What constitutes a civil war? When does one actually start?
That is very good question. I've been saying for a while that we are in pre-civil war. It hadn't occurred to me that it had already kicked off.
The first American Civil War ran hot and cold from 1854 when Kansas began to bleed. To 1876 when Reconstruction ended.
We saw similar incidents, and similar responses, in the 1970s when we were arguably undergoing a civil war. We've had a long period of relative stability in the area (with the exception of some flare-ups like Rodney King riots.) I see this more as a drift in that direction. Which will probably have the same result of going to increased effectiveness in certain policing areas and shutting it down slowly. Drones, robocops, body-cameras (to sort out what exactly happened) will all have an effect.
So... ACW? We've been in a low-level violent civil war since 1968 and a race war for much the same time. Arguably going back to the 1950s when the desegregationist movement really got up to steam. Note the lynchings and riots back then. See also the assassinations of MLK and Malcolm X, the attempted assassination of McGovern, etc. Not to mention the black-on-white crime statistics going back to the 1970s. (The last sentence was an edited addition since this has been discussed frequently on the list.)
This is more of a flare-up IMO. Dylan Roof tried to be the John Brown of a new ACW and seems to have mostly failed. Bryce Williams tried as well in the other direction. So far, pretty much seems like a regular day at the office. Bunch of people got shot. Oh, well. Sucks to be them. Argue about gun control, keep pissed and carry on.
We're in a civil war, Trent. (And a race war.) Have been for a long time. Just a low level one. White controlled governments attack blacks, (mostly males) black men attack white civilians.
(From most logical POVs, the 'white controlled governments attacking blacks' is trying to combat crime. (And in many cases, they are not even 'white controlled.' See also: Baltimore.) But American urban blacks are more mythic based and conspiracy theory based than Islamics so to them it's already a deliberate war.)
Our violence levels in terms of assault and murder as a race-on-race statistic are currently not all that bad but have gotten well up into the Colombian 'La Violencia' regions at times. (See 1980s drug wars. It wasn't just gang bangers getting killed in Compton. It was people being murdered in their homes for five dollars. And some of the stuff in Phoenix area with home invasions is also race based although more Hispanic/Hispanic/white.)
The real problem in the US with an intifada civil war, race war or a La Violencia will be determining when we are actually in one over the background noise of our usual and customary violence. You'll probably need someone with significant social capital saying: A warrrrr iz an uglee t'ing... UND ITZ ZHUST ABOUT TIME T'AT WE HAT WON!
Dylan Roof did not have social capital. Neither did Bryce Williams. So we can't really tell if it's a war or not over the background sounds of gunfire.
Which, oddly enough, is both a feature and a bug. It's an American thing.
The current Civil War isn't going on between states although there will be regions that will be leaving the country after the next one is over. Their side has now actively rejected the entire bill of rights, which was the only thing that really bound us together.
So far as the left is concerned the constitution's only use at this point is to batter us over the head with "The Law of the Land" whenever they can get five unelected justices to rewrite the constitution to their liking.
Look this is not an incitement or advocacy of vilence. Trust me I am not looking forward to the hot phase of this war.
I'm way too old to enjoy it.
I'm just prophesying.