I was talking to a conservative friend who is a retired U.S. Army colonel and combat veteran.

We were chatting about the second amendment and he, an avid gun collector and shooter, offered the opinion that there is no way that guns in the hands of even skilled individual sharpshooters or militias could stand up to (heavens forbid!) a tyrannical government takeover or coup d’etat in the U.S. A. He believes that the modern U.S. military has such an overwhelming advantage in intelligence capabilities and force that any militia would be defeated quickly and individuals would be hopelessly outgunned by the military. There would be no place to hide for these defenders of our liberty.

Well, I fervently hope that we never have a successful coup d’etat or government takeover by tyrants in this country and never have an opportunity to test his belief. But because I am not a military expert, I’m going to take his word for it that non-military weapons in the hands of citizens would not be an adequate defense against tyranny.

Fortunately, while guns might not save us, maybe civic literacy could. The phrase “forewarned is forearmed” might be so often repeated that it has become a cliché but it is also just might be true in this context.

If we understand our government and constitution and follow current events, we might/should be forewarned about impending and serious threats to our liberty in time so we can do something about defending our liberties and our democracy before it is too late.

In other words, if we have enough civic literacy to understand the threat in time, we might/should also have enough knowledge about our government to know where, when and to whom to sound the alarm and cite our evidence for doing so. That’s the kind of weapon and ammunition I like to keep handy.

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