“Were it left to me to decide whether we should have government without newspapers or newspapers without government,” Thomas Jefferson opined, “I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.” Agreed. A free press protects all our liberties—including the right to keep and bear arms. Which returns the favor. If Americans didn’t have gun rights we wouldn’t have freedom of speech. This isn’t idle speculation. Mexico offers us a real world example of what happens to the independent press in a country when the government disarms the populace. laht.com reports . . .

Raul Regulo Garza Quirino, a reporter for the La Ultima Palabra newspaper, was shot dead by several gunmen while driving in Cadereyta, a city in the northern Mexican state of Nuevo Leon. Garza Quirino was chased by several armed men. The gunmen caught up with Garza Quirino in downtown Cadereyta, a city located about 37 kilometers (23 miles) west of Monterrey, Nuevo Leon’s capital, and opened fire on him.

With the rise of the narco-terrorists, Mexico has become a killing field for journalists. Since the turn of the century, the cartels have murdered some 75 journalists. Thousands more have been intimidated into silence and/or obedience.

And that’s just the bad guys’ handiwork. Now that it’s open season on reporters, editors and photographers, the Mexican government’s relations with “uncooperative” journalists are a little . . . sticky.

No coincidence that. Mexico is locked into a spiral of propaganda, violence, intimidation, torture and murder. If not for the internet and a few brave souls, Mexico would be a black hole, its terrorized citizenry stumbling around in the democracy-destroying darkness of information isolation.

Would that still be the case if government regulations hadn’t strangled their citizens’ right to keep and bear arms? Let’s return to Raul Regulo Garza Quirino’s death for a moment . . .

The Mexican government no more allows a journalist to carry a concealed weapon than an average citizen. Which is to say not at all. Which is to say it’s highly probable that Raul Regulo Garza Quirino was unarmed at the time of his assassination.

If Quirino had been packing heat, he would have had a chance—if only a chance—of living to report another day. Without armed self-defense, who in their right mind would write about Mexico’s criminals and corruption? Fewer and fewer people, of course.

Zooming out, I wonder if Mexican society would have devolved to the point where journalists are routinely threatened, kidnapped, tortured, shot and dismembered (and not necessarily in that order) if the average Mexican was armed.

Perhaps Mexico’s judiciary, electoral and law enforcement systems wouldn’t have crumbled under the cartels’ violence. Or at least crumbled as quickly and completely. Mexico’s free press may have had a fighting chance. Literally.

Needless to say, American journalists don’t get it. Quite the opposite. In my thirty years in the media I’ve never met a single mainstream journalist carrying a concealed weapon (admittedly that I know about).

Worse, the vast majority of writers, editors and publishers are actively anti-gun for everyone else, too. They singularly, spectacularly fail to see the connection between their occupation’s ongoing existence and their readers’ right to keep and bear arms.

As stated at the beginning of this piece, America’s free press owes an enormous debt of gratitude to the Second Amendment. Not to state the blindingly obvious (for some), freedom is always achieved at the point of a gun.

Peace through strength—or mutually assured destruction—applies equally to nations, communities and individuals. To quote Japanese military strategist Yukichi Fukuzawa (above) . . .

A hundred volumes of international law are no match for a few cannon. A handful of friendly treaties cannot compete with a little gunpowder. Cannons and gunpowder are machines that can make principles where there were none.

If America wants to remain a free society informed by a free press living according to democratic principles we must never forget that our guns—as puny as they may seem against our government’s might and ruthless criminals—are all that stand between us and chaos. And worse. Much, much worse.

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32 Responses to The Pen May Be Mightier Than the Sword But the Gun is Mightier Than Both

  1. I would submit that both rights are connected in a symbiotic relationship-one cannot exist without the other.

    Without the Right to Keep and Bear arms, the Author’s scenario becomes true.

    Without the right of a Free Press, all other rights are on borrowed time. When the source of the average American’s knowledge about the world comes from a liberal head of state and his or her stooges, the politicians are free to cheat, steal, and lie without oversight or accountability. Anyone who bucks the government simply “dissapears”, as a corrupted press won’t report on the circumstances why.

    Were it not for the internet and independent press outlets operation Fast and Furious would still be under wraps, Agent Brian Terry would have died from a ‘vehicle accident’ and the ATF would be dancing on the grave of our 2nd Amendment rights.

