My grandparents died in a Nazi death camp. My father barely survived a Nazi labor camp. He was starved, beaten unconscious (several times), worked beyond exhaustion and forced to spend four winters in the Carpathian mountains without shelter or warm clothing. During his ordeal, he ate insects and performed surgery on his leg with a rusty razor blade. When the war ended he had one goal: to become an American. Nothing else mattered. He wanted to live in a country where the government lacked the power to enslave, torture and murder its citizens . . .
When my father achieved his ambition, he was under no illusions. He arrived just as the communist witch hunts of the 1950’s began. He worked at the race track in a state controlled by mobster Raymond Patriarca. He knew about American apartheid. Union thugs targeted his business for extortion. Peter Farago understood that liberty is like good health: a balance between that which would kill you and that which would keep you alive.
My wife, another war survivor, put my father’s philosophy into words: “Life is a bloodsport.” And so it is. Millions of Americans who’ve never had to fight for their freedom don’t understand that it was won at the point of a gun. That their freedoms are maintained at the point of a gun.
I’m not talking about foreign policy. In this age of intercontinental ballistic missiles, our fears of invasion have been reduced to alien attack. It’s hard (but not impossible) to argue that American troops in Afghanistan or Iraq are fighting to protect our Constitutional rights. No, the warriors who safeguard our collective freedoms are the armed Americans on the opposite side of my computer screen.
I lived in the UK for eighteen years. I watched Her Majesty’s Government complete its program of civilian disarmament, and the country’s subsequent slide into proto-fascism. I use the term advisedly. The Land of Hope and Glory’s inhabitants have become the most surveilled people on planet earth. They’ve surrendered the right to remain silent. UK courts now issue Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, prohibiting an entire range of otherwise legal activities, often based on nothing more than hearsay.
The increasingly tyrannical UK government is a stark warning (if one be needed): government seeks to extend its power like a tree “seeks” growth. It’s not a conspiracy; ’tis the nature of the beast. Our freedoms are shielded from government usurpation by the existence of millions of armed Americans. Gun owners ready, willing and able to protect their individual rights against government incursion. The fact that they don’t have to engage in armed conflict with the State indicates nothing more or less than a healthy balance of power between government and governed.
There’s only way to “prove” the truth of this seemingly paranoid analysis: compare America with countries with citizens denied the right to keep and bear arms. Choose any country you like, and analyze this: how free are its people? Meanwhile, know this: @cenksoutfitters‘ Tweet about the “joys” of Cuban socialism was ironic. Kansas hunting guide Jim Stanford was pointing out the discrepancy between gun control advocates’ ambitions and the reality of what they wish for. To wit, this Wikipedia entry:
Human Rights Watch is among international human rights organizations accusing the Cuban government of systematic human rights abuses, including torture, arbitrary imprisonment, unfair trials, and extrajudicial execution.
Is it any surprise that Fidel Castro encouraged Cubans to own guns at the beginning of his dictatorship, then forced citizens to register their weapons, then sent his troops to confiscate those guns? Last February, the Cuban government tested its armed citizens’ gullibility again [via cuba.foreignpolicyblogs.com]:
Today, Cuba declared a two-month amnesty for unlicensed gun owners—an implicit acknowledgment of the presence of an illegal underground market in Cuba, since very few individuals beyond active military personnel and state security agents are legally allowed to even possess weapons. As the Associated Press reports:
“Even most police officers are required to leave their pistols at the station or in a regional barracks when on vacation or leave, and young men participating in mandatory military service are given unloaded firearms for most exercises.”
During this “exceptional and one-time only” two-month amnesty, gun owners who come forward and pass aptitude and psychological tests will be allowed to keep their weapons.
Sounds reasonable doesn’t it? It’s the exact same legislative medicine that MikeB30200 and his gun control amigos prescribe to solve America’s gun violence problem: registration and competency tests. It’s the same bitter pill that gun rights advocates rightly condemn as poisonous to the body politic.
I will not forget my father’s struggle to distance himself from fascism and genocide. I will oppose American gun control measures in any way I can: by spreading the pro-gun message here, [holding my nose and] voting for pro-gun candidates when I can and exercising my second amendment right to keep and bear arms. I suggest that all freedom-loving Americans do the same.
Well put, Sir. If anything, we should have aptitude, psychological and morality tests for our politicians and appointed department heads.
Agreed. Only one question remains unanswered: will the “uvver part” be able to understand that before it’s too late?
Ha! If it comes to it, I’ll form a group here in SC: Cujo’s Guerillas and General Mischief Makers.
Something like “Our deaths will be MAGNIFICIENT!”? 😉 Sort of “die, but with spla… nah.. SPLASH in the process”?
Presidents and politicians kill more people in a day than all the legal gun owners in America kill in a year. I’m under no illusions that my small collection of firearms will keep me free. After all, what’s an AR when compared to an M1A1 Abrams tank? However, I do judge the motives of politicians by their stance on 2A, and I will not support anyone who does not support my natural and constitutional right to self-defense.
Your ARs are more powerful than you imagine. If, God forbid, it should come down to a firefight between you and the U.S. National Guard (say), your defiance will mean something. And if government supremacy becomes inevitable, I’m not going down without a fight. Never forget.
