The Federal Reserve was attacked this past weekend and information was stolen by the hacker super group Anonymous. This is monumental in a period where we sit frightfully on the edge of our seats fearing that the greatest threat to our freedom is held within the “right to bear arms.” One of the primary conservative arguments concerning gun ownership according to their own interpretation of the Constitution is for the purpose of the people’s protection from a tyrannical government. Another interpretation of the 2nd amendment and the wording “bear arms” is that it refers directly to the right to state militia, rather than the literal right to own guns. The patriots of 1776 may have required muskets and swords to find their freedom, but in this modern era revolution is being brought to us with silicon rather than steel. Anonymous is proving that freedom does not have to be purchased with firepower, and that tyranny can be combated without firing a single shot.
In case you haven’t been following the career of the world’s most famous hacktivist (hacker/activist) group Anonymous, let me catch you up. Their online revolutionary influence is second only perhaps to Wikileaks, and they are causing many on Capitol Hill just as much worry. Anonymous is made up of a collection of hacktivists that use their networking knowledge and anonymity in a “Robin Hood” like fashion to take down bullies, crooks, and criminals at all levels. One of their most popular methods is through denial of service attacks (a means of flooding site traffic to take down a site temporarily), but this is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to their online guerrilla tactics. They look to Guy Fawkes as their icon, specifically in regard to Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta graphic novel and later film. This inspiration sets their sense of style and style of execution of their own internally selected operations referred to as “Ops.” The concept within V for Vendetta rings true with Anonymous, that you can try to stop one of them, but you cannot stop them all. This ideology and structure has led to its own sorts of internal struggles for Anonymous at times, but serves as an effort to avoid one figurehead holding the power. Anonymous is a hive, not a person. A hive with one face, the face of Guy Fawkes, and many hands.
To give you a brief history of Anonymous’ own exploits, here are just a few of their past hacktivist operations: Anonymous merged with the Occupy movement of 2011-12 and protested in person dressed in their iconic Guy Fawkes masks that became a symbol of the occupy movement at large. “Operation Darknet” was launched in October of 2011 to take down internet child pornographers. The group has had a long-standing feud with the church of Scientology, and has been perhaps the only entity able to put fear into the Westboro Baptist church, recently causing them to cancel a protest. They attacked the Ugandan government for their anti-homosexuality bill. Anonymous has successfully infiltrated the Pentagon, News Corp, Facebook, The United States Sentencing Commission, PayPal, and GoDaddy as well as countless other state and federal organizations in response to a multitude of issues. They even had a big hand in online efforts related to the “Arab Spring” movement and many other such efforts around the globe in recent years.
Many have labeled Anonymous as a domestic terrorist organization. Law enforcement and government agencies have voiced fear of retaliation from Anonymous in any attempt to confront them or counter the Wikileaks movement. Regardless of the question of legality, one cannot ignore the positive influences that have resulted from Anonymous’ own watchful eye both on the public and private sectors alike.
In regards to the debate over the protections afforded to us by the 2nd amendment, one very strong truth needs told; no government is ever going to fear its populace having a few guns. Weapons have never sustained a revolution, words have. What many world governments do currently fear is the power of the internet and the activists on it. Just ask China. It is a power that they can neither keep up with nor fully understand. The power behind Anonymous lies within the name; they cannot be destroyed because they cannot be fully unmasked, their identities largely digital. Taking down one of them results in attacks from the others and sends out a recruiting rally cry across the internet attracting new members. In the event of tyrannical government takeover, guns would really accomplish relatively little, but a massive internet army capable of shutting down websites, hacking account information, and slowing commerce to a halt is something to give any administration pause. If you really want protection from your would-be oppressors, buy a laptop, not a rifle. The government would feel the effect of a populace just refusing to pay taxes much faster than armed resistance. In the modern era, violence is simply an ineffective means to an end when an identity can be wiped clean from the internet with a keystroke.
Conservatives and Liberals alike should acknowledge that the American revolution is not something to fear arriving in the future. In some ways it’s already here, and the front lines are drawn in headlines and online. Information is the most lethal ammunition in existence on the planet. Nothing has shown this to be true more than the efforts of Wikileaks in the past several years. Knowledge and technology have mashed together to form a boulder that is thundering down political hills.
So while you may think keeping a handgun in the house will protect you from the government, there is a fourteen year old next door helping to take down a foreign regime on a Dell. Love them or hate them, Anonymous is proving that hacktivism is doing much more damage to powerful agendas than a firearm ever will. In the age of the internet, needing guns to protect yourself from tyranny is an antiquated idea and technologically invalidated argument. Our new world militia carries computer and caffeine rather than musket and bayonet.
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