Boots on the ground

As illustrated by the gun cartoon I posted the other day the anti-gun people don’t understand the issue. That is just a sample of one but without much effort you could find hundreds of instances where our opponents insist we value our hobbies/profits over the lives of children or we own guns to compensate for inadequate “sexual equipment”.

They certainly do not understand why we own guns. And they don’t even come close to knowing how we think.

About 10 years ago I was talking to someone from the CIA who managed a group of psychologists. He was explaining how difficult it was for people in the U.S., even in the intelligence community, to understand how our Muslim adversaries thought. He told me, “They think differently than we do. It’s even possible they think differently than we can think.”

It may be that we have the same sort of problem with the anti-gun people and they with us. After all, many of the things they say sounds like crazy talk to us. And they insist what we say is “crazy talk” as well.

They believe that a bunch of uneducated, beer bellied, red necked, slack-jawed, hillbillies wouldn’t stand a chance against the U.S. military if it came down to a confrontation between a tyrannical government and us. But is that claim true?

They are certainly wrong in their assumptions about the demographics of gun ownership and I believe they are wrong about the outcome. And would all, or even most of the military follow orders to fire upon their fellow countrymen? Or would they switch sides and bring their equipment with them? As others have pointed out, “That guy with a S&W .38 leading a popular revolt might actually have air support.”

Furthermore there are approximately 80 million gun owners in the U.S. About 4.25 million of them are members of that “extremist” group known as the NRA. What our opponents don’t, and perhaps can’t, understand is that the reason a good number of the gun owners that don’t belong to the NRA actively reject joining is because 1) The NRA isn’t “extreme” enough for them; and/or 2) They don’t want to be on “that list” if the government ever demanded the NRA membership list.

Any idea how many members of Al Qaeda the U.S. military are fighting in Afghanistan and Pakistan? According to intelligence estimates reported by the New York Times in 2010 the answer is “fewer than 500” in Afghanistan and “more than 300” in Pakistan. A 2011 article in the Wall Street Journal put the number in the range of 200 to 1000 with “affiliated fighters or funders” making up thousands or tens of thousands.

How’s that war turning out for the U.S. military? Are they going to wrap that up and come home in the next couple of weeks?

Any idea on the resources Al Qaeda can bring to bear compared the resources several million U.S. gun owners can bring to the fight? I’ll give you just a few clues.

Private citizens typically consumed 10 to 12 billion rounds of ammunition per year. But current domestic production (including that used by the military and law enforcement) is about 1 billion rounds per week and it is being purchased so rapidly it is difficult to find any on the shelves. I know individuals that have nearly 1 million rounds of loaded ammunition and/or components in their possession.

Gun manufactures are running at near maximum capacity and have a backlog of months or even a year or more. During the 1990’s Bill Clinton and Sarah Brady were considered “gun salesmen” of the decade. But, using NICS data as a rough estimate, during 1999 and 2000 private gun sales were roughly 9 million per year. In 2012 it was over 19 million. At least 19 million guns were sold to U.S. private citizens in 2012. For the duration of the time NICS has been keeping background check records from November 30th, 1998 to December 31, 2012 there have been over 160 million checks/gun sales.

Numerous other differences between a fight with Al Qaeda and a fight with U.S. gun owners should be obvious and will be left as an exercise for the reader.

Our adversaries insist we do not stand a chance against a tyrannical government. Aircraft, tanks, and artillery would, they say, make any such fight short and pointless on our part. But it has been a truism of all wars except for the Japan mainland, where U.S. troops were being prepared for an invasion, “boots on the ground” were required to win. And I have talked to enough current and former military people to believe that “heavy equipment” won’t be particularly useful or last long without a lot of ground support and a safe haven from which to maintain and deploy the equipment.

They believe we would and should just turn over our guns without a fight should the government pass a law to do so. I would say their spreadsheets have some errors but I’m nearly certain they don’t think that way. Numbers, and facts in general, are not their area of expertise.

