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Thanks to the good folks over at the Buckeye Firearms Association, I have just been "treated" to an hysterical blog entry scribbled by an individual named Paul Helmke, one of the Brady victim disarmament campaigners, pretending to be surprised and outraged that bullets fired from a rifle can actually penetrate multiple layers of Kevlar, the material that the so-called "bulletproof vests" worn by police officers and soldiers are fashioned from.
The technical discussions that this sort of observation engenders are intensely interesting to me -- I was a professional ballistician for seven years -- and I could happily discuss it for hours. However before we go any further, let's get one thing straight, once and for all.
The question Helmke was pretending to ask in his blog entry was "Should The Public Be Able To Get The Types Of Guns We Use In Iraq?". Believe me, coming from someone of his ilk, the question was purely rhetorical.
Nevertheless, here's the answer:
While every human being has a fundamental right to self-defense, and to the means of self defense, that no judge or legislature can alter or deny, America's Founding Fathers determined to protect that right -- by enshrining it among the first ten amendments to the new Constitution, commonly known as the Bill of Rights -- for a specific reason. In their view, effective weapons in private hands guaranteed that government would never be able to ride roughshod over individual rights in the manner so common, then and now, in other parts of the world.
Allow me to put it more bluntly and succinctly -- although it's an indication of how far we've fallen from the Founders' ideal that many people reading this will regard it as controversial, shocking, perhaps even illegal. When the government's minions arrived on your doorstep to take you away, to kidnap your children, to steal your house, to rustle your livestock, or to do anything else to you that struck their fancy, the Founders wanted you and your neighbors to be able to kill them.
That's what the Second Amendment is about, nothing more, nothing less.
And it works, too. Because most Texans had guns in 1836 and knew how to use them, a mere 250 were able to delay a Mexican army 6,100 strong for two weeks at the Alamo, allowing Sam Houston to gather the resources (mostly more Texans with guns) to defeat them at San Jacinto.
Because Texans still had their guns in 1993, fewer than a hundred of them were able to hold off an illegal federal assault force at Waco for 51 days, exposing the "Darth Vader" side of victim disarmament to full public view, forever altering people's view of the real character and purpose of government, and taking each and every one of us through what will prove to have been a major turning-point in the history of America.
Imagine how very differently history might have turned out if most German Jews had possessed good weapons and the will to use them when the Nazis came to collect them and send them off to extermination camps.
Today, the police, in their hundreds of thousands spread across the country, are the "standing army" that the Founding Fathers wanted us to be wary of. The police use of body armor and sophisticated weaponry forbidden to civilians defeats both the letter and spirit of the Second Amendment, exactly like the National Rifle Association's dirty little deals with the various enemies of freedom -- among other things, outlawing so-called "cop-killer" armor-penetrating pistol bullets, and in a blunder all too typical of the NRA, enhancing the government's ability and power to track civilian-owned weapons and owners.
I used to wonder why individuals like Helmke would, in the words of T.D. Melrose, "rather see a woman raped in an alley and strangled with her own pantyhose than see her with a gun in her hand." Long ago, I concluded that they must be stupid, crazy, or evil -- or perhaps some combination of the three -- to advocate the forcible disarmament of those who don't wish to become victims of violent crime. And yet the most recent utterance from the Brady compound goes beyond even that.
There is a close correlation between the disarmament of entire populations and the genocidal crimes that almost invariably follow. Click over to: Innocents Betrayed at the JPFO Store. The correlation is so well-demonstrated by now that Helmke has to be aware of it, and, equally, that his rant against militarily effective weapons could help to bring about millions of deaths at the hands of an American government which has grown more ruthless and brutal with every year that passes, now kidnaps foreign individuals without due process of law and sends them off to secret prisons where they are tortured, sometimes for years, and has already established "relocation camps" to handle all those at home who disagree with its totalitarian policies.
Is that the sort of behavior Helmke wants to see continued and even expanded? We can only shake our heads and wonder, reluctantly assuming the worst. We already know that, on top of everything else, Helmke is a racist. Why else would he imply that it's somehow more acceptable to use this class of weapons in Iraq -- on pregnant widows and 10-year-old goatherds -- than it is for civilians to own them over here?
One point of information: the weapons Helmke whines about are not the massively powerful battle rifles of ages past. In fact, they are lightweight carbines, very little more than rat-shooters and deer rifles. The American military's vaunted M4/M16 shoots a cartridge, .223 Winchester, whose closest relatives in the civilian inventory -- .222 Remington and .222 Magnum -- are primarily used to get rid of woodchucks and prairie dogs. The cartridge that concerns Helmke, 7.62x39 Russian, is actually a bit less powerful than the 113-year-old .30-30.
Kevlar can be made to withstand these and even more substantial cartridges (like .30-06, and .308 Winchester, fired by the M1 Garand and the M14, respectively) but at a cost of increased weight and sweaty discomfort that most police officers have proven unwilling to suffer. No "bulletproof" material can keep a genuine hunting cartridge -- like .375 Holland & Holland Magnum, .416 Rigby, or even the 135 year old military veteran, .45-70) from incapacitating or killing its wearer.
The most interesting fact (I first found it on a blog site called "Huffington Post") is that flimflammers like Helmke are starting to lose their hold over own kind, as -- thanks largely to the Bush Administration's totalitarian excesses -- more and more "liberals" and "progressives" are beginning to see some sense in keeping weapons handy.
That must terrify and dismay the Bradys and their orcs.
Here at JPF0, we work every day to prevent another Holocaust -- while Helmke and his friends are working to make another Holocaust happen.
It's our work at JPFO to see all of the gun laws in this country -- each and every one of which is illegal -- repealed, nullified, or otherwise disposed of. We want the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives abolished, and every one of its current and former employees deeply investigated for their crimes against the Constitution.
Naturally, this is a monstrously enormous task, composed of many smaller tasks that we must choose among, because, being only human, our time, energy, and other resources are finite. It's very tempting to respond to the Bradys and their flunkies with respect to each of their chronic, habitual perversions of the truth, and that's what lots of nominally pro-gun organizations will waste their members' money doing.
But it's more important, strategically and tactically, to discover some way to undercut all of their efforts in a single, sweeping stroke -- for example, by pressing to dispose of all federal and state laws against fullly automatic weapons -- and to make sure they understand that this kind of thing will happen every time they open their mouths to spew their socialist garbage. This will have two effects. First, it will call greater public attention to the real meaning and purpose of the Second Amendment. And second, it will reduce the other side to gibbering paralysis. In fact, to drive the point home, maybe we should call our effort "JPFO's Brady-Inspired Campaign for Fully Automatic Weapons".
I kind of like the sound of that, don't you? --
A fifty-year veteran of the libertarian movement, L. Neil Smith is the Author of 33 books including The Probability Broach, Ceres, Sweeter Than Wine, And Down With Power: libertarian Policy In A Time Of Crisis. He is also the Publisher of The Libertarian Enterprise, now in its 17th year online.
Visit the Neil Smith archive on JPFO.
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