What good can a handgun do against an Army
A friend of mine recently forwarded me a question a friend of his had posed:
"If/when our Federal Government comes to pilfer, pillage, plunder our
property and destroy our lives, what good can a handgun do against an army
with advanced weaponry, tanks, missiles, planes, or whatever else they
might have at their disposal to achieve their nefarious goals? (I'm not
being facetious: I accept the possibility that what happened in Germany,
or similar, could happen here; I'm just not sure that the potential good
from an armed citizenry in such a situation outweighs the day-to-day
problems caused by masses of idiots who own guns.)"
If I may, I'd like to try to answer that question. I certainly do not
think the writer facetious for asking it. The subject is a serious one that
I have given much research and considerable thought to. I believe that upon
the answer to this question depends the future of our Constitutional
republic, our liberty and perhaps our lives. My friend Aaron Zelman, one of
the founders of Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership told me
"If every Jewish and anti-nazi family in Germany had owned a Mauser
rifle and twenty rounds of ammunition AND THE WILL TO USE IT (emphasis
supplied, MV), Adolf Hitler would be a little-known footnote to the
history of the Weimar Republic." - Aaron Zelman, JPFO
Note well that phrase: "and the will to use it," for the simply-stated
question, "What good can a handgun do against an army?", is in fact a
complex one and must be answered at length and carefully. It is a military
question. It is also a political question. But above all it is a moral
question which strikes to the heart of what makes men free, and what makes
them slaves. First, let's answer the military question.
Most military questions have both a strategic and a tactical component.
Let's consider the tactical.
A friend of mine owns an instructive piece of history. It is a small, crude
pistol, made out of sheet-metal stampings by the U.S. during World War II.
While it fits in the palm of your hand and is a slowly-operated, single-shot
arm, it's powerful .45 caliber projectile will kill a man with brutal
efficiency. With a short, smooth-bore barrel it can reliably kill only at
point blank ranges, so its use requires the will (brave or foolhardy) to get
in close before firing. It is less a soldier's weapon than an assassin's
tool. The U.S. manufactured them by the million during the war, not for our
own forces but rather to be air-dropped behind German lines to resistance
units in occupied Europe. Crude and slow (the fired case had to be knocked
out of the breech by means of a little wooden dowel, a fresh round procured
from the storage area in the grip and then manually reloaded and cocked) and
so wildly inaccurate it couldn't hit the broad side of a French barn at 50
meters, to the Resistance man or woman who had no firearm it still looked
pretty darn good.
The theory and practice of it was this:
First, you approach a German sentry with your little pistol hidden in
your coat pocket and, with Academy-award sincerity, ask him for a light
for your cigarette (or the time the train leaves for Paris, or if he wants
to buy some non-army-issue food or a half- hour with your "sister"). When
he smiles and casts a nervous glance down the street to see where his
Sergeant is at, you blow his brains out with your first and only shot,
then take his rifle and ammunition. Your next few minutes are occupied
with "getting out of Dodge," for such critters generally go around in
packs. After that (assuming you evade your late benefactor's friends) you
keep the rifle and hand your little pistol to a fellow Resistance fighter
so they can go get their own rifle.
Or maybe you then use your rifle to get a submachine gun from the Sergeant
when he comes running. Perhaps you get very lucky and pickup a light
machine gun, two boxes of ammunition and a haversack of hand grenades.
With two of the grenades and the expenditure of a half-a-box of ammunition
at a hasty roadblock the next night, you and your friends get a truck full
of arms and ammunition. (Some of the cargo is sticky with "Boche" blood,
but you don't mind terribly.)
Pretty soon you've got the best armed little maquis unit in your part of
France, all from that cheap little pistol and the guts to use it. (One
wonders if the current political elite's opposition to so-called "Saturday
Night Specials" doesn't come from some adopted racial memory of previous
failed tyrants. Even cheap little pistols are a threat to oppressive
They called the pistol the "Liberator." Not a bad name, all in all.