Another thing they believe is only a few people would take up arms against our government. But Bob Owens has a different view:

Every weapon of military utility designed within the past 100+ years was gone. This isn’t society stocking up on certain guns because they fear they may be banned. This is a society preparing for war.

It is my contention that gun sales above the mean of that during the Bush years represent committed gun owners who didn’t buy the gun just to have it registered and/or taken away a few months or years later. The mean number of NICS checks during the Bush years is a little less than 9 million per year. Hence one may reasonably conclude there have been a minimum of 10 million gun sales made “in preparation for war” during 2012 alone.

That’s a lot of boots, guns, and ammo on the ground on our side. And I didn’t even get into the training our side has. Compare that to the resources the anti-gun people can bring to bear. Yet it appears President Obama may be deliberately trying to start a civil war.

So tell me. Which side is crazy to believe they will come out on top of a violent conflict?

See also The Mathematics of Countering Tyranny.


33 thoughts on “Boots on the ground

  1. Pingback: Sharp as a Marble - The inmates are truly running the asylum

  2. Think about the vast area you would have to control as well. Iraq was the size of TX and gave us problems. Afghanistan is smaller and is still giving us problems. If state and local law enforcement don’t go along with it, you’re out of luck in a US occupation, the land area is just too large.

    Add in the fact that 75% of the combat power of the US army is in the national guard, and things get worse because those guys just might not show up when asked to shoot their friends and neighbors.

    • It’s NOT that the NG ‘might not show up’. It’s that the NG might show up armed and AGAINST any federal action that just may have some pols a might worried.

  3. I couple of the comments to Bob Owens post posit concern about the government “confiscating” the NRA membership data. Other than doing it “to send a message” “they” really don’t need to: if “they” want to know who the NRA members are then “they” already do. Every bit of mail the NRA sends out goes though a government agency and is scanned by a government controlled computer. “They” know where the mail came from and “they” know where it is going.

    • And checks and credit cards are cleared through banks. It’s not just the .gov that knows about your interests. Ever get an offer in the mail related to a purchase you made with a credit card? The CC companies build up profiles of your interests so they know what to offer you. You’re already on lots of lists!!!

      • That is EXACTLY WHY my wife and I use cash for almost everything and only keep the ‘card’ for emergency situations.

    • Then it’s time to stop being afraid of being found out, isn’t it? After all, various groups of outlaws in the US (motorcycle gangs, street gangs) wear their identities out in the open, and suffer few arrests in proportion to the number of members.

  4. A million rounds for an individual is a pretty fair supply, even by my standards. It would be interesting to see the news media have an absolute conniption if a REAL arsenal made the headlines, as opposed to the normal trivial collection of a dozen or so guns and a paltry few thousand rounds.
    But of course, it doesn’t, because the sorts of folks who can lay in a supply like that tend to be smart, educated, law-abiding, and employed, and therefore not “newsworthy.”

  5. Regional Update from the East side of Cleveland, Ohio: Went out yesterday to see if my local Gander Mountain had the Ammo that was advertised in their Sales Flyer. HA! One could find 20 round boxes of Hunting Rounds, at about $25 buck a box. Same for “Self-Defense” Ammo for Pistols. Shotguns? All the Skeet/Trap/ Dove Loads you want, NOTHING in Double Ought or Slugs. Bulk Ammo? All the .17 HMR you want.

    Now to the Firearms. All the Pistols and Revolvers you want, but at MSRP. Shotguns out the Ying-Yang. Bolt Guns/Single Shots/ Lever Guns? Not an Issue, and most of the scoped Deer Rifle were VERY REasonable. But Semi-Auto Rifle ANYTHING? HA! Had a couple of .22LRs, and that was it.

    But it hit me on why the Scoped Deer Rifles were so cheap. There’s hardly any Ammo to feed them. How much Practice can John Doe get in when every time he pulls the Trigger on his .308 Remington 700 it cost’s a $1.25?

