April 19, 2007
Just a short blurb, in reference to the frenzy about gun laws in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings. It seems to me that most of the country has forgotten why we have guns to begin with.
Most of the arguments I hear are orbiting around the most ludicrous ideas that are almost entirely irrelevant to American gun ownership. Things like hunting, self defense, gun crime, "no one needs an A-K 47" etc. are simply not germane to the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.
I personally don't see the immediate "need" for assault weapons. Of course no one is using a machine gun to hunt deer or fend off intruders. But I think it's distracting to try and couch the argument in terms of "self defense" and "hunting". No, people don't need automatic weapons for those things... they don't need guns at all. They can use crossbows and blow darts to hunt, and long swords to protect their homes. Self Defense and Hunting are, in my opinion, imaginary issues.
The real issue here is a very important and often overlooked principle that bears itself out in history; the right to keep and bear arms is necessary for a free state. One of the only things that keep a government from disintegrating into an oppressive regime is the threat of violence from the people it governs. Extreme example? Perhaps. But totalitarian regimes can only ever take power when people assume that it will not happen. When people give up their ability to threaten violence to their government, they free that government from any physical accountability to its people. All brutal dictators disarm their people before beginning their reign of terror, because an armed populace would not allow itself to be herded into camps.
Self defense and hunting are distractions from the issue at hand in my opinion. If deer were extinct and crime was nearly nonexistent I would support a well armed (and if I had my way well trained) population. We see the principle I'm talking about clearly when a local government trashes its gun laws: crime goes down. And not because everyone ran out and armed themselves, but because they can arm themselves. I don't own a gun and I don't know that I ever will. But I don't need one: I just need my government to know that I can get one.
Do I think America is on the verge of a new Holocaust? No. But I also think that assuming it won't happen is the first step to not recognizing it when it does.
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