One of the primary purposes of the Second Amendment is the ability to assemble militias to enforce public order. The formation of informal militias during times of disorder, such as during natural disasters and riots is a completely natural activity in a civil society. Productive people have invested their lives in their property. When they are threatened, neighbors band together to protect themselves and each other . . .
You do not see riots and looting in the suburbs and small towns because there’s no incentive to destroy what has been painstakingly built. In the urban cores, riots occur because a large class of largely property-less people have have little to lose, and the possibility of gaining a little loot and excitement offers some escape from an existence without responsibility.
In Ferguson, responsible people, black and white, gathered together to protect private property. They could do so, in part, because of the Second Amendment and the recent restoration of open carry in Missouri. Only a few weeks ago, the Missouri legislature overrode Governor Nixon’s veto, restoring open carry for those with a concealed carry permit.
It’s hard to deter lawless looters if you cannot display arms. And it can present legal difficulties if every property owner has to be constantly telling police that they have given permission for their friends and allies to bear arms on their private property. Those who push for more and more concentrated state power don’t want people to be able to defend their property, because that would mean they’re not as dependent on the state. And not as easily cowed into subservience and obedience.
Machiavelli summed up the mindset rather well:
There is no comparison whatever between an armed and disarmed man; it is not reasonable to suppose that one who is armed will obey willingly one who is unarmed; or that any unarmed man will remain safe…. – Niccoló Machiavelli, The Prince. 1537.
It has been reported that federal agents in Ferguson have ordered some Oathkeepers to stop protecting property, under the pretext that they need a license to do so. No such license is needed for volunteers who are not being paid. Stewart Rhodes, President of Oathkeepers was quoted as saying:
“They want to create a false paradigm… They are presenting a false choice between lawlessness, looting, arson, assault, murder on the one side, unrestrained, or a hyper-militarized police state on the other,” Rhodes said. “They are failing to do the intelligent thing and protect businesses without trampling on rights.”
Broomhandles and baseball bats aren’t effective tools for dealing with a mob of looters and arsonists. They have sticks and stones and Molotov cocktails. It’s much easier to destroy than to create. But firearms are another matter. Looters are likely to look for easier, unprotected targets when there’s a chance they may lose their lives when a shot from the crowd can be answered with a volley in return.
Fortunately, the grand jury in Ferguson did its duty. They didn’t buckle to the intense pressure to indict, no matter the facts. The law-abiding citizens of Ferguson knew that they were likely to prevail if they, like Officer Wilson, were required to use deadly force in defense of themselves.
Ultimately, this is a major reason why disarmers hate open carry. If you can’t openly display a firearm, you can’t form informal militias to protect your property and livelihood. You become dependent on the state for local (and even national) national security; and if the state withdraws protection from you, as happened in the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles, or on the first night of the Ferguson riots, you suffer.
It would be against the law for people to gather together to protect themselves in New York City as they have in Ferguson. Open carry is illegal there. It would be illegal in Chicago as well. Open carry is illegal there. People in New York City are almost entirely disarmed through decades of strict enforcement of the Sullivan Act, a statute that was put into place to protect organized crime. Chicago continues to fight the courts on allowing its residents to be armed. Unarmed people are more dependent. That’s how many politicians prefer it.
©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.