  2. Good piece, and I agree with your point. However, let us not forget that the horrible situation in Mexico (a country for which I feel a great deal of affinity) is largely the direct result result of the War on Drugs being waged by the U.S. Our tax and recreational drug dollars feed the monster that has become sort of a narco-industrial complex. The drug lords on one side and the DEA, ICE, the increasingly privatized U.S. prisons, the Mexican Army and Federales, and any number of police agencies on both sides of the border depend on the artificially high price of drugs for their existence. Both sides of this war have a vested economic interest in its perpetuation, and ordinary people bear the consequences. Further, a lot of that drug money finds its way to Wall Street, General Motors (armored suburbans sell like hotcakes in Latin America), Gulfstream, etc. Nobody’s hands are really clean here.Can anyone really believe that the consequences of legalizing drugs would be worse than the current situation?

    • Perhaps the Mexican Government should either, A) Not allow the criminal element (bringing us full circle the author’s point), or B… well, there is no B.

      While I am opposed to the war on drugs, I think it is simplistic to blame all of Mexico’s ills on that war. The Mexican Government has always had some questionable “policies” and has been extremely corrupt for some time. I think RF’s point is, had the everyday citizens had their right to self-defense/determination and in spite of the drug war, it would be in a much more stable position today.

      • True, but if the huge river of drug money flowing south from the US dried up, things would also get a lot easier for the average Mexican.

        The crime and violence around alcohol went away when prohibition went away and you don’t have whiskey distributors machine gunning each other anymore. A similar thing would happen with drugs as the prices would plummet if they suddenly became legal. The risks that people are willing to take and the crimes that people are willing to commit to traffic in drugs would become ridiculous once drugs are legalized and prices drop like rocks.

        • Carlos, you nailed it right on the head. To me it’s absolutely stupefying that so few people see the glaring similarities between the the near complete end of alcohol related violence after the repeal of Volstead and what would be if we end this idiotic war on drugs. The cartels rake in billions and with all the bitching U.S. drug companies make about profit margins I’d think they would be lobbying like hell to be first up to plate to manufacture clean and consistent pharmaceutical versions. Tax it all like booze and smokes, the money would roll in and put as much of it as needed into the best rehab facilities money can buy. Mexican cartels and domestic drug dealers would be instantly scrambling for new jobs should we legalize drugs. Our jail population would drop by at least half.

      • I’m certainly not blaming all of Mexico’s problems on the WOD, or myriad other U.S. interventions dating back hundreds of years (including the military expropriation of most of what is now the Southwestern United States, which I’ll agree is now water under the bridge). Mexico has had decades of corrupt politicians (unlike the U.S., har har). But I am blaming A LOT of Mexico’s problems on U.S. intervention, whether corporate or state (always with the cooperation of the Mexican elites, of course). I think Mexico would be in a much better position today if the U.S. had left it alone, except for tourists, of course, and fair trade in oil, tequila, etc. I should say if the U.S. had dealt with Mexico fairly, which it has not. Because of the WOD, everybody is afraid to go to Mexico anymore, further harming their economy. Anyway, this Irish-ish American says Viva Mexico!

    • “Can anyone really believe that the consequences of legalizing drugs would be worse than the current situation?”

      Yes.
      I’ve been around enough dope smokers, tweekers, liars, thieves, drunks, heroin addicts, and other assorted trash (including politicians) to know that they are a pox on humanity. I would raise a toast if the Father were to collectively call them to judgement today.

      If Mexico and other countries are unwilling to control their own felonious garbage, the least they could do is stop blaming it on the US.

      • So, how would the situation with those “dope smokers, tweekers, liars, thieves, drunks, heroin addicts, and other assorted trash” be different, if drugs were legal? My position is, the people who are going to do that stuff are going to do it. Alcohol is legal, but most people are not drunks. I think the same will apply to other drugs.

        I do not support your call for God to strike people down.

        Finally, you fail to acknowledge the massive intervention of the U.S. in Mexico’s affairs. We are involved with Mexico whether you or I like it or not.

  3. If Americans didn’t have gun rights we wouldn’t have freedom of speech.

    The freedom of speech and all are other rights and freedoms are increasingly eroding despite the increase in the number of gun owners. How much does government at any level really care anymore (if ever) about honoring the Constitution and Bill of Rights? So we still have guns and still we can mostly say what we want, for now. Political and legal mechanisms are being put into place to reduce or remove our liberties when government, especially the federals, decide its time. The two most influential ideologies of the past forty years feminism and political-correctness have helped put a cold chill into American society when it comes to freedom of speech.

  4. A free press is the cornerstone of a free nation.

    Let me know when we have a free press, one that isn’t wholly-owned by one party or the other, and I’ll let you know when we have a free nation.

    • I always thought the media was dominated by the Liberals, although years ago we used to call US News & World Report to US News & Reagan Report.

