Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Hubris of Gun Control

I've read, here and there, some commentary to the effect of 'Military style weapons do not need to be owned by civilians because nobody has invaded us for x many years, so they never will.'

This, more than any immediate tyranny of our own government, is wind we should be tacking against. While it is certainly of great concern to a free people that their government not fail or, in the extreme, attack them, we still maintain at least a functioning government. Until such time as the ballot box no longer functions, we still can avail ourselves of it. On the other hand, our nation is still beset by powerful enemies; the arrogance that we are untouchable by an enemy is a hubris that can cost us not only our rights, but our very nation.

Disarmament has historically led to few worthwhile outcomes. In Russia, Germany, and Cambodia, the atrocities were domestic, perpetrated by a government against its own people. In England, France, and Belgium, the post-war drawdown of military strength left them ill prepared to resist invasion. In the UK and Australia, civilian disarmament has, perhaps, led to a smaller proportion of gun crime, but increases in general violent crime negate much of that. In the process, further reforms have led to the unfortunate instance of severe prosecution for honorable self-defense. The current state of Central Africa is such that the only weapons are in the hands of marauders and warlords, with large portions of the population in refugee camps that are regularly attacked by outside forces. To believe, in our arrogance, that it would have an entirely different effect here than in any other corner of the globe borders on the absurd.

The notion that we require no civilian strength due to our military prowess and recent history is to ignore the vast majority of military experience, as well as to refuse the lessons inherent in every other nation's heritage. No nation in history has been entirely immune to military invasion. I see no driving reason that this is suddenly invalid. As regards military experience, one has only to discuss ground troop operations with any veteran of our most recent wars to know that one of the most serious threats to their safety is an armed civilian populace. This was made painfully apparent in Southeast Asia, during the wars in Korea and Vietnam, and has continued to bear out in actions in Afghanistan and Iraq. To dismiss this experience is to act without regard for the threats to our military forces and an abject failure to apply the lessons learned by our military to our national security.

The sheer arrogance of believing so strongly in our own moral authority is staggering. In the face of such enemies as we currently face, it would be a great error to open ourselves to this threat. Even a strong man can be felled by a lesser in a fight, if he lets his guard down. Our civilian ownership of firearms is a part of that guard. It would surpass arrogance, and move firmly into the realm of abject foolishness, for us to lay aside that safeguard.

1 comment: