We who hold that the 2nd Amendment has nothing to do with duck hunting often face derision from those who want to ban guns for holding to an “outdated” system of belief. They have apparently moved on from their inane and plainly ridiculous claim that the 2nd was intended as a “collective” right to now arguing that the whole bill of rights is “outdated”. I wish I was being dramatic, but when the mayor of New York City goes on the airwaves and says that “…our laws, and our interpretation of the Constitution, I think, have to change.” it sure as hell seems like they’re taking issue with the very notion of freedom as it has been known in American society since the founding. They’ve taken the “outdated” theme to the airwaves with what they think is clever marketing. Behold:
My friend Todd noted the irony of using modern means of mass communication to argue that the freedoms protected by the Bill of Rights are hopelessly outdated. Even more delicious is the depiction of an active shooter who has to reload his musket, but is otherwise completely untroubled by the circumstances. He’s got time to reload. Plenty of it. Meanwhile his intended victims are stuck waiting for somebody with a gun to show up and shoot him. Thank you, whoever made that ad, for proving how tenuous your grip on the nature of the problem is. Unfortunately the banners have no appreciation of irony. They typically argue that in a civil society there’s no need for you or I to have firearms in our possession for the purposes of self defense. The cops will handle it, you see.
Then came Watertown. Last week at about this time the FBI released information on the two men they suspected of planting the bombs at the Boston Marathon that killed three and maimed dozens more. Shortly thereafter a police officer was murdered, a 7-11 was robbed, and police found themselves in a shootout with the two Chechen terrorists responsible for the bombing. This wasn’t happening in Iraq or Afghanistan…it was happening in the streets of a suburb. Residents pulled out cameras and documented the firefight complete with improvised explosives that sent stray rounds through several houses, left one of the terrorists dead, the other wounded, and a police officer fighting for his life.
Immediately thereafter a law enforcement presence just this side of a full-scale military invasion descended on the area as the police hunted for the terrorist. Every agency that had sworn personnel responded to the area from Diplomatic Security to Postal Inspectors. Every bit of surveillance technology in the law enforcement arsenal was on scene looking for the remaining terrorist. Every cop out there had the same sick feeling in their gut, praying that this terrorist hadn’t busted into one of the houses and hunkered down with some hostages.
It’s rare that I use Facebook to just rant, but watching the largest manhunt since the 9/11 attacks as they searched house to house for a violent jihadist, I couldn’t help but note:
“With a terrorist on the loose and literally thousands of police and even military officials searching to no avail, suddenly the idea of having an AR-15 handy to keep a dangerous terrorist from conducting his grand finale in *your* house with *your* loved ones starts to make a hell of a lot of sense, don’t it?”
One 19 year old Chechen terrorist laid bare the myth of police protection as peddled by the Bloombergs of the world. The police certainly tried their best to find the scumbag and there were plenty of men willing to face the realistic possibility of death to stop him from doing any more damage. In yet another example of what I wrote about in A World Without Guns, a group of willing men prepared to use violence in the defense of the innocent got together and hunted ceaselessly for this guy. The fault isn’t with them, it’s with the circumstances they operate under. As laudable as their intentions are, the fact is that even with thousands of police in the street in a relatively small area thought to contain the bad guy, they couldn’t be everywhere. Even with the best surveillance tools modern technology had to offer they couldn’t know his exact location. In the end, the police didn’t find him…the terrorist was located by a dude who went out for a smoke on his back porch.
You know what was stopping that terrorist from busting into someone’s house and taking a family of innocents with him in a grand ending to this horrific spree of violence?
Nothing. Not even thousands of federal, state, and local police officers on the scene actively hunting for this guy. As the old saying goes, when seconds count help was minutes away. If the police couldn’t guarantee people’s safety in this scenario with all these resources and all this attention, can anyone still rationally argue that police response is all the protection you need? The horror in Boston was yet another demonstration of the unpleasant truth that a bad man’s capacity for violence is only realistically limited when effective resistance shows up. Even when there’s a massive manhunt going on a couple of blocks over, getting that effective resistance from wherever it is to the place it is needed takes time. Time is something you don’t have in abundance when you’re targeted by evil.
