Civil War? Maybe, But Not In The Way You Imagine

You'll want to have some bananas on hand if the balloon goes up...

Inspired by Miguel and J KB over at Gun Free Zone

From protestors disrupting the confirmation hearing of SCOTUS nominee Judge Kavanaugh, to potential ricin attacks on James Mattis and Ted Cruz (update: The substance mailed to Cruz was non-hazardous…), the actions of the fringe left in our nation have stepped up in severity as of late…

Along those lines, a recent Rasmussen Reports poll suggests that nearly a third of US voters think a civil war may break out in the next five years. While I don’t necessarily trust the accuracy of most polls, I do feel that some at least reflect a sentiment that some people have. With protests edging violent and public officials being attacked, it’s something that can be believed.

However, a (hopefully) hypothetical future civil war will not progress how you think.

Can You Say ‘Low-Intensity Conflict’?

The term ‘civil war’ conjures up images of mass troop movements and fighting armies to your average American. North vs South, Union vs Confederate, Blue vs Gray, that sort of thing. However, for the bulk of the world, a civil war is more along the lines of a low-intensity conflict (LIC).

The US Army defines an LIC as such:

… a political-military confrontation between contending states or groups below conventional war and above the routine, peaceful competition among states. It frequently involves protracted struggles of competing principles and ideologies. Low-intensity conflict ranges from subversion to the use of the armed forces. It is waged by a combination of means, employing political, economic, informational, and military instruments. Low-intensity conflicts are often localized, generally in the Third World, but contain regional and global security implications.

On US soil, a future civil war will be just that, a protracted struggle of competing principles and ideologies. Republican vs Democrat. Right vs Left. Freedom vs Statism. Whatever the terms are, it won’t be about a linchpin issue such as slavery or states’ rights - it’ll be a broad-based ideological conflict.

Sadly, we may alread be in the embryonic stages of an LIC. Until recently, we resolved and managed our differences via peaceful protests and the ballot box. Whatever the cause was, people displayed the message, and voted in elections to try and resolve said issues. Yes, I’m keenly aware a major election happened in November 2016, but last time I checked, the methods of peaceful protest and peaceful voting still worked. I believe I voted against a tax last year, and the tax didn’t take effect. Enough people agreed with me and we voted. We certainly didn’t mail deadly chemicals to politicians supporting the tax. We didn’t assault them or threaten their families. We certainly didn’t shoot them.

Skipping the soap box and ballot box, and going straight to the ammo box is a push towards an LIC. Already, one can see acts of (thankfully non-fatal) violence perpetuated by the left.

But how long until it gets fatal? Already, avowed leftists have opened fire on politicians they didn’t agree with, like Steve Scalise. And yesterday’s ricin attack on Mattis was definitely not an “oh let’s just hurt him” move. Voter intimidation is suddenly a thing again. Place the “wrong” sign on your lawn and your risk vandalism and assault. A Trump sticker on your car can mean a brick through your windshield if you park your car in say, Miami Beach.

Just because we are a First World nation doesn’t mean it can’t happen here.

It Has Happened Before

The structure of an LIC will be all-too familiar for students of modern history. One only need to look at Colombia, and Northern Ireland for examples of this. In Colombia, the conflict was ideological, with the Colombian government squaring off against FARC, a Communist guerrilla group. The drug cartels, ever opportunistic, supported whomever suited their purposes at a given moment, as well. Mass troop movements weren’t terribly common during this decades-long conflict. With varying degrees of intensity, brutal violence was the norm in Colombia.

People kind of went about their lives, but things were disrupted frequently. One could be on their way to the store, and witness an assassination of a police officer or government official. Later that evening, the government could conduct reprisals, perhaps killing one’s neighbor who was secretly an instrumental player in the rebellion. Maybe the next morning a bombing of a judicial building would shut down a city. On the way home from work, one could observe bodies laid out as the cartels conducted missions to serve their own interests. It was a messy business with no clear path to resolution. To this day, even though there’s nominally a ceasefire, incidents between FARC and the government do happen.

