The Virginia flashpoint: a clear and present danger?

I’m getting more and more concerned about the buildup of partisan anger and determination on both sides of the political aisle over the situation in Virginia.  As you probably know, the Democratic Party took the governorship and both houses of the State assembly in last year’s elections.  They take office on January 20th.  They’ve already promised a raft of politically correct legislation, including gun registration and/or confiscation, overturning local zoning regulations, and others.  Don Surber offers an acerbic overview of them.

It’s noteworthy that the Democratic majority came from just a few counties in Virginia, most of them dominated by workers from Washington D.C. who live in them.  The rest of the state did not vote Democrat.  Native Virginia voters were outnumbered by bureaucratic immigrants – and the former resent it deeply.

As a result of the hurricane of leftist legislation proposed by incoming Democrats, over 90% of Virginia’s counties have now declared themselves ‘Second Amendment sanctuaries’, and refused to enforce new gun registration and/or confiscation measures if they are passed.  In response, prospective members of the incoming administration have uttered threats to use the National Guard to forcibly confiscate weapons, bypassing and/or overriding local law enforcement agencies and officials.  I’ve noticed a lot of comment on left-wing and progressive Web sites urging the new administration to do precisely that, and more, to “show the gun nuts who’s boss” (as one individual put it).

On the other hand, activists on the right wing are either predicting civil war, or urging people to prepare for it, or in other ways increasing the temperature and pressure.  Three examples:

Based on my experience of civil conflict and civil war in several parts of Africa, I’d say the third of those articles, by former SEAL Matt Bracken, is the most plausible scenario (although I hope and pray it’s not a likely scenario).

The thing is, most of those writing and pontificating about this have no idea what a civil war looks like.  I’ve seen four during my lifetime:  South Africa (civil unrest dragging on for years, and undoubtedly classifiable as civil war in certain areas at certain times), LiberiaRwanda and Zimbabwe (the latter both before and after white rule).  The chaos, bloodshed and anarchy left in the wake of the violence was simply mind-boggling, literally not believable to almost everyone who was not there to experience it for themselves.  I dread the possibility of that coming to these United States.

For those who argue that it didn’t get that bad during the last Civil War here, and wouldn’t do so today, I can only say:  look at America’s inner cities.  Many of them are now dysfunctional, crime-ridden, gang-infested ghettoes.  What makes you think they wouldn’t break out and try to take over other areas, or at least loot them, using the distraction of civil conflict for cover?  What makes you think that in an environment where cities can’t get the power, food and water they need to survive, the millions upon millions of people who now live in them (a far greater proportion of the US population than during the first Civil War) won’t turn on each other to take what they need by force?

That’s why I’m cynically amused by urban “preppers” who say they’ll hunker down in their houses and defend their stash of food, guns and ammo against all comers.  I have news for them.  Sooner or later, “all comers” will grind them down.  I’ve seen it at first hand.  (Also, see Selco’s memoir of civil war in Sarajevo.  I’m here to tell you, the man’s got it right, and speaks from experience.  I can hear the ring of truth in his words, because I’ve BTDT elsewhere.)

It worries me more than words can say that we’ve got people not merely casually tossing around the idea of civil war, but actively trying to foment it, on both sides of the political aisle.  We need to take a collective deep breath and back away from the brink.  This can too easily develop into a flashpoint that will take an awful lot more to stop than it will to start something.

None of us will be immune from being caught up in it.  It won’t be possible for most of us to “sit this one out” when our neighbors are actively hunting for enemies, real or imagined.  “If you’re not for us, you’re against us!” will be the mantra.  Again, I’ve seen that before . . . and I’ve seen the dead bodies of those who wanted only to live in peace, but who were not allowed to do so by those around them.  God forbid that should come to our shores again!  One “Bleeding Kansas” was more than enough.  We don’t need it in the other 49 states as well!

“But”, I hear some readers ask, “what happens if one or the other side won’t take a deep breath and back off?”  In that case, dear readers, we’re neck-deep in the dwang, and sinking fast.  There does come a time when there’s no other option but to take a stand.  I just hope and pray we can avoid that, if at all possible, to allow men and women of goodwill on both sides to work out a mutually acceptable way forward.

Can that happen?  Will that happen?  Your guess is as good as mine.



  1. to allow men and women of goodwill on both sides

    You say this as if you believe it’s true.

    I would aver that the activists on the Left are not men and women of goodwill.
    They are tyrants and fascists and would destroy our great country and institutions.

    There must come a time, when faced with an opposing oppressive force, the quote Captain John Parker:

    “Stand your ground. Do not fire unless you are fired upon, but if they mean war, let it begin here,” he encouraged his men.

    Is it time yet? I can’t say. But how long can you yield before you are out of options?

