And find naught but dire warnings.
The right to Arms is a core principle of the American Constitution. It was instrumental in the formation of our country, it is a central tenet of our government structure, and while many today argue that it is an anachronism, it continues to be a reserve for our future protection.
Much is made of the Second Amendment being a 'Doomsday Provision,' to ward off imposed tyranny. While I agree that this is, indeed, a factor of its application, I find the focus on it, especially from our camp, a little bit disconcerting. For one, it opens us up to being painted as traitors and insurrectionists; its very hard to simultaneously argue that we are patriots while asserting that we have arms to ward off the encroachment of the state, which we argue is made up of the people (or ought to be), which is in fact, us.
What is so often overlooked is the fact that we are still the stalwart line of defense for this nation. Oh yes, I know the arguments- this is an age of jets and bombs, airstrikes and machine guns. We wouldn't stand a chance against an invading army. To some extent, there is truth there. It would indeed be difficult to turn back a well armed military with air support and armor. But is that really the threat?
I would like to turn your attention to the nation of Mali, in Central Africa. Mali is a country roughly twice the size of Texas, with 14 million people. Mali has seen a rough patch, undergoing a string of coups that stripped its military of leadership and allowed their supply chain to wither and become obsolete. Their defense budget was slashed to try and prevent the military from holding too much power, and instability left their borders open to revolt and invasion, and so revolt and invasion began. Currently, a force of irregular troops (identified as Islamist Rebels) hold large portions of the country. When they attack, the Malian troops flee and desert. The French military is conducting operations to try and turn back the tide, but are receiving little to no support internationally. And so, Malians die in the interim.
When we talk of the 'well-regulated militia,' we are talking of the ability of the average citizen to defend his homeland against invasion or usurpation. Looking through some numbers on Mali (from Wikipedia, but apparently sourced from the 2007 Small Arms survey) there are roughly 160,000 civilian owned firearms in Mali (14.5 million people x 1.1 Firearms/100 people). If we assume each gun owner only has a single gun, that means only 1.1% of the population is armed. If we assume anyone owns more than one (which is highly likely) that drops rapidly below 1%. An unarmed population has absolutely NO CHANCE to defend their nation against an invasion. Take into consideration that the military of Mali was stripped bare from it's previously well-supplied levels, and are currently more likely to run away than do battle with the invaders, and the Republic of Mali is totally defenseless in the face of a ground attack that carries no air support, no official chain of command, and has no official uniform.
Someone, I'm sure, will argue that we are not Mali, that it 'can't happen here', that they are not a developed nation like us, and to them I say, 'Bull$#!*.' Mali was once one of the ruling nations in all of Africa, a beacon of civilization. They have a Constitutional Republic which they have been unable to keep. IT CAN HAPPEN HERE! We are not special in this regard- we don't have some magical pixie dust of America. If we truly accept that all people are created equal, we have to admit that what is happening in Mali can, in turn, happen to us IF WE LET IT. And people, denying the right of sovereign American Citizens to bear arms is a big step in letting it. Don't let that be taken away.