Soviet Russia, Fascist Italy, Nazi Germany, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, Communist North Korea, Communist China, Hutu Rwanda, Young Turks Ottoman Empire; this only begins the list of genocide and oppression by government entities which occurred in the last 100 years. Do you scoff and roll your eyes as you see where I am going with this? Why do people think that it could not happen here?
Cliche I suppose will be the accusation, as if the argument needs to be changed to remain relevant. But this argument that we cannot and should not trust our government is more relevant than ever. What exactly makes America different than any of those other countries? Sure, it is a different time (in only some cases, and only by a few years) with (mostly) different people, but are we that confident that humanity has matured to such a degree that atrocities would not be carried out on a large scale again? Currently in many parts of the world genocide and mass murder of political dissidents occur daily: in North Korea, many parts of Africa, and many countries in the middle east. Those are the easy ones to recognize. Still Russia oppresses their people, as well as China, Cuba, and some South American countries.
What makes America so different? Are we so full of ourselves to think that we are more mature, more caring, more humane than the rest of the world? Do we seriously believe that given the circumstances, people in power here would not act the same as those in power elsewhere? Given the chance would the sociopaths we regularly elect to government not behave the same as the despots and tyrants throughout the world and throughout history?
Do you know what the difference is? The great equalizer; the tool that has allowed an unprecedented amount of equality between the peasants and the rulers: the firearm. I hear the response: “You could never match the power of our military with the puny guns you have, you would be massacred even if you tried to resist a tyrannical government. They could obliterate you now if they wanted to, so accept the probability that they will not, and give up your gun, so that we will be safer as a society”.
Well in that case we should have been able to own military grade weapons all along—in fact private citizens provided much of the artillery when America fought for freedom against an oppressive monarchy in England. Oh and the whole thing about giving up our guns to make everyone more safe? Never has an argument been so thoroughly debunked. I won’t go into it now (See the CDC study on guns used in self defense, or the Harvard study on the ineffectiveness of gun control), but here is a must watch short video about the recent gun confiscation and subsequent crime wave in Australia.
When Great Britain faced the threat of invasion from Germany during WWII, America asked for a collection of private firearms to send to the people of England (who had already been mostly disarmed by their government) so that in the event of a full scale German invasion, there would be resistance around every corner, in every nook and cranny of the island.
How has the extreme superiority of weaponry worked out so far for the American military in Afghanistan? A new book by Steven Halbrook is being released about the confiscation of Jews’ guns in Nazi Germany—I know, so cliche, but stay with me. He says that the main parallel between pre-WWII Germany and the U.S. now in terms of gun laws, are the widespread registration of those with guns. He argues that the failure to prevent that list from falling into the Nazi’s hands is what allowed them to disarm Jews before rounding them up to be sent to concentration camps. (See the New York newspaper that published a list of firearm owners addresses).
“By contrast, numerous histories of resistance movements in the occupied countries reflect the desperate need for arms. First-hand accounts of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising are an inspiring tribute of how armed Jewish resisters fought the Nazis.”
Pressed on whether allowing Jews to keep firearms would have made much of a difference in the end, given how well-armed the Nazi regime was, Halbrook said it may have made a difference in individual cases.
“Had the Jews not been disarmed, they would have had a better chance to resist and survive, even if only in individual cases or in groups,” he argued. “The broader question is whether anything would have been different if Germany had constitutional traditions similar to the American Bill of Rights and the engagement of the population in exercising these rights, such as a free press and having arms. Even aside from the initial disarming of democratic elements before the general disarming of the Jews, the fanatical disarming of the Jews alone demonstrated that the Nazi regime considered them a threat. Armed Jews and political opponents may have been able to resist arrest and deportation in some cases.”
“…Of course, history can repeat itself, and while it does not always do so, the public needs to be aware of the worst case scenarios.”
And worst case scenarios are exactly what I am talking about. To individuals, having a gun can be the difference between life or death, whether protecting against a home invasion, or defending against a genocidal government. And consider what these individual cases could have collectively meant in reducing the casualties of WWII, and the Holocaust. It’s silly not to plan for the worst case scenario, especially when it takes little effort, and has no detrimental effects, but indeed a positive effect in reducing crime.
If you can think of a legitimate, substantial reason why America is different from other arenas of genocide, other than widespread firearm ownership, please let me know. But as far as I can tell, we need to drop the whole gun control push which makes us defenseless against criminals, and opens the door for radical elements of the government to oppress, and—in the most extreme cases—carry out a genocide. It has happened before, and it could happen again; don’t be one of the sheep who naively believe that our current or future government could never behave as so many other governments have behaved before.