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rebuttals to "Gun Control"
Writing for the "progressive" media outlet Vox, Matthew Yglesias tells us that, "We shouldn't talk about Ferguson without talking about guns." Not the guns that Michael Brown did not have when Officer Darren Wilson shot and killed him, and not really about the gun Wilson used for the shooting, either, but the guns owned by scores of millions of private citizens:
If we the people were not so well armed, you see, law enforcement officers, secure in their "government monopoly on force," would feel safe enough to "police" us without shooting us. He continues:
Left unexplained is why law enforcement should be better armed than private citizens. Tench Coxe reminded us in 1788 that, "Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birth-right of an American ... the unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people." If the citizenry is to be as well armed as our nation's soldiers, we should certainly be far better armed than all but the most militarized police (and Yglesias himself has decried the militarization of law enforcement). But it's not just the kinds of guns available to private citizens--Yglesias objects to the simple numbers of them:
Anyone who feels such crippling fear at the idea of a citizenry that enjoys a Constitutionally guaranteed fundamental human right to the exercise of the palladium of liberty should probably find a different trade. Professional knitting, perhaps, if all the big needles are not too terrifying.
Furthermore, with the number of firearms (hundreds of millions) in circulation in the U.S., how long should we be willing to wait for a radical forcible citizen disarmament campaign to reduce that number to the point that jumpy cops won't be so quick on the trigger? How many years, decades, centuries? And when we add to the mix the rapidly maturing technology that allows people to easily build firearms at home (and don't forget guns stolen from the "authorities," and guns smuggled in from elsewhere), are we not talking about millennia, perhaps eternity?
We have seen this before. Josh Horwitz, executive director of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, has argued that any tendency on the part of law enforcement to be overly quick on the trigger is a function of the "unbelievable amount of firepower" on the streets. Supposedly "conservative" David Frum contends that the militarization of police is the result of "guns in the hands of the policed" (yep-his term for a supposedly free people is "the policed"). A disturbingly large number agree with him.
Later in the article, Yglesias briefly flirts with rationality, if, at any rate, one accepts for the sake of argument his premise that more privately owned guns leads to more police shootings:
Unfortunately, it was not to last:
It's not only, in other words, that cops are scared of private citizens with guns, but that they're particularly frightened of Black citizens with guns. Yglesias certainly is not going to bring up the fact that "gun control" in this country first came about to keep former slaves unarmed and helpless, and that America's first "gun control" organization was the KKK.
The message, though, is that because nervous cops get trigger happy around armed (even potentially armed) African-Americans, we all should submit to the trampling of our right to keep and bear arms.
This--disarm, or the government's enforcers are going to continue to shoot you whether or not you're armed and/or pose a threat--sounds an awful lot like political extortion, which is another name for terrorism.
No. If the government's hired muscle is shooting too many people, too indiscriminately, the answer is not to voluntarily surrender the means of defending against them. If they are unnecessarily shooting people out of fear, it's well past time for them to stop shooting, out of a much greater fear of the consequences of such shootings. That greater fear can only be imposed by people equipped to make shooting citizens unnecessarily a terminally dangerous activity.
Anything less is surrender.
A former paratrooper, Kurt Hofmann was paralyzed in a car accident in 2002. The helplessness inherent to confinement to a wheelchair prompted him to explore armed self-defense, only to discover that Illinois denies that right, inspiring him to become active in gun rights advocacy. He also writes the St. Louis Gun Rights Examiner column. Kurt Hofmann Archive.