Venezuela’s descent into chaos continues apace. Unfortunately, the ravages of cancer have apparently done little so far to slow down the country’s porcine president for life, Hugo Chavez. He still has plenty of appetite for expanding his government’s control over the lives of average Venezuelans. Sean Penn and Danny Glover may think he’s dreamy, but Chavez’s people are increasingly saying, meh. The latest problem: the South American paradise is currently number four on the worldwide murder hit parade with a rate of 67 per 100,000. If you’re benchmarking at home, the U.S. – we of the pervasive cowboy gun culture – comes in at 4.8 per 100K according to Wikipedia’s latest compilation. So if you’re a tinpot dictator, what to do? Simple. Disarm innocent citizens . . .
Simon Black at businessinsider.com breaks it down:
In recent remarks to the Latin American Herald Tribune, Venezuelan Interior and Justice Minister Tareck El Aissami announced that the government will begin suspending firearm importation, effective this month. Furthermore, local gunsmiths will no longer be able to market or sell firearms and ammunition.
According to El Aissami, “As of March, every last gun shop remaining in Venezuela – and there are less than 80 – should be closed. That is to say, in Venezuela, the perverse chapter of the commercialization of firearms and munitions is over.”
That ought to fix the problem. Murderous criminals obviously have no means of acquiring firearms illegally. And hapless victims clearly prefer to defend themselves with soup spoons and Tae Bo lessons.
Pretty much. But as bad as the murders are – and as predictable as gun confiscation is for any self-respecting paragon of the international left – using the murder rate as the cause for the gun grab is really just a fig leaf. Chavez isn’t long for this world. His apparatchiks know it and they appear to be clearing the decks to make it easier to handle any general unrest that could develop when the news finally comes that Pugsley’s assumed room temperature. It’s a lot easier mowing down a crowd of protestors when they’re not shooting back at you.
Needless to say, the political establishment, whether a dictator like Chavez or the ruling kleptocracy up north, doesn’t give a damn about protecting people. They care about protecting themselves, their interests, and the status quo. Curtailing gun sales in the name of ‘fighting crime’ is a means of achieving those goals.
Historically, disarmed populations seldom make too much trouble. Regardless of where you personally stand on firearms, the idea that police and government agents should be the only folks toting weapons ought to sound the alarm bells for any reasonable individual.