More well-known is, of course, The Troubles in Northern Ireland. Ostensibly the conflict was religious in nature, i.e. Catholic vs Protestant, but it leaked over into more ideological lines with Irish Republicans (those who supported a united Ireland) vs Ulster Loyalists (those who supported a continued union with the UK) being the main combatants. Third parties such as the British Army and Irish Gardai (police) were involved. Additionally, overseas players such as Libya, the Soviet Union, and the US involved themselves to some degree. US organized crime elements were involved as well, with notorious players like Whitey Bulger providing money, weapons, and ammo to the Irish Republicans.

Me little Armalite...

Much like Colombia, people went about their lives despite the conflict. You could be out, doing your thing, and violence just erupted. Whether it was a bombing, a reprisal by the British Army or the RUC, a riot, or an assassination, violence just happened. You lived your life and just worked around it, and maybe took steps to defend yourself if you felt targeted because of your beliefs. Voter intimidation was definitely a thing. If you lived in a certain neighborhood, and supported a “wrong” politician, you could risk being harmed or killed.

For us here in the United States, The Troubles should be, well, troubling. Northern Ireland is a First World sort of place. Electricity, serviceable roads, robust telecom infrastructure, a functioning government, that sort of thing. But yet, they still had (and still do, to a small extent) secterian violence for decades, with no clear winner or outcome.

You Don’t Want 1776

On our side of the fence, we toss around memes, and kick around things like “Rule 308”…

Paraphrasing several sources…

You don’t want to threaten violence against people who understand what the term “sub-MOA” means.

And yes, there’s an undercurrent about needing “1776” all over again. While it makes for great fiction and discussion points, any sort of war or low-intensity conflict on domestic soil would prove to be costly for all parties involved. As in Colombia and Northern Ireland, life would go on, but things would change, for the worse.

You’d be going to the store, and you’d see acts of political violence. You’d go to the movies and have to drive around a bombed-out vehicle. You’d slide up to a coffee shop, and one of the customers is killed because they dare wore an NRA T-shirt that day. A local favorite politician of the leftists wouldn’t make it out of their office that evening as right-alinged individuals conduct a reprisal killing. Kids get kidnapped from school because their Dad voted for Trump in the last election. A police officer and his family are slaughtered at home just because he’s a cop. A Congressman speaks in support of gun control and is assassinated for his troubles.

On that note, one can guarantee the government wouldn’t sit idly while the people duked it out over ideology. Martial law and the suspension of civil liberties would become the norm, if not by law, then by deed. We may have a Second Amendment, and the true meaning of it would be in play, but gun ownership would be illegal for “security”. Large gatherings wouldn’t be permitted. Events, even those unrelated to the conflict, would be canceled. Because reasons. Wouldn’t matter who was in power either. Whether it was Trump, a resurrected HRC, or a complete socialist nutjob - emergency measures would be enacted, even without the participation and consent of parts of the government. Law enforcment and the military could choose to act on their own. It’d be a coup-like situation in some regards.

The conflict would transcend mere physical space. Cyberwarfare by domestic and international actors would become common. Websites defaced, connected infrastructure compromised, and propaganda-oriented moves like violating the privacy of “convenient” targets would happen. Fake news would be even faker as the media would ostensibly take sides. Citizen journalism would be difficult, though would be the only reliable source of information during the conflict.

Foreign meddling? Oh yes. Russian collusion would be a reality and not something bandied about by hysterical Democrats and media sychophants. You’d see Russian interests financing and equipping whomever suited their interests. Same with China. A chaotic US would only benefit our enemies. Chinese AKs would start showing up in places.

A “new” 1776 would be nasty. One can bet on losing family and friends during the conflict. Even if you didn’t take sides and stayed out of the way, opportunists may find you convenient and engage in an assualt, just because. Much like Colombia, criminal elements would take full advantage of the situation.

The end result wouldn’t be a reunited US under the cause of freedom (or totalitarianism) - the end result would be a fractured, balkanized nation. While I do advocate for the right of secession, I’d prefer secession to be peaceful. Calexit woudln’t bother me but only if it were negotiated at the barganing table.

