The situation in the middle east today with people rising up against autocratic regimes is moving quickly and I have been following this through a variety of sources. One that I have been watching is Al Jazerra English because their journalists seem to be in the middle of the action and I am looking for facts less than commentary or opinion (I can do that myself).
In parallel I found interesting an article of how Egyptian civilians should protest riot police. This guide came from the Atlantic and it is a 26 page article with how to dress, use spray paint on the vision slits of armored vehicles, and use a pot lid to shield yourself from billy clubs.
Throughout all of this it is obvious how dangerous it is to be an unarmed civilian that is trying to protest (peacefully or not) against armed riot police and government thugs that are armed with riot police tools (tear gas, shields & billy clubs) as well as deadly weapons (guns). Basically you are trading the lives of the protesters against the willingness of the government to kill you; if the government maintains its nerves, thousands can be beaten or die (see how the protests were extinguished in Iran, for example).
In parallel, Al Jazeera ran an opinion piece (which, to their credit, they said was the opinion of the writer and not necessarily theirs) called “Shoot first, ask questions never” which blames the NRA for gun violence in the United States and ends with the following paragraph:
The NRA’s 30+ years of extremism is probably best summed up by their current president Wayne LaPierre. Recently he remarked that “those with the guns make the rules”. Perhaps he mistakenly read a copy of the Robespierre’s Constitution, but in the one the Founding Fathers created for this country, their quaint view was that ballots and not bullets would accomplish that feat.
Of all the journalistic outlets that could understand the concept that “those with guns make the rules” you’d think that Al Jazeera would at least concede that point. The reason that the Arab people have to stand up to riot police unarmed is because guns and weaponry are illegal for the general populace so that the state and their actors (the riot police and the secret police) can act with impunity. The only time that things change in the Arab world is when those with BIGGER guns (the army) come and don’t support the riot police and secret police thugs; and then there is a change of power.