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Seamus McGrenery

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Should people have the right to bear nukes?

If the reason US citizens have the right to bear arms is to give them the capability to defend themselves from tyrannical Government, then should the right extend to nuclear weapons.

After all even if a city or state was to revolt against tyrannical federal rule they could be defeated using the stronger weaponry in the governments arsenal.

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Closing Statement from Seamus McGrenery

We hand over our powers to people in Government because, ultimately, we benefit from Government actions. One of the powers we hand over is that to defend ourselves. Government is probably best equipped to defend us from foreign invaders.

When it comes to the question of defending us against our fellow citizens it gets complicated. Peter and Krisztián have discussed how they see the balance between your freedom to protect yourself versus my ability to be protected from you in the context of guns.

As Mike points out the US Constitution does not say that 'arms' means guns.

There seems to be an unspoken assumption that some weapons are so dangerous that no individual should hold them in a private capacity. Yet, to me as an outsider, it seems like the intention behind the right to bear arms in the US Constitution implies that citizens have a right to defend themselves against unjust Government.

So this is where the contradiction lies. The more our societies and technologies develop, the more power is potentially gathered in a few hands.

Internationally this raises many issues, the actions of powerful Governments, Corporations and Organizations can impact the citizens of many Countries, without those citizens being able to directly influence the decision makers.

Meanwhile many many Americans are being killed by their fellow citizens because somebody decided that 'arms' did mean just 'guns'.

Just maybe some people would think differently if they defined 'arms' as meaning 'any weapon'. I hope most of us would not believe that individuals should have a right to 'bear nuclear weapons'.

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    Mar 7 2013: The US constitution does not define "arms". So, one could make an argument that a nuclear weapon is an "arm".
    The practicality of maintaining a nuclear weapon is probably a little ponderous, so I don't see them as a popular item
    in a home defense collection.
    A scenario that the federal government could be overthrown could be made. In fact a number of novels have addressed the subject. But, I can not imagine a military member would ever violate his oath. I don't see the Army attacking the US mainland. More likely, a large foreign country could invade the US, there are several that have the capacity. But they would meet over a hundred million man armed defense force. That would be difficult!
  • Feb 8 2013: Every year for Christmas,
    Calvin, of Calvin and Hobbes,
    wanted and wished for his own hand-held, atomic weapon.
    Me too.

    It does give one pause and perhaps a bit of insight into the deceased Kim Jong-Il
    who may have been afraid (maybe paranoid, but who knows?),
    about the U.S. wanting to or even planning to invade North Korea at some time.

    His having a weapon may have allowed him to stave something like that off.
    Even China seemed to stay away from him and didn't do much to control him or even
    reason with him. The U.S. military has bases everywhere, in 150 countries. Pathetic Imperialism yet
    using the media, Kim Jong was considered nuts.

    They don't have one in North Korea
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    Feb 7 2013: *Department of Homeland Security has purchased over the course of the last 10 months over 1.6 billion bullets, figures which have stoked concerns that the federal agency is preparing for civil unrest.

    *the next generation of drones will further reduce the reliance of needing people/solders, to control civilians.

    *The government is increasing it control of all form of communication, radio, TV, internet, and phones so they can all be restricted, monitored, or stop at any time they wish.

    And yet some still don’t see a need for private citizens to be able to defend themselves from an evil government.
    Tell you what, give us weapons that can shoot down drones and we will allow ammo clip size limits.
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    Feb 7 2013: Isn't that why people argue US citizens have the right to bear arms?
    What is the difference?
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    Feb 7 2013: Yes, they should.

    Nuclear weapons don't kill people, people do.

    A nuclear weapon is just a tool, like a spoon or a screwdriver.
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    Feb 7 2013: how can you defend yourself with a nuke?
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      Feb 7 2013: The question is about the right to bear arms. Does the logic still hold if we are talking about nuclear weapons?
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      Feb 8 2013: How can you defend yourself with an assault rifle? An American would say you can defend your property with an assault rifle but it's really a shoot him before he shoots me strategy which you could do on a larger scale with a nuclear weapon. I'm making no assumption regarding your opinion on assault rifles, just drawing a connection from what I think is a defensive weapon (small calibre pistol) through what the NRA considers a defensive weapon (anything you can carry) to what is indeed a rediculous defensive weapon (nuke).
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        Feb 8 2013: i suppose it is not a serious question. an assault rifle is an excellent defensive weapon. so good some call it unnecessarily good, that's what the fuss is about. my point was, it is very hard to come up with a realistic scenario in which a nuke might defend you in a way that we can consider reasonable and morally acceptable. nuking washington as a revenge is not a morally acceptable defense mechanism. nuking the incoming troops kills you and your own city.

        let us not make ridiculous points please. stand on the ground.
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          Feb 10 2013: I would have thought a defensive weapon was one designed to resist an imminent risk of death. Within the bounds of "normal" daily life I can't see a scenario where an individual who poses a threat to my life would be far enough away from me to make an assault rifle useful. There is too much risk of collateral damage as with a nuke. It's just a matter of degree.
          If I lived in a different place it would be different, but in a western country you get mugged by criminals with hand guns.
          There is also the legal side. If I am threatened with a hand gun and pre-emptively shoot and kill the assailant with an assault rifle can I use self defence as a legal argument. Is it "reasonable force": if my gun is more pwoerful?
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        Feb 10 2013: you are mocking me or what? sorry, i can't take you seriously.
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          Feb 11 2013: I assure you if you were threatened with a hand gun on an Australian street and defended yourself with an assault rifle you would risk the courts finding your response disproportionate and being charged with murder. That's why auto and semi-auto weapons are illegal here. You are only allowed to defend yourself using proportionate force, so unless you are getting mugged by someone with an assault rifle (which seems higly unlikely) there is no legitimate use for one. I can only speak for Australia though. There might be a realistic risk of someone mugging you with an assault rifle in Hungary.
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        Feb 11 2013: since when we are talking about the courts there? i hope you do not derive logic and moral from australian law.