Oct. 25, 2002 – I recently had an anti-gun gentleman from England complain to me that any time he criticized an American, the Yank would invariably remind him that the US had saved the Brits' bacon during World War II. Then, he wondered, why do Americans keep bringing up the past as if it should be something that still mattered.
Well, I would suggest that it might be because so many Americans still living today lost their brothers, sons, fathers, grandfathers and comrades on those far away European shores, defending the freedom of Europeans. Europeans who now seem to think there should be a statute of limitations on caring for those who died to help keep the world free.
I would suggest that those Americans who lost loved ones, as well as those GIs who were handicapped for life because of the war, have suffered hardships daily because of these loses. And most if not all have never been compensated by the Europeans (and, in fact, most European nations reneged on the loans given them from the US taxpayers following WWII, meaning Americans bailed them out not once but twice -- and this isn't even considering the money spent on the Cold War to keep the Soviets from gobbling up Europe).
So should we quit bringing up WWII and how we helped win freedom for the ungrateful and grateful alike in Europe? I don’t think so. I think many are still standing here in the US, waiting for that "thank you" that for the most part has never materialized. Instead the jealous Europeans continue to put us down with fictions of global warming, how we consume so much, etc., etc., without ever noting that we also continue to feed much of the world and regularly rescue pacifists around the world who (with too little foresight) have taken the "moral high ground" (AKA "stupidity") of disarming themselves so as not to injure a violent criminal or dictator – or (Heaven forbid) be expected to actually defend a helpless person. No, history has seen these European intellectuals stand by while a dictator’s jackbooted soldiers march into their town (too often without meeting even a little resistance). Letting thugs take over your nation and then expecting the Yanks to bail you out is hardly the moral high ground.
I would have thought that European intellectuals who pride themselves in knowing everything would have been aware of the cost of gun control, but apparently they have bought into the party line; certainly all governments do their best to keep citizens ignorant on key subjects, and ours here in the US is no exception (and it may surprise foreign readers that most politicians in the US favor of gun control; the only reason citizens remain armed is that disarming some of them would entail great bloodshed).
My European friends like to, very knowingly, tell me that the Columbine shootings of several years back show how gun ownership poses a danger to citizens. Yet in truth this slaughter is a fine case in point -- against gun control. Because one of these boys came from a family that felt firearms ownership was immoral. And both of the killers used illegally obtained weapons (with the man selling the guns to them now in jail). So this incident would be best for anti-gunners to avoid as it is a clear demonstration that gun control can't and doesn't work.
Anti-gunners (when they don't resort to name calling at this point) might argue that these firearms were obtained because guns are unregulated in the US; well, for starters our guns are highly regulated. But there's a catch: You can never have enough gun control to keep firearms out of a nation, unless you're willing to create a totalitarian state.
Consider. A free country has open borders and freedom of movement. Such a nation is always going to also have illegal drugs, firearms, or whatever moving in and out. The price of totally ridding a nation of firearms is that one must create a Stalinist-like state, something that I can't imagine anyone wishing for even if it would enable them to take the "moral high ground" in claiming that somehow this price would be worth paying to get rid of firearms ownership. (That said, Britain as it tries to keep guns out of the hands of citizens and also keep crime under control has undertaken a path that George Orwell’s Big Brother might have envied.)
Even if total gun control could be achieved, the contention that it would end needless slaughter is easily proven false any number of times, and was well demonstrated in April 2002 by the tragic shooting and killing of two students, 13 teachers, a school secretary, and a police officer in Erfurt, Germany. This nation has very strict gun control and still these things happen, in this case the end result was more children dying than had in Columbine.
As one CNN reporter wrote, "Germany already has strict laws governing the right to a gun, but experts say the country is awash with illegal weapons smuggled into the country from eastern Europe and the Balkans." ("Mourning for victims of German school rampage," CNN, April 26, 2002.)
Like drugs, arms will always be smuggled into any nation that wants to preserve even a tiny bit of freedom for its citizens. Successful arms control can only happen in a Communist China or a Cuba, but will never work in a free nation.
Here in the US, Washington, DC, has some of the most strict gun laws in the US. The men now charged with the DC sniping spree (of 2002) should not, according to recent reports, have owned firearms. One was possibly was dishonorably discharged from the military and most certainly was under a restraining order as well as a warrant for failure to appear in court, any one of which made it illegal for him to own a firearm. The other suspect is an illegal alien. Under US federal law, neither of them should have had firearms. It was illegal for them to have them.
Yet they did. Why?
Because as in Columbine and Germany (as well as any other nation with even a bit of freedom), criminals by their very nature don't obey any laws they choose to ignore. If they so wish, they will have guns, even though it is illegal for them to and even though all the pacifists and politicians in the world maintain they should not. Gun controls don't keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.
