What Would Michael Collins Do? by Bill Buppert

“We have a weapon more powerful… than any in the whole arsenal of the British Empire! That weapon… is our refusal!” 

– Michael Collins

The police in America have proven once again that they are above the law and have a license to kill as the charred remains of Christopher Dorner were cooling in the cabin in California.  The more thuggish aspects of the constabulary were on the mainstream news despite the twisted and sycophantic relationship of the press in lionizing tyranny everyday in the hero worship of the thin political black and blue line.

The readers who have read my essays over the years are aware of the case I have made for why cops are the primary danger to all individual freedom and liberty in any tax jurisdiction on Earth. No political bad actor in any account of human history could deprive anyone of liberty or enforce tyranny absent a police force.   The vicious and nonsensical drug war has so retarded human progress with the caging and maiming and killing of hundreds of thousands of Americans and permeated the entire American society with laws piled on laws to do everything from making every financial transaction transparent to the rulers for “money laundering” to the creation of a legal system whose only sense of justice is in name only, I am surprised America even continues to chug along..

Two important questions have surfaced after the Dorner tragedy; first, have the police in California stepped over a Rubicon with the summary execution of Dorner in broad daylight?

The increasing militarization of police and the literal criminalization of everything has seen the rise of the fabled and dreaded Orwellian state where no one is safe and if one pays close attention to what just happened in the mountains of California, you discover that all judicial processes and civil rights niceties were overlooked and the police immediately murdered Dorner by burning him alive.  They were even so brazen as to casually issue the orders to fire the cabin most likely under the guise of officer safety, the curious mantra that gives the police their license to kill and get away with it.  The officer safety conceit releases them from all responsibility that saddles the averages citizen in self-defense thus the hundreds of thousands of videos on the internet and written and oral testimonials of victims of this officer safety madness.  Will Grigg, the most able chronicler of police misbehavior in America, has already made the rock solid case of just how risk-free and safe is the occupation of the praetorians in America.

Dorner was hunted in the fashion he was because he was not one of the 98 percent of bad cops that give the two percent a bad name.  The media is between a rock and a hard place because if Dorner were a “right-wing” man who did not belong to an Federally accredited victim group whose opinions of gun possession were quite the opposite of his manifesto, he would be the poster child of why the police are not only right but should immediately move to phase two of seizure and confiscation of all cosmetically offensive weapons in individual citizen’s hands who are not wearing a statist costume of one stripe or another. But Dorner is Diane Feinstein in male drag with the usual government supremecist superstitions that so pollute the minds of our rulers and their sycophantic media.  The notable exception is that the Senator would not deign to handle weapons herself (except the pistol she has a permit for) and leaves those to her peons in her security detail.

Quite clearly, the police across America will be further emboldened to continue the kind of murder spree which just happened in California.  Indiscriminately shooting up vehicles with occupants who bear no resemblance to their “suspect”, roughing up citizens at their leisure and, of course, employing the very weapons most wish to strip the Mundanes of.  We are fortunate in America that in case after case, the absurdly poor quality marksmanship and weapons handling of the cops in the nineteen thousand law enforcement departments of America has saved lives but more tragically led to the lead poisoning of many innocent bystanders who then sue the cops and the taxpayers who are occupied by the police are forced to cough up millions to pay for the armed thuggery and malpractice.   

The second and greater question that I hope becomes a meme in the American future:  what would Michael Collins do?

What the LAPD and more importantly, the Federal government have not taken a measure of is the unintended consequences of unleashing the million plus statist goons in blue not only in the zealous attempted murder spree on view in California but combined with the looming threats of disarmament of the populace may be an uncorking of a genie the government will regret letting loose.

In California, one man made the law enforcers fill their pants, cower in their homes with protective details surrounding them and led to the aforementioned (comedic if not tragic) Kalifornia Keystone Kops antics where seven detectives let loose a fusillade of rounds into a newspaper delivery truck not even matching the description of Dorner’s vehicle and hit the two Hispanic women with two rounds and perforate the truck.  Fortunately, the legendary and widespread abysmal weapons proficiency of the thin black and blue line saved their lives.

Michael Collins faced a similar foe in Ireland at the turn of the twentieth century as England was closing on the eight hundredth anniversary of their occupation of Ireland.  Collins adduced correctly that the locus and focus of all alien governance in Ireland was the law enforcement arm of the English state augmented by British military forces.