  2. but actively trying to foment it

    And we’ve got an awful lot more people on all sides unintentionally fomenting it via extreme rhetoric.

  3. lpdbw sez:

    “I would aver that the activists on the Left are not men and women of goodwill.
    They are tyrants and fascists and would destroy our great country and institutions.”

    Absolute truth. They are the enemy in our midst and will never change.


  4. Peter,

    I wholeheartedly agree with you regarding the horror of a civil war, and that we should strive for legitimate means to avoid it. We should not cheer-lead the premise.

    With that qualifier, and in context of the above opinions, do you genuinely think that those who desire to remove a foundational civil right, and express the willingness to use whatever force is required, are capable of something called “good faith”?

    I know that you hearken from a different culture and have in turn, embraced this one. The United States, strongly influenced by reformational protestant thinking, embraced civil rights as God-given and pre-existing any government writ or license. They understood “That to secure (protect) these rights, Governments are instituted among Men”; government is charged with the duty of protecting the rights of the citizen. Notice among the enumerated rights in the Bill of Rights that not one of them places any restriction upon citizens: “In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”(Thomas Jefferson)

    There is a major problem with your argument, and I think you advanced it in good faith. We hold these above truths to be self-evident. The parties on the other side do not.

    When one side of the argument is held by people who proclaim that mathematics is racist, and that a person’s sex (what they term gender) is interchangeable upon whimsy, it is analogous to arguing with someone asserting that 2+2 equals 9.

    Good faith cannot close that gap.

  5. I dread a civil war and pray that it never comes to pass.

    That last article you cited does make me wonder if it would be helpful to educate the Virginia elite on previous attempts to conquer mountainous terrain populated by armed and competent people? I’m reminded of Kipling’s “Arithmetic on the Frontier.”

  6. ‘t ain’t rhetoric, it’s observation.

    We’re far beyond “good faith” negotiation and compromise.

    We’re going over the falls on this one.
    No one sane wants it, but Life and the Universe don’t care what people want.

    When one side decides that their wishes overrule election results, in either direction, government is over.

    The Leftards have been doing this for three years on a national scale, but when VA pulls it in reverse at the state level for three minutes, everyone loses their minds.

    This ends in mountains of skulls and rivers of blood, because one side decided the former rules don’t apply to them, and the won’t let anyone else operate under their new rules either.

    The only cure for that is fire and sword, and devil take the hindmost.

    We shouldn’t start this, but we damned sure ought to end it once it’s begun, and in a way that will do the most to guarantee it never happens again, for centuries, at minimum.

    If getting to that means halving the population, so be it.

    “It is well that war is so terrible, otherwise we should grow too fond of it.” – Robert E. Lee

  7. What makes you think that in an environment where cities can’t get the power, food and water they need to survive, the millions upon millions of people who now live in them (a far greater proportion of the US population than during the first Civil War) won’t turn on each other to take what they need by force?

    I’ve been saying for years that those city residents will be eating each other in 3 days.

    All the rest of us have going for us is that most of them, in the biggest cities, don’t have cars. They’ll be bound to their cities.

  8. At the risk of sounding clairvoyant, I think that Matt is on the money with this one.

    I don’t know how many old, retired SEAL operators and SF types are planning to stand with the militia, but I’ll bet there are several thousand, and they’ll bring their own kit. Everyone is waiting to see how it goes.

    How many socks of C-4 do you think that it will take to take down bridges and overpasses and isolate Richmond? Not that many.

  9. Haven’t there been a couple of local insurrections before in US history caused by corrupt or malevolent local government? Didn’t the US government step in and smack the local government?

  10. Take a look at the race riots of the 1960s and earlier, then add more casualties. Everyone is watching Virginia, because if it happens there, it could happen in your own back yard.

    Anyone who actually believes that this situation would never turn violent should check their recent history – hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, LA. Police and their military supporters did do a house to house search and confiscate exercise. Unless they encountered resistance.

    Those people who actually believe that no one wants violence haven’t checked the Lunatic Left recently. The Left wants this to be a civil war, because the Left believes that the Left will win a decisive victory.

  11. The best chance for peace, is the Leftists understanding that we really do mean it when we say “disarming the populace is an act of war”.
    As far as I’m aware, even the fire-eaters on the Right only want to be left alone.
    To be treated as citizens of a republic, with their God-given rights respected.

  12. we see what’s coming next if they get our guns, unlike the jews in Germany or others before us. if we lay down our arms, we may as well hop in the boxcars ourselves. we are simply out of options. if va. falls, so too does kentucky, north Carolina, then Tennessee, Missouri, et al. we will be effectively cut in half, and done. at that point civil war will have zero chance of success, though many will fight anyway. i’m praying our stand will give pause to those that intend on enslaving and murdering us. if not, well life won’t be worth living anyway. sic semper tyrannis.

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