Right Questions Can Help the Uninformed Think Past Anti-Gun Disinformation
It’s time to revisit some basic questions I’ve asked before in columns of mine that have long since disappeared from the internet. It’s time because of the contempt gun owners continually receive from the media and from “progressive” politicians and activists, it’s time because the questions are still valid, and it’s time because it looks like things are starting to heat up.
When did self-defense become morally wrong?
If someone violently attacks me or my family, is it wrong for me to resist? Do I not have a right to life?
Forget about me. How about your elderly mother?
If someone with intent to rob, degrade, beat, rape and butcher attacks her, would she be morally at fault for protecting herself?
How about it? Does this elderly woman have the right to repel a monster?
Yes or no?
I suspect, if put in those stark terms, the outcome of most polls would shift dramatically in favor of the right to individual defense. This, in turn, opens the door to discuss which means of defense is most effective at deterring an assailant, especially one who can brutally overpower his intended victim.
The message for which those of us in the pro-gun owner rights camp are vilified is no more complicated than this: Each of us has a right not to be hurt by someone else, and if someone tries to hurt us, we have a right to protect ourselves.
The corollary to this fundamental truth is equally simple: We cannot effectively protect ourselves without possessing the means of defense.
Let me ask another basic question. What is a right?
Is it something that is granted by a government authority? If so, how does that differ from a privilege? Can something that is granted be withheld? Can something that is licensed be revoked?
Are rights not unalienable? Do they not precede the establishment of government? Are they not, in fact, outside the authority of government? Does our Second Amendment say the right it articulates “may be infringed” or “shall not be infringed”?
Recognizing the dangers of “pure democracy” mob rule, our Bill of Rights defined some of the areas where the individual would be immune to the will of the collective. What this means is, no matter how many of us disagree with you, we cannot lawfully use force to shut you up, to suppress your political views, or to make you worship in the way we see fit. We cannot break into your house and search your property without probable cause and a legal warrant. We can’t torture you into confessing to a crime. Barring behaviors on your part to disqualify yourself through incarceration after being afforded full due process protections, we cannot strip you of your right to keep and bear arms.
Still, there are those among us who would decry that right as being the product of a different era, as being outdated, irrelevant, and an actual detriment to life, liberty and happiness in our modern era of enlightenment.
To these people I would ask: what about human nature has changed?
In the previous century that saw two world wars, continual violent political upheaval, genocide and systemic, brutal tyranny and repression, and noting the continuation into this century, has humanity truly demonstrated a benevolence and maturity that distinguishes our era from those that preceded us? In a culture that breeds gang warfare, rampant violence, city-crippling riots and a national murder rate measured in the tens of thousands, how can anyone credibly claim that the need for individual defense is a relic of the past?
And ultimately, what is this “outdated” Second Amendment really about, if not the preservation of a free people when all other options to defend life and liberty have been exhausted? Against all enemies, individual and aggregated, foreign and domestic…
Here is where we must face the core meaning of the awesome power and responsibility that this “obsolete” right places squarely in the hands of “We the People.” Because, ultimately, what this right guarantees you is not a gun, but a choice. A choice, in the final analysis, to submit to evil or to fight it, literally…
You can’t pass this off on your neighbor who has time for these kinds of things. You can’t hire someone to come out and do this for you. You can’t elect someone to represent you on the green. You must make a choice, and then you must act upon it.
Would you shrink from this decision? If so, can you morally wrest this choice from someone who refuses to relinquish it, and do so under force of state-controlled arms?
To those who feel this is too dangerous, that it is uncalled for, that it is unneeded because we have the vote, or courts, or the right to speak, that we have evolved beyond such crude reminders of our barbaric past, I must ask where in history is any civilization guaranteed stasis? Has not despotism and mass destruction plagued every civilization that preceded ours? Is it not, in fact, still commonplace throughout the globe?
By what suspension of reality, by what denial of the observable and the probable, by what art, device or magic are we sheltered few immune from catastrophe? Are we certain, from our brief and privileged vantage point, that such things will never affect us personally? Is it not just plain stupid to proclaim that our familiar way of life will forever be the norm, when everything that has gone before us shows we are, instead, the extremely lucky beneficiaries of a rare and fortunate convergence of circumstances; and one, by the way, that has only been preserved under force of arms?
And one that appears to be in for some major and imminent upheaval? With what’s going on now, at our time in history, with domestic enemies emboldened and encouraged by those who control through manipulation and force, what do you think?
If you know anyone you’d like to ask these questions of, do so. You won’t change any closed minds, but you may open some distracted ones.
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David Codrea’s opinions are his own. See “Who speaks for Oath Keepers?“