Let’s examine America’s relationship with guns – past, present, and future. In this second post in a two-part series, I’d like to make a case in defense of self-defense.
What case can be made for owning firearms? What response do we give those on the Left who openly question our need for semi-automatic handguns, high-capacity magazines, or “assault rifles”? Do we indeed have an alienable right to and need for self-defense?
In Part I of this two-part series we addressed how God calls for us to submit to the governing authorities. But what does that look like in a representative form of government like ours? The Apostle Paul was writing to the church in Rome at a time when the Roman Empire had a very different form of government to ours in modern America. But how does following Romans 13 look in relation to the Constitution of the United States of America? Would Paul have written the same letter to an American church as he wrote to the Roman church?
Historically Americans have had the right of self-defense.
Consider the text of the 2nd Amendment:
“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
What does that mean? Firstly, we see that there is such a thing as “the right of the people to keep and bear arms.”
We see also in The Declaration of Independence this fundamental, foundational assumption that mankind has certain inalienable rights fleshed out and expanded upon:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…”
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…
“That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Remember how we read in the Apostle Paul’s epistle to the church in Rome that “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Now we read in America’s founding documents. ‘We the People’ have certain inalienable rights. Our government’s purpose is to protect those rights.
We also see plainly that governments sometimes become destructive rather than protective of the rights of those they govern. And when that occurs, it is the right of the People to alter or abolish their government. Perhaps this is as relevant a truth to the problems of modern America as it was to the Founding Fathers before the Revolutionary War.
But how does a governed people alter or abolish a tyrannical government once it is disarmed?
Consider the abuses which an unarmed people can be subjected to. Indeed, unarmed people have been subjected to them all over the world and in every period and culture of human history when they had no means of resisting. Look at Nazi (National Socialist) Germany, Communist China, and Soviet Russia to name the three most notable, egregious, and familiar modern examples, whose governments murdered tens of millions of their own citizens in pursuit of godless, amoral, utopian societies.
Then consider the words of our first President:
“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…”
– George Washington, First Annual Address, to both House of Congress, January 8, 1790
And consider the words of our third President:
“The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
– Thomas Jefferson, Commonplace Book (quoting 18th century criminologist Cesare Beccaria), 1774-1776
So much for gun-control arguments.
Progressives are carrying out a gradual, subtle second revolution.
After Dylann Roof opened fire in a Charleston church in June, the Confederate flag was forcibly removed from all public places as a symbol of racism and hate. It’s crime? Guilt by association for the deaths of nine black Americans in that shooting when a photo of Dylann Roof with a Confederate flag surfaced.
Strangely, no sooner had the Confederate Flag been demonized and forced out, but the Left began a campaign to remove all memory of Confederate persons from public places on the grounds that the Confederacy had defended slavery, and therefore any memory of it or honor given to those who defended it is also inherently racist.
The fact that Thomas Jefferson was not around during the Civil War didn’t matter. It was enough of a crime that Jefferson had owned slaves for many to begin advocating removal of memorials to our nation’s third president. Indeed, a story on Missourian from just 19 hours ago tells me that Thomas Jefferson’s statue is even now facing protest. University of Missouri students are now demanding this symbol of hate and oppression be removed from their campus.
Our nation’s history is being rewritten. Not only Thomas Jefferson, but all of America’s Founding Fathers are being dismissed one by one as a lot of rich slave-owning white men. But how convenient is that, discrediting those men when the documents they gave us – The Declaration of Independence and The United States Constitution – have turned out to be such inconvenient hindrances to the Progressive agenda of fundamentally transforming America into a Utopian Socialist dreamland?
Tragically, the status quo is morphing. Those regarding the Constitution or Declaration of Independence as shields against government overreach and infringement of “inalienable rights” are presumed guilty by association of racism, sexism, and counter-productive, counter-progressive thinking.
The Left wants your guns.
Lots of gun control memes and articles are appearing in my Facebook newsfeed lately. True to his word, President Obama politicized the shootings which took place at Umpqua Community College in Oregon. He did this as quickly as possible, coming out in a press conference where he pushed for new “common sense” gun-control measures like those found in Australia and the UK. Many left-leaning media outlets, journalists, and citizens are taking up this cause with renewed vigor, obviously in the hope that now is the time to accomplish some more of their much-lauded fundamental transformation of America.
Many on the Right have warned us for years. The Progressive vision won’t be content with universal background checks. Registration of all firearms, or banning certain types of guns or high-capacity magazines isn’t enough. Those are just creeping measures toward the Left’s ultimate goal: abolishing the 2nd Amendment; prohibiting private American citizens from owning firearms because they don’t trust you and I with power.
The Left has refused to flat out tell us their desire to abolish the 2nd Amendment. That would be blatantly unconstitutional. So they don’t go straight for the jugular. They boil us slowly by degrees like so many frogs in a pot of water.
To be fair, many Democrats in the House and Senate don’t want outright banning of gun ownership. Their constituents who enjoy hunting or sport shooting would be up in arms, literally and figuratively, at any effort to take away their guns. But of course these Democrats are derided by President Obama and the Far Left as puppets of the NRA. Their objections are dismissed as a sort of corrupt subversion of the will of the majority of Americans which only the donations of powerful lobbies like the NRA could explain.
The Democratic party is increasingly radical, leaving little to no room for moderates.
