September 15, 2004

What fun!

Ding Dong the AWB is dead! Now if only we could get rid of similarly dumb restrictions here in Canada.

I was talking to my niece the other day. She lives in Ontario, and owns a pit bull. Ontario is making noises about banning pit bulls. We had a very pleasant conversation, as I have a pit bull as well. We ranted about the stupidity of it all, and it was a delightfule conversation until I mentioned something about how similar this was to the argument about guns. She immediately stated, "well I don't think guns should be anywhere!" I froze up. She just couldn't see it.

I read a really good post on slashdot the other day, and got permission to reprint it...

It is my pleasure to reply to a suitably armored poster.

...nobody has a legitimate reason for owning a 30 round clip.

I always get annoyed when discussions about the Second Amendment come up and everybody immediately starts thinking about gunpowder. That's not what it's about.

The Second Amendment (Right to Bear Arms) is not a result of the wildly successful 1776 Sportsman's PAC. It wasn't meant to authorize individuals or groups to assassinate government officials in case they went insane. And it wasn't an attempt to ensure people could keep trading old flintlocks like so many Disco albums from the '70's.

It was an acknowledgement of a problem which faced the fledgling Colonies at the time, and is still quite relevant today.
You can pass a law making it illegal for people to keep and bear arms, but the people most dangerous to the survival of the Nation aren't going to listen. Because of this, we need to be sure this nation can survive even if we face an enemy that doesn't play by our rules. In this respect, outlawing guns works against us, in that it allows us to implement policies that, if the subjects had guns, we could never get away with. So instead we outlaw the practice of disarming the populace.

It's a way of saying to prospective government organizers: "if you want to run this place, you have to figure out how to make it work without taking away people's weapons. If you can't, you're not worthy of running this place. Period. Just like if you can't figure out how to run this place without favoring one religion over another, or shutting down the free press, or silencing your critics, or preventing peaceful assembly, or violating peoples privacy, or searching their homes, documents, things, or imprisoning people without charges or due process, or holding onto a suspect indefinitely without letting him see a lawyer, or torturing prisoners, or trying to make a Federal Law to ban powers reserved to the States, then just go away, because you're not up to the job. Sure, running the country is easy if you can do that stuff; but we have higher standards."

The rise of gun violence should not be seen as being caused by the availability of guns as much as it should be viewed as a failure of our society to remain violence free in the face of weapons availability. Don't curse the NRA, they're just the weather vane.

Should we read the Second Amendment to say that we should all be packing porta-nukes? For the safety of the Nation, of course. No. What it means is that we should strive to build a country that can survive even if our next door neighbor decides to pack a porta-nuke. Because, the reality of the world is (and will always be) that our next door neighbor just might be packing a porta-nuke.

In a world like this, the only possible way to be safe is to first make sure that nobody in their right mind would have a reason to light-up their porta-nuke, and second to understand that occasionally we will encounter a person or two who isn't in their right mind, who's going to kill a lot of people and cause a lot of damage (kinda like one of those Hurricanes) and that we better just be prepared for it to happen, and be prepared to deal with it when it does. An approch which says "we'll prevent a hurricane from ever happening here" can only be followed by "we don't need FEMA anymore, now do we", which shows clearly how backward such an approach is.

On September 11th, 2001, the U.S. saw an example of an attack which some claim represents a new kind of threat to this nation. But was also saw a flawless demonstration of the kind of defense against that threat which our Founding Fathers hoped we would deploy, and knew even then would be effective. On Flight 93, the attack failed, not because of some smart weapon posessed by the U.S. army, or because some airport screener matched-up two names on a No Fly list, but because of the democratic defense; a group of very brave people took a stand for this nation and stopped the attack in it's tracks. If the highjackers thought they would encounter this kind of defense of every aircraft, they wouldn't have even attempted it armed with just a set of box cutters.

The democratic defense demands that each of us make a comittment to defend the nation, as opposed to counting on our soldiers and firemen to do all the dirty work for us. It demands we work together. It demands we reject fear.

It demands we respond to a terrorist event like 9/11 not with panic and draconian laws, but with an attatude of "shit, we shouldn't have let that happen", and "Damn, someone's trying to get our attention, I wonder what they're so pissed about? Maybe we're stepping on somebody's toes and this was the only way they could get our attention? Maybe we better listen a bit better?"

Our current foreign policy works against all those objectives.

The democratic defense was what our Founding Fathers had in mind. It doesn't ask that we tell the government about the suspicious activities of our neighbors (because that fails when the government itself is corrupt) but rather that we get to know our neighbors and make these judgements ourselves. It demands vigilance. It means some of us may have to charge a terrorist unarmed, it means some of us (and I don't just mean those of us in uniform) may die so that others won't have to. Some of us might even have to make the ultimate sacrifice and pay a few extra dollars in Capital Gains tax to fund relief aid in Sudan. Some of us might even have to get out an Vote.

Which is what the Founding Fathers had in mind all along.

Now that is the best defence of the right to keep and bear arms I've seen in a long time.


Post a Comment

<< Home