Forbidding the ownership of firearms by private individuals is an effective means for a totalitarian regime to overpower its citizens. During the formative years of our nation, John Adams, and Patrick Henry took interest in Switzerland and their emphasis on an armed populace, not just allowing, but requiring private ownership of firearms as a means of maintaining freedom from tyranny. (Halbrook, n.a.). Our Founding Fathers wisely incorporated this into the system of checks and balances inherent and pervasive in the government of a free society. The Second Amendment to the Bill of Rights of the Constitution of the United States identifies gun ownership as a right, not a privilege (Archives.gov., n.d.). Our government, like all human institutions is flawed and imperfect, as the government is a reflection of our universal human imperfection. A system of checks and balances is in place to ensure restoration to a state of equilibrium, or homeostasis, when human imperfection weighs too heavily in one area. Part of that system which maintains balance is citizens who own firearms. Significant power is in their hands. With the utmost respect to the fine men and women who enforce the law, they cannot be everywhere at once, watching everyone, nor would we want them to be. An armed civilian has the ability to defend themselves and others from criminal predators and parasites, until the police can arrive on the scene. The very presence of a firearm can deter aggression. If a government should degrade and deteriorate to the point that the government itself becomes the criminal, preying on its own countrymen, armed citizens will have some options, while limiting the options of a government which has turned on its own people. An armed citizenry can prevent a government from adopting oppressive policies that violate basic human rights.
Examples from Gun Control History:
There are too many examples in the history of the twentieth century, of what happens when a populace is disarmed. If those in charge hunger for power at the expense of human life, and others mindlessly follow their instructions, heinous things can happen. How many of you are familiar with the following individuals?
I would like to believe one would be hard pressed not to hear of the atrocities that Adolf Hitler committed, but I have been aghast at the lack of knowledge of history of some young people. Adolf Hitler, the Chancellor of Germany’s Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (National Socialist German Workers Party), or Nazi regime from 1933 to 1944, (Bio., 2016) orchestrated the deaths of at least six million Jews, as well as others he deemed inferior, subhuman, or troublesome to his grip on power. In January of 1943, a small number of Jews in the Warsaw ghetto attempted armed resistance. They fought with tremendous courage, inflicting casualties on the task force which was assembled against them (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 2016; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016a) including Waffen-SS (American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2016a) and Wehrmacht units, (American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise, 2016) but were eventually overwhelmed (United States Holocaust Memorial Museum 2016; United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2016a). About six million Jews were worked and starved to death in concentration camps, and sent to their deaths by firing squad or gas (Bio., 2016).
It pains me to see young Americans wearing a red T-shirt with a hammer and sickle on it. I went to a clothing store and saw some on a rack. I asked a young lady who worked there if anyone knew this was a symbol of a totalitarian regime responsible for the deaths of millions, a sustained threat to world peace, and the unjustified invasions of their neighbors, as well as a failed economic system. Yet, naïve young people tout this as a symbol of the neo-socialism that has arisen, while they decry capitalism. She indicated she knew of this history and did not approve of this item in the store, but could not do anything about it. Under Josef Stalin, General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1922 to 1953, 15-30 million people were killed. He made Hitler look like an amateur in terms of the body count (Bio., 2016b).
He outdid Stalin, and was responsible for 20 to 40 million dead during the Cultural Revolution in which mainland China came under the grip of communism (Bio., 2016c).
Three million dead in the Killing Fields, under the Khmer Rouge Regime. Pol Pot , the Secretary General of the Khmer Rouge, wanted to bring all of the people of Cambodia back to an agrarian existence. He exterminated intellectuals, scientists, physicians, educators and eventually people who were literate or wore glasses. These people were unarmed and had no means of defending themselves (A & E Networks. 2016).
Idi Amin Dada
300,000 dead under his government. Idi Amin Dada was a very unstable individual who as President of Uganda, killed many of his own countrymen from 1971 to 1979 (bio., 2016a).
Kim Jon Un
North Korea has been described as the most isolated nation on earth, in which a brainwashed population is worked and starved to death (Lackey, 2013). Kim Jong Un is the deified leader. The population, long disarmed, is demoralized and victimized, arguably worse than anywhere on earth. The government controls not only their actions, but their words and emotions, with an iron hand. When Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jon Il, the previous leader of North Korea died in 2011, people were reportedly imprisoned for not grieving hard enough (Daily Mail, 2013).
As Americans, we can only imagine what hardships people endure in oppressive governments. We can only speculate how history may have been different, if more Jews had been armed in the 1930,s or if the educated class of Cambodia had been armed in the 1970’s. Armed citizens have options that unarmed citizens do not. History is full of horrid examples of terrible things happening to a population deprived of the ability to defend themselves.
A & E Networks. (2016). Pol Pot. History. Retrieved February 25, 2016 from http://www.history.com/topics/pol-pot
American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. (2016). The Nazi Party: Military Organization of the Third Reich. The Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved March 15, 2016 from https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/Third_Reich.html
American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise. (2016a). The SS (Schutzstaffel):The Waffen-SS. The Jewish Virtual Library. Retrieved March 15, 2016 from https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/waffenss.html
Archives.gov. (n.d.). Retrieved Constitution of the United States. The Charters of Freedom. Archives.gov. March 15, 2016 from http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html
Bio. (2016) Adolf Hitler Biography. Bio. Retrieved March 15, 2016 from http://www.biography.com/people/adolf-hitler-9340144
Bio. (2016a). Idi Amin Biography. Bio. Retrieved March 15, 2016 from http://www.biography.com/people/idi-amin-9183487
Bio. (2016b) Josef Stalin Biography. Bio. Retrieved March 15, 2016 from http://www.biography.com/people/joseph-stalin-9491723
Bio. (2016c) Mao Tse-tung Biography. Bio. Retrieved March 15, 2016 from http://www.biography.com/people/mao-tse-tung-9398142
Daily Mail. (2012). Punished for not crying: Thousands of North Koreans face labor camps for not being upset enough about death of Kim Jong-Il. Daily Mail. Retrieved March 15, 2016 from http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2085636/North-Koreans-face-labour-camps-upset-death-Kim-Jong-il.html
French, D. (2015). The Great Gun Debate: Even Brutal, Totalitarian Regimes Have Trouble Defeating Well-Armed Insurgencies. National Review. Retrieved February 25, 2016 from http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/425442/great-gun-debate-even-brutal-totalitarian-regimes-have-trouble-defeating-well-armed
Lackey, K. (2013). 20 Facts About North Korea. USA Today. Retrieved March 15, 2016 from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/04/13/north-korea-factoids/2078831/
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2016). Jewish Uprisings in Ghettos and Camps, 1941–1944. Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 25, 2016 from http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005407
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. (2016a ). Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Holocaust Encyclopedia. Retrieved February 25, 2016 from http://www.ushmm.org/wlc/en/article.php?ModuleId=10005188