    Then I decided to hit all the local Mom and Pops Gun Stores, and it was pretty much the same thing. Pistols, Shotguns and Bolt Guns, but no Bulk Ammo for Practice, unless you set up a Skeet/Trap/Sporting Clays range.

    Oh, and reloading components were gone, also.

    Final Stop was the local Wal-mart. 3 Box Limit per Customer per Day. And other that Skeet Loads, the only thing they had was some loose 50 round boxes of .22LR. I bought 3 of them.

    So what’s all this got to do with a Civil War? Well, if it happened TODAY, I think those who have already “Got Mine, Jack!” will HAVE to take the Lead. Up here at least, any New Guy/Gal who wants to defend the RKBA will have to depend on the “Kindness of Strangers,” or get their Guns off the Enemy Corpses. But to hit the Gun Store and get outfitted for under $1500 with an AR, a Glock, Mags, pouches, holsters and Bulk Ammo like one could do last July? Not happening. And it looks like it’ll be a YEAR before the Supply catches up with demand, AND nothing gets through Congress or any more State Houses. And God-Forbid ANOTHER NUT JOB goes Berserk on some Kids.

    Bottom Line that I’m seeing is that if you aren’t Ready to Go RIGHT NOW, chances are you won’t get to join in TOMORROW.

    But if the Political Elite think that “We, the People” aren’t ready to go, they REALLY can’t Add.

  6. About the military being patriotic and sworn to uphold the constitution and all; Obama et al have been working pretty hard to change that. That’s a part of this overall picture that needs to be understood. They’re weakening and demoralizing our military, and changing the leadership, such that before long it won’t be what we’ve known it to be. That process has been underway for decades now, and like everything else anti-American it is being rapidly accelerated under Obama.

    • I’ve seen that argument repeated in comments on numerous sites, almost always by someone that is not currently in, or working in support of, the military. It would be silly, and potentially dangerous, to get into too much detail but what you describe may influence a few GOs and perhaps a handful of senior noncommissioned officers working at echelons above reality. But what you are describing is not taking place where it counts if it’s happening at all.

  7. When based domestically, even the military relies on civilian support. If the web of civilian contractors that supply food, power, and other supplies to the military bases breaks down, they eventually run out of steam.

  8. Are you following this news story going on now with the ex-LAPD manhunt (Dorner)? What’s your take on it? He’s a heavily armed gun owner who is also an anti. Do you understand how he thinks? I don’t.

    • I scanned a bit of his “manifesto”. I didn’t really understand but I haven’t put much effort into it either.

    • “He’s a heavily armed gun owner who is also an anti.”

      It’s perfectly consistent with the anti mentality. It’s very, very common among police, other government employees and politicians. Interestingly, Oleg Volk put up a post about this recently;

      “Good for me but not for thee” is the order of the day among authoritarians, whether the issue be guns, liquor, food or light bulbs,

      To put it in very basic terms; Gangsters may hate other armed gangs when they’re in competition with them for the same operating niche. They’re authoritarians. Their world consists of a chain of command, or a pecking order. THEY want guns, but want everyone else disarmed so as to have easy prey. It puts them higher up in the chain of command. It’s a sick world view, but it is extremely common.

      People with this mindset will seek and find one another, they’ll usually rally and protect one another because they understand that “those other people” (relatively innocent people) are a natural common enemy. Only once their common enemies (innocent people) have been beat down sufficiently in their operating sphere will they turn on one another.

      Hence we see communists snuggling up to jihadists. They’ll settle their differences later.

      It is a singular phenomenon, which operates on all levels from the common criminal to the international mastermind– that’s that chain of command.

      It’s a species of thought, which needs very little direct collusion to operate as a whole. Even a single individual, all by himself, can act as an agent for it. It happens all the time.

