By John Longenecker · Thursday, February 3, 2011
In Tucson, Arizona, concealed carry gun owner Joe Zamudio joined in wrestling active shooter Jared Loughner before he could kill more people.
Joe was armed, but did what gun owners do, and that was to exercise good judgment tailored for the circumstances. This was the Second Amendment in action.
This sort of thing happens about 2.5 million times a year in America. It is one of the most under-reported statistics surrounding the concept of the ubiquitous armed citizen. The combination of brains, the willingness to act and a very understated component, the legal authority to stop a crime in progress.
The Second Amendment has little to do with guns and everything to do with independence to act when facing grave danger. Legal, lawful independence, the kind you have without having to ask permission or even consider doing nothing while waiting for first responders. This independence works rather well in showing statists how little government is needed. When the Second Amendment is pushed aside, as in gun control, governments believe they can step in with poor substitutes for the armed citizen, and then boldly and brazenly step in with a host of other programs that are equally unneeded.
This is big government, disregarding a working safeguard and substituting itself as a second-best program. They then rinse and repeat. For you technophiles, it would be to clone the formula.
But, like most laws, civil rights work only when respected – respected by both thugs and the system. Gun laws are not respected by thugs, so they have never worked. Heck, even laws against murder are broken, with gun laws not even a minor nuisance en route to a greater crime. Gun laws never stopped a crime. But they sure do stop citizens from stopping crime. Successes of armed citizens stopping violence are largely visible in the right-to-carry states of the union, while violence is highly visible almost entirely in the major cities who ban guns.
When this works rather well to short-circuit violent acts from becoming completed acts, you see the Second Amendment in action for its intended purpose: a working safeguard which discredits big government substitutions in all things.
When you stop violent crime where it is stopped best – at the scene of the crime – you also stop big government from presuming that it can do you one better, and you thereby keep crime more in check than any gun laws ever will. Thus, costly programs would never get off the ground or be taken seriously as long as citizens are free to stop crime, the foundation of so many expensive bureaucracies.
The problem that is keeping crime alive is gun control which disarms the people. Understand that gun control does not permeate the entire U.S.: some states don't even require gun registration and they do fine. The states without gun registration or permits have proven that no one needs to know where the guns are as a crime fighting tool. It don't work none. What crime has been solved by registration? None. More and more states are affirming right to carry your handgun open or concealed, and they don't have the blood-in-the-streets problem gun control has warned against for decades.
Which brings me to a worrisome question in 2011. Where we do anticipate a blood-in-the-streets problem is in terrorist strikes in areas known to be disarmed, places gun control activists call gun-free zones and survivors call victim-disarmament zones. These locales ring the dinner bell for predators, and invite violence with reliable reports of an impending Mumbai style strike.
No amount of gun laws, assault weapons bans, or punishments for carrying here or there will stop a Mumbai-style strike in the United States. Only someone present will stop it. No amount of gun control ever has or ever will stop a nut bent on murder. Only someone present will stop them.
The best deterrence is the thugs' awareness that he can never be certain who is armed and who is not, someone fully prepared to stop them from committing murder. Perhaps the person standing right next to him. Perhaps those two women sitting at the table. The awareness that any citizen has the authority to act in stopping him – with lethal force if necessary in their reasonable apprehension – changes the entire complexion of vulnerability in whether a target is a hard target or a soft target.
And the numbers play a role, too. When an entire community is known to have a significant percentage of armed citizens at any moment, at any place, under any circumstances, the assessment of success in some horrific strike is then greatly in doubt.
When we ask how many guns are enough, we aren't answering how many weapons one person owns, but how many armed citizens there are within a community. How many are enough? When those numbers rise and when the thugs and terrorists come to know them as well as the community knows them, then that many armed citizens are in fact enough.
There is a drawback in being in law enforcement: sometimes you just never know what was avoided. Perhaps we might all share in that mystery.
Police cannot be everywhere, but citizens are everywhere. And where the armed citizen is, so the law is also by dint of public policy and interest, not to mention substantive and codified law and a few doctrines. The citizen's independent authority to act is under attack, obfuscated, and smothered by gun control and by a general undermining of understanding, resolve and spirit. Gun control must be abolished.
When Americans reflect on billions of dollars spent on the War on Crime or the War on Poverty, we see the futility of such a transfer of wealth in the name of safety. What made them possible was the idea that poverty causes crime and that easy access to guns enabled violence.
The truth is that armed citizens fight crime where it is fought best, at the scene of the crime, applying both their force, if necessary, and their authority, something they also carry with them. At those times, it is not a thug's easy access to guns which completes the crime, but the thugs' easy access to society which begins crime.
It is time for a paradigm shift, a national will, if you like, for the repeal of all gun laws. For, when the citizen is on scene, so the law is also. Armed with both authority to act and the force to back that authority, gun control and other absentee policies are shown to be the redundancies they are.
Guns needed here? Now? Ubiquitous armed citizens? For the optimal homeland security, and for smaller government, the Second Amendment?
All of a sudden? It only seems that way. The Second Amendment's real purpose is the same as always: smaller government. Your home, your workplace, your community and your country are no longer a known soft target for thugs or for the system. From day to day, from generation to generation.
John Longenecker is Publisher of the Safer Streets Newsletter and Commentary. Visit www.Goodforthecountry.com/n.html