PR will be of little value at the outset as the government has full control of most means of communications. PR will be of dubious value when guerrilla warfare begins, and that is from multiple angles.
Leaders will emerge as the conflict continues, but the type of conflict will determine how effective and necessary they are at the beginning.
Concerning rounding up those who are rebelling, your scenario is absurd. I absolutely and sincerely hope they are stupid enough to employ your tactic. Your vision in that regard would mean the rapid elimination of government forces in next to no time flat.
Your scenario(s) envisage an economy and society that is unaffected by the conflict that will be raging amongst them.
Suppose 30,000 patriots go on the offensive all across the country once the government begins to attempt disarming civilians. What happens to the economy under such a circumstance? What happens to the enemies logistics?
Chaos will reign, IMO, and it is going to get very ugly across most of the country in a very short amount of time. Tens of millions of Americans will likely perish before it is over. Civilization as we know it can come to a screeching halt when electricity is no longer a reliable commodity, not to mention food and water.
If you believe that my hypothesis is unrealistic, I would like to point out to you that there are thousands of patriots who were trained to organize and “lead” those who are motivated but lack the skills or knowledge necessary to take the fight to the enemy, and most of those will be what you could call “cell” leaders all over this country. We trained them to do these things, and the overwhelming majority of them could be considered “oath keepers” who strongly believe in the U.S. Constitution and the oath they took when they joined our military.
How things “turn out”, particularly from day one, depends on more factors than can be realistically accounted for, but the thin veneer of civilization that this country has enjoyed for so long can be peeled off in no time flat when survival is the primary goal.
True, I'm not hiding skepticism about where the 50 million prisoners would go in this country. However dictators in other countries had the same problem - and they solved it by burning the bodies (Germany,) burying the bodies (Cambodia,) or forcing the men to work until they fell dead (USSR.) I am highly unsure that any of those scenarios can happen here because the population is not that docile. OTOH, 110,000 Japanese were interned by FDR in 1942, with nary a sound from the rest of the population (as far as I know, since I wasn't around to witness that.)
PR will be of dubious value when guerrilla warfare begins, and that is from multiple angles.
The whole Arab Spring was running on PR from day one. It was essential to muddy the waters and make it hard to tell who are the good guys there. As result, islamists got weapons (illegally) and air support while the same was denied to Gaddhafi (and now to Assad, not that he is a good guy there.) Every revolution runs on someone's money. In the beginning it could be your personal stash of 1,000 rounds, but eventually you run out and have to transition to other sources. The government will make sure that you can't buy ammo or primers or propellant. Those will have to come from somewhere else. That's why external support of the uprising will be very valuable. I'd think that most countries would want to help the rebels, since *nobody* loves the government. We'll get help from Venezuela, I'm sure. But many of those countries will need positive PR to sell the notion of such help domestically.
Suppose 30,000 patriots go on the offensive all across the country once the government begins to attempt disarming civilians.
If they do it synchronously, in one day, all over the country, this message will be heard loud and clear. If they do it randomly, spread over a month, that would be 1,000 "terrorist acts" per day. Without right PR you can be the good guy but nobody will know that; if MSM has your face on every TV screen in the country with the label "dangerous terrorist" you will have a very hard time to explain your point to a frightened housewife. She will call 911 on you in no time flat. Without the PR you will not be a hero, you will be a criminal. The government, being an organized structure, with MSM in tow, can make it happen. The PR war may be even more important than the physical confrontation today.
If you believe that my hypothesis is unrealistic [...]
I believe it is very realistic. I only want to point out that if those patriots are not self-organized in some way, they will become an easier prey for those LEO who choose the dark side of the Force.
Yet another problem is lack of orders. Humans, especially honest and moral ones, are reluctant to kill other humans. In the army this is handled by strict obedience to orders; when the commander orders you to fire at the enemy you do so, knowing that pretty much all the legal issues are taken care of by this order (barring clearly illegal orders.) A soldier who does as told is largely immune from prosecution. But when a civilian rebel has to fire upon a person who hasn't done him any harm but only follows *his* orders, it becomes far more difficult. Lack of orders that one can obey will make it very difficult to fire the first shot of the civil war. In many initial confrontations the LEO will be coming in overwhelming numbers, so the rebel will have to fight without hope for survival... but if he surrenders he will live. It would be a tough call to commit suicide this way. Many will make this choice and take several LEO with them; other will choose to live and fight some other day.
I hope we never have a chance to validate those theories. However the developments in the society and in the economy are apparently irreversible; we are just one phone call from Bejing away from the USD being declared junk paper. Then many of our "friends" will gleefully stop accepting US paper - they will be instead preparing for carving the US up for debts that many administrations accumulated. They will send us ammo and weapons, but they will do so in hope that we will kill each other with them.