    • Ralph, I hope you among the Armed Intelligencia will acknowledge the bias of Fox news. In Europe, the idea of unbiased reporting is considered quaint and absurd, and I think as information consumers we’d be wise to adopt this position. There is no neutral journalism. Everyone has an opinion, likely connected to a certain orifice. Maybe I didn’t mix my metaphors correctly.

      I listen to http://www.democracynow.org/ every day, and I give them $5 every month (they played a rare story about gun control today, and it pissed me off, but I’ll still support them). They have reporting you’re not going to hear anywhere else, and they have strong, unapologetic lefty bias. I don’t want to hear any whining about liberal media unless you listen to some actual liberal media. If you tell me NPR is liberal, forget it. NPR is just trying to cover their asses and protect their jobs. NPR is Establishment Journalism. Basically, cowards.

      The media is not dominated by a political party, it is dominated by an economic class.

  5. Nothing is ever free because you either have to earn it or fight for it or both, but there’s always a cost.

    • To quote the Open Software movement, “Free as in ideas, not beer.”

      That is to say, that the “free press” has no restrictions on the content it can disseminate — it has the ability to do so unhindered; thus, free flow of ideas. That is NOT to say that there is no cost associated with that freedom.

      For a more detailed write-up of the distinction, go here: http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-sw.html

  6. The culture of a population has to be self-disciplined and intolerant of lawlessness. You cannot have a peaceful society with the rule of law if a sizable minority (or majority) of men and women are not willing to abide by the rules and expect their neighbors to.

    • I reckon a culture of self-discipline and respect for the rule of law starts with a balance of power between individuals. A balance of power revolutionized by gunpowder.

    • And THIS is why I believe that Judaism (and by extension, Christianity), is largely responsible for the civilized nature of the west.

      Look back a century, and you will find much more public display and acceptance of religious speech; You’ll find more people that believe in the tenants of their religion, and practice those ideals. You’ll also find that we didn’t have the majority of the social issues we do today.

      I argue that, while the gun is a necessary tool, Judeo-Christian religious principals play a much larger part. It gives us a code of law which is ABOVE that of the codes of man; Look at all the criminal offenses, and the majority of mala-in-se offenses have existed as such for milennia thanks to Judaism and Christianity.

      In short, guns are tools that can be used for good or for ill, and when used by the righteous, the world was civilized. Absent the moral codes given to us by Judaism and Christianity however, we devolve to our baser nature, as has happened, DOUBLY so, in Mexico — the righteous have put down their guns in an attempt to follow the law, and the criminal element totally ignores the law.

      • Uh, except that Mexico is one of the most Catholic countries in the world. Seriously, they’re like 99.9% Catholic there.

        In fact, I’d bet that the vast majority of the people in the cartels would consider themselves Catholic. Whatever the problems are, “not Judeo-Christian enough” is not one of them.

      • Way to ignore western history. Lets see in just American history I can think the puritans escaping to America for fear of the Church of England,the Salem witch trials, the mob execution of Joesph Smith, the whole sale slaugher of Native Americans, the Klu Klux Klan attacks on African Americans, Grants expulsion of the Jews from the South. More recently the Chrisian bombings of abortion clinics, the firing of teachers who teach evolution, supression of gay rights, book burnings. Yeah the Church has done so much throughout the years, well mostly for thier white god fearing members. You know things like Algebra, Astronomy, Free Pres, Free Association, Art and Relgious Freedom would never be accepted by the church. And most of it never will. Yup the Church has used thier guns as a tool for freedom and the American way. You want to help with the debt crisis, start taxing relgion, all relgion, on thier earnings and land holdings.

        • Sounds a lot more like HUMAN history, not religious history – but that would require you to go back further than our founding, probably too much work.

  7. This is the biggest laugh today. “If Americans didn’t have gun rights we wouldn’t have freedom of speech.”

    And saying Mexico is a good example of this is ridiculous, and here’s why.

    The strict gun control laws in Mexico are flagrantly disregarded. Everyone, professional criminals and anybody else who wants a gun, has one – or more than one. The reason they have a problem with free press has nothing to do with their gun control policies.

    You guys love to claim that our gun rights protect our 1A rights, but it just ain’t so. There’s no connection. In fact, isn’t it true that in the Land of the Free, many rights are being diminished by the fed, and all that’s despite your precious 2A gun rights and you’re ever-increasing numbers of guns and gun owners?

    • “The strict gun control laws in Mexico are flagrantly disregarded. Everyone, professional criminals and anybody else who wants a gun, has one – or more than one.”
      —–
      And strict gun control does not prevent anyone from getting a gun? You don’t say…

  8. If it were not drugs it could be any number of issues including political, monetary policy, terrorism prevention, etc.

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