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Random Thoughts on Memorial Day

May 25, 2009

Self-Defense
I got an email labeled “Self Defense” this week from my brother-in-law Michael… a Naval Academy grad who served his country two tours in Viet Nam. It started with a narrative of a guy being awakened by intruders in his own home. The man grabbed a shotgun and went out to see who the heck broke into his house and was soon face-to-face with two men in the dark… one wielding some crowbar-like weapon and coming at him.

The homeowner did the only thing he should have done, and let loose with the scattergun inside his own home. Both intruders went down, one died.

I immediately recognized the story as that of Tony Martin when the text turned to discussing how the owner was subsequently vilified in the press and the intruders, both of whom had a criminal history, were treated as lovable rogues who were mistreated by a vengeful old man who snuffed one out in the prime of young manhood and caused irreparable damage to the other by his unconscionable action.

The true story occurred in the UK, where gun laws slowly crept to the point to where there are just not very many legal ways to use them for self-defense. Granted, had the man NOT had the shotgun he’d have been in the news too (as a death statistic most likely), but in the true tale he was sentenced to life in prison.

How Did We Get Here
Slowly. That’s how. It CAN happen in the US too, despite the fact that our 2nd amendment was put there to eliminate the possibility. You cannot read the writings of Thomas Jefferson without agreeing that he felt the 2nd was there to enable us defend ourselves jointly and individually from whatever danger confronted us, including all forms of two-legged predators.

His writings included statements that an armed populace is a hedge against a tyranical government, and that laws disarming citizens only assured criminals of a safer working environment because those that’d break the law to hurt you would certainly break the laws saying they couldnt have firearms… whereas law-abiding citizens would be by definition disarmed under that circumstance.

“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’s “Commonplace Book,” 1774-1776, quoting Cesare Beccaria’s of “On Crimes and Punishment”

Yep… TJ was the guy that wrote the statement that is the basis for “When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.” Next time you call the guys in the NRA “gun-nuts”… try to recall they are in rather auspicious company.

Changing Times
Some will say that times have changed and the constitution must change with them. Well, for starters… if you believe that, then try changing the constitution, not writing laws that are in direct contradiction to it. “Shall NOT be infringed” has meaning. If you don’t like that part of the constitution, change it by legal means if you can.

Fine, You can Have a Flintlock ONLY
Gotta love that argument that says the 2nd should only apply to guns in existence at the time the constitution was written. Really? If so, are you prepared to only apply the first amendment to handset type… or would you assume it also covers the internet, newspapers, radio, television, etc…?

Most anti-gun people have to do cerebral contortions worthy of an Olympic gymnast to try to make their arguments seem cogent, but the simple fact is they try to interpret every amendment as broadly as possible UNTIL they talk of the 2nd… then suddenly things are different.

Generational Change
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think those that want stringent gun control are *intentionally* disingenuous… I think they are a product of their times, as I am. I was raised by the WW2 generation. The men that affected my life HAD to carry a gun in their early days and it was the only thing between them and survival.

They knew it only performed on command, they were familiar with it, they knew it was a tool for survival. A huge portion of our country was involved in WW2, and their progeny were raised knowing the value of a firearm in keeping ones life.

NEXT!
The crop of adults coming into the world next were raised not by the guys that saved the world from the Axis powers… but by a generation much of whom spent their formative years dodging the draft and or protesting against it during the Viet Nam era. Their parents mostly did not go to war, they argued about it.

Where my parents grew up in a nation largely rural by nature and gun-friendly by design… the new crew grew up with little positive contact with guns. Guns were what criminals used and police had them to fight criminals. The end. Normal people just didnt own them.

Pardon me for not feeling their pain, but the simple fact is their perceptions that guns are evil do not change my constitutionally protected right to bear arms. In truth they are lucky the rest of us exist, because guys that’d do a home breakin don’t know which house I live in and which one they do.

How Does That Work in Reality?
Test it if you like. Put up a sign on your house that says “gun free zone”. Have a neighbor put up one that says “Protected by Smith and Wesson”. If one of them is gonna be subject to a home invasion… it aint gonna be the second one. People that do that sort of thing prefer NOT to get shot. Just works that way.

Media Influence
The media (whether we’re talking news media or entertainment) is also extremely anti-gun… for reasons we can only guess at. Their story is that it is because they are intellectually superior… though I personally consider Thomas Jefferson a helluvalot smarter than Rosey O’Donnell and her ilk.

If More Guns Cause Crime… Do More Spoons Cause Obesity?
Oddly that particular bastion of anti-gun fervor has her own armed bodyguard, and even if you ignore the hypocrisy (oh, it’s ok if somebody ELSE pulls the trigger to keep you safe) and accept the premise of her arguments about guns… you’d have to also accept that the answer to her obesity issues would be to outlaw spoons.

