Sunday, June 21, 2009

Why do we "cling" to our guns?

So what is it that motivates us clingy gun owners? Why the obsession with guns? This clip from Iran (Be forewarned: This is extremely graphic and disturbing. Do not click the link if you are easily offended.) shows what happens when the government holds a monopoly on violence.

Across Iran, the people have been protesting an obviously fraudulent election. Government thugs, the Basij, have felt free to employ whatever violence they please to put down this growing insurrection. This includes firing on unarmed civilians, such as poor Neda. Reports say that she and her father weren't even involved in the protests, but were merely observing from some distance when she was shot by a sniper. Neda, whose name means "voice" in Farsi, was silenced by her own government.

There are those who will say that "this can never happen here". No, it can't. But why can't it happen here? It can't happen here because our government doesn't hold a monopoly on violence or the means by which one can do violence. More importantly, it knows this and has known it for over 200 years. No American leader would even think of suppressing protests the way that a foreign dictator would. The dictator knows that his subjects are unarmed and can be beaten down in whatever fashion pleases him. In the US, any politician aspiring to similar oppression knows from the start that we aren't unarmed subjects; we're armed citizens. He knows that against even a fraction of the nation's 100,000,000 gun owners, he doesn't stand a chance; thus he wouldn't even try.

Hence the obsession.

But this can change. Gun owners won a major victory in Heller, however that victory can be lost through apathy. If we allow our rights to slip away a little at a time, there may come a time when an American father will have to watch his 16-year old daughter die before his eyes; unable to defend her, fight back, or do anymore than wail in grief for his Neda.