Tuesday, January 06, 2004
OK Tim, this is going to be my big huge post for the month. You might want to put it up as a separate essay, or leave it to be dropped off the page in a few days. It's up to you.
One of the biggest concerns I have right now deals with the Left’s attempts to wrest guns out of the hands of the common man. I’ve seen this topic on a lot of blogs lately. I don’t know if it’s just because I’ve been better informed as of late, or if it’s something that has been in the news more often recently. But I’ve seen both the pro-gun blogs, and the gun-control blogs, and the debate has been raging just about everywhere. So here’s my take on it, for what it’s worth.
We can start with the 2nd Amendment:
"A well-regulated militia, being necessary for the security of a free state, the right of the people to bear arms shall not be infringed."
Shall. NOT. Be. INFRINGED. That’s about as plain as it can be put.
Now then, some people like to debate the meaning of “well regulated militia”. So, let’s go see what the Founding Fathers had to say about that.
"I ask, sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
What does the United States law say about the militia?
"The militia of the United States consists of all able-bodied males at least 17 years of age..."
--Title 10, Section 311 of the U.S. Code.--
I don’t think that there can be any doubt in people’s minds just what is meant by “militia”. Far from the negative connotation that it has gotten from far-right groups, the militia of the United States is EVERYBODY. Now, are we clear on that? Good. First half of the amendment = everybody, second half of the amendment states don’t screw with our guns. So, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on.
Why would the Founding Fathers not want the peoples right to bear arms revoked, ever? Let’s start with the most basic: Self defense.
You’ve probably heard the saying “God made men, Sam Colt made ‘em equal”. That has more truth in it than you might think. Let’s say that somebody my size and weight attacked my girlfriend. Let’s say it happened at night, while my girlfriend was walking to her car after a long day of work. She’s tired, hungry, and just wants to get home, but now she’s got a six foot tall, 200 pound man coming at her, demanding that she open her car door and get in. How could she stop him?
Could she punch him? Maybe, but I doubt it would do any good. This guy has a good 50 pounds and nine inches on her. With his longer reach, he could pummel her while keeping her out of range. Don’t forget that if our assailant is on drugs, he most likely won’t feel much pain to begin with. If he’s on something serious, like PCP, he won’t feel any pain at all, even if he gets his arm ripped off.
Let’s say she had a knife. Still a problem. She could try to stab him, but once again, his longer reach would keep her at bay, while he started swinging his fists. That also assumes that she has the training necessary to take on a man who is larger than her.
How about pepper spray? I bought my girlfriend a can of that when she was working down at Pike Place Market, and we didn’t have our concealed carry permits yet. It’s good stuff. I was trained on it in the military, and I can tell you that it is highly effective, on a sober person. It works on drunk people just about as good. But what if there’s more than one assailant, or the person is on PCP or “sherm” (cigarettes dipped in embalming fluid, and then smoked)? Pepper spray MIGHT slow them down a bit, but it might as well be breath freshener. Once again, the woman is at a HUGE disadvantage. In all honesty, I would be at a huge disadvantage if I was up against a man my size who was on PCP or sherm. I’ve seen the effects of just about every kind of drug, and people on PCP scare the daylights out of me.
So, how is this woman to stop from being assaulted, mugged, raped, or killed? What can she do in order to protect herself? Very simply, she could carry a gun
Most people, if they are in a proper frame of mind, will see the danger inherent in continuing an assault against such an armed would-be victim, and stop the assault. The woman can stop herself from being a victim simply by brandishing her weapon. If the attacker is on a mind-altering substance, then quite honestly there’s nothing she could do to actually prevent the attack, and thus she must defend herself. A gun allows her to do that. You could stick a knife in the chest of a person high on PCP, and they wouldn’t even blink. One or two rounds to the cranium, and it will have an effect. A gun allows a person to eliminate any physical advantage that the attacker might have. A 150 pound woman will most often lose a fist fight with a 200 pound man. A 200 pound man will most often lose a fight with a 230 grain .45 ACP bullet. Nuff said?
