Two weeks ago, a gunman unleashed a barrage of gunfire on communist comrades in China, leaving two officials wounded and the gunman dead, after he killed himself. The shooting was an oddity because in China it is illegal for citizens to own guns. As Business Insider pointed out in an article on the shooting, “Violent crime is rare in China, compared with other countries, and gun ownership is strictly controlled….”
In their heart of hearts, that’s what American gun control advocates would love for America. China is their model. In the ideal world of gun-control proponents, no private American would be free to own guns and the only people who would have guns would be government officials, including state and local cops, the FBI, the DEA, ICE, Homeland Security, the NSA, the CIA, and, of course, the military.
That ideal assumes that it would be possible to eradicate all the millions of guns that are currently in private hands. While many people would undoubtedly turn their guns over to the government if possession was made a felony offense, just as many Americans did with their gold coins when gold ownership was made a felony, the fact is that many would not.
Among those who would not would be those who planned to employ the weapons in violent crime, such as robberies, kidnappings, rapes, and burglaries. That means that everyone who turned in his gun would be now defenseless against those violent criminals who did not.
Notice something else about China: It’s run by a communist regime. That means a tyrannical regime — one that has a monopoly on power, one that doesn’t permit elections, and one that has the omnipotent power to do whatever it wants to the citizenry, including arresting them, incarcerating them indefinitely, torturing them, and executing them — all without any semblance of due process of law or trial by jury.
What can the Chinese people do about this tyranny? They can do only one thing: Obey and submit. They are unable to violently resist the tyranny. That’s because they lack guns to do so.
This is what all too many gun-control advocates just don’t get — that gun ownership is about more than just shooting deer or protecting one’s self from a home marauder. It’s also about the right to resist tyranny by taking up arms against one’s own government.
It’s not a coincidence that the Chinese communists have been able to maintain their tyrannical hold on power for more than 70 years. That’s what happens when people lack the guns to overthrow a tyrannical regime.
Gun-control advocates say that that sort of thing could never happen in the United States.
Really? Why not? What if “national security” required the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA to take control of the country, “temporarily”? Before anyone cries, “Inconceivable, Jacob!” keep in mind that just recently the Los Angeles Times, one of the country’s most mainstream newspapers, published a piece that stated that a military coup might become necessary under a Trump presidency. It was entitled, “If Trump Wins, a Coup Isn’t Impossible Here in the U.S.”
What would happen if such a coup were to take place? The same things that happen whenever a national-security establishment takes over the reins of power within a country — arbitrary arrests, kidnappings, disappearances, torture, rape, and executions, not to mention suppression of dissent and a free press — all without any semblance of due process.
No one should count on the federal judiciary to declare such a coup unconstitutional. The courts will fall silent out of fear and legal impotence or, even worse, they will come up with legal justifications to uphold the constitutionality of the coup. Everyone should also count on Congress to defer to the military, the CIA, and the NSA and even offer their legislative support. Members of Congress will be too scared to do anything but offer their effusive support to America’s national security establishment. There would also be widespread support among the American right-wing and the never-Trump people; “Support the troops and the CIA” would become a national slogan.
Recall the Pinochet military dictatorship in Chile, which the U.S national-security establishment installed into power and then advised, trained, and supported. It did precisely the types of things that I just outlined, with the full support of the U.S. government. It arbitrarily arrested, kidnapped, incarcerated, disappeared, raped, abused, or executed tens of thousands of innocent people — that is, people who were guilty of nothing more than being suspected of being communists or socialists.
That’s what military dictatorships always do. When the U.S. military and the CIA helped bring the Pinochet regime into power, they knew that it would do those types of things. They believed it was all necessary to protect “national security.” All the while, U.S. foreign aid was pouring into the Pinochet regime, thereby helping to fund the arrest, kidnapping, torture, rape, abuse, disappearance, execution, and assassination operations.
The Chilean people, like the Chinese people, were not permitted to own guns. Thus, when tyranny suddenly arrived, they had but one choice: obey and submit, even if it meant watching one’s daughter, wife, or mother be subjected to the most gruesome sexual acts imaginable.
To this day there are American conservatives who continue to extol the virtues of the Pinochet dictatorship. They call his 17-year rein of terror an appropriate “temporary” transition to democracy, ignoring the rather obvious point that Pinochet’s U.S.-supported coup destroyed democracy by violently removing the democratically elected president of the country and replacing him 17 years of an unelected brutal military dictator.
Consider the prison and torture center that the Pentagon and the CIA established at their outpost at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, along with their judicial system that provides for indefinite detention, evidence acquired by torture, hearsay, military tribunals, and denial of speedy trial, due process of law, and trial by jury. Gitmo and its judicial system mirror those found in China, North Korea, and other totalitarian regimes.
As Thomas Jefferson pointed out in the Declaration of Independence, people will sometimes put up with a lot of tyranny before they finally revolt. The Iranian people, for example, put up with 26 years of extreme tyranny under the regime of the Shah, which the CIA installed into power, trained, and supported, before they finally revolted.
The reason people put up with a lot of tyranny, even when they have the guns to resist, is because violent resistance to tyranny is costly and dangerous. A revolution inevitably entails loss of life and considerable destruction.
But there comes a point where people say, enough is enough. They’d rather die than put up with tyranny one day longer. With guns they have that option. Without guns, they don’t.