Michael Collins was what one could suppose is any government most dangerous adversary.  He was a practical visionary.  Not only did he envision a free Ireland, he had a concrete plan to get there.  Like Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry before him and Giap after him, he blended a unique talent for the political chess game and calculus of violence that would enable the resisters to overwhelm the will and outmatch the ferocity of the British occupiers.  While a contemporary of T. E. Lawrence, they did not know each other but crafted an eerily similar game-plan to defeat their foes.  Collins knew that the “golden hour” for independence and all the planets aligning for the political tectonic shift were on the horizon and he simply had to arrange the events and orchestrate the players.  Those six years between 1916 and 1922 would prove to be the precise moment when the Irish could loose the English fetters that had harnessed their nation for nearly 800 years.

Who was Michael Collins?

Collins worked as a clerk in London from 1906 until he returned to Ireland in 1916. He fought in the Easter Rising, was arrested and held in detention at Frongoch, Merioneth, but was released in December 1916. In December 1918 he was one of 27 out of 73 elected Sinn Féin members (most of whom were in jail) present when Dáil ireann (Irish Assembly) convened in Dublin and declared for the republic. Their elected president,Eamon de Valera, and vice president, Arthur Griffith, were both in prison. Hence, much responsibility fell on Collins, who became first the Dáil’s minister of home affairs and, after arranging for de Valera’s escape from Lincoln jail (February 1919), minister of finance. It was as director of intelligence of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), however, that he became famous. As chief planner and coordinator of the revolutionary movement, Collins organized numerous attacks on police and the assassination in November 1920 of many of Britain’s leading intelligence agents in Ireland. He headed the list of men wanted by the British, who placed a price of 10,000 on his head.

After the truce of July 1921, Griffith and Collins were sent to London by de Valera as the principal negotiators for peace (October–December 1921). The treaty of Dec. 6, 1921, was signed by Collins in the belief that it was the best that could be obtained for Ireland at the time and in the full awareness that he might be signing his own death warrant. It gave Ireland dominion status, but its provision for an oath of allegiance to the British crown was unacceptable to de Valera and other republican leaders. Collins’s persuasiveness helped win acceptance for the treaty by a small majority in the Dáil, and a provisional government was formed under his chairmanship, but effective administration was obstructed by the mutinous activities of the anti-treaty republicans. Collins refrained from taking action against his former comrades until IRA insurgents seized the Four Courts in Dublin and civil war became inevitable. William Thomas Cosgrave replaced Collins as chairman when the latter assumed command of the army in mid-July 1922 in order to crush the insurgency. About five weeks later, while on a tour of military inspection, Collins was shot to death by anti-treaty IRA.

Collins was the right man at the right time in the right historical place.  Absent his strategic & operational brilliance, tenacity and charisma, Irish independence may not have happened.  In the larger schema of history, this became yet another chapter in the long succession of nation creation and destruction that has marched through Western history from it Hellenic roots in ancient Greece.  Not only was Collins seceding from a larger tax jurisdiction but he was creating a wholly independent tax jurisdiction that would go on to become an odd amalgam of capitalism and socialism that would completely collapse economically at the beginning of the 21st century.

Key aspects of his campaign were the careful grooming of auxiliary organizations in the mass base of the greater population, a consistent and wholesale campaign to legitimize Irish independence in the minds of the Irish and his charismatic leadership.

He also employed a savage violence that led to the events of 21 November, 1920 when he effectively killed and destroyed the essential elements and personnel of the UK intelligence organs in Ireland proper. T. Ryle Dwyer, author of The Squad and the Intelligence Operations of Michael Collins quotes Collins:

“My one intention was the destruction of the undesirables who continued to make miserable the lives of ordinary decent citizens. I have proof enough to assure myself of the atrocities which this gang of spies and informers have committed. If I had a second motive it was no more than a feeling such as I would have for a dangerous reptile. By their destruction the very air is made sweeter. For myself, my conscience is clear. There is no crime in detecting in wartime the spy and the informer. They have destroyed without trial. I have paid them back in their own coin.”

