The horror has come again, at a cost of twenty precious moppets and seven adults. In its wake come the cries to ban so-called assault weapons, complete with rampant misinformation about firing rates, magazines and why citizens might want to keep certain guns around instead of others. For the Left, it is high time to politicize what has happened. As Rahm Emmanuel famously said: “Never let a crisis go to waste.” While Americans are in the Kubler-Ross bargaining stage of their grief, we will be offered the devil’s bargain of illusory security for the quite palpable security of access to the hardware necessary for self-defense. The UN has told us we ought to do it—and is pushing a treaty to that effect. The pediatric doctors have been pushed into asking parents if guns are in the home, as if it were any of their business. There seems no end of do-gooders nattering at Americans, whom the former think they can wear down (or dumb down) until the latter will go along to get along. Their agenda is just plain wrong.
The Founding Fathers who enshrined the right to keep and bear arms in the Second Amendment to the Constitution were no fools. They had just experienced a rapacious enemy who sought to disarm them. They chose to keep that force at bay not with a standing army (which they believed was an expensive and politically dangerous option), but with a civil militia. Today our National Guard units serve that function, and Switzerland follows the same model, with nearly every able-bodied younger male required to keep an assault rifle in his or her home. Their gun murder rate is as low as the rest of Europe.
For all its horror, the Sandy Hook Elementary atrocity is not the worst attack on U.S. schoolchildren. That infamy goes rather to the Bath, Ohio disaster of 1927, an attack carried out by using bombs rather than guns. It is, however quite fresh in our memories and thus perhaps an irresistible source of leverage against the minds of Americans who are constantly reminded by the media that any thought of individual Americans using weapons to protect themselves from enemies foreign or domestic is utter fantasy, the stuff of Rambo and Red Dawn. And perhaps it is fantasy for us. But it is not fantasy in many of the places where our troops operate. The name for it is asymmetrical warfare and the term describes the use of cheap weapons (like an AK-47, or improvised explosive) to get the better of troops having superior technology or numbers. Our military’s recognition that it exists and is dangerous to them is reason enough to dismiss its denial as an argument against Second Amendment rights. Imperial Japan’s Admiral Yamamoto famously dissuaded his high command from considering an invasion of the American mainland by warning them they would find a gun behind every blade of grass.
What remains after dismissing that argument is the mere thought that somehow restricting everyone to a smaller weapon with less ammunition will somehow save lives. It will not. A shooter equipped with a bunch of smaller magazines, or even revolvers with speed-loaders will be just as deadly. If there is anything more to the Left’s push to ban larger weapons with larger magazines than just a desire to be seen as doing something about the problem, it can only be a nefarious purpose. Throughout history authoritarians have sought to disarm people they would enslave. It is a story repeated a thousand times, writ large and small, including Eastern societies which developed martial arts as a reaction to the disarmament of their populations. We are fools if we let them do it to us by degrees. The right to keep and bear arms is just that, not some lesser right to keep and bear what someone else decides is enough protection.
Fewer guns in citizens’ hands means only that criminals can use physical size, strength and numbers to overcome anyone. More guns in citizens’ hands means that the violent crime rate actually goes down, and that criminals will go and operate in the cities that restrict or outright ban guns. When a citizen brandishes a gun to deter a robber it isn’t news. When a citizen shoots a robber, it is local news at best. When a young man on the autistic spectrum who is probably also medicated with an SSRI (as 90% of mass shooters are) that says right on the package insert it may cause violent or suicidal behavior kills a couple of dozen people, the killings are huge news—and are blamed on the gun. And if Americans buy into that blame, they will soon find themselves slaves on their own soil.
Some people have asked me what I would say if it were my child that was killed. Let me turn that question on its head—what if these twenty angels, looking down from heaven watch the last best hope for liberty on the face of the Earth throw away its birthright in the heat of its grief because of what happened to them?