Drawing a line in the sand

I tried to post this as a comment to Kevin’s post but it was automatically rejected with the explanation of having too many links. No matter, I was going to make a post out of it anyway. I’ll provide a link to here from Kevin’s comment section. I won’t object to comments here but please consider whether the comment really should go on Kevin’s blog.


I ask you…what would you say of the manufacturers of crematoria, the producers of Zyklon-B, and the merchants of barbed wire who actively sought, and jealously protected, their government contracts with the 3rd Reich?

To a lesser degree businesses that sell to many government entities in the U.S. today are no different. But Barrett rifles and others have refused to do business with certain government organizations because of the laws that infringe on the civil rights of the people.

What I would say to those businesses is that I understand their reluctance to refuse to participate (in part, I was fired from my job because of this). I also read Hitler’s Willing Executioners and understand how an entire culture can go “sour” and make it difficult for people/business to stand up to the thugs in power. How many individuals/businesses refuse to sell products that aid in the war on some drugs? Or bite their tongue even though they know the war on people that smoke cigarettes is morally wrong but personally convenient? It’s very difficult to draw a line and say, “This is the limit, I will tolerate this, and beyond that I will cease to be a part of it or even actively fight it.” And it is very, very difficult to find and adhere to the line drawn beyond which you will disobey the law and endure the threat of government violence against you and/or your family. It is because of this that I wrote my essay on Civil Disobedience (see also this effort of mine).

I wrote my essay before I became a NRA certified firearms instructor in personal protection and was only a little surprised we were told to teach the importance of setting a limit and knowing what action you will take if that limit is crossed. This “drawing of the line in the sand” is very, very important. One instructor put it to me this way, “It’s far more important to know when to draw than how fast you can draw.” This lesson is applicable to far more things that most people know. Understanding this could eliminate all the “frog in the boiling water” scenarios. Governments grow out of control because people haven’t set a limit and said, “If these conditions are violated then the system has crashed and it’s time to press the reset button.” In a somewhat obscure way our Bill of Rights is such a line in the sand but the critical second portion of the rule wasn’t put in place. That second portion is what action you will take if that limit is crossed. If I could go back in time to the time of the writing of our constitution and influence it’s development I would insist provisions for this second portion was just as critical as enumerated powers and guarantees of rights.

This lesson is something I believe should be taught in our schools. And it’s not just because of the personal protection and “out of control government” issues. “Knowing when to hold them and when to fold them” is another way to say the same thing and perhaps enables people to see far more applications of this vital tool. The more widespread the application of this lesson the more likely it will be applied in the more difficult situations.

Draw your lines in the sand early when you have the time and a cool head. Your life or even the lives of millions may depend on it.

7 thoughts on “Drawing a line in the sand

  1. I tend to think of my contributions as more on the practical side than the philosophical. I bow to your superior position on the philosophical.

  2. Joe:

    “To a lesser degree businesses that sell to many government entities in the U.S. today are no different. But Barrett rifles and others have refused to do business with certain government organizations because of the laws that infringe on the civil rights of the people.”

    Then:

    “Hear! Hear!”

    for Barret Rifles and other concerns like them.

    (And as soon as they make and market a reasonably-priced short-barrellrd semi-automatic .12 gauge with a pistol-gripped full stock, I’ll forget ALL ABOUT that Remmy I’ve been lusting for.

    Now, as to “lesser degree”, I’d offer that the ONLY lesser of that degree is that they are not actively profiting from mass-murder here.

    I give you the close business ties that existed between the (so-called) American multinationals and the regime of Saddam Hussein, back when he was a swell fella for making dead Iranians in boxcar-lots.

    He was also filling mass unmarked graves in Iraq at the same time, but hey…a firm’s gotta make a buck, right? The stockholders demand it.

    In fact, the insatiable quest for “Investment Profit” made a mockery out of the UN sanctions, since it seems that every multinational,(“American” and other), with two sanctioned items to rub together were lined up three ranks deep to throw chump-change at the UN scuzzocrats in charge of enforcing those sanctions.

    ” I also read Hitler’s Willing Executioners and understand how an entire culture can go “sour” and make it difficult for people/business to stand up to the thugs in power.”

    Good read, I have it in hardcover. I’d also recommend “IBM and the Holocaust”,(if the Shoah is of interest to you).

  3. And Joe:

    “Draw you lines in the sand early when you have the time and a cool head. Your life or even the lives of millions may depend on it.”

    Of course…knowing the WHEN is the most vital part of any struggle.

    For tactical reasons, though, you shouldn’t “broadcast” it.

    When someone has passed my threshold, they have been VERY unpleasantly surprised.

    And the nasty shock of suddenly realizing that their existence is sitting over a trapdoor to oblivion has made moot the need for any actual violence.

    I may or may not give a “warning shot”, depending on the situation, but I can personally attest that few things sharpen an antagonist’s focus on their own mortality than a .357 fired from a snubbie at 11 pm in a saloon parking lot.
    (Missed the Space Shuttle by a mile…but I made my point to Blotto, and everyone went home.)

    I don’t think that impassioned oratory or a black and white line drawing would have had the same impact.

  4. My copy of Hitler’s Willing Executioners is in hardcover too. I think I got it within a month of when it was released.

    Thanks for the suggestion on IBM and the Holocaust. I’m downloading it from Audible.com right now. It will be my next book to listen to on my commute.

  5. The problem is that too many people aren’t actually looking for a line — other than the one that separates their property from the next man’s, in which case it looks like he has far more sand than he can use on his side. Many people are incapable of calculating the price or value of any service they receive from the government, so they make irrational decisions. The current practice of our government purposely creates this problem among the people not because it wants an irrational populace, but because it’s an unfortunate byproduct of its desire for self-preservation. This is no surprise, of course, because government is made of people, and while few people are evil down to the bone, most act in their own self-interest.

    That’s why people make irrational decisions like demanding the government spend millions more attempting to defend their safety from other individuals — essentially placing hope in the (yet undiscovered) power of prediction to pick out future perpetrators of crimes in a sea of millions of false positives. Generations ago a little 13 cent justice would suffice.

    When was the last time you saw a public school teacher stand in front of a class and explain that state-run education is overly-expensive, inefficient, prone to failure, and incapable of being fixed without any type of market forces to drive change? He’d be arguing himself out a job. He won’t make such an argument not because he is evil, but because he possesses the natural and very human quality that desires self-preservation. I’m afraid no such lessons will ever be widely taught in state-run schools, or anything else which would be viewed as a threat to the continued survival of government in its current form.

  6. TJH:

    “When was the last time you saw a public school teacher stand in front of a class and explain that state-run education is overly-expensive, inefficient, prone to failure, and incapable of being fixed without any type of market forces to drive change?”

    Actually, that happens constantly.

    I happen to be largely the product of one of the best public school systems in the nation,(Fairfax County, VA), and the sum total of what they taught…and how they taught it, placed me very firmly in the Pro school voucher category.

    The school system there touts very much the percentage of their grads that go on to college.
    To my mind, this is akin to an auto-maker advertising that more of its models need further mechanical work than any other make.

    Did you attend public school? Do you have children that attend it?

    If so, is it not your experiences with it that helped you identify its’ shortcomings?

    I’d say the teachers, (and the administrators), taught us all that lesson very, VERY well.

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