L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 150, December 3, 2001
NOBODY TRUSTS THE GOVERNMENT
Terrorism vs. Tyranny - Which Is More Dangerous?
Special to TLE
Americans are certainly up to the task of getting back to our normal lives - I'd trust any U.S. citizen to unfailingly choose the best option for long-distance phone service, or the best accessory package on a new minivan. As far as our ability to respond intelligently, rationally, or effectively to terrorism, I have my doubts.
We lost nearly 4,000 innocent citizens on September 11th, but our spoiled and historically clueless culture seems oblivious to the well-documented fact that consistently, an average country the size of the U.S. will use its police and military to murder that many of their own citizens every three weeks. According to R.J. Rummel ( Death by Government ISBN 1-56000-145-3), other nations have killed an average of 4,635 innocent civilians per day for the past 100 years - at about 1/25th the world population, our "share" would be 67,671 deaths every year. In Death by Gun Control, (ISBN 0-9642304-6-1) Zelman & Stevens point out that such genocides only happen in countries where "reasonable" gun laws like "registration" were instituted "to fight crime and terrorism." Thus, governments are considerably more dangerous to their own citizens than crime, gun accidents, and suicide combined, and yes - even terrorism. Their weapon? - gun control.
Other than the warm and fuzzy feeling we get when we compromise, what wonderous benefits of gun control could possibly offset such irreversable dangers...?
Overall suicide rates do not vary with gun laws (switching methods saves no lives), gun accidents are at an all time low despite an enormous increase in gun ownership, and most criminologists now feel that strict gun laws tend to increase murder rates, if they affect it at all. Fortunately, perhaps because more states are making it easy for ordinary citizens to carry concealed weapons, murder rates are also on the decline. It is also obvious that tough gun laws aren't going to stop terrorists using ordinary boxcutters to overpower crew and passengers already disarmed by useless, symbolic gun laws.
We have been spared genocide, because the authors of our Constitution were wise enough to stifle the seeds of tyranny with a Bill of Rights which specifically prohibits "gun control." In a series of amendments dealing with the timeless balance of power between government and citizen, only a blithering idiot could interpret the Second Amendment as meant simply to arm a federalized National Guard, which as a standing army is the antithesis of a "well-regulated militia," or that alongside the other lofty rights of citizens our founders decided to assure deer hunters a successful season by allowing merely those types of firearms "suitable for legitimate sporting purposes."
Our founders wrote the Bill of Rights during a time when terrorism very much existed, in the form of roving bands of guerilla fighters who would kill innocent civilians, in return for bounties paid for their scalps, and biowarfare consisted of sealed barrels of smallpox-victims' blankets presented as "peace offerings" to kill off the mercenaries and their families after they had served their purpose. The Bill of Rights contains no "exceptions" to any of the first ten amendments during times of "national crisis" or "terrorism" or whatever else might panic our pusillanimous politicians into passing "antiterrorism" bills they admit they've not even read. Neither terrorism nor corrupt political leadership are new concepts, so as we celebrate Bill of Rights Day, let's keep that in mind, and maybe instead of buying another flag to wave, spend the dime calling congress and reminding them why Americans have guns. (Hint - it's the same reason citizens living under the Taliban regime didn't have them).
Andrew Johnstone, RPh/MD