Did you hear about the great nation of Pacifotopia? It was the first nation run and administered by pacifists. They were earnest in their pacifism, giving up all weapons of war in virtuous cause of non-violence. Heard of it? No? That’s because the next day it was gobbled up by random country X.
I bring up this country of well-intentioned heroes to make the very important observation that there never was, is not, and never will be a nation of pacifists. Indeed, the only reason why anyone can be a pacifist at all is because there are men with an entirely different outlook manning the borders and preserving the peace.
The thing that burns me up about debates about gun control is the attitude that we are only kept safe by well-meaning bureaucrats passing good intentioned laws that of course are followed by all the nice citizens. The insinuation is that people who want guns are violent people; the mere fact that they want or have one is proof positive that they are suspect individuals. They are unstable folk that you need to keep your eye on.
Now, in point of fact, every single person in this world, in whatever country they happen to reside in, depends on men* with guns for any bit of freedom they might have.**
Any country that did not have armed men on its border would be a country that soon was absorbed by its neighbor; if they had any freedoms under the rule of their neighbor, it is because their conqueror had men with guns at its border. In other words, all of our freedoms are secured by violent, suspect, unstable men.
Few things offend me, but I am offended by the flaky rhetoric of our politicians and a great chunk of the citizenry who make arguments that in effect denigrate the many people with guns who protect us, each and every day.
Obviously, they have no concept that their statements mean, in effect, that the security of our cities, states, and nation is preserved by bloodthirsty loose cannons. Indeed, I doubt very much thought goes into their statements at all. Even calling them ‘arguments’ is probably giving them too much credit; it is more of an attitude and and insinuation, coupled with their chest-thumping posture as the ones occupying the high ground. In the meantime, their very ability to open their mouths to class our nation’s many heroes with murderous barbarians is preserved by the very same people.
There is another way out of this predicament that is not as unflattering to our soldiers, police officers and national guardsmen, but it merely shifts the insult to a larger group of people–their fellow citizens. The people who make this argument suggest that only people with the highest level of training can possibly act intelligently and bravely; these of course are in the armed forces and what not. As for the rest of us, we are slathering morons who sink even further into the black hole of irrationality when a gun is presented to their senses. The sight of a gun sparks a primal instinct that compels them to quickly snatch it up and begin blazing away at enemies seen, and unseen.
You see this attitude in defenses of waiting periods, or comments about things turning into the ‘wild west’, even though 49 out of the 50 states have adopted laws allowing for concealed carry of firearms, with not one of them turning into anything like a John Wayne movie. If anything, it is the one hold out that seems like it is the land of outlaws. Perhaps the recent Federal court judgement compelling Illinois to comply with the Constitution will have the happy side effect of saving the state (ie, Chicago) from the liberals there hell-bound on keeping law abiding people perpetually at the mercy of criminals. We shall see.
Now, I do not have to be persuaded to the idea that there are dangerous people who ought not have guns. I am a Christian and believe in sin, original and otherwise. I believe that power corrupts, and absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely. But I also believe that we are made in the image of God, everyone of us. Some brave people become soldiers and police officers. Some become firemen. Some become teachers and throw their bodies over students or strive to hold doors shut against madmen. Some are fathers and mothers standing as sentinels over their charges, every bit as self-controlled and capable as a sentry on the border. The idea that people, in the main, are blathering idiots that cannot be trusted to manage the responsibility of protecting themselves, their families, and their neighborhoods is noxious.
(I see an eerie similarity to the argument that we absolutely must give out condoms to little boys and girls because their animal minds will be incapable of resisting their natural impulses.)
Gun control advocates believe that theirs is the position that will ensure a humane society that preserves human dignity but if their arguments are correct then there is no basis whatsoever for assigning dignity to any human at all: none can be trusted to do anything; best to set experts over them who know how to properly manage a herd.
And yet, these experts can only do their work because good, strong men who are prepared to fight and die protect them night and day. These people, in turn, are not created out of test tubes. They come from wider society, where we still find men and women, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters willing to lay down their lives for their kin and community. Are they dangerous? You’re damn right they’re dangerous; they are just the sort of people that criminals and real barbarians try to avoid. If we removed all the dangerous people of this sort from society, or de-fanged them, you can be quite certain that the bad sort of dangerous people will be thrilled.
Bottom line, one way or another, there is a person with a gun protecting your liberties and freedoms. If it isn’t your local policemen (ie, you live in Britian) it’ll be someone on a SWAT team or in the military (even Britain allows their soldiers to have guns…). If we’re going to have a conversation about gun control, I would cordially request that we frame it in a way that respects the fact that we are only having that conversation because people with guns are minding the store. They aren’t thugs; they are members of our family, friends of ours, and they are made of the same stuff as the rest of us.
*There are of course some women with guns fulfilling this role, but let’s be honest, most of them are men. Not that I have any problem with ‘dangerous’ women or any thought that they can’t do some of those roles, but let’s give some credit where credit is due: rough men ready to do violence upon our enemies stand guard everywhere.
**Even in places like Iran and North Korea… but I fully admit and acknowledge that in some places the men with guns really are evil, or, at least, they follow the orders of really evil people. All the more reason to ensure that the world’s citizens are not defenseless. Governments regularly kill more people on a wider scale than criminals do.