Last year, I needed to move a large item, but had no way of lifting it. A couple of years ago, I had learned of something called a ‘farm jack.’ I picked up one, and the job went super smoothly. I thought to myself: why didn’t I get this thing sooner? There had been sooooo many times when there had been no better tool than a jack like this, and my life was harder than it needed to be for lack of one.
For some reason, people fail to understand that a gun is simply a tool, and like many tools, can be used in different ways, or even abused altogether. If someone charges into your house while you’re sleeping, the tool you want is a gun. If you haven’t a gun, then a baseball bat may be the next best thing. Just as I found ways to lift heavy items without the proper tool, you might be able to defend yourself with the baseball bat. But there may very well be a time when the baseball bat simply is NOT going to work.
Now, gun control advocates speak out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to this issue. They may want guns to be removed–but by that they mean moved… exclusively into the hands of the State. In other words, if they are disarmed, and someone breaks into their house and has bound them up and is raping their wives and children, they don’t want the police to come armed only with baseball bats. They want the police to come fully equipped for the task at hand.
Similarly, you can usually get a gun control advocate to very reluctantly admit that SOMEONE has to have guns, if only because of the existence of tyrannies like North Korea. They understand that North Korea isn’t leaving South Korea alone simply out of good will, but because South Korea bristles with weapons.
But what they never can imagine is that their own country could become more like North Korea. They can’t conceive of a reality in which the police, being the only armed individuals, comes to abuse their powers in an overwhelming manner. In short, gun control advocates are afflicted with an ideology which sees threats everywhere–except by the State. In fact, gun control advocates seem to be doing all in their power to engorge the State, chalking up its many failures as merely ‘blips’ which we can progressively eliminate until one day, viola! Utopia!
Now, the framers of the U.S. Constitution were acutely aware of the horrors an armed State could inflict on its unarmed populace. To ensure that the United States did not become such a state, they recognized that the best tool for the job was a gun, and they built into the foundational documents the right to keep and bear arms. (‘Arms’ being short for ‘armaments.’ The 2nd amendment is NOT about conferring a right to HUNT.)
This is a basic disagreement between gun control advocates and those who support the 2nd amendment. Gun control advocates tend to think it is absurd to believe that their country could ever become a tyranny. 2nd Amendment advocates are convinced it is entirely possible. Gun control advocates believe that society can be progressively perfected, and they often slip into a state of mind that would have you believe they think that ‘world peace’ is possible. 2nd Amendment advocates do not think that world peace is possible (unless Jesus himself establishes it) and that the civilization we enjoy at present is only skin deep, and is only held together by significant checks and balances from the bottom of the chain to the top. And the final check and balance on the State is an armed citizenry.
Now, there really is no conversation possible between these two camps. There is a saying, “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged.” Likewise, I believe one only moves out of the gun control camp after they’ve been thumped by reality–and facts, logic, and reason don’t count.
I used to be in the gun control camp. I advocated for the confiscation of guns. I mocked the idea that guns don’t kill people. I was not talked out of this viewpoint. No, I was violently shaken from my position by the events of 9-11.
9-11 came just as my first child was about to be born and I was suddenly awakened to the realization that MY GOVERNMENT CANNOT PROTECT ME. I am the first AND the last line of defense for my family.
There were a few other terrifying things that occurred in the background. For example, there was the guy who barged into my house and stood nose to nose with me, angrily shouting at me. (I was in Illinois at the time, so it almost goes without saying that I was at the mercy of any random person off the street–which is basically what this guy was).
But it was 9-11 that marked the most profound change. You see, if you soberly assess what 9-11 represented, you will see that it was not just a monumental lapse of the Federal government’s security apparatus, resulting in 2,000+ dead. The bombers of 9-11 targeted the United State’s economic (WTC), military (Pentagon), and government (Congress/White House). It was a serious attempt to literally dismantle the American way of life, sending it into anarchy and leaving the United States unable to defend itself further.
Now, the attempt did not succeed, and perhaps it could not have succeeded. (Certainly, you’ll need to do more than take out a portion of the Pentagon in order to render our military powerless.) But the fact that anyone thought the attempt was worth trying–and our government was incapable of preventing the attempt–reveals in very stark terms the fact that we have no good reason to assume that the circumstances of today will be the circumstances of tomorrow, or a month from now.
What is to say that in the near future, some of those famed nuclear ‘suitcase’ bombs might not finish off Washington DC, NYC, or a handful of other strategic locations? Are we so sure that our civilization could survive such an event?
9-11 was not more than 20 years ago. It was within living memory. Who knows what ‘black swan’ event could occur tomorrow where it becomes perfectly evident that the ONLY way liberty can be secured or re-secured is by an armed populace asserting itself? You can’t know, and while the odds may be remote, they are plausible. Eg, a massive meteor strike, an earth quake swarm, an EMP attack, etc.
These are the ‘sudden’ scenarios, but there is something to be said about a sober look at history, too. You don’t even have to go too far back, but why not?
Before the Cherokees were forcibly removed to Oklahoma, they were disarmed ‘for their own good.’ Before the Young Turks murdered millions of Armenians, the Armenians were disarmed. You can sure as hell bet that the Jews in Germany were disarmed! You can be certain that the Tutsis of Rwanda wished that they had owned weapons–in fact, it was only the armed Tutsis that effectively survived in order to displace Hutu Power and take control. This was only in 1994! Include Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, Lenin, and a host of others, some of them within the last 50 years, and it becomes clear that we should not be resting on our laurels.
These are all examples of STATE-inflicted mass murders.
Freedom and liberty must be carefully preserved and maintained. It is an exception in history, not the rule. While you may believe otherwise, there are many of us who believe the founders were absolutely correct to be concerned, and we believe that their concern is valid to this very day.
This is sometimes countered by mocking us with comments like, “Do you think you could stand up to America’s military?!?!?! Idiot!” But this shows you’re not listening. There are any number of scenarios (eg, an EMP attack) that do not involve pitting the American State vs its citizens, per se. Its also worth mentioning that (I regret to inform you) that American soldiers take an oath of allegiance to the US Constitution, and at least at present, they vote overwhelmingly conservative. In case of a societal breakdown, America’s military won’t be on the side of the Statists…. they’re with us, not you.
But like I said, there is no particular reason to limit our analysis to scenarios where we need to worry about our own military. In point of fact, America’s way of handling its military is another one of those important checks and balances on tyranny. Eg, being subject to civilian authority. If you read primary sources, you will discover that early Americans saw the citizen-soldier aspect of America’s military as a profound check on government overreach.
The bottom line is that if you want to have a ‘conversation’ about gun control, and your argument is that there is nothing to fear from the State, or black swan events, you’re never going to get anywhere. Moreover, I should advise you that history suggests that if you succeed in disarming the citizenry, its almost certainly the case that in due time, you will deeply regret it. Not just because tyranny has come upon you, and you are powerless to do anything about it, but because thanks to your naïveté, you were probably part of the reason it came about in the first place.