort of weaponry the average person was likely to use.

Was the plan really to just have unorganized amateurs grab their rifles and repel the invasion of a well-trained military force?1

The answer is no, and we know this by looking at the wording and reasoning behind the Second Amendment. The text, of course, reads “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Gun-rights advocates often fixate on the second half of the amendment, claiming that the phrase about a militia is just something that provides a reasoning for the second phrase. Many opponents of gun control even suggest that the only phrase here of key importance is “shall not be infringed.”

The Second Amendment as a Guard Against a Standing Army

Looking at the debates surrounding the Second Amendment and military power at the end of the eighteenth century, however, we find that the authors of the Second Amendment had a more sophisticated vision of gun ownership than is often assumed.

Fearful that a large federal military could be used to destroy the freedoms of the states themselves, Anti-Federalists and other Americans fearful of centralized power in the US government designed the Second Amendment accordingly. It was designed to guarantee that the states would be free to raise and train their own militias as a defense against federal power, and as a means of keeping a defensive military force available to Americans while remaining outside the direct control of the federal government.

This grew out of what was a well-established opposition to standing armies among Americans in the late eighteenth century. In his book Eagle and Sword: The Federalists and the Creation of the Military Establishment in America, 1783–1802, Richard Kohn writes:

No principle of government was more widely understood or more completely accepted by the generation of Americans that established the United States than the danger of a standing army in peacetime. Because a standing army represented the ultimate in uncontrolled and controllable power, any nation that maintained permanent forces surely risked the overthrow of legitimate government and the introduction of tyranny and despotism.

We can see this plainly in the speeches and writings of the Anti-Federalists like Patrick Henry, but we also see it in the more moderate attendees of the constitutional convention as well, such as George Mason, who “When once a standing army is established in any country, the people lose their liberty.”

Sentiments like Mason’s did not represent the views of oddball outliers. Rather, Kohn notes, these were mainstream views of the danger of an unimpeded federal military establishment.

But how to combat the power of a federal standing army?

On this, the Americans did not need to re-invent the wheel. After all, the idea of locally-controlled military forces answerable to civil officials was put into place in seventeenth-century England. The English militias had been created out of fear of a large standing army directly answerable to the king.

Although the system had fallen into disuse in England by the time the Americans were debating the matter in the eighteenth century, the Americans were well aware of this history.

These ideas were further developed at the Virginia ratifying convention where Patrick Henry mocked the idea that liberties could be preserved by simply “assembling the people.” Without locally controlled, military might, Henry noted, federal force could destroy the independence of the state governments. Similarly, George Mason concluded that the “militia … is our ultimate safety. We can have no security without it.”

As historian Leon Friedman concludes, “the people organized in the state militias were regarded as a counterforce against the threat that the regular army could be used as an instrument of oppression and service in the militia was a right of the citizen that could not be transgressed by the federal government.”2

In light of this, it’s easier to see the key element offered by the “militia” phrase of the Second Amendment.

Even after the adoption of the new constitution, opposition to a powerful federal military continued. Congress opposed not only attempts to increase the size of the professional US army much beyond 1,000 men, but also opposed attempts to mandate any specific training in a “federally organized militia system.” In the end, opposition to federal control of military affairs meant training of militias was “left entirely to the states.”3

The “Unorganized Militia” and Private Gun Ownership

As Brion McClanahan has shown, the Second Amendment — like the First Amendment — was never written to apply to the states themselves, but to Congress. The states were still free to regulate the ownership of weaponry in their own constitutions and by their own legislatures. Most state governments, however, elected to include provisions in their own constitutions protecting private gun ownership as an element of the state’s overall militia strategy…

Click here to continue reading at Mises.

Related:

American Partisan: Violence Versus Aggression

Most are familiar with the right to be armed, while wholly unfamiliar with the duty assigned to that right. The preservation of such right is predicated upon first being armed then proficiency at arms, followed by the assurance of violence should any other right be taken. Your duties accompanying the right of being armed is the capacity for all three of those qualifiers. And that violence must be both quick and decisive; violence has no other legitimate purpose aside from the preservation of one’s liberty.