If it should come down to a firefight between me and the National Guard, my AR will keep me alive for an additional six seconds. Maybe. If I’m lucky. When it comes to resisting government’s potential for evil, this blog is more powerful than my rifles.
I’m in Mr. Farago’s camp on this one. Look at how frustrating our asymmetrically equipped opponents have been to the Marines and Army in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Americans are just as ingenious as those insurgents, while being better marksmen and better equipped.
Not to mention that if our armed forces went on a tyrannical rampage, I don’t there there would be 100% compliance with those orders – there would be units staying out of the fight and others joining the resistance.
I think that “asymmetrically equipped opponents” have more than enough advantages over regular troops from foreign countries. They know their land, some of them are participants of fighting for relatively long period of time and, what’s most important, they have their skills honed and polished. They simply have nobody to “relay” some of their duties, so sometime their 16 y.o. fighter have more instincts than our 24-28 y.o. veteran, not mentioning some fresh 18-20 y.o. regular troop.
What percentage of your time you (since I’m not in US :)) spent in wilderness, without all those “civilization’s gifts”? I think they spent all their time. Herbert’s Dune comes to mind.
It’s a fighting chance.
I’ve made this claim before on TTAG, and will do so again: these National Guardsmen you’d be taking on in the Abrams would be your neighbors and friends. Not all of them will blindly follow their leadership in establishing a repressive government by force of arms, specifically because you and others have made it clear to them the importance of individual freedoms.
At least one National Guard unit refused to confiscate firearms in the post-Katrina federal emergency. Click here.
I agree. Most of the Texas National Guard that I know personally would not engage in an unconstitutional action, such as the feared door-to-door arms confiscation. They swore an oath to defend the constitution, and most will honor that oath.
When I was sworn in as a peace officer, I took the oath as well. I will obey any LAWFUL order of my superiors, but would throw down my badge before I knowingly violate the constitution.
When people proclaim constantly that they are “working for a better world” – keep being skeptical of them.
“The urge to save humanity is always a false face to rule it.” HL Mencken
This is one of the best stories you’ve ever written here and it’s right on target.
“There’s only way to “prove” this seemingly paranoid analysis: compare America with countries where citizens do not have the right to keep and bear arms. Choose any country you like, and analyze this: how free are its people?” – The reason most of those people are not “free” is because they are not citizens they are subjects
“Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Nations and peoples who forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms.” Robert A. Heinlein
“The fact that they don’t have to—at the moment—indicates a healthy balance of power between governed and government.”
IMHO the government has too much power at this point in time. I would rather quote someone else: “It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.” Apart from that, what you said is spot on.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”
-C S Lewis
I like what the Japanese had to say about our pro-gun culture during WWII – that they would never consider an invasion, because there would be an armed citizen behind every blade of grass (not an exact quote, but the sentiment is on target). That same realization will keep the government from rolling over it’s citizens here, unless…they can cow us all into submission. The people of New Orleans, post-Katrina are a great example. I don’t recall a single story of someone taking a stand and refusing to surrender their guns. What is it going to take to get people to stand up and refuse to surrender?
In extreme situations the extreme is achieved. Those who have weapons can count on the government to try to take them away when a crisis occurs. They want lambs they fear lions. Don’t believe what they say, believe what they do.
As someone else who is here in the U.S. by choice and not by birth, well-said, sir.
in cuba , couple of months after after the “amnesty ” is over, gun owners who “Pass the tests” and are allowed “to keep their guns” will be receiving a midnight visit from the local constabulary. It will not end well for them and their families.
this is a trap.
Very moving Robert. You are more of an inspiration to us than you will ever know.
I hope and pray it never again comes to widespread armed conflict in this country.
I would advise those interested in what it might look like to read about the Civil War, not in the Shenandoah Valley, but in Missouri.
Civil War Missouri has a lot to teach.
Folks of a certain persuasion often say something like, “Oh yeah? Well they’ll just shoot a cruise missile into your house and park a tank in your front yard if it comes down to it. What good will your guns be then?
The same folks who so quickly discount guns never seem able to imagine a situation in which the missile and tank crews and government troops would have to worry about the sympathies, loyalties and intentions of their own family members, their neighbors, the people who prepare their food, deliver their mail, sell them beer, even the person wearing the same uniform next to them.
That was Missouri in the Civil War. Literally brother against brother, cousin against cousin, neighbor against neighbor in a vicious, bloody and very personal guerrilla conflict without any rules.
Here’s a re-release of an 1864 NY Times story about the events in Centralia, Missouri.
Beheadings. Corpse mutilations. Atrocities.
And find both Centralia and Mexico, MO, on a map (hint, northeast of Columbia) and consider how far away from the front lines of the “regular” Civil War this was in 1864.
Now imagine a similar circumstance today with modern automobiles, weapons and communications technologies, all increasing lethality, speed, and distances covered.
It makes my stomach tighten up to think of it.
Illegal guns in Cuba? How could that happen Don’t they have laws against that and a very nasty secret police to enforce the law?
Magoo, Mike B please explain you this could be so.
Forgive me for the blunt rudeness of this comment, but then again, your article was filled with it. While you try to present your opinion with facts, all of this is rendered null by the overriding tone of racism.