The founders did not have a crystal ball. They didn’t have the capacity to imagine the way technological capability has shaped our society. What they had that we have lost, however, is a keen insight into the reality of human nature. Nothing illustrates this better than a photo from the scene of that shootout in Watertown. Note the “Coexist” bumper sticker on the hijacked car. A bumper sticker that expresses a desire for people to put aside their differences and live together in peace.
The owner of that rolling billboard for Kumbaya was carjacked at gunpoint by two guys waging jihad for the glory of Islam fresh off the ambush-style murder of a police officer.
In the book of Romans (12:18) St. Paul wrote: “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” demonstrating that even in the New Testament which is full of exhortations to forgo vengeance, turn the other cheek, and pray for those who slander you there is the recognition that peace isn’t a one way street. Earlier in the Gospel of John, Jesus Himself told His disciples to carry a sword. Even the Bible recognizes that you can’t live in peace with the Tsarnaevs or Dormers or Lanzas or Hassans or Joel Abners of the world…because they won’t allow it.
The founders were not idiots. They understood this. They knew that there could come a time in a nation’s history or in an individual’s life when they had to reach for a gun to protect those things that are worth defending. The Declaration of Independence is, in essence, a document outlining the reasons why the colonies were reaching for their guns in the dispute with the crown. The 2nd Amendment is not number 2 on the list by accident. It holds such a high rank because the founders knew that what we love…our freedom, our family…is ultimately protected at the muzzle of a gun, not by high minded ideals. Those ideals only have force when good men are willing and able to use violence to protect them. Note that none of the police officers hunting the Tsarnaev brothers were doing so with a fountain pen. In the aftermath of the violence we didn’t call in philosophers or ethicists…we mobilized a bunch of dudes with guns.
Moral people respect one another’s rights and freedoms, but only a damn fool believes that human beings as a whole are moral. They aren’t. This latest example in Boston shows yet again that some people would rather die than let someone else live in peace. The solution to this sort of person is the Head On! application of hollowpoints. Not because I decree it so, but because they do. As I’ve noted before, we recognize this on a visceral level even if the more daft among us would like to pretend it isn’t true.
Given that this is the tragedy of human nature, we’re left with the question of what to do about it. Those who argue that dialing 911 is sufficient protection had their argument dashed in rather spectacular fashion last week. A police presence far more massive than anything you’ll see anywhere else in our nation couldn’t manage to contain and stop one guy. Thank goodness it appears that the weaker of the two brothers survived the initial firefight with the police. If he had decided to kick down a door and take some hostages it would have been ugly.
…but terrorists and bad men of every stripe would find it much more difficult to inflict mayhem on decent people if behind the door of every household they intended to victimize was a man or woman armed with an effective weapon and fully prepared to spill every last vile drop of their blood rather than let harm come to the innocent.
The argument for self defense isn’t outdated…it is timeless. Every bit as valid on April 19, 2013 as it was on April 19, 1775. The media seemed eager to blame the Boston bombing on those hoping to start another Revolutionary War. In reality the perpetrators of this horrific act were doing it for the usual reasons…namely for their notion of the glory of Islam. Unintentionally, though, their murder of innocents reminds us of what was at stake on April 19, 1775 and why it’s important to always keep the option of reaching for the gun on the table.
To paraphrase Han Solo, promises from politicians and 911 operators are no substitute for a good blaster at your side. The founders understood this and that’s why they put the right to a good blaster at your side as number 2 on the list. The Bloombergs of the world are certainly entitled to believe that the idea of freedom and self determination are outdated and incompatible with their notion of modernity…just as I’m entitled to call them out for the fools they are and resist them at every turn. Instead of believing vapid promises from politicians and ridiculously hypocritical media figures, I’ll stick with what has worked for almost two and a half centuries. To quote from the Heller decision:
“Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment. We do not interpret constitutional rights that way. Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g. Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U.S. 844, 849 (1997) and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g. Kyllo v United States, 533 U.S. 27, 35-36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding” Page 8, D.C. v Heller 2007