Robert Meyer
December 30, 2012
Never let a crisis go to waste
By Robert Meyer

The Sandy Hook tragedy presents yet the latest example of the liberal political strategist's adage "Never let a crisis go to waste."

This slaughter of young children occurred in a "gun free zone," not merely under the jurisdiction of a ban on "assault rifles." The result was that there existed no means of self-defense. Perhaps this a reason why such vulnerable targets are chosen.

The liberal mantra has consistently been "You have a right to your opinion, but not to legally impose it on others." Of course, the rule doesn't apply to the people wagging their fingers. This is the usual double standard in play.

So often we hear the argument that firearms with high volume magazines, known as "assault rifles" have no practical applications for average citizens who insist on having weapons primarily for self-defense. But, for the law-abiding citizen, a high-volume magazine only provides deterrence against a greater threat, not a temptation to initiate senseless acts of violence. The question of what the average persons "needs" is not germane to the issue. Thousands of deaths occur on America's highways each year. Many can be partially attributed to speeding. Do we suggest solving the problem by making cars that won't go faster than 65 m.p.h., since people don't "need" to go any faster?

The patriotic case for possessing firearms is more extensive than just a conservative interpretation of the text of the Second Amendment in the United States Constitution. Contrary to what some may argue, the primary reason for having arms was not for shooting game for food, or protection against hostile strangers out on the frontier. A host of quotations from the founders supporting citizens having firearms could be tendered. I'll choose three from among them.

"Americans have the right and advantage of being armed — unlike the citizens of other countries whose governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." (James Madison, The Federalist Papers #46

"The strongest reason for people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." — (Thomas Jefferson)

"Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people's liberty teeth and keystone under independence ... From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference — they deserve a place of honor with all that is good" (George Washington)

There is a certain sense in which the Founders acknowledged that firearms represented a necessary check against government tyranny. Less than a decade ago, liberal icon, former Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold, led opposition against the Patriot Act, warning that the provisions of the legislation could be used to violate the constitutional civil rights of citizens. At that time, the mantra was "He who trades liberty for security deserves neither." Yet, many of the same ink that supported Feingold, bristle with derision and indignation when presented with the principle that the right to bear arms is a check against tyranny. Such "crackpot" thinking is a bane to citizen statism. The presumption of trading liberty for security is happily chosen when it comes to gun control.

Since the assumption is made that criminal activity is always thwarted by stricter weapons laws, why not just prohibit murder in general? That way, the next time some deranged individual uses a car to drive into a playground full of children, someone won't feel the need to suggest we restrict the private use of the automobile, advocating the exclusive use of mass transit as the alternative. The same applies to the abuse of knives, baseball bats and pitchforks, with the only distinction being that these implements have a general use in addition to being potential lethal weapons.

Some people believe that restricting access to private ownership of weapons is justified by statistics showing lower weapons related crimes in other developed countries where guns are publicly banned. Despite ignoring the cultural implications latent in the assertion, it must be recognized that one of the worse incidents featuring senseless gun violence against children occurred during 2011 in Norway, a country where private ownership of firearms is restricted to hunting and target shooting purposes. In addition, we must ask how effective gun control laws have been, when statistics show that cities like New York and Chicago, have high gun related murder rates despite their strict laws.

Of course, emotions run high for those who lost family members in the Sandy Hook school incident, and others who have been emotionally impacted by this atrocious act of violence. I can understand why grieving people would lash out emotionally, thinking that without stronger measures coming to pass, nothing was learned by the incident. Liberty always has a cost; namely that the experiment of self-government can lead to tragic ends when those liberties are abused. Even so, principle must triumph over sentimentality.

© Robert Meyer

 

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Robert Meyer

Robert Meyer is a hardy soul who hails from the Cheesehead country of the upper midwest... (more)

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