Governments love to brainwash their citizens into thinking that disarming somehow will make them safer (that intellectuals who pride themselves on being open minded and such, is rather ironic -- they buy the party line hook whole hog). It does make a government safer and thus the lie continues. But it does nothing for the citizen, other than give him an excuse to hide like a coward at the first sign of danger (this latter perhaps being the real reason intellectuals are for gun control).
On the other hand, citizens with guns can win their freedom. We here in the US learned that in our Revolutionary War with Britain. We saw it happen again with the French resistance during WWII (who arguably put up more of a fight than the French army during those dark days). Once again it happened in Vietnam where poorly armed but determined men ran out first the French and then the Americans and Australians, though not without a terrible cost on all sides.
Likewise we saw the Afghans give the Russian invaders a good run for their money (and perhaps they will do the same for the US forces there as well). (I won't debate that the resulting governments were better than what the British, Yanks, or whoever might have imparted. Rather I want to make a point about these events.)
Determined peasants, armed with even rudimentary weapons, have a chance of taking back their lands from invaders (whether these invaders consist of a gang of punks from the bad side of town, or a major military power from halfway around the world). Anyone arguing this is not so, argues against all of history. Men with weapons can often preserve their freedom. Disarmed men can offer little struggle and their cause is lost to the first thug with a weapon.
Just ask those who called for freedom before the slaughter of these innocents in Tiananmen Square Massacre of June 4, 1989. Unarmed, they were mowed down by guns and tanks. Without arms, they had no chance to win their freedom.
Lack of weapons makes you easy prey. With a firearm, you at least have the proverbial fighting chance. And you might even be able to secure your freedom.
Here's another thing that many governments want you to remain ignorant of: Gun control was tried throughout the world during the 20th Century and each time it was a disaster written in blood.
Governments hide these facts and brainwash their people into being meek sheep who gladly let "Mommy Government" take care of them (though often so poorly that were government leaders true mothers they would be jailed and most likely executed for their crimes).
I do not exaggerate. Each and every major genocide committed by a government against a minority population during the 20th Century was preceded by the disarming citizens. Gun control is an excellent idea if your goal is to protect a government and get rid of surplus populations; it is not ideal if you are interested in freedom or living into old age.
During the 1980s, researchers Jay Simkin and Aaron Zelman became interested in the Nazi laws that set the stage for the Holocaust in Europe during WWII. They discovered that not some but all the major genocides committed worldwide over the 20th Century involved disarming the public shortly before the purges began (oddly, the gun control laws were generally instituted by governments that lost power before a genocidal regime took over).
Among the worst of these crimes to take place in the 20th Century were: ·
Ottoman Empire, Turkey, 1915-1917, 1.5 Million Armenians.
Soviet Union, 1929-1953, 20 Million Anti-Stalinists/Anti-Communists.
Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe, 1933-1945, 13 Million Jews, Gypsies, Christians, Gays, and Anti-Nazis.
China, 1949-1976, Anti-Communists, 20 Million Rural Populations, Pro- Reform Groups, 20 million, 1935.
Guatemala, 1960-1981, Maya Indians 100,000.
Uganda, 1971-1979, Christians and Political Rivals, 300,000.
Cambodia, 1975-1979, Educated Persons, 1 million.
Rwanda, 1994, Tutsi men, women, and children, nearly 1 million.
Surely 56 million bodies suggest a pattern of failure for gun control. When such laws are passed, they set the stage for a government that can operate without any checks from its citizenry.
America’s founding founders put the right to own arms into our Bill of Rights with good reason. Our statesmen knew about the French government's mass persecutions of the disarmed Huguenots in the previous century (and a number of the survivors of this persecution had fled to the colonies to settle}; they also knew of the government excesses that occurred in Britain during its Civil War, of the horrors of .the "Glorious Revolution," and the religious persecutions in 17th-century England. They had also seen first hand what professional troops can do to citizens who are unable to defend themselves. Little wonder they wanted a population that could defend itself from criminals, government scoundrels, or invading forces.
As the late Vice President Hubert Humphrey put it, "The right of citizens to bear arms is just one more guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard against the tyranny which now appears remote in America, but which historically has proved to be always possible."
Today you don’t have to tour many undeveloped nations to have the misfortune of witnessing first hand what happens to the unarmed when faced with a mob or a government out of control. Necklacings, attacks with machetes, or worse can be the result when potential victims are unarmed, at the mercy of those who would kill them because of their race, religion, or politics. I hope that one day those living in England, Australia, and other nations so intent on disarming their citizens don’t learn this terrible truth the hard way (though the rising crime in Britain argues this lesson is coming).
Let me say it plainly: An armed man is a free man. He may be killed, but at least he can die free, fighting his assailants rather than whimpering like a slave. And he can protect himself without "Mommy Government" having to help, if and when she gets around to it (and provided she isn't the problem).
Duncan Long is an internationally recognized firearms expert. You can read more of his articles (or see other of his creations) at the following links:
Copyright © 2002 by Duncan Long. All rights reserved.