Now let's consider the strategic aspect of the question, "What good can a
handgun do against an army....?" We have seen that even a poor pistol can
make a great deal of difference to the military career and postwar plans of
one enemy soldier. That's tactical. But consider what a million pistols, or
a hundred million pistols (which may approach the actual number of handguns
in the U.S. today), can mean to the military planner who seeks to carry out
operations against a populace so armed. Mention "Afghanistan" or "Chechnya"
to a member of the current Russian military hierarchy and watch them shudder
at the bloody memories. Then you begin to get the idea that modern
munitions, air superiority and overwhelming, precision-guided violence still
are not enough to make victory certain when the targets are not sitting
Christmas- present fashion out in the middle of the desert.
"A billion here, a billion there, sooner or later it adds up to real money."
Consider that there are at least as many firearms-- handguns, rifles and
shotguns-- as there are citizens of the United States. Consider that last
year there were more than 14 million Americans who bought licenses to hunt
deer in the country. 14 million-- that's a number greater than the largest
five professional armies in the world combined. Consider also that those
deer hunters are not only armed, but they own items of military utility--
everything from camouflage clothing to infrared "game finders", Global
Positioning System devices and night vision scopes.
Consider also that quite a few of these hunters are military veterans. Just
as moving around in the woods and stalking game are second nature, military
operations are no mystery to them, especially those who were on the
receiving end of guerrilla war in Southeast Asia. Indeed, such men, aging
though they may be, may be more psychologically prepared for the exigencies
of civil war (for this is what we are talking about) than their younger
active-duty brother-soldiers whose only military experience involved neatly
defined enemies and fronts in the Grand Campaign against Saddam. Not since
1861-1865 has the American military attempted to wage a war athwart its own
logistical tail (nor indeed has it ever had to use modern conventional
munitions on the Main Streets of its own hometowns and through its
relatives' backyards, nor has it tested the obedience of soldiers who took a
very different oath with orders to kill their "rebellious" neighbors, but
that touches on the political aspect of the question).
But forget the psychological and political for a moment, and consider just
the numbers. To paraphrase the Senator, "A million pistols here, a million
rifles there, pretty soon you're talking serious firepower." No one, repeat,
no one, will conquer America, from within or without, until its citizenry
are disarmed. We remain, as a British officer had reason to complain at the
start of our Revolution, "a people numerous and armed."
The Second Amendment is a political issue today only because of the military
reality that underlies it. Politicians who fear the people seek to disarm
them. People who fear their government's intentions refuse to be disarmed.
The Founders understood this. So, too, does every tyrant who ever lived.
Liberty-loving Americans forget it at their peril. Until they do, American
gunowners in the aggregate represent a strategic military fact and an
impediment to foreign tyranny. They also represent the greatest political
challenge to home-grown would-be tyrants. If the people cannot be forcibly
disarmed against their will, then they must be persuaded to give up their
arms voluntarily. This is the siren song of "gun control," which is to say
"government control of all guns," although few self-respecting gun-grabbers
would be quite so bold as to phrase it so honestly.
Joseph Stalin, when informed after World War II that the Pope disapproved of
Russian troops occupying Trieste, turned to his advisors and asked, "The
Pope? The Pope? How many divisions does he have?" Dictators are unmoved by
moral suasion. Fortunately, our Founders saw the wisdom of backing the First
Amendment up with the Second. The "divisions" of the army of American
constitutional liberty get into their cars and drive to work in this country
every day to jobs that are hardly military in nature. Most of them are
unmindful of the service they provide. Their arms depots may be found in
innumerable closets, gunracks and gunsafes. They have no appointed officers,
nor will they need any until they are mobilized by events. Such guardians of
our liberty perform this service merely by existing. And although they may
be an ever-diminishing minority within their own country, as gun ownership
is demonized and discouraged by the ruling elites, still they are as yet
more than enough to perform their vital task. And if they are unaware of the
impediment they present to their would-be rulers, their would-be rulers are
painfully aware of these "divisions of liberty", as evidenced by their
incessant calls for individual disarmament. They understand moral versus
military force just as clearly as Stalin, but they would not be so
indelicate as to quote him.
