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Civilian disarmament & tyranny — A historic tale of three cities by Miguel A. Faria, MD

Depending on the level of culture and social progress, violence can take different forms in different societies. In the mid‑twentieth century, Stalin’s brutal communist government killed more Soviet citizens through privation, forced labor, and famine than soldiers fighting the Germans in World War II.

In 1994, the Hutu‑led Rwandan government massacred between 800,000 and over one million people, mostly Tutsis, in a genocide carried out largely with machete‑wielding (not guns) government forces. The massacres took place despite the presence of UN “peace‑keeping” forces, armed with automatic weapons who failed to intervene. The Tutsis were unarmed and helpless.

Civilian disarmament has always preceded genocide in authoritarian states. The political formula for accomplishing this goal is and remains: Media indoctrination against firearms, followed by gun licensing and registration, then banning, confiscation, and finally total civilian disarmament. This is what could happen if the Democrats — with many presidential and senatorial candidates openly embracing socialism and gun control — win the elections in 2020. But what can we learn from history?

Dateline: Warsaw, Poland, 1943

In the Spring of 1943, the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto, having become aware the Nazis were deporting the remaining Jews to the gas chambers of Treblinka, took up arms, whatever they could find, and rebelled against the German occupiers. These determined insurgents had only homemade Molotov cocktails and a handful of small arms, revolvers, pistols, and a few military or hunting rifles. It took vastly superior Nazi forces to subdue the rebels, and the Germans suffered up to 300 casualties in pacifying the city.

There were several other armed struggles and Ghetto uprisings, and the Poles and Warsaw remained a serious problem for the Germans during the remainder of the war. The Polish Jews continued to procure whatever arms they could find to defend themselves in their struggle, repeatedly disrupting the timetable of the Nazi high command and the German war effort.

The last major Polish uprising in August 1944 was to be launched in concert with the liberating Soviet Red Army. But the advancing Red juggernaut suddenly and inexplicably halted. Advised by General Georgi Zhukov, Stalin rejected the appeals of the Western allies to assist the insurgents. For two months the courageous Poles fought the Nazis in heroic, urban warfare without any assistance. Stalin had simply halted the advance of the giant Red Army to allow the Germans to destroy the non-communist freedom fighters: 200,000 Poles perished and 800,000 were deported to the death camps. Warsaw was erased by orders of Adolf Hitler, and the Soviets at the outskirts of the city did nothing.

Dateline: Budapest, Hungary, 1944

During the summer of 1944 in the ongoing carnage of World War II, German troops were retreating on multiple fronts. Hungarian allied troops were defending the motherland from the onslaught of the Soviet Red Army, yet in the midst of the chaos, nearly 500,000 Hungarian Jews were rounded up and deported to the Nazi death camp Auschwitz–Birkenau, where 90% of them were summarily exterminated in the gas chambers. A reign of terror ensued for those who remained in Hungary; thousands of them were tortured, robbed, or murdered; Jewish women were raped; property was looted or confiscated. These atrocities were carried out with a minimum of Nazi troops. How could these atrocities have been carried out with only a minimum of Nazi troops? The Hungarian state had outlawed the possession of firearms for its citizens. Simply put, this happened without resistance because the Hungarian people had been disarmed.

Dateline: Havana, Cuba, 1959

After the triumph of the revolution in 1959, Fidel Castro reneged on his promise to establish democracy in Cuba. Instead he seized authoritarian control. A 100,000-member “militia” was organized to seek out the political opposition and actively disarm it. Castro then disarmed all the Cubans, who were not considered reliable supporters of the revolution that soon turned communist.

The communists and the secret police (the G2)  had a well-drawn blueprint to follow — the local firearm registration lists that the former dictator, Fulgencio Batista, had established. All the communist militia had to do was to seize the registration (licensing) lists and then go door to door searching for and confiscating firearms. The militia tried to disarm my father, a physician, and the episode is recounted in my book Cuba in Revolution: Escape from a Lost Paradise (2002).

Since Fidel Castro took over the island in 1959, the best figures we can glean are that between 30,000 and 40,000 Cubans were either executed by firing squads or died at the hands of their communist jailers. Between 1960-1965, hundreds of anti-communist rebels, many of them former Revolutionary Directorate (RD) members, went back to the hills of the Escambray Mountains in my native Las Villas province to fight the new communist dictatorship of the Castro brothers. The mostly peasant insurgents, who were defending their lands, lacked sufficient weapons to overcome the well-armed, communist Cuban military forces. Thus, most of these peasant insurgents were annihilated by 1966.

Moreover, between 1960 and 1993, 36,000 Cubans perished at sea trying to escape the Castro brothers’ communist inferno. If we include all of those who died escaping the regime, those who were shot or died in custody, the figure well exceeds 100,000. In fact, the late scholar Armando Lago arrived at a death toll of over 105,000 victims directly attributed to the regime of Fidel Castro.

In conclusion

Civilian disarmament is not only harmful to one’s freedom and potentially deadly to one’s existence, but also counterproductive in achieving safety. During the twentieth century, more than 100 million people were exterminated by their own repressive governments — police states bent on destroying liberty and building communism, socialism, collectivism, and other utopias that turn out to be hells on earth. Some of the deceptive promises made to the people by the authoritarian governments of these “people’s democracies” were eerily similar to the promises the Democrats are making to American voters: Free (higher) education, making the rich pay, free health care ( “Medicare for all”), gun control, etc. 