      • We struggle not with flesh and blood, but with Principalities, and so it comes down to which Principalities you serve. That’s the team you’re on, whether you know there are even any teams or not. You’re involved in a war you may not even know exists.

  9. Good stuff.

    Linked back from my place – partly because this It may be that we have the same sort of problem with the anti-gun people and they with us. After all, many of the things they say sounds like crazy talk to us. And they insist what we say is “crazy talk” as well. echoes what I said on Monday.

  10. I question the “billion rounds per week” production. That would seem to be something like four times the normal run rate for ammo producers, and I’m pretty sure there isn’t THAT much available production capacity, unless the former USSR decided to crank things up to cold-war levels and that’s a world-wide production figure. It it IS the case, then in the long run it’s likely good news.

  11. Pingback: Revolutionary Math « Bob Owens

  12. Pingback: Sharp as a Marble - Cold comfort

  13. Pingback: Quote of the day—JB Williams | The View From North Central Idaho

  14. Pingback: JB Williams: Is Obama Pushing for a Civil War?

  15. The British couldn’t stop 300-400 IRA fanatics with over 25,000 troops for over 20 years. The Yankees couldn’t control Missouri with an army of over 50,000. Try reading what Mosby did with a band of 50 men in Yankee country. If Obama thinks the country is going to be with him he is badly mistaken.

    War is approaching. If you do not prepare you will be at the mercy of those who mean your family and loved ones no good. The Obamaites are the scum of the earth and represent all that is evil and festering in the US.

    There is no place for moderation or compromise. The other side will not allow it. So be it.

  16. Maybe an uprising would lose, maybe it wouldn’t. But if the uprising were crushed, it would be extremely costly for the powers that be and it would force them not just to bare their fangs, but to sink them deeply into the heart of this society. Maybe they win this one, but they won’t be able to last long after that.

  17. Pingback: Boots on the ground are insufficient « Jim’s Blog

  18. [Our adversaries insist we do not stand a chance against a tyrannical government. Aircraft, tanks, and artillery would, they say, make any such fight short and pointless on our part.]
    One little problem with that theory. Come a revolution nobody smart is going to go shoot at the Army. They’re going to go looking for the folks who are telling the Army what to do. And the revolutionaries won’t have to cross an ocean to catch up to them.
    [About 4.25 million of them are members of that “extremist” group known as the NRA.]
    Think about that a bit. There are about 2.5 million people serving in the U.S. military, counting active, reserve, NG, cooks, chaplains, and band members. Add 800,000 commissioned law enforcement officers, federal, state, and local. Total government employees under arms, 3.8 million or so.
    Therefore JUST THE NRA outnumbers the U.S. government.

  19. Pingback: » Revolutionary Math

  20. I like the article, the math speaks for itself with the two “Stans” It might be dangerous to assume all the guns recently purc hased were purchased by the Constitutionally minded. Beware of well armed progressives, I am seeing the bumper stickers on the cars at the range and the people are changing too… We are feared and they are arming… Walk softly…

  21. Pingback: How many does it take to make a mess of things? | Reality Check

  22. The past few months has brought almost NO military style weapons availability at gun shops and even pawn shops across America. Try to order stock online and you get a message “Out of Stock”…even scopes and Red Dot sites are hard to find. Then, try stocking up on ammunition from .38, .380, 9MM, .40, .45 caliber for handguns and the prices have sky rocketed as well. It’s even difficult to find holsters for handguns and one local guy who makes them for semi-auto handguns charges $145 each as they are handmade out of high quality leather (ha ha). Even women are getting into the act of buying guns for self-defense, while some men and some women still won’t touch a gun… go figure. A noted “relgious theologian” (John Piper) is supporting gun control because he said he doesn’t believe in killing a home invasion criminal because he wants the last opportunity to “save a sinner”. What idiocy and self-righteous thinking. The guy is a nutcase. But wait until THAT home invader does come banging on his door at 2 a.m. and forces his way in to murder his wife and he… then his pants will be loaded with poop!

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