The Roman Republic failed because they could not successfully answer the
question, "Who Shall Guard the Guards?" The Founders of this Republic
answered that question with both the First and Second Amendments. Like
Stalin, the Clintonistas could care less what common folk say about them,
but the concept of the armed citizenry as guarantors of their own liberties
sets their teeth on edge and disturbs their statist sleep.
Governments, some great men once avowed, derive their legitimacy from "the
consent of the governed." In the country that these men founded, it should
not be required to remind anyone that the people do not obtain their
natural, God-given liberties by "the consent of the Government." Yet in this
century, our once great constitutional republic has been so profaned in the
pursuit of power and social engineering by corrupt leaders as to be
unrecognizable to the Founders. And in large measure we have ourselves to
blame because at each crucial step along the way the usurpers of our
liberties have obtained the consent of a majority of the governed to do what
they have done, often in the name of "democracy"-- a political system
rejected by the Founders. Another good friend of mine gave the best
description of pure democracy I have ever heard. "Democracy," he concluded,
"is three wolves and a sheep sitting down to vote on what to have for
dinner." The rights of the sheep in this system are by no means guaranteed.
Now it is true that our present wolf-like, would-be rulers do not as yet
seek to eat that sheep and its peaceable wooly cousins (We, the people).
They are, however, most desirous that the sheep be shorn of taxes, and if
possible and when necessary, be reminded of their rightful place in society
as "good citizen sheep" whose safety from the big bad wolves outside their
barn doors is only guaranteed by the omni-presence in the barn of the "good
wolves" of the government. Indeed, they do not present themselves as wolves
at all, but rather these lupines parade around in sheep's clothing, bleating
insistently in falsetto about the welfare of the flock and the necessity to
surrender liberty and property "for the children", er, ah, I mean "the
lambs." In order to ensure future generations of compliant sheep, they are
careful to educate the lambs in the way of "political correctness," tutoring
them in the totalitarian faiths that "it takes a barnyard to raise a lamb"
and "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."
Every now and then, some tough old independent-minded ram refuses to be
shorn and tries to remind the flock that they once decided affairs
themselves according to the rule of law of their ancestors, and without the
help of their "betters." When that happens, the fangs become apparent and
the conspicuously unwilling are shunned, cowed, driven off or (occasionally)
killed. But flashing teeth or not, the majority of the flock has learned
over time not to resist the Lupine-Mandarin class which herds it. Their
Founders, who were fiercely independent rams, would have long ago chased off
such usurpers. Any present members of the flock who think like that are
denounced as antediluvian or mentally deranged.
There are some of these dissidents the lupines would like to punish, but
they dare not-- for their teeth are every bit as long as their "betters."
Indeed, this is the reason the wolves haven't eaten any sheep in
generations. To the wolves chagrin, this portion of the flock is armed and
they outnumber the wolves by a considerable margin. For now the wolves are
content to watch the numbers of these "armed sheep" diminish, as long teeth
are no longer fashionable in polite society. (Indeed, they are considered by
the literati to be an anachronism best forgotten and such sheep are
dismissed by the Mandarins as "Tooth Nuts" or "Right Leg Fanatics".) When
the numbers of armed sheep fall below a level that wolves can feel safe to
do so, the eating will begin. The wolves are patient, and proceed by
infinitesimal degrees like the slowly-boiling frog. It took them generations
to lull the sheep into accepting them as rulers instead of elected
representatives. If it takes another generation or two of sheep to complete
the process, the wolves can wait. This is our "Animal Farm," without apology
to George Orwell.
Even so, the truth is that one man with a pistol CAN defeat an army, given a
righteous cause to fight for, enough determination to risk death for that
cause, and enough brains, luck and friends to win the struggle. This is true
in war but also in politics, and it is not necessary to be a Prussian
militarist to see it. The dirty little secret of today's ruling elite as
represented by the Clintonistas is that they want people of conscience and
principle to be divided in as many ways as possible ("wedge issues" the
consultants call them) so that they may be more easily manipulated. No issue
of race, religion, class or economics is left unexploited. Lost in the din
of jostling special interests are the few voices who point out that if we
refuse to be divided from what truly unites us as a people, we cannot be
defeated on the large issues of principle, faith, the constitutional
republic and the rule of law. More importantly, woe and ridicule will be
heaped upon anyone who points out that like the blustering Wizard of Oz, the
federal tax and regulation machine is not as omniscient, omnipotent or
fearsome as they would have us believe. Like the Wizard, they fan the scary
flames higher and shout, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"
For the truth is, they are frightened that we will find out how pitifully
few they are compared to the mass of the citizenry they seek to frighten
into compliance with their tax collections, property seizures and
bureaucratic, unconstitutional power-shifting. I strongly recommend everyone
see the new animated movie "A Bug's Life". Simple truths may often be found
sheltering beneath unlikely overhangs, there protected from the pelting
storm of lies that soak us everyday.
