In science, Newton’s Law says Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It is only transferred from potential to kinetic and back.
I believe the same theory holds with the psychological measurement of Power. Power is in every relationship we have. Bosses have power over employees, friends share power, married couples may share power depending on the culture, slave owners have power over slaves, parents have power over children, etc, etc. Every relationship is a balance of power in some way, shape, or form.
In a positive relationship, power is agreed upon. In a bad relationship, power is disputed.
This goes for individuals, tribes, governments, and even nation states.
In a global community, a nation can only be as powerful as other nations let it. Unless it is the top nation, then no nation can stop it.
Likewise, a government can only be as powerful as its citizens let it. If the people revolt, either they will overthrow the government, die as martyrs, or accept the power of the government. The American constitution was written to ensure the central government cannot have more power than the people. It was spawned from the rejection of a powerful kingdom. Checks and balances were placed in the American Constitution so no body of government could be more powerful than any other.
The US Constitution is a miraculous document. Nowhere in its pages allowed for unchecked power.
With that in mind, let’s look at Power. To many, violence equals power, weapons equal power, and guns equal power.
A chief may hold the sole rifle in a tribe. A nation with more nukes is considered more powerful. Some nations such as Iran aspire to have nukes to raise their power profile in their region.
This is why we have arms races and huge defense budgets.
Someone with a gun is considered more powerful than someone without, especially among the masses.
In 1999, Amoundo Diallo was shot 41 times by New York City cops.
In 2006, Sean Bell and friends were shot 50 times by cops.
In 2012, US Army SSG Robert Bales went into an Afghan village and shot 16 people, including nine children.
These are all examples of the powerful misusing their tools of power on the powerless.
In none of these cases was the ability to bear arms questioned or repealed in any way.
Going back to the national level, over the last 100 years American military, police, and government power has grown unchecked. In the 19th century, military forces belonged to the state. After the Civil War, soldiers and sailors were organized into a true national military able to project force worldwide. America vastly changed its socio-military culture.
America now has the largest military in the world by far. There is no way any organized military can defeat it. There is also no way any group of citizens or revolutionaries can defeat it either. In its current state, America will probably only collapse under its own weight – budget collapses, etc. That is what happens to all empires.
However, we also have a volunteer military. If revolution were to happen in America, which way would they go? State pride is much lower than it was during the days of Robert E. Lee, so few would leave because of love of state or region, such as the South or Virginia. Would American soldiers turn their arms on American citizens? Or would they lay down their arms and join the proletariat as Russian soldiers did during the Russian Revolution when they failed to get paid or equipped? And what would happen to the nation’s weapon systems if the volunteer force quit?
With all this in mind, in the wake of massacres done by mentally unstable people in America, lawmakers (those with power) are discussing ways to disarm the populace further tipping the balance of power away from the citizens.
Maybe I have listened to too much Public Enemy but I worry about a nation that grants its government unchecked power. I worry about a nation that has far more firepower than its citizens. What if a better form of government was thought up, say as Marx did for Russia or Jefferson did for America? Could we ever uproot our form of government and enact another?
That would take a lot of power.
By the way, I once wrote an article claiming that people who were anti-gun should be for the Iraq war because our premise was that we disarming Saddam Hussein and removing the threat of weapons of mass destruction. We were exercising global weapons control. I also wrote that pro-gun people should be for Saddam having weapons equal to his neighbors, after all, an armed society is a polite society, or something like that.
Unfortunately, as it was counter the real-life opinions on the war, few understood it.