So we have self defense as a reason for the people to be armed. Self-defense not only applies to the person carrying a weapon, but to the other people in the area. When criminals know that people in their pool of victims are armed with handguns, it increases the chance that they’ll pick a victim who will react quite negatively to their assault. As the risk of an armed resistance increases, the criminals have no other options than reduce the amount of violent crime committed, or encounter a would-be victim who ends their criminal spree. Also, people who are armed can interrupt a crime in progress, much to the detriment of the criminal. A well-armed citizenry has a blanket effect on violent crime rates, as criminals move on to safer grounds, and more crimes are cut short by the common man.
Self defense doesn’t just apply to humans, however. Many people who spend time in the outdoors know that encounters with wildlife are inevitable. Cougars, bear, coyote, and other animals can and will attack humans, if the situation is right. An unarmed man attacked by a bear is termed “bear food”. It’s that simple. While these situations are very uncommon, they do happen
Not everyone is Bruce Lee. A gun allows people to protect themselves against threats to their person or property, no matter their physical size or shape. Now, there are people who would argue that the Police would be better defenders of private citizens, rather than have the citizens themselves go around armed. Those people would be wrong. Quoting from Warren v. District of Columbia:
Accordingly, courts have without exception concluded that when a municipality or other governmental entity undertakes to furnish police services, it assumes a duty only to the public at large and not to individual members of the community (emphasis mine)
The police have no duty to protect individual citizens, only the public at large. Therefore, it is YOUR responsibility to protect yourself. The way you do that is the same way that a police officer would: with a gun.
The other primary role of guns is the preservation of freedom. This might seem to be a grand foppish statement, until you look at historical precedent.
Before Stalin murdered millions of people, he had to ensure that they could not resist him. How did he do that? He disarmed them. A few thousand armed Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto managed to hold off the Gestapo for weeks, until they were finally overwhelmed. So why did millions of them die in Hitler’s gas chambers? Because Hitler had made sure that they didn’t have weapons. They had no way of resisting the brownshirts or the SS. The only way that Castro keeps the people of Cuba under his thumb is the fact that only his forces have guns. Chairman Mao knew that in order to control the people, they had to be disarmed. In fact, every last mass murder or genocide was preceded by the population being disarmed. Rwanda, Bosnia, the USSR, Nazi Germany, China, Korea during WWII, Cuba, all of the target populations were disarmed prior to being repressed, murdered, tortured, and raped. Because the monsters know that if the people have guns, they will not allow themselves to be abused in such a fashion.
A well armed populace is the best way of ensuring the people’s liberty and freedom. A government cannot truly repress the citizenry if said citizens are armed.
Let’s use a blatantly hypothetical situation, and say that Bush suddenly turned into every Barking Moonbat’s worst nightmare. We have goose-stepping brownshirts marching up and down city streets, grabbing any and all dissenters and tossing them into jail. Anyone who opposes the current government is jailed, tortured, or murdered. Freedom of speech is tossed right out the window, and the current administration’s will is brutally enforced at gunpoint. What would you do? What could you do?
If you were properly armed, you could resist. No matter how many soldiers follow the illegal orders, there are 80 million gun owners in the United States. Short of carpet bombing entire states, there would be no way for the government to enforce its will. Guns, in the hands of private citizens, can prevent the government from turning into a communist or fascist state.
If you want more information, there are several websites I would recommend. First and foremost, The Smallest Minority has links to court cases, examples aplenty, and well thought out reasoning for why private citizens have the right to own guns. Kim du Toit has an entire list of essays on gun ownership. Both Kim and The Smallet Minority contributed (albeit unknowingly) to this little piece. And Clayton Cramer has a blog dedicated to the defensive use of handguns, stories that aren’t likely to see in the national media.
Have I covered everything? Did I miss anything important? Are there any questions you might have that I didn't answer? Let me know.
UPDATE: From Trooper John Smith, in the RNS comments, comes a great website about the right to bear arms. A Human Right.