Will Someone Else's Wrongs Take Away Your Rights?

Sandy Hook Elementary was an atrocity, but worse atrocities are at hand if Americans heedlessly give up the Constitutional birthright to be armed.

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?

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Marc J. Yacht MD, MPH December 20, 2012 at 04:32 PM
The old gun rights argument are finally leading the way to more intelligent and sensible thinking. We must address the issue of significant gun control legislation. See my most recent blog.
dave t December 21, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Assault weapons should not be available to "citizens", nor should rocket launchers, grenades, or tanks, those need be for the "well regulated militia". Anyone with an emotionally disturbed person in their home, should never have firearms - that's a no-brainer. When the Bill of Rights was written, there was no such thing as a semi-automatic hand gun, or rifle like we have now. Regulations and controls apply. And the second amendment does say "a well regulated militia": "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." The manufacture and sale of firearms, bombs, tanks, aircraft, and the implements of war has become a huge "business" with profit in the billions of dollars. This is where we have gone over the edge of sanity.
RD December 21, 2012 at 06:53 PM
My husband and I are gun owners but we both feel it's time for a ban on assault weapons. No one needs them and it is not infringing on our second amendment rights to limit what firearms we can have. You have to distance yourself from this whole incident by calling them everything but what they are, children. Make no mistake about it, the blood of those children are on the hands of anyone who doesn't support a ban on assault weapons.
Chuck R December 23, 2012 at 04:39 PM
I've seen this quote from you before, "the blood of those children are on the hands of anyone who doesn't support a ban on assault weapons". I have read it several times, blinked, thought twice, considered other possible interpretations, and found that it is totally unreasonable. This type of absolute, A=B reasoning is invalid. The words "always" and "never" apply to science, but not intellectual reasoning. I support zero restrictions on weapons when a person meets pre-screened conditions. I have no blood on my hands. I didn't commit a heinous crime (nor will I ever). The problem lies with this; myself and people like me could have storage rooms full of grenades and missiles, but we would never use them. There needn't be any laws to prevent us from hurting people, again, because it would never happen. On the opposite end of the spectrum is an evil, depraved maniac bent on hurting people. The extremists who believe in very strict gun control want to make laws that apply to the latter. Why does the former need to suffer because of the latter? You need to consider true liberty, true individual responsibility. There are people who take that idea seriously, and those who take advantage of it. There is a wide spectrum of people, even when you only consider gun advocates, let alone those would would support an outright ban.
Marc J. Yacht MD, MPH December 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Without getting into the crackpot analysis of the 2nd amendment, appropriate gun regulation is a must. Nobody but a fool would argue that the demented, criminals, and untrained should have guns. Regulation of where guns are sold and registration of all firearms would help keep guns in proper hands with appropriate penalties. Assault rifles should be relegated to law enforcement and the military. Exceptions should require extensive background checks and registration. Most gun owners are very responsible but events like Newtown and other horrifics call for sensible gun regulation for the health and well being of American communities.
Chuck R December 26, 2012 at 08:33 PM
I appreciate your thoughts, Dr. Yacht, but just keep in mind, you advocate the removal of rights. These rights will be removed from a vast majority of people who have never done anything wrong. This is nothing to be taken lightly. When you open the door to judge what other people might "need" or have a right to, you sure open the discussion for a myriad of other possibilities.
Marc J. Yacht MD, MPH December 27, 2012 at 04:34 AM
Chuck R. I respect your view but I stand by my comments.
Andy Warrener December 27, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Mr. Hankins' point about the media magnification is perhaps the most overlooked point in this discussion. An honest and moral media approach to the Sandy Hook incident wold be to blot out the memory and story of the shooter. Instead focus on the victims. I opened the paper yesterday and there was an entire 2 pages dealing with the shooter, his life, his problems, etc. I don't care. I'm trying my best to forget about that individual and focus on the people who's lives he destroyed. I don't want to hear another thing about the darned shooter. May he writhe in anonymity for eternity. We will never be able to rationalize to reason his motives, so let's just stop.
Marc J. Yacht MD, MPH December 28, 2012 at 01:35 PM
No argument here Andy but we need to know about the shooter to help identify future threats. I fully agree our focus should be on the victims but we must also work to prevent future tragedies. The media is between a rock and a hard place on this. Sadly, ratings too often drive their agenda. The focus should now be on how we prevent the next tragedy. What does Newtown teach us? What have we learned from the tragedies prior to Newtown? I am concerned we have not come close to the end of similar tragedies.
Greg Lightning December 30, 2012 at 09:49 AM
This an excellent article on the truth behind the agenda of pro gun ban people Thanks so much Mark


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