"A Bug's Life", a childrens' movie of all things, is just such a place.
The plot revolves around an ant hill on an unnamed island, where the ants
placate predatory grasshoppers by offering them each year one-half of the
food they gather (sounds a lot like the IRS, right?). Driven to
desperation by the insatiable tax demands of the large, fearsome
grasshoppers, one enterprising ant goes abroad seeking bug mercenaries who
will return with him and defend the anthill when the grasshoppers return.
(If this sounds a lot like an animated "Magnificent Seven", you're right.)
The grasshoppers (who roar about like some biker gang or perhaps the ATF
in black helicopters, take your pick) are, at one point in the movie,
lounging around in a bug cantina down in Mexico, living off the bounty of
the land. The harvest seeds they eat are dispensed one at a time from an
upturned bar bottle. Two grasshoppers suggest to their leader, a menacing
fellow named "Hopper" (whose voice characterization by Kevin Spacey is
suitably evil personified), that they should forget about the poor ants on
the island. Here, they say, we can live off the fat of the land, why worry
about some upstart ants? Hopper turns on them instantly. "Would you like a
seed?" he quietly asks one. "Sure," answers the skeptical grasshopper
thug. "Would you like one?" Hopper asks the other. "Yeah," says he. Hopper
manipulates the spigot on the bar bottle twice, and distributes the seeds
"So, you want to know why we have to go back to the island, do you?"
Hopper asks menacingly as the thugs munch on their seeds. "I'll show you
why!" he shouts, removing the cap from the bottle entirely with one quick
blow. The seeds, no longer restrained by the cap, respond to gravity and
rush out all at once, inundating the two grasshoppers and crushing them.
Hopper turns to his remaining fellow grasshoppers and shrieks, "That's
I'm paraphrasing from memory here, for I've only seen the movie once. But
Hopper then explains, "Don't you remember the upstart ant on that island?
They outnumber us a hundred to one. How long do you think we'll last if
they ever figure that out?"
"If the ants are not frightened of us," Hopper tells them, "our game is
finished. We're finished."
Of course it comes as no surprise that in the end the ants figure that
out. Would that liberty-loving Americans were as smart as animated ants.
Courage to stand against tyranny, fortunately, is not only found on
videotape. Courage flowers from the heart, from the twin roots of
deeply-held principle and faith in God. There are American heroes living
today who have not yet performed the deeds of principled courage that future
history books will record. They have not yet had to stand in the gap, to
plug it with their own fragile bodies and lives against the evil that
portends. Not yet have they been required to pledge "their lives, their
fortunes and their sacred honor." Yet they will have to. I believe with all
my heart the lesson that history teaches: That each and every generation of
Americans is given, along with the liberty and opportunity that is their
heritage, the duty to defend America against the tyrannies of their day. Our
father's father's fathers fought this same fight. Our mother's mother's
mothers fought it as well. From the Revolution through the world wars, from
the Cold War through to the Gulf, they fought to secure their liberty in
conflicts great and small, within and without.
They stood faithful to the oath that our Founders gave us: To bear true
faith and allegiance-- not to a man; not to the land; not to a political
party, but to an idea. The idea is liberty, as codified in the Constitution
of the United States. We swear, as did they, an oath to defend the
Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And throughout the
years they paid in blood and treasure the terrible price of that oath. That
was their day. This is ours. The clouds we can see on the horizon may be a
simple rain or a vast hurricane, but there is a storm coming. Make no
Lincoln said that this nation cannot long exist half slave and half free. I
say, if I may humbly paraphrase, that this nation cannot long exist
one-third slave, one-third uncommitted, and one-third free. The slavery
today is of the mind and soul not the body, but is slavery without a doubt
that the Clintons and their toadies are pushing.
