2nd Amendment

On Libertarianism II

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More ponderings. 


A friend of mine on another blog pointed out to me that libertarians seem to be the only group of people that want to leave other people alone. And on that note, I have to agree, and it is a point that draws me to their side. In fact, the differences between me and libertarians that I know are of degrees, not type. 

I noted to my wife that we live in an age consisting of two types of people: Control freaks and those that lust to be controlled. What an oddity. Those that  can mind so much of the business of others clearly don’t have important issues in their own lives to mind. Those that must be controlled display a weakness that places them in the category of useful idiot. 

And of course I’m with libertarians on gun control. Every man has not only the moral right to defend himself, but a moral imperative. All of this under the auspices of rule of law. Again with Burke here: You have the right to have a weapon until you prove a menace to society, Self-protection, not freedom, is the first right of Man. 

And yes, I will teach my daughters how to use a firearm. I will not teach them how to light up a joint or inject heroin. See the difference in the two? 

The Journal News must hate people who aren’t registered to carry firearms.

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The Journal News recently published a link, displaying the addresses of people in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties, New York, whom hold pistol permits.

If I am to remain consistent in my thinking, that guns deter crime, I must say that The Journal has placed the lives and property of people who don’t have pistol permits, in those counties, at risk.  Now, a criminal merely has to pull up the link and ensure that a house he intends to invade is not the home of a licensed handgun owner.

The Journal: Making unarmed grandmothers less safe, one day at a time. Good job!

It’s fairly obvious to me the political bent of The Journal News. I pulled up their home page and witnessed the following:

I Eat Plants: 5 Reasons to Consider Going Vegan in the New Year.

So I can surmise The Journal’s motivation for posting these addresses.  Yet what better way to make unarmed people less safe than by advertising who is armed?

Hobbes, violence and gun control

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Although not a pleasant topic so near to Christmas, I feel it necessary to touch on the issue of guns, violence, and the limits of what the law can do to protect us.

First, I will hit upon utility of the law.  When I was a police officer, it was common for me to deal with “violations of protection orders”. A protection order is simply a legal piece of paper that ordered one person to stay away from another.  It does nearly nothing to stop a person from actually having contact with another; the hope is that the possibility of getting in trouble will deter most people from violating the law. But as I would counsel some of the people who believed in the extraordinary power of the protection order, it is not a force field. It will not make bullets bounce off you.  Moreover, people can violate a protection order without the rest of the world knowing they did so. They can stalk their victims, they can make anonymous phone calls, and they can murder their victims and get away with it, just as did O.J. Simpson.

Recently after the shooting at Sandy Hook, I began watching a documentary on the Beslan school shooting in Russia. In the first part of the documentary, a small boy, who was at the school during the massacre, makes a stunningly insightful comment at the 3:06 minute mark:

There is no God, only force. Military force.

I’m not sure whether to be more dismayed by the child’s nihilism, or the fact that he is more philosophically insightful than 99% of the adult liberals whom propose additional laws to control those breaking already existing laws. The laws against homicide did not prevent the children of Sandy Hook from being murdered.  Now of course I am not for the removal of laws against murder. They certainly make some people think twice, and they provide us a legal path to imprison those who refuse to play by society’s rule, but they do not guarantee anyone’s safety. Nothing does.

Let’s talk about the usefulness of restricting gun rights. Later, I’ll touch on justice and what our Founding Fathers believed. I’ve already talked about the limits of written law and Blaise Pascal agreed:

Without force, the law is impotent.

Does anyone believe that by restricting access to AR-15s, violent crime will drop? If so, can you support your belief in fact? I can provide support to show the opposite is true.

Two countries, very close to America in cultural climate (and culture is important when considering crime and individual rights), Australia and Britain, experienced astounding increases in violent crime aftter implementing increasingly restrictive gun laws. In 1997, Australia enacted its gun ban. Some believe that Australia has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the world.  Five years after the ban, violent crime increased by 42.2%.  Rapes jumped by nearly 30%. Shockingly enough, criminals didn’t obey the law.

We love the English accent. It summons thoughts of  a refined and stoic people, steadfastly enduring Nazi air raids and fighting evil to the bloody end. Too bad England’s violent crime is even worse than America’s, despite heavy-handed restrictions on guns. In one decade, gun crimes in Britain nearly doubled.  And while England has relatively low gun-crime, it is still the violent crime capital of Europe. One of my fundamental problems with modern liberals is not that they want a more peaceful and safe world, but that the laws they propose in order to make such a world rarely do what liberals say they will do. From the Kyoto Protocol to guns laws, the liberal argument is that of Piers Morgan: “We have to do something!” Consider this: Australia and Great Britain are both big islands, making the importation of illegal firearms more difficult than in countries like America. Yet this fact and the strict laws are not nearly enough.

