In debunking the myth that “guns increase violent crime,” Richard Poe, the former editor of FrontPage Magazine, has rebutted the false assumption that America is more violent than other nations, again emphasizing that more people during the twentieth century were killed in other countries by their own governments than by war, while reaffirming that gun control laws have almost always preceded genocide or mass murder of the people (democide) by their own governments.
While the United States and Switzerland have more guns per capita than any of the other developed countries, they also have more freedom in general than countries with draconian gun control laws. Even Japan, a country that has embraced democracy and Western mores in many ways, still has the centuries‑old tradition of subordination of individualism to the state, and the collective Japanese citizens have less individual freedom than those of Switzerland, where virtually every citizen is armed and individual freedom is paramount.
Japan may have a low crime rate, but citizens live in a virtual authoritarian state, where the police keep full dossiers on every citizen, and “twice a year, each Japanese homeowner gets a visit from the local police to update files” on every aspect of the citizen’s home life.
Switzerland, on the other hand, a small, landlocked country, stood up against the Nazi threat during World War II, because each and every male was an armed and free citizen. (The Swiss republic was the “Sister‑Republick” that the American Founding Fathers so greatly admired.) Nazi Germany could have overwhelmed Switzerland during World War II, but the price was too steep for the German High Command. Instead, the Nazi juggernaut trampled over Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, and other countries, and avoided the armed Swiss nation, the “porcupine,” which was prepared for war and its military was ready to die rather than surrender.
As to what an armed population, such as those of the original 13 American colonies that later became the United States, did to obtain their independence is a well‑known story. Suffice to say, that the shot heard “around the world” on Patriot’s Day (April 19, 1775) was precipitated when the British attempted to seize the arm depots and disarm the American militia at Lexington and Concord in the Colony of Massachusetts.
As to what an armed population can do to prevent the overthrow of their government by oppressive, communist movements, I recommend Larry Pratt’s excellent little tome, Armed People Victorious (1990). Armed People Victorious vividly recounts stories of how two countries, as dissimilar as Guatemala and the Philippines, teetering on the brink of disaster, turned defeat into victory, when the governments recognized that allowing and encouraging the people to form armed militias to protect themselves, their families, and their villages from communist insurgents in the 1980s, helped to preserve their freedom.
Why is this so important to us as physicians? First, because we are all citizens, and we have been educated enough to understand the importance of preserving or attaining freedom. Second, because as neurosurgeons we can be compassionate and still be honest and have the moral courage to pursue the truth and find effective solutions through the use of sound, scholarly research, and factual information.
The social problem of guns and violence should be no different. We have an obligation to reach our conclusions based on objective data, historical experience, and scientific information, rather than ideology, emotionalism, expediency, or partisan politics. Moreover, the lessons of history sagaciously reveal that whenever and wherever science and medicine have been subordinated to the state, and individual freedom has been crushed by tyranny, the results for medicine have been as perverse as they have been disastrous, as the barbarity of Nazi doctors and Soviet and Cuban psychiatrists amply testified. Beyond the abolition of freedom and dignity, the perversion of science and medicine becomes the vehicle for the imposition of slavery and totalitarianism.
Governments that trust their citizens with guns are governments that sustain and affirm individual freedom. Governments that do not trust their citizens with firearms tend to be despotic and tyrannical. Let us conclude…with the wise words of another American statesman, this time Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826), the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States of America, who warned us, “When the government fears the people there is liberty. When the people fear the government there is tyranny.”
Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is a retired Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery and Adjunct Professor of Medical History at Mercer University School of Medicine. He is Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International. He served on the CDC’s Injury Research Grant Review Committee.
This is an excerpt of a post that originally appeared at drgo.us and is reprinted here with permission.