It is slavery to worship our nominally-elected representatives as our rulers
instead of requiring their trustworthiness as our servants. It is slavery of
the mind and soul that demands that God-given rights that our Forefathers
secured with their blood and sacrifice be traded for false security of a
nanny-state which will tend to our "legitimate needs" as they are perceived
by that government.
It is slavery to worship humanism as religion and slavery to deny life and
liberty to unborn Americans. As people of faith in God, whatever our
denomination, we are in bondage to a plantation system that steals our
money; seizes our property; denies our ancient liberties; denies even our
very history, supplanting it with sanitized and politicized "correctness";
denies our children a real public education; denies them even the mention of
God in school; denies, in fact, the very existence of God.
So finally we are faced with, we must return to, the moral component of the
question: "What good can a handgun do against an army?" The answer is
"Nothing," or "Everything." The outcome depends upon the mind and heart and
soul of the man or woman who holds it. One may also ask, "What good can a
sling in the hands of a boy do against a marauding giant?" If your cause is
just and righteous much can be done, but only if you are willing to risk the
consequences of failure and to bear the burdens of eternal vigilance.
A new friend of mine gave me a plaque the other day. Upon it is written
these words by Winston Churchill, a man who knew much about fighting
"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win
without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure
and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight
with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival.
There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of
victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." - Winston
The Spartans at Thermopolae knew this. The fighting Jews of Masada knew
this, when every man, woman and child died rather than submit to Roman
tyranny. The Texans who died at the Alamo knew this. The frozen patriots of
Valley Forge knew this. The "expendable men" of Bataan and Corregidor knew
this. If there is one lesson of Hitlerism and the Holocaust, it is that free
men, if they wish to remain free, must resist would-be tyrants at the first
opportunity and at every opportunity. Remember that whether they the come as
conquerors or elected officials, the men who secretly wish to be your
murderers must first convince you that you must accept them as your masters.
Free men and women must not wait until they are "selected", divided and
herded into Warsaw Ghettos, there to finally fight desperately, almost
without weapons, and die outnumbered.
The tyrant must be met at the door when he appears. At your door, or mine,
wherever he shows his bloody appetite. He must be met by the pistol which
can defeat an army. He must be met at every door, for in truth we outnumber
him and his henchmen. It matters not whether they call themselves Communists
or Nazis or something else. It matters not what flag they fly, nor what
uniform they wear. It matters not what excuses they give for stealing your
liberty, your property or your life. "By their works ye shall know them."
The time is late. Those who once has trouble reading the hour on their
watches have no trouble seeing by the glare of the fire at Waco. Few of us
realized at the time that the Constitution was burning right along with the
Davidians. Now we know better.
We have had the advantage of that horrible illumination for more than five
years now-- five years in which the rule of law and the battered old
parchment of our beloved Constitution have been smashed, shredded and
besmirched by the Clintonistas. In this process they have been aided and
abetted by the cowardly incompetence of the "opposition" Republican
leadership, a fact made crystal clear by the Waco hearings. They have
forgotten Daniel Webster's warning: "Miracles do not cluster. Hold on to the
Constitution of the United States of America and the Republic for which it
stands-- what has happened once in six thousand years may never happen
again. Hold on to your Constitution, for if the American Constitution shall
fail there will be anarchy throughout the world."
Yet being able to see what has happened has not helped us reverse, or even
slow, the process. The sad fact is that we may have to resign ourselves to
the prospect of having to maintain our principles and our liberty in the
face of becoming a disenfranchised minority within our own country.