The effect of a media drenched society in which virtually everyone with an outlet to speak thinks guns are evil is that hordes of impressionable minds are led to believe people like Thomas Jefferson either didnt think firearms were appropriate or else the times have changed and NOW we have the police to protect us.

911 – A Great Way to Find the Victim
Police with any integrity will tell you that they cant possibly protect each and every individual. Most I’ve spoken to have taught their own spouse to fire a gun and have one in their home for self-defense. I’d also posit that it is intellectually dishonest to suggest that somehow you think you are clean if you call somebody *else* with a gun to accomplish what is necessary for your own defense.

There’s nothing wrong with calling 911…
But I’d suggest that in a home invasion scenario it’s highest and best use is to get the police there to remove a bleeding criminal from my carpet… not to find my own corpse. It’s my house. If the sumbitch wanted to live he shoulda knocked on the door like everyone else. Sorry, I have no compassion on that score.

You’re just a “gun nut” (aka: My Own Experience)
Actually, I own over a dozen or so, but I have only drawn a gun on a human once in my life. I didnt fire it, but I did convince him not to stab the guy he had on the ground who was helpless and in danger of losing his life. Guns do not always have to be fired to save a life, they’re remarkably effective visual aids, but then stories where somebody *saves* a life without taking one just aren’t newsworthy.

My guess is the guy that was on the ground is happy I had a gun in my car that day, and the attacker that was subsequently arrested after being held at bay (with what he didnt know was an unloaded gun) is probably banging the drum to get handguns outta the clutches of the populace. If you’re anti-gun… remember, so is HE.

Current Issues
The Tony Martin story may have happened in the UK, but it isnt far away here. In the UK, laws restricting guns were passed incrementally over about an 80 year period. Licensing requirements made it easy to ID and confiscate the arms of legitimate owners who would be criminals if they didnt give up their arms when subsequent laws made them illegal. As such I absolutely oppose registration requirements… those only give a government a way to disarm law abiding citizens… and my constitutional rights are only protected by the constitution… not GRANTED by it.

If that sounds like an extreme position… bear in mind it is also a paraphrase of something said by Thomas Jefferson. I’m not the least bit shy in suggesting the architect of many documents building the strongest free nation in the world was smarter than any of the people currently running it.

Memorial Day
Anyway, didnt plan to write a thesis… but those are the thoughts that come to mind on this day when we honor those that’ve donned the uniform to defend our nation and to aid those oppressed. To them I say thank you. Those home safely at peace owe that condition to those that put themselves in harm’s way on our behalf.

God bless each of you, past and present. Thank you for your service.

 

I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.

I'm Rob Jones... and I approve this message.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Nikki permalink
    May 25, 2009 3:55 pm

    Eloquently argued, Rob. I confess that I’ve normally been drawn towards the “more guns = more crime + more fatal accidents = a less safe society” logic – and that’s certainly the way the UK media on the whole likes to portray it, with a holier than thou attitude towards US gun crime and (for instance) the tragic cases when kids get hold of Daddy’s gun. However, we do appear have a rising problem with knife crime and general vicious/murderous hooliganism over here……. which arguably might be less of a problem if gun laws were different.

    It’s a cultural norm thing, of course, but many UK residents balk even at arming the regular police, let alone civilians. This is an interesting article from the Times arguing in favour of relaxing gun laws in theUK…. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article2409817.ece ….. but in general, it’s an issue that gets very little debate over here. Thanks for a thought-provoking read!

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  2. May 25, 2009 5:36 pm

    Thanks for the link Nikki… The Times article is excellent… simple but elegant (to steal one of Gav’s frequent terms). Based on my interactions on that topic with folks on that side of the pond I’m betting he gets a spirited response.

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  3. Jim Noble permalink
    May 27, 2009 8:08 am

    IIRC, Tony Martin shot the burglars as they were running away, which is how Barras came to be shot in the back. I don’t have time to dig out a reliable confirmation of this but http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tony_Martin_(farmer) agrees with my memory.

    Not objecting to your general premise, but it could use a better opening example :).

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  4. August 20, 2009 1:53 pm

    Today is the 10th anniversary of Tony killing a gypsy who broke into his house, for which he received 5 years for manslaughter when he appealed.
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/norfolk/8204839.stm

    It reminds me of a few years ago when my retired father-in-law in rural Shropshire heard there was a couple of guys poaching his pond. He went down their alone with a loaded gun, took them at gunpoint back to his house and phoned the police. Police arrived, arrested the poachers, end of story.

    Fortunately for him the police were local ‘bobbies’ who understood the country way of life. I dread to think what could have happened if the poachers had turned on him, or if a pc (politically correct) pc (police constable) had turned up.

    Problem with gun laws here in the UK is you have the isolated country people like Martin and my father-in-law to whom guns are a way of traditional life and the inner city gangs fighting for drug-dealing territory, to apply a law which would help the country folk would inevitably aid the gangs.

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