Governments that trust their citizens with guns are governments that sustain and affirm individual freedom. Governments that do not trust their citizens with firearms tend to be despotic and tyrannical. We Americans should heed history and keep our guns.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, M.D., is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). This article is excerpted and edited from his newly release book, America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019)

This article may be cited as: Faria MA. Civilian disarmament & tyranny — A historic tale of three cities., October 16, 2019. Available from:

This commentary also appeared on on October 14, 2019, and on TTAG and  DRGO on November 14, 2019

Copyright ©2019 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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2 thoughts on “Civilian disarmament & tyranny — A historic tale of three cities by Miguel A. Faria, MD”

  1. I’m not sure if another Veteran has chimed in, so I’m going to answer it from my point of view. Others may disagree, and I won’t even go into the idea that there would be mass defections. This is how the US Civilian population wins a war against the US military.

    The Military itself is a might giant, but it’s based solely on the idea that it will be fighting a small demographic, one that is comparable size to itself, maybe a few times larger, or a few times smaller. For example, the Vietnamese outnumbered our troops 5:1 and they lost a total of some 900,000 soldiers. That war is still considered a loss on our part. Maybe we pulled out too early, maybe we didn’t.

    The US Army is considered our occupational force, it’s spearheaded by the US Marines who act as shock troops clearing a path. These two combined forces make up a solid 800,000 men and women. But then we have to take some real numbers into effect. The Army itself consists of about 80,000 Infantry troops give or take. The rest are BARELY trained in Infantry tactics, they know how to shoot a gun, but they don’t know how to clear a room. They know how to shoot a target from 300yds, they don’t know how to launch a TOW missile. The army doesn’t waste resources training every single member to be war fighters, it’s a common misconception. The Marine Corps however, does. That’s 200,000 Marines that are at least moderately trained and infantry role ready. But only 30,000 of the Marines are actually Infantry. So together, you have a total of 110,000 Infantry trained Marines and Soldiers that are capable of employing advanced tactics with a 170,000 Marines capable of filling in.

    You’re looking at an Infantry force of 280,000 Men and Women that are true boots on the ground war fighters. Now we throw in Air to ground capabilities. This is expensive, and risky. You don’t want to blow up the wrong targets and turn more of the population against you, let alone blowing up your own resources. So that would be used sparingly. VERY Sparingly. Artillery falls into the category as well. Also, landing a shot on the tail rotor of a helicopter (not exceptionally hard to do with a 30–06 or .308 from 1000yds) would destroy the whirly bird (put it into an unrecoverable spin). Now granted you’re not going to take down an F-18 like that, but it’s not hard to imagine bringing down an Apache or Blackhawk.

    Now on to Tanks and Armored Vehicles. Believe it or not these are pretty easy to bring down. The Tank is only dangerous when it can see you. And it has a ton of blind spots. Forget the Hollywood scenes of Infantrymen riding on the outside of a tank (that would literally make it impossible to fire the main cannon because you’d blow the eardrums of the outside crew) a homemade pipe bomb of decent size would blow the tracks off, making your tank obsolete. If Iraqi’s with 3rd grade educations can figure out how to make those I promise you the American civilian population can as well.

    Now we get on to leadership. Alot of people that ask this question tend to forget just how many Veterans exist in the United states, from e-2 to O-9, without a doubt these Men and Women would be the first line of leadership in any Civilian Militia Outfit, the ones that know the US Military’s tactics, and how to fight like them and against them. So you can bet that if this were to go down you’d have Veterans putting together groups consisting of Veterans, and of Civilians we can train up to speed to fight effectively. We would employ the same tactics the Iraqi’s and Afghanis employed against us, using roadside bombs and ambush tactics to delay, destroy, or commandeer convoys. These convoys could contain anything, from food, to tanks (these get transported where they’re needed, they don’t just drive them from base to base, to fuel intensive, easier to load them on to a flat bed semi-truck and drive that way with an escort)

    The only possible way the government comes out ahead is to use Nuclear Weapons to scare the population back into submission. And even that’s an iffy outcome. Now, on to the reality of the situation. Whoever the President is at the time these orders are given, would have to live in a bunker for the rest of his presidency, because Washington DC would be the end game of any resistance. Take the city, execute the government and the war ends. Ryan Stephens, 4 Years Active Duty USMC, 3 combat tours—Quora, 2017.
    I’m reminded very much of a survey that was reported to have been distributed among the Marines at Twenty-Nine Palms back around 1993 asking if they’d obey if given orders to go door-to-door in the USA and confiscate privately owned firearms. Back then only about 10% said that they would, that it would be unConstitutional and that they’d disobey such orders. You sir, strike me as one of those 10%.— Chris Meissen, FB

    The Marines that would go along and fight, backing the confiscation were over 27%, not 10%. The survey was part of the Col’s academic paper on ~”unit cohesion.” Here is the 29 Palms Survey. Courtesy of Scott Stillwell, August 29, 2021.

  2. The 27% answer was given in that link. It is to the question regarding assignment to wage war against US citizens. Col Cunningham says: “The survey results: 42.3 percent strongly disagreed with this statement; 19.3 percent disagreed; 18.6 percent agreed; 7.6 percent strongly agreed; and 12.0 percent had no opinion. In one of the footnotes appearing in his thesis, Cunningham quotes comments placed by some of the Marines next to their answers to this question: “What about the damn Second Amendment? ”
    That’s 26.2% that would not have a problem with waging war on US citizens. I believe some of the 12% with no opinion would easily provide another 0.8%. The number is ~30%, which is what I consistently find in populations that are reliably willing to subjugate people to absolute authoritarian rule. It seems to be a genetically predisposed social attitude.

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