The middle third of the populace, it seems, will continue to waffle in favor
of the enemies of the Constitution until their comfort level with the
economy is endangered. They've got theirs, Jack. The Republicans, who we
thought could represent our interests and protect the Constitution and the
rule of law, have been demonstrated to be political eunuchs. Alan Keyes was
dead right when he characterized the last election as one between "the
lawless Democrats and the gutless Republicans." The spectacular political
failures of our current leaders are unrivaled in our history unless you
recall the unprincipled jockeying for position and tragi-comedy of
misunderstanding and miscommunication which lead to our first Civil War.
And make no mistake, it is civil war which may be the most horrible
corollary of the Law of Unintended Consequences as it applies to the
Clintonistas and their destruction of the rule of law. Because such people
have no cause for which they are willing to die (all morality being
relativistic to them, and all principles compromisable), they cannot fathom
the motives or behavior of people who believe that there are some principles
worth fighting and dying for. Out of such failures of understanding come
wars. Particularly because although such elitists would not risk their own
necks in a fight, they have no compunction about ordering others in their
pay to fight for them. It is not the deaths of others, but their own deaths,
that they fear. As a Christian, I cannot fear my own death, but rather I am
commanded by my God to live in such a way as to make my death a homecoming.
That this makes me incomprehensible and threatening to those who wish to be
my masters is something I can do little about. I would suggest to them that
they not poke their godless, tyrannical noses down my alley. As the coiled
rattlesnake flag of the Revolution bluntly stated: "Don't Tread on Me!" Or,
as our state motto here in Alabama says: "We Dare Defend Our Rights."
But can a handgun defeat an army? Yes. It remains to be seen whether the
struggle of our generation against the tyrants of our day in the first
decade of the 21st Century will bring a restoration of liberty and the rule
of law or a dark and bloody descent into chaos and slavery.
If it is to be the former, I will meet you at the new Yorktown. If it is to
be the latter, I will meet you at Masada. But I will not be a slave. And I
know that whether we succeed or fail, if we should fall along the way our
graves will one day be visited by other free Americans, thanking us that we
did not forget that, with the help of Almighty God, in the hands of a free
man a handgun CAN defeat a tyrant's army.
P.O. Box 926
Pinson, AL 35126
The FP-45 Liberator was a pistol
manufactured for the United States military during World War II for use by
resistance forces in occupied territories. It was designed with the idea of
offering an enemy soldier a cigarette, putting a round of .45 ACP twixt his
eyes or in the base of his skull, and "liberating" the now deceased
soldier's rifle, SMG, grenades, or anything else of military utility. A
crude and clumsy weapon, the Liberator was never intended for front line
service. It was originally intended as an insurgency weapon to be mass
dropped behind enemy lines to resistance fighters in occupied territory. The
weapon was valued as much for its psychological warfare effect as its actual
It was believed that if vast quantities of these weapons could be delivered
into Axis occupied territory, it would have a devastating effect on the
morale of occupying troops. The plan was to drop the weapon in such great
quantities that occupying forces could never capture or recover all the
weapons. It was hoped that the thought of thousands of these unrecovered
weapons potentially in the hands of the citizens of occupied countries would
have a deleterious effect on enemy morale.
The pistol had its origins in the US Army Joint Psychological Committee and
was designed for the United States Army in 1942 by the Inland Guide Lamp
Manufacturing Division of the General Motors Corporation in Dayton, Ohio.
The army designated the weapon the Flare Projector Caliber .45 hence the
designation FP-45. This was done to disguise the fact that a pistol was
being mass produced. The original engineering drawings label the barrel
as "tube", the trigger as "yoke", the firing pin as "control rod", and the
trigger guard as "spanner". The Guide Lamp Division plant in Anderson,
Indiana assembled a million of these weapons.
The Liberator project took about 6 months from conception to end of
production with about 11 weeks of actual manufacturing time, done by 300
workers. The FP-45 was a crude, single-shot pistol designed to be cheaply
and quickly mass produced. The ejection system was a wooden rod that was
pushed down the barrel from the muzzle end to eject the fired cartridge
case. The Liberator had just 23 largely stamped and turned steel parts that
were cheap and easy to manufacture. It fired a .45 caliber pistol cartridge
from an unrifled barrel.
Due to the unrifled barrel, maximum effective range was only about 25 feet
(less than 8 m). At longer range, the bullet would begin to tumble.