Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Second Amendment

I haven’t posted much recently in part because others are saying what needs to be said. In the past I tended to contribute to the debate when I thought others were missing a point or an emphasis was misplaced. I usually don’t talk about specific legal matters or individual acts but one concern that continues to resurface and which reveals the sorry state of today's debate is the 2nd amendment.

Long-standing historic rights, hard won rights which our forefathers shed their blood and gave their lives, should not be discarded suddenly to “solve” the problem of the moment. Our momentary comfort, often illusory, is a poor guide to the rightfulness of the principles and laws we need to insure our lives and liberty in the long-run. Thus, we should come to the debate with some understanding of history.

The notion of an individual’s right to protect his life from harm has a long history in English and American culture. But equally important is the ultimate insurance against the rise of a tyranny, either from domestic disintegration or foreign domination: the right to revolution. Our nation was founded by citizens rising up to fight a violent revolution against the encroaching tyranny of the Crown and a parliament ruling from abroad. The first battle was fought to protect the militia’s military supplies. In a literal sense we went to war to secure our right to bear arms, which was the ultimate means of protecting all other rights.

Today this right is under attack. In a hypocrisy typical of the left, the same people who praise the terrorists in Iraq as “insurgents who are fighting a foreign occupation just like we would” are the very people who would deny our citizens the means to own the weapons with which to fight. The agitprop filmmaker, who was cheered in Europe for making a movie on bowling and guns, was the first to absurdly compare vicious suicide bombers targeting civilians, to the Minutemen who faced and fought the King’s army in the American Revolution.

Europe’s leftist elite is going ballistic. Instead of blaming an evil mass killer for the deaths of over 30 people, they’re blaming Charlton Heston. But, of course, they haven’t had a stellar record of avoiding tyranny, have they? Over the past century, continental Europe faced communism, fascism, and Nazism. While evil is not inevitable there still is much to be said for Pakaluk’s characterization:

“Before we begin to agree with critics who might point to crimes such as the Virginia Tech massacre, or Columbine, as a sign of some unusual sickness in American society, we should consider that the scene of a madman with power, killing others remorselessly out of malice and envy, as he descends to his own self-destruction, was played out on a very large scale in Germany, Cambodia, Russia, and other nations in the last century. That sort of evil, which seems to afflict human nature generally, has so far been manifested only in private action in our country — thanks to our laws and political institutions, and the character of our citizenry. And for that we should be grateful.”

Let’s learn about the history that made that possible before we rush to discard long-standing institutions.