I preface my blog with my lament of the stupid and senseless murdering of innocent life. I hold that those that perpetrate such acts of gun crimes are selfish individuals that have no respect for anyone (including themselves).
With the awful shootings in both the US, again at the Wisconsin Sikh temple and also in Toronto, there is a growing thought that we need more Gun Control. The newspaper, Scientific American headline reads “How Many Massacres Will It Take for Politicians to Stand Up to Gun Nuts?” The British paper The Guardian, says “America’s Deadly Devotion to Guns. There are around 90 guns for every 100 Americans yet, despite 85 fatal shootings a day, the mighty US gun lobby is as powerful as ever”.
I am not looking at this as a gun owner, I live in Canada, and at this point in my life, I see no need for weapons in my own personal life, but I think it would be useful to look at the issue of Gun Control from a historical standpoint. And the best place for us to look at the issue of Gun Control is in Syria. As we watch the citizens of Syria struggle for their lives, defending themselves from a brutal and ruthless dictator we see that these poor people would have been much more prepared to protect and save themselves from President Bashar al-Assad if weapons were not only available, but plentiful among the Syria public. That same lesson was evident in Lybia, while they fought the madman Gaddafi. And recently, at the end of July, I heard a news clip on the radio, one man in Iraq sobbed that a suicide bomber driving a truck could have been stopped if they were allowed guns to protect themselves.
So, what has this to do with history? The source of contention of so many guns in America, comes against America’s Second Amendment, the right to bear arms. Jefferson was well acquainted with revolution (and is that not what happen in Lybia, and now happening in Syria, the overthrow of tyrants). Before America’s Revolution, Jefferson was in France and witnessed some of the French Revolution. He understood about tyrants, and a man’s feelings to be free; so much so that he wrote: “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
It must be understood, Jefferson and the American Founding Fathers painstakingly studied about any and all democracies they could, to find the best model of democracy to bless the America that they loved. Jefferson, the writer of the American Constitution, was particularly knowledgeable, and in the exercise of their studies they understood that because of the openness of democracy, democracy is particularly vulnerable to takeovers, and that democracies do not last particularly long. It was for this reason that Jefferson wrote into the Bill of Rights, in very clear words “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” Today’s Lybia and Syria testify of the wisdom of the American Founding Fathers.
I will let Jefferson’s own words speak for him:
“Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their Powers from the Consent of the Governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these Ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a New Government….it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards? for their future Security.”
I will also leave you with another quote, by John Adams, that is stark in it’s clarity and frightening in it’s insightful prediction:
“There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by sword. The other is by debt.”
You think of our present times and fill in the blanks for yourself.
It is terribly, terribly sad with all the heartbreak and the misery of 85 people killed each day on American streets, but I, being one that loves my freedom, see the troops of Gaddafi closing in on the Lybian people, or the many State issued massacres of Syria far, far worse than the shooting on American streets.
And yes, today America, and we in Canada have rights, but history is in no way static, circumstances change, and leaders come and go, who knows if the decision to limit and confiscate weapons today will leave our grandchildren, or beyond, vulnerable to another Hitler-like leader. Despite the blood that lays on our streets today, we must protect their rights today.