The Far Left has become the mainstream Democratic Party. DNC Chairwomen Debbie Wasserman Schultz from Florida is unable to articulate the difference between a Democrat and a Socialist. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is doing quite well running for the Democratic nomination for President. President Obama had to conceal his true ideology in order to win two presidential elections. But much has changed. Senator Sanders touts his Socialism openly. His record on gun-control is mixed, but he came out in favor of President Obama’s remarks concerning tighter gun laws after the UCC shooting.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now mirrors and even one-ups some of Sanders’ Socialist positions to regain lost support. Just this week she came out with aggressive gun-control proposals to pursue if she’s elected.
And we know what Vice President Joe Biden thinks, though it’s still unclear whether he’s running for President in 2016 or not. His now famous advice to “go buy a double-barreled shotgun,” firing both its rounds outside your house in an emergency also included assurances that you don’t need an AR-15 and 30 rounds for self-defense. Aren’t you glad we’ve got Joe Biden to tell us what we do and don’t need?
Increasingly desperate to achieve their goals, the Democrats will be decreasingly subtle about their true aims. You and I need to know where we stand on these issues, and unfortunately we’ll almost certainly be forced to take a stand. The Left believes in their vision and is willing to push hard for it. We need not only something to believe in. We need conviction so we’re not dissuaded, swept off our feet by clever, manipulative schemes designed to turn us into defenseless slaves to their boundless whims and machinations.
My love of peace fuels my defense of self-defense.
Because I love peace and was raised with certain remnants of pacifism in my upbringing, there is in me an ardent desire to find peaceable solutions for the conflicts I see broiling in American society. As both a Christian and an American citizen I have come to believe we possess certain responsibilities which ought not be shirked, namely:
“If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
That said, we need to recognize the implication inherent to this passage of Scripture. First, it is not always possible to live peaceably with all. Second, it does not entirely depend on you.
Just consider the plight of Christians, Yazidis, and other minorities who are being driven from their homes and slaughtered en masse by the ravenous forces of ISIS. There’s no mercy, no pity shown by these murderous savages as they torture and kill men, women, and children. With these Islamist men, such as they are, it is not possible to live peaceably. It does not ultimately and exclusively depend on us.
These brutes are hell-bent on our destruction, regardless what we might do short of capitulation and surrender. But that we cannot and will not do. We in the West would do well to recognize how open ISIS has been about their ambitions of global domination. They’ve told us unceasingly of their hatred for America and the West, and of their infiltration of our communities by assassins waiting for the right time to strike.
Remember again in Part I of this two-part series how we examined the wisdom of King Solomon:
“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:…a time for war, and a time for peace.”
If now is not a time for war, when is?
Si vis pacem, para bellum – “If you want peace, prepare for war.”
Considering these things, we Americans would be utter fools to allow ourselves to be disarmed, easy prey for the ravenous wolves of the world, and any government which would order us to disarm in a time such as this would show itself, not as a “[securer of] these rights” which are “most likely to effect [our] Safety and Happiness,” but rather as “destructive of these ends” and inviting us to exercise our “Right of the People to alter or to abolish it.”
And so I plead with my fellow Americans diligently, respectfully, and thoughtfully. Maintain our right to self-defense.
Because ISIS uses non-conventional, non-linear tactics, reliance on the police and military is inadequate. The terrorists have openly, proudly declared war against men, women, and children, especially the families of those who serve or have served in the military. And I for one am unwilling to leave an opening for them to wage their war unopposed.
“When seconds count, the police are only minutes away.”
I believe in self-defense because I am Pro-Life.
I like reading history, not least the parts about war, and there’s no shortage of those parts to read. Most of my favorite movies are historical tales of war and conflict. Back in the day, I even played my fair share of violent video games.
Even now my favorite pastime besides writing is playing strategy games like Sid Meier’s Civilization V. When I play, I’m a fan of “peace through strength,” the ancient military maxim. I’m unlikely to declare war on anyone except an aggressive, war-mongering neighbor. Yet I maintain a strong enough economy and military to where I’m prepared to fight and win a war waged against me.
In real life, I personally own guns. I have tactical gear. I’ve even dabbled with throwing knives and an 8-foot boar spear I bought on a whim to make true the literal meaning of my name – Garrett, “Spear ruler.” So pity the fool that breaks in to do harm to my household. As with my approach to strategy games on the computer, I have no interest in or desire to start fights. But I am committed to winning any fight someone foolishly picks with me.
As Jesus said,
“No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.”
And I have no intention of being bound.
Love for my family fuels my defense of self-defense.
My support for gun ownership and protecting our 2nd Amendment rights isn’t about hatred of criminals, terrorists, or anyone else. Nor do I love violence, bravado, and machismo toughness. I feel no love for the polarized Right-Left divide for its own sake. I’m not in opposition to the Democrats for opposition’s sake.
Love for my wife and children is what drives my stance on these issues. You cannot dissuade me from believing it’s my sacred duty as husband and father to protect and defend my family. If someone breaks into our home in the middle of the night, I should be the one to confront him. And when I do confront, I should do my best to make sure he doesn’t get past me. After all, an intruder getting past me can get to my wife and children.
And that, in so many words, is my defense of self defense. And I would ask those on the American Left what legitimate objection they can possibly have to the assertions of our Founding Fathers, summarized well by our first President, George Washington.
“A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…”
Will “We the people” remain a free people, or will we allow ourselves to become slaves? The choice is ours to make.