Whitey Bulger and the second amendment - credit, US Marshals, public domain

Whitey Bulger has been found murdered in his prison cell. Whitey Bulger was a deeply unedifying thug who has gone to meet his maker in a manner that is in many ways deeply satisfying – even if some decades later than some would prefer. However, that very murdered in his cell thing shows us the value of the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.

Yes, we’re aware that the original was more about the people being able to fight off the imposition of an unwanted government rather than the more granular self-defence against the private sector thugs which is one of the modern defences of it. And yet still, the one case showing the value of the system is still true.

An infamous Boston gangster whose wild life story was turned into films starring Johnny Depp and Jack Nicholson has been found dead in his prison cell, at the age of 89.

James “Whitey” Bulger was reported to have been murdered by an inmate with Mafia ties, according to The Boston Globe.

Police sources told TMZ, the gossip news site, that Bulger, who was bound to a wheelchair, was approached by three other inmates who wheeled him into a corner that could not be seen by surveillance cameras. They then reportedly beat Bulger unconscious with a lock hidden in a sock as a weapon, and attempted unsuccessfully to gouge his eyes out – a classic Mafia punishment for informants.

Consider what the case against the people bearing arms is. In part, at least, it’s that the State should have a monopoly upon violence. All will work better if it is only those who police society who have access to those efficient means of violence such as guns. We may or may not agree with this but we can at least see the logic. If, that is and only if, said State is efficient at using that monopoly of violence to ensure that it actually is a monopoly.

If they’re inefficient, meaning that some can now use violence against a now defenceless portion of the population, then the logic is a great deal less strong, isn’t it?

And here we have Whitey. Yes, a foul felon, no doubt about it. He’s 89, in a wheelchair, entirely dependent upon the State to defend him. He’s actually in an entirely controlled environment, a prison. There are at least tens, if not hundreds, of agents of the state around him. They are armed with considerable power – perhaps not tanks but certainly up to and including pump action shotguns. And what happens? He’s wheeled around the corner and beaten to death.

That efficiency with which the State manages its “monopoly” of violence isn’t all that great, is it? Even in controlled conditions they’re not all that good at it – prison being known as one of the most violent places in the country in fact. Certainly, the incidence of rape, that classic crime of violence, there is higher than out in liberty. There are actually calculations insisting that the number of rapes within the smaller prison population is greater than the number outside in the very much larger general population, to the point that more men than women get raped in the US each year.

No, snigger, this is not to argue that the imprisoned should retain their Second Amendment rights. But it is to insist that given the inability of the State to enforce the no murder right within such a controlled space we’d be less than sensible to insist upon granting them that monopoly over us all, everywhere.

If the government can’t, or won’t, defend someone where government has all the guns then why would we trust them out here?

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