We don’t want another 1776, or another 1861, but if it must happen, we should be ready.

You Should Prepare, Regardless

Preparation is key. Obviously (since this is a firearms blog) a big part of this is arming yourself with quality firearms and plenty of ammunition. At the minimum one should have a rifle and a decent pistol. Remember that in a hypothetical low-intensity conflict, the right to keep and bear arms will most likely not be recognized by the government, especially on a local level, so getting parts and ammunition may be a chore. Buy it cheap and stock it deep. For your rifle, it should be an AR-pattern rifle in 5.56mm or an AK-pattern rifle in 7.62x39mm. Both platforms enjoy a huge universe of compatible parts, and ammo is very common from both civilian and government stockpiles. As for a pistol, I would stick to one of the major manufacturers’ offerings in 9mm. When the SHTF, it’s no time for Gucci guns - you want a commonly-used weapon that will work.

Once you get the guns - train. And train some more. Seek out instructors, go to the range, get nerdy about the practical applications of your firearms. Because if the balloon goes up, and it’s martial law time, it’s going to be hard to seek out instruction. One of the things totalitarian regimes love to do is not only ban the private ownership of firearms, but also restrict instruction on their effective use. The police and the military don’t want to have to square off against people who are more skilled than themselves.

On the same note, don’t assume the Left is willing to stick to their principles of supporting gun control. The Left is inconsistent, except in the fact that they will violate their own tenets if it means accomplishing their mission. Rules for thee and not for me, basically.

Already several groups on the Left have actively stated they are arming themselves. Now, the Second Amendment acknowledges the right of all people to keep and bear arms, so I actually don’t have a major issue with people I disagree with getting and purchasing firearms. If anything, it reinforces the need for the rest of us to train, and not assume that the enemy will prove to be incompetent. Even if so, it’s not terribly difficult to fill the air with lead, and get that lucky shot, which could be you. Picking up some protective gear, i.e. body armor would be advisable.

On a more practical level, your preparadness should involve similar techniques as if a natural disaster such as a hurricane were coming. Stock up on nonperishable food, water and water treatment kits, medical supplies, alternative means of electrical power, point-to-point communications, i.e. walkie-talkies and portable ham radios, and so on. As the conflict progresses, basic services will be disrupted either by negligence or by deliberate action. The authorities could choose to black out a neighborhood where “undesireables” live. Companies could take sides and disrupt communications services as a show of support. Saboteurs within could damage and disrupt things regardless of the service provider’s political alignment. Emergency medical and fire could refuse to deploy to an area for their own safety. In other words, in this situation, you are kind of on your own. Assume no help is coming.

Also have a bug-out plan. Wherever you live might just get too “hot” to handle. You may have to go somewhere else. Preferably before things get intolerable. Wherever you plan on going, the less people there, the better.

By default, these preparations and plans should remain a closely-held secret amongst yourself and those you care about. The military talks of operational security. These principles should be applied to your planning. None of it matters if the opposition can intercept you during the process. Identify critical pieces of your plan, figure out the threats, and apply appropriate countermeasures. Simply put, don’t talk about the specifics in public. Don’t post about your bug-out location in the woods on social media. Don’t encourage your kids to talk about how crates of MREs showed up at the house over the weekend. That sort of thing.

Along those lines, learn about encrypting your communications. Things like TOR and GPG are very useful tools. I’ve found geocaching can be an excellent practice exercise for basic fieldcraft.

Even if the balloon doesn’t go up and this hypothetical civil war never happens, these skills are always useful. Sometimes the shit hits the fan, just in your area. Plus, learning about that sort of thing is fun.

I’m Not Entirely Absolving The Right

It’s no secret I abhor the Left. I bag on them all the time. Rank authoritarianism, statism, and a wretched sense of entitlement - count me out. However, I can’t just let the Right off the hook entirely in this little thought exercise. Yes, I lean right, but I can see problems with my own “side”, if I had a side, really. When you want gay married couples to guard their cocaine factories with crew-served machine guns they bought with Bitcoin, you have a little trouble fitting into a political group. Rat-a-tat-tat.

