guns & purses (was Re: guns & crime)

James Heartfield Jim at
Wed Oct 18 09:44:38 PDT 2000

I think the Belfast example could be read either way. As the great Michael Farrell described it in his book Arming the Protestants the problem in Northern Ireland was not that the populace was armed, but that one part of it was and the other wasn't leading to repression. It was the nationalists taking up of arms in the seventies that led to the acknowledgement of their legitimate rights in the political process.

In message <20001017141540.20491.qmail at>, Daniel Davies <d_squared_2002 at> writes
>Oligopoly in the use of force doesn't sound much
>better and indeed, the example of somewhere like
>Belfast shows that it isn't. Force is a bad, not a
>good, so it's probably a good thing that its
>production is monopolised.

> An effective disarming
>of the populace in Belfast in 1988 would very
>certainly have reduced their dependency on the state;
>they wouldn't have needed troops on the streets to
>avoid being burned alive. And they would have had
>considerably more freedom to decide exactly what kind
>of a Catholic or Protestant they wanted to be.

> For most of the actually existing
>tyrannies of the 20th century, where the threat model
>is almost always an armed popular movement, it doesn't
>look so good.
>In general, I think people should be allowed to have
>guns, because in general, people should be allowed to
>have things. But treating it as a political panacea
>looks dodgy to me.

-- James Heartfield

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