How about trying something that works, doesn’t infringe on the Bill of Rights, and isn’t the child of a dreamy, politically correct world?

Then there’s our friendly neighbor to the south, Mexico. Here’s what the US Consulate in Tijuana web page has to say to Americans travelling to Mexico:

Don’t bring firearms or ammunition across the border into Mexico.

Don’t carry a knife, even a small pocketknife, on your person in Mexico.

You may become one of dozens of U.S. Citizens who are arrested each month for unintentionally violating Mexico’s strict weapons laws.

If you are caught with firearms or ammunition in Mexico…

  • You will go to jail and your vehicle will be seized;
  • You will be separated from your family, friends, and your job, and likely suffer substantial financial hardship;
  • You will pay court costs and other fees ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars defending yourself;
  • You may get up to a 30-year sentence in a Mexican prison if found guilty.

If you carry a knife on your person in Mexico, even a pocketknife . . .

  • You may be arrested and charged with possession of a deadly weapon;
  • You may spend weeks in jail waiting for trial, and tens of thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees, court costs, and fines;
  • If convicted, you may be sentenced to up to five years in a Mexican prison.

Claiming not to know about the law will not get you leniency from a police officer or the judicial system. Leave your firearms, ammunition, and knives at home. Don’t bring them into Mexico.

Yet the drug cartels, not the Mexican government have the monopoly on violence in Mexico.  Draconian gun laws do not prevent drug lords from fielding their own militias.  I’ll find somewhere else to vacation, thanks.

I posted the following on my Facebook page earlier today:

Question to Liberals: If you were at Sandy Hook on the day of the shooting, and you had a gun, would you have shot the killer, Adam Lanza? If so, how do you square that with the prevalent argument from the Left that there should be gun-free zones and no armed teachers or guards? If you would not have shot him, how would you live with yourself?

If a person answers that they would shoot the murderer, they admit that having a gun at that time is preferable to not having one. And yet many liberals argue against gun rights. Of course, their argument is only that of Rosie O’Donnell. Guns are for me, not for you. Only me and my bodyguards can be trusted with them. I agree that some people prove they cannot be trusted with guns, but the average American can and should be trusted.

The police cannot protect you. Take it from a former cop. The police protect you only in so far as the criminal fears being caught, after the fact, or to the extant that you can slow the criminal down until the police arrive.   If someone breaks into a person’s house, intent on injuring another person, the police will not stop him if the victim has not taken proper precautions in protecting themselves.  That’s why I’m for both passive and active defenses in schools. If we make our banks difficult to attack, why not our schools? The disingenuous argument that our school houses would become free-fire zones doesn’t ring true when we consider the less important institutions in America that have far more security than schools, yet don’t resemble the Wild West.

Of all the myths of the Left, none is more beloved than, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Our most advanced writers–the Leftist intellectuals ensconced in the cocoon of academia, could only hope so. Thus their over-reliance on such entities as the State Department and United Nations.  Talking and making rules doesn’t mean jack to the people we’re worried about. Force does.

Finally, there is the philosophical and historical argument for gun rights in America.

Thomas Hobbes said it best:

A man cannot lay down the right of resisting them that assault him by force, to take away his life.

If the government takes away the right of a man to defend his life, it essentially takes away his life. Any effort by the government to take away the right to self-protection assumes the ability of the government to adequately protect the individual, which it cannot do. Were all citizens afforded a Secret Service protection detail, such regulation may be justifiable. But that’s an impossibility.

Not the average citizen’s level of protection.

Sometimes justice outpaces utility. For instance, in my mind, just as Edmund Burke argued, free trade is not so much about utility (how much in taxes the government can harvest) as it is about what’s right: It is right that people should keep what they work for. In the case of guns, it is right that I be able to protect my child and myself. It is not right that a man be able to break into my house and rape my wife without me being able to shoot him in the face…

The statements of America’s Founding Fathers and other respected historical figures are replete with support for individual gun ownership. While I’ll try to avoid appeal-to-authority fallacies, I submit that these figures deserve to be heard, and sufficient evidence is required to overturn the wisdom of these men. The proposed gun control laws have proven insufficient in the past in this country and in others. And they violate my inalienable right to protect myself.  A law that both doesn’t work and harms individual liberty is a bad law, something this country surely doesn’t need any more of.

I’ll leave you with a few gems from the brilliant men that left it in our hands to maintain that great thing we take for granted: Our own liberty.

Are we at last brought to such a humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our own defence? Where is the difference between having our arms in our own possession and under our own direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defence be the *real* object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?

— Patrick Henry, speech of June 9 1788

“The great object is, that every man be armed. […] Every one who is able may have a gun.”

