Thursday, March 04, 2010

A slave and a child

Doctor Zero has a grabby start to his essay, To Keep and Bear Arms.
Twenty-five years ago, a little after sunrise on a Monday morning, the front door of my house was kicked in by a man who had blown his mind with crack cocaine. He marched my family upstairs at gunpoint. When I reached the top of the stairs and turned around, he put the gun in my forehead and pulled the trigger.

You can tell he survived, though, because he's writing this blog post. He makes the usual (and valuable) point that when seconds count, the police are just minutes away.
The police arrived at my house several minutes too late to play a role in my attempted execution. They made excellent time – there happened to be a unit in the area. If things had gone a little different, they might have arrived just in time to avenge me. * * *

The people of an orderly nation surrender the business of vengeance to the government, replacing it with the rule of law. They cannot be expected to surrender the right of defense. The right to protect yourself, and your family, from injury and death is an essential part of your dignity as a free man or woman. Without the First Amendment, you are a slave. Without the Second, you are a child.

But the right to keep and bear arms, protected by the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, isn't entirely or even primarily about self defense from an intruder. It's about self defense against an oppressive government.
Sometimes liberals sneer at the idea we might keep arms against government tyranny, because a bunch of pistol-packing Tea Party types have no chance of repeating the success of the Revolution against a modern military force. This completely misses the point. A disarmed populace has little choice but to obey orders. If the population is armed, a tyrant’s forces have to do more than just brandish their weapons… they’d have to start pulling triggers. Victory for a righteous populace would come in the military’s refusal to pull those triggers. Tyranny should never be easy. Of course, it should never come to that again, in the United States. As long as the population is armed, this is an understanding, and a duty… not an assumption.

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