Anyways, for my friends on the Right. Don’t play into the trap. The Left wants to goad the Right to strike first. They want a group of “patriots” to come out of the hills and wipe the floor with “peaceful” Antifa protestors. They want every threeper, ΜΟΛΩΝ ΛΑΒΕ, Gadsden Flag-waving trope to come roaring out of concealment, guns-a-blazing, mowing down people indiscriminately. They want the Right to shoot first. And then when it hits Youtube, social media, and MSNBC, it’ll be spun to look like a massacre perpetrated by “gun nuts”.

Even though certain schools of thought dictate that striking first will win you the war, in this case, a first-strike cannot be done by the Right. Any sort of action that the Right, and also people who love freedom and liberty as a whole, has to be purely defensive. On a practical level, it can work - yes there’s armed leftists out there, but the skills of fighting are heavily biased towards the Right.

Also, don’t go looking for a fight. “I wish a motherfucker would…” doesn’t work either. In a practical way, you still are the aggressor if you provoke the fight. In all honesty, let the enemy shoot first. Cover and conceal. Then shoot back.

Violence Is A Last Resort

Despite the doom and gloom of this post, I do believe we aren’t in imminent danger of a low-intensity conflict or “Civil War 2”. While the needle has moved in that direction over the past decade, we’re still well within the “soap box + ballot box” phase of fighting. We can speak out and support our causes of freedom and liberty. We can invite people in, show them a good time, and get the ball rolling. I have yet to see any first-time shooter leave a gun range with a frown. We can also vote, and vote like crazy. Some argue that voting is useless, and in some cases it is, but regardless, we should vote, and hold politicians personally accountable for their actions. While harassing them at dinner and in front of their homes is crass and unwarranted, we shouldn’t be afraid of visiting them at rallies and their offices. Dress nice, speak as if you received a decent education, and conduct yourself with decorum. Epic trolling is fun, but it doesn’t accomplish much really.

Violence, should always be defensive in nature and a last resort. Hit back, don’t hit first. Shoot back, don’t shoot first. If you have to hit back or shoot back, make it decisive. If the blows come your way, your response should be one of overwhelming brute force. You don’t want that guy circling back on you at a later date.

Liberty Demands Eternal Vigilance

There’ll never be a time where we can totally relax. We can claw our rights back bit by bit, but there will always be power-mad scolds and harridans looking to exercise their deranged fantasies of complete control. While we can manage to minimize the influence of the opposition, we can never make them go away entirely. We have to be vigilant, and seek to prevent a devolution into authortarian chaos and violence. A one-party state would be just that. I’d rather not, to paraphrase J KB, be lynched on my way to the polls just because I’m not a Democrat.

A lot of what I just spoke about comes from concepts I’ve researched and come up with on my own, but I always have outside inspirations. Here are some handy guides for further knowledge.

  • Basics Of Resistance - Book I Of The Practical Freedomista by Claire Wolfe - While the title may be misleading, i.e. “Resistance” is often synonmous with the Left today, Claire’s writings are far from it. She outlines the basics of practical monkeywrenching, operational security, and yes, armed resistance. Freedomista indeed.

  • Militant Normals: How Regular Americans Are Rebelling Against the Elite to Reclaim Our Democracy by Kurt Schlichter - Kurt’s a personal favorite of mine. In his latest book, he candidly explains the reasons why people voted for Donald Trump in 2016, despite the personal failings of this most controversial President. Even if you’re wishy-washy on the Donald, it’s well worth reading. I dare say left-leaning folk would be wise to do so.

  • The Home Gunsmith - Here, PA Luty explains how to make a gun at home from common materials. This information has been around for decades, and pre-dates the 3D printing controversy.

  • Code Is Free Speech - learn how to 3D print, it may come in handy.

  • Improvised Munitions Handbook - our very own government has provided a small handbook on asymmetric warfare, free of charge, for decades. While the phrasing might be dated, the concepts aren’t. I’m not responsible if you blow yourself up. You can get this in a million other places.

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