Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The ultimate target

The possession of arms is the distinction between a freeman and a slave. He, who has nothing, and who himself belongs to another, must be defended by him, whose property he is, and needs no arms. But he, who thinks he is his own master, and has what he can call his own, ought to have arms to defend himself, and what he possesses; else he lives precariously, and at discretion. --James Burgh (Political Disquisitions: Or, an Enquiry into Public Errors, Defects, and Abuses) [London, 1774-1775]

I am not a big fan of weapons -- especially those which make loud noises and send projectiles capable of punching a hole in a brick wall. Part of the reason for my antipathy is that, in my more lucid moments, I recognize that things like firearms have amazing powers for self-destruction. When a person has a history of cycles of extreme depression, that person should practice safe unsoundness, and leave easy temptation far outside his or her grasp.

Still, I recognize the right of others to keep, own, and safely use firearms in their regular lives.

The United Nations does not.

While the rest of us were watching the brouhaha over the publication of classified information, while we were listening to high-ranking and high-visibility Americans “patriotically” insult their country, the United Nations had a major conference on gun control, claiming it was aimed “only at illegally owned weapons”, but not acknowledging that two of their primary humanitarian organizations, UNESCO and UNICEF have been actively campaigning -- and funding campaigns -- to outlaw firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens in places like Brazil. This they do by changing the definition of “law-abiding citizen”. They have already succeeded in effectively banishing lawful possession of firearms in Kenya by making the licensing for it so expensive and restrictive that only the very few socially, politically and financially connected elite can afford to own one by law. And, with violence commonplace in outlying areas, a Kenyan without a gun is likely to die quickly and savagely, often at the hands of neighboring, non-law-abiding Kenyans or Ugandans. Further, the gun-confiscation program itself has included a shoot-to-kill order for enforcers, so that any person who refuses to surrender his weapons may be met with extreme prejudice, as it were.

The spokesmen for the United Nations, in arranging this conference, have stated that a “misleading National Rifle Association (NRA)-related campaign” has prompted unwarranted fears that the Second Amendment will be violated, if the UN has its way. But the representative from Indonesia stated flatly, “We believe that no armed group outside of the State should be allowed to bear weapons.” Under those terms, not even a marksman’s club would have the right to own and bear arms. No hunters’ organizations, no biathlon teams, no antiques collectors... the list could go on and on. I’d say that fear’s not so very unwarranted. After all, the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States is “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” The point was to prevent any individual or group from creating a tyranny in our free land, not simply to keep invaders out.

Now, let us look at a few of the countries which, over the years, have implemented strict citizen gun controls and enforced them with confiscation : Uganda, Kenya, Cuba -- earlier still, communist China, and immediately pre-WWII, fascist Italy, Stalinist Russia. Also, of course, Germany, where one ambitious man with a funny little moustache stated, "The most foolish mistake we could possibly make would be to allow the subject races to possess arms." That would give the “subject races” power over their own lives.

The world is full of predators, many of them human -- and some of them wear official uniforms, some of them run governments, some even are members of the United Nations. There is a certain amount of comfort in knowing that my good-citizen-neighbors might be armed, and might come protect me from danger, whatever its source. Were that not the case, I would consider risking it and getting a useful firearm, myself. It would be my right, after all, as a law-abiding citizen.



Recommended reading:
Human Rights Atrocities: The Consequences of United Nations Gun Confiscation in East Africa

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