Most historians agree this crippled British intelligence operations (in this case, the Cairo Gang) from this point onward and made the withdrawal of British interests inevitable.  Absent the sophisticated network of spies and informants, the war would be fought blind.  More atrocities in response to this were visited on the Irish by constabulary and military forces and this merely stiffened the spine of the major and minor elements of the Irish resistance.  That same day, British forces fired on spectators at an Irish football match which left seven dead and dozens wounded.

David Leeson in “Death in the Afternoon: The Croke Park Massacre, 21 November 1920” describes part of the aftermath.

“Two military courts of inquiry into the massacre were held, and one found that “the fire of the RIC was carried out without orders and exceeded the demands of the situation.” Major-General Boyd, the officer commanding Dublin District, added that in his opinion, “the firing on the crowd was carried out without orders, was indiscriminate, and unjustifiable, with the exception of any shooting which took place inside the enclosure.” The findings of these courts of inquiry were suppressed by the British Government, and only came to light in 2000.”

The Cairo Gang was responsible for surveilling and torturing a number of innocents and genuine guerrillas and Collins know that making them dead would send a message.  It did.  Fighting would intensify and British response and overreach to the incident would lead to the withdrawal of all British forces in a little over two years.  One can debate the morality and efficacy of assassinating constabulary and military forces but the Irish justified their actions in much the same way one would put down a rabid dog.  There are instances where defensive violence is the answer.  Kirby Ferris provides an interesting perspective on this question:

“Perhaps the world isn’t the way we wish it would be. We all might wish that evil men could be persuaded from their vile behavior with bleeding heart entreaties, a kiss on the cheek, or proper toilet training. But it ain’t that way, folks, Pacifism is a sickness, an actual moral perversity, and dangerous when its effects spread to anyone else beside the pacifist. You may choose to walk to the cattle car, but damn you if you let your children be led up the ramp. You must never allow any group or government to steal your right to exercise armed lethal force in a just situation.”

Collins is instructive and the perfect storm brewing in America bodes ill for the over-reach of police forces in America.  There are a myriad of cultural hurricane indicators gathering.  When one looks at the Rubicon crossed in California, the gravely ill economy and the deep and dark pent-up rage against law enforcement by the tens of millions of families ravaged by the drug war and the interminable harassment of ten of millions of citizens for victimless crimes and the increasing militarization of cops, the recipe for confrontation is not far away.

And it won’t be one man.

“And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

I dedicate this essay to my friend Stacy.

11 thoughts on “What Would Michael Collins Do? by Bill Buppert”

  1. Pingback: What Would Michael Collins Do? by Bill Buppert - Unofficial Network

  2. Unfortunately, Ireland is as unfree today as ever.

    Welcome to new boss… same as old boss.

    The Irish are no closer to individual sovereignty – self ownership – than they ever were through all the centuries of conquest and subjugation.

  3. Pingback: Buppert: What Would Michael Collins Do? | Western Rifle Shooters Association

  4. Very good Bill. I loathe pacifism. Here’s a quote I have sent to some of my pacifist freinds…

    “We love peace, but not peace at any price. There is a peace more destructive of the manhood of living man, than war is destructive to his body. Chains are worse than bayonets.” -Douglas Jerrold

    The pacifist’s notion of peace would have me chained and caged like a beast. That is not peace, and that is why it is dangerous if their beliesf ever escape their own minds. Chains are worse — much worse — than bayonets.

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  7. The RIC (Royal Irish Constabulary) was a militarized national police force, composed of mostly Irish, and mostly Catholics in the southern counties. Collins disabled their effectiveness in several ways. Appealing to nationalism, RIC officers were recruited as moles. Others were given warnings, resign or die. The remaining force had to be fought. RIC officers retreated to fortified barracks as their homes were watched and if found alone, assassinated. The RIC was not up to the task, so the “Black and Tan” non-Irish officers were sent. Black and Tans had no community ties and lived in barracks. Discipline was poor and patrolling while drunk was common. They committed most of the state terrorism, which pushed the uncommitted Irish to the republican side of the rebellion.
    The Irish achieved a Free State within the UK because Churchill and Llyod George did not want a full military conquest and occupation of Ireland. Collins did not get a republic because the IRA had at best, a few thousand rifles, no artillery and little foreign aid. In some engagements, republican fighters had only obsolete rifles and a dozen rounds apiece. Still, the British Empire asked for a truce and negotiations. The British wanted to rule, not fight. The Irish wanted to fight.

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