Disobedience and Private Gun Ownership
became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as
is cooperation with good. No other person has been more eloquent and passionate
in getting this idea across than
Thoreau. As a result of his writings and personal witness, we are the heirs
of a legacy of creative protest." - Martin Luther King, Jr
"Those who profess to favor freedom, yet deprecate agitation, are men who
want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and
lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This
struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both
moral and physical; but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a
demand. It never did and it never will." - Frederick Douglass, African-American abolitionist
Australian governments rule.
The doctrine of parliamentary
supremacy in Australia is the unquestioned rule of the establishment. The
powerful major parties today have shown how they can use the justice system as a weapon to punish and
jail people who challenge their power, for example by forming a populist
political party. The bitter price of publicly opposing the powerful in
Australia is high.
Australians whinge about
government interference, but they are generally obedient. Laws to govern
setbacks and watering lawns; laws to govern freedom of political speech on the
internet; laws to regulate the length of dog leashes...
Don't mistake me - we have a
effective system for representing people's needs and managing our vibrant and
effective democratic society. It more or less works for small and great
things. This country could be one of the best in the world to live in.
And yet... those of us that know
the world a little are staggered at the pettiness of the Australian collective
mindset. Remember how our literati sneered at their home country in past
decades? As they bolted off to Europe and America, they wrote us a country
as scintillating as a sheep farm. I come from a sheep farm, and
sheep are not as stupid as people call them, but still... Australia in the
fifties and sixties seemed to them a place with closed minds snarling over
petty, mean-minded issues. It still is, but instead of stuffy church-going
hypocrites we now have stuffy politically-correct hypocrites.
Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a
sheep voting on what to have for dinner.
--James Bovard, Civil Libertarian (1994)
The Results - Cooperation vs. Non-Cooperation
When a gang of bullies are
instructed by their chief thug to hold down a passer-by and piss over his
face, it certainly seems good if the gang agree to the punter's request to piss
only on his body, on the understanding of no continuing hard feelings.
From a Government press release
about the latest folly, a $50M gun buyback to exchange pistols with 117mm long
barrels for pistols with 121mm long barrels:
Senator Ellison acknowledged the
important role the Sporting Shooters' Advisory Council had played in developing
"The support of responsible law-abiding sporting shooters is
essential in ensuring community safety and to help us keep firearms out of the
hands of criminals," he said.
Alternatively the passer-by can
quietly refuse to submit to the threats of violence. Canadian citizens,
for instance are generally peaceable. They are generally in accord
with their mostly peaceful society, but they value their independence and their
freedom. Their organisation - LUFA -
The Law-Abiding Unregistered Firearms Association - was formed in response
to a series of gun law initiatives based on the contempt urban elites display
for people like farmers, rural families, sport shooters and hunters.
The mis-conceived Canadian
legislation has failed in the face of massive non-compliance by decent, ordinary
hundreds of thousands of decent people act against injustice they get results.
Most people would feel that 'threats of
violence' against shooters were not part of Australia's response to the massacre
in Tasmania. But shooters remember the vicious tone of the media attacks,
the way they had to shut up in the face of public abuse. Some were hounded
from their employment. Many who spoke up were ridiculed and demeaned by
the media. And on the front of newspapers from Perth to Bondi were
black-clad troopers armed with machine pistols, the police response to
even the possibility of a firearm in public. In this jumpy climate
law-abiding shooters read it clearly: defiance of injustice would expose your
family to sledgehammer raids and time in prison or worse.
Yet Australians have heroes among
them. People prepared to challenge the overwhelming force of the state by
quietly going their own way.
The Australian Government estimate
that 40% to 60% of banned guns were surrendered in the confiscations. That
is, between 300,000 and 800,000 of these supposedly dangerous arms were
retained, and a quarter to a half a million Australian people who preserved the
symbols of their heritage in the face of terrible threats.
But a small number fought back,
smacking their heads against the legal system. Martin Essenberg
deliberately had himself arrested for trivial breaches of the law, and tried
rights-based challenges and appeals through the entire court system. He
based a number of his arguments in the 1688 Bill of Rights. His
test cases proved that in extinguishing historic freedoms of Australians,
Parliament is unfettered by the courts or by history.
Others found loopholes in the gun
laws and 'paid back' the government by pumping firearms out of the legal system
as fast as they could. A leader among these was Ron Owen of Gympie, who
was found in court to have complied with the law despite what we speculate to be
four to five thousand guns being welded up and removed from the system. Federal Parliament
chose not to work with the State laws that by rights cover these matters, and
stifling Customs regime was imposed on the import of handguns. State
parliaments have now fixed their conflicting regimes for gun components
that resulted in thousands of guns escaping the databases.
Newspaper reports show that a few
dealers or their employees have been caught and charged with leaking guns out of
the system, though
the facts are often unclear.
And local manufacture may be
increasing. An Adelaide man was found with homemade submachine guns, and at
least one bikie-run manufacturing operation was broken up. Many gun owners seem to
need machine tools - not for manufacturing guns, but keeping the possibility in
Arms Trafficker Training Page) allows you to export a symbolic weapon (a
cryptographic program) classified as restricted, as an act of civil
Civil Disobedience and Dissent: Good citizen or domestic
terrorist? By Elizabeth Wright
[Reprinted from Issues & Views October 6, 2003]
ACT UP civil
disobedience index with non-violent protest training manual
http://www.international.activism.uts.edu.au/civildis/ Lee Rhiannon's use of
NSW Parliament for a Civil Disobedience forum. If it's good enough for
NSW's Parliament, we should learn from it.