The Gun Debate

As all of you readers are no doubt aware, since Sandy Hook the news has been alight with pundits and policy makers sounding off about the right to bear arms.  As is generally the case for me, I don’t pay much mind to the media, which isn’t too difficult when you’re living abroad.  My Facebook newsfeed, however, has been rife with commentary about guns and gun ownership, and most of the comments have generally been against.  Granted, most of my friends from university are progressive and have never fired a gun in their lives.  Most of them are totally in favor of the bill that Dianne Feinstein is proposing.  I doubt that I need to tell you this, but I’m against any form of gun control whatsoever.

In the first place, crooks are always going to find a way to get guns.  I know that this argument is oft-repeated, but it’s true.  Crazy people will find ways to do crazy things.  To me, it makes zero sense to prevent everyone from having guns because of the actions of a very select minority.  Some people abuse animals.  Does that mean that nobody should have the right to own a dog or cat?  Some people overeat.  Does that mean that we shouldn’t allow anyone the choice of buying super sized McDonald’s meals or 7-Eleven Big Gulps?  Oh, wait…

The point behind this argument is that people who follow the rule of law will continue to follow it.  Most people have no desire to hurt others.  Those few individuals who do have a desire to hurt large groups of people will find a way to do so.  And if memory serves, the biggest school massacre in the US took place in Michigan and involved explosives.  Food for thought.

Pro-gun control advocates are often quick to cite the fact that the US has the highest murder rate in the Western world, and they link this to the fact that we are allowed to own guns.  Interestingly, in the 60s and 70s, Canadians owned twice as many guns per household as the US, and yet the murder rate in the US was over two times that of Canada.  This statistic alone would suggest that perhaps guns themselves are not the problem but, wonder of wonders, it’s a societal problem.  One would expect that, the more firearms present in a country, the higher the murder rate.  This mantra is repeated over and over ad nauseum by those who are in favor of gun control, but history shows us that this simply isn’t true.

Unfortunately, a good number of people in this country don’t fully understand why we have the right to bear arms and what that means in relationship to the Constitution and our rights not only as US citizens but as members of the human race.  I have yet to meet a true libertarian who didn’t believe in natural rights.  If you believe in natural rights, you most likely recognize property ownership as the basis of society, which is also the basis for wanting peace.  If you believe that one person does not have the right to deny another individual of his or her property, this will necessarily extend to their person.  That is, you may not kill or injure another person without just cause, as this deprives that person of the basic thing that they own – their body.

Some will argue that there are other ways to protect oneself, one’s family, and one’s material property.  I argue that if someone is going to come up in my house with an illegally-gotten gun, I damn sure don’t want to be bringing a knife to a gunfight.  I don’t want to be that woman trapped in a dark parking lot with an ill-intentioned assailant on my tail and nothing to defend myself with save my bare hands.  I’m not interested in becoming a statistic.  I am not okay with someone coming into my home with the intent to rob me and kill or injure my family.  I believe that I have the basic right to defend myself by whatever means I see fit, and I don’t believe that the government has the right to tell me that I can’t do that.  Is the government going to come and defend me and mine in the middle of the night?

The other major issue at stake that I have seen a depressing number of people laugh about is the notion that we don’t need guns to protect ourselves from the government.  One of my former professors, for whom I have deep respect and admiration, posted a ridiculous statement that Americans have never needed to use guns to protect themselves from their government and therefore didn’t need guns at all.  There are plenty of examples of the government infringing on the people’s rights, but the honest truth is that a disarmed populace is ripe for tyranny.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look at these examples.

The Ottoman Turks disarmed from 1915 to 1917.  After disarming the population, somewhere between one and one and a half million Armenians were slaughtered.

The Soviet Union went through a gun control process from 1929 to 1945.  Afterwards, over 20 million people were killed as a result of Stalinist brutality.

Nazi Germany disarmed the entirety of its occupied territory, and approximately 20 million people were killed.

Nationalist China removed guns from the picture, and approximately 10 million of its people died afterwards.  Red China continued this trend from 1949 on through the 60s, and an additional 20-35 million perished.

Guatemala began disarming its citizens in the 1960s, and anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 Mayan Indians were slaughtered.

Uganda disarmed its citizens beginning in 1971.  Approximately 300,000 Christians were murdered.

Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge killed over 2 million of its citizens from 1975 to 1979.  I have visited Cambodia and been to the Killing Fields and S-21, and I will attest to the fact that the massacre of the Cambodian people is something really horrifying to learn about.

In 1994 in Rwanda, 800,000 Tutsi people were murdered after gun control was introduced.

 

These examples are all from the last century.  If someone says, “That’s history, and it can’t happen here,” they’re living in a fantasy.  It can happen, and it does happen.  Firearms are often the only thing keeping a tyrannical government at bay.  In my opinion, the American people are harassed enough as it is.  We are made to go through X-Ray scans at the airport or face invasive pat-downs in airports.  Our president has the authority to essentially issue death warrants.  Thanks to the Patriot Act, there are a number of horrible violations of citizens’ rights, include wiretaps and warrantless searches.  The Constitution legally guaranteed that none of these things would happen, and yet our legislators have chosen time and again to ignore the highest law of this land and run roughshod over it.

Do I really think that the US government would massacre its people?  I say nothing is outside the realm of possibility.  If someone thinks the US government is incapable of such things, well, visit the reservations and talk to the Native American people.  See how disarmament turned out for them.  I think, given the right circumstances, tyranny will run rife, and it doesn’t matter if you think you’re invincible; the fact is that, in this day and age, when the government can decide who political dissidents and terrorists are based on completely arbitrary guidelines, nobody is safe.

My final thought on gun control is that there shouldn’t be any.  Arm every man and woman in the country.  Teach the kids gun safety.  The police shouldn’t be the only ones who have guns.  Look at what happened to the student protestors in California when the police had mace and they didn’t.  Would you really want to be unarmed around armed cops?

The bottom line is that you and I and every other person in America has the right to protect themselves.  We have that right irrespective of where the threat comes from: stranger, neighbor, government, or otherwise.  I will not give up my right to bear arms without a serious fight, and I think if the US government thinks that Americans are just going to hand over their guns and call it a day, they have another thing coming.  I have only one thing to say to someone who tries to come into my house to tell me that I am no longer able to defend my family as I see fit: Molon labe.  

 

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