— Patrick Henry, speech of June 14 1788

“The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that’s good”

— George Washington

“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”

— Mahatma Gandhi

Let’s Roll

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“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”
And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” ~Isaiah 6:8

After the Virginia Tech University shootings in 2007, I wrote an article published in the Bangor Daily News, entitled “This is Not Us”. In the article I stated that the shooting did not define America, that Seung-Hui Cho, the shooter, was an outsider, an aberration.

I was wrong.

Since the shootings at VT, a series of mass murders across America have proven me too hopeful in the American people. We asked for the secular, and we got nihilism. We asked for a public forum without a whisper of God, and we produced a hopeless generation. Hopelessness is the logical end-state for a Godless universe. Intelligent people, as most of these shooters appear to have been, easily see the meaningless of everything if in fact God does not exist.  A byproduct of hopelessness is rage.

The VT shooter

This is another symptom of the great winding down of America. Its great cities crumbling and abandoned, its people getting dumber, its strength waning.

And so our society has shifted from one that controlled itself with internal mechanisms, to one that must now be controlled by external rules. the Liberals have it right: No God=Fewer Internal Inhibitions=Need for totalitarian state that controls our evil, even if it be with evil.

The 2nd Amendment was created by and for spiritual people. Nay, religious people.  Taken out of that context it is insanity to arm a populace. There are some people who simply should not own guns, just as there are some people who should not be free.  But as has been said: Guns cause crime like spoons cause Rosie O’Donnell to be fat.  As far as I’m concerned, the teachers should be armed.

We summoned the Genie, and cannot easily put him back in the bottle.

One side of America is inhabited by a hyper-violent , feral youth. On the other side are the secular, near-pacifistic dreamers, lolling in their agnosticism, jamming their fingers in their ears when they hear talk about what happens to us after we die. So, when the feral child meets the pacifist-intellectual-agnostic-socialist, the armed barbarian wins. The stunning fact is that almost no one knows how to stop a shooter, even an untrained one,  once he begins blasting innocents in close quarters. So great is the schism between our tepid, liberal moralists and the demon brood they bore, that it’s like watching the Frankenstein Monster rampage through its creator’s sterile laboratory.

When Major Nidal Malik Hasan carried out his Jihad at Fort Hood in 2009, killing 12 Soldiers  and civilians and wounding 29, I was stunned that no one tried to stop him. It took two civilian police officers with  guns to bring him down. No Soldier tackled him while he was blasting away, no one punched him while he was reloading, and certainly no Soldier was carrying a weapon so as to defend the innocent. Not one Soldier had the training or the mindset required to bring down Hasan.

Major Nidal Malik Hasan

I remember thinking that I wished I could have been at Fort Hood, that readiness center where Hasan shot so many people. Much of my professional life has been spent preparing for such an incident. As a police officer, I ran various scenarios through my head on a regular basis. I don’t know if I could have saved anyone, but I hope I would have tried.

After the shootings at Columbine High School, police departments significantly changed their training. The old protocols for shootings inside buildings called for responding officers to surround the building and wait for SWAT to arrive. Columbine proved the ineffectiveness of this strategy. While officers surrounded the school Klebold and Harris executed fellow students in cold blood. Officers did nothing. The law enforcement community knew it could not stand by again while people died. It was a police officer’s duty to face danger, to run to gunfire while others ran away. Thus the genesis of “active shooter” training. The first officers on the scene are now trained to form their own entry team, if the shooter is killing people, and go in to get him.

Klebold and Harris

I studied various ways of disarming people carrying firearms. These included Israeli Krav Maga and Russian Systema. Krav Maga taught me that while a pistol gave its wielder great power, it also focused his attention on maintaining control of it, and also that defensive moves must be accompanied by a powerful offensive attack to quickly stop the threat. Russian Systema taught me that angles of movement toward a gunman significantly reduce his chances of hitting you.

Of course none of this would have made me completely safe. But I have come to grips with he fact that I may die while trying to do something I think is right. It must have been the same thinking that Todd Beamer had, when he uttered the immortal words: “Let’s roll” as he and others moved to stop the al-Qaeda jihadists who’d hijacked Flight 93. 

Todd Beamer: “Let’s Roll”

Yesterday I looked at the photos of some of the children that died in the Connecticut school shooting. I began to cry.  Why couldn’t I have been there? I wish I’d been there. I’m not second-guessing what other people did, but I am dismayed that yet another massacre happened and ended only when the person doing the shooting merely ran out of gas. I don’t want to be a hero. But I’ve come to grips with what’s worth fighting and dying for. And I’ll be damned if some 130 lb psychopath mowing down 4th graders  is going to kill me before I make him eat the barrel of his own weapon.

Every good man should think about what he will do in such a situation.  Every good man should have already considered what he is willing to fight and die for before that event takes place.  And by fighting I don’t mean throwing yourself in front of bullets. I mean taking out the aggressor. We need more Todd Beamers.

To me, a few more children seeing this Christmas would have been something worth dying for.