George Skelton’s column in today’s L.A. Times makes so many good points, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s as good a place as any:
The nutty notion that a citizen can be heavily enough armed to fight off the government went up in smoke near Big Bear Lake.
Then Skelton went on to share some emails he’s received from, erm, ardent gun owners. Here are a couple of excerpts:
The [purpose of the] 2nd Amendment is to enable ‘the people’ … to protect themselves against government tyranny.” [...]
Then there are the right-wing racists, like Pam:
“When that redistributionist Marxist [deleted] Obama decides to take away decent people’s homes and businesses and give them to the black criminal gangbangers, the garbage illegal aliens [deleted] and the rest of the low information welfare/food stamp crowd who voted for him, we who have our guns can meet them at the door, loaded and ready.“
And there are many like Bryan, who asked: “What if the German Jews had been well armed” against Hitler?
My answer: They would have been slaughtered by the Nazi Panzer divisions.
The French and Poles were well armed. How’d that work out?
Skelton describes how many people believe the part about the Second Amendment right to bear arms “being necessary to the security of a free state,” but ignore the part about the militia being “well regulated.”
He explains how it should be “obvious to everyone by now that the right to bear arms can be ‘infringed.’ We’re not allowed to bear bazookas. Or machine guns. No automatic rifles.”
And for good reason, despite the recurring case being made these days about the right to own semi-automatics (“assault weapons”) and large capacity magazines.
As of this writing, it’s not clear what suspected killer Christopher Dorner had in his arsenal. But it was enough to hold off law enforcement in Tuesday’s shootout until someone upped the firepower, literally, by lobbying incendiary tear gas into the cabin where the axed cop apparently was making a last stand against the government.
The government virtually always wins.
He then reminds us that Jefferson Davis’s rebels failed to fight off northern “tyranny” — and “back then the U.S. government didn’t have tanks or drones, let alone ballistic missiles.”
But neither Washington, D.C., nor the LAPD is a foreign power. Americans are not going to permit Uzi-armed citizens to rebel against their country, regardless of any “tyranny” some disgruntled misfits might perceive.
Some in the Los Angeles Police Department who were on the lookout for Dorner ended up shooting at women and others who bore no resemblance to the suspect, a controversy our own David Garber wrote about in his post Mistaken Identity or Trigger Happy?
But as Skelton notes, “that calls for firing, not armed citizen rebellion.”
As he also notes, guns are for hunting and for protection. I haven’t seen too many arguments against those assertions, even from people like me who are no fans of guns in general. Of course, if it were up to me, I’d prefer that no animals be killed for sport, and that guns be as rare as “pro-lifers” would like abortion to be.
Skelton ends with this:
Guns to overthrow tyranny, irrational. That’s why our founders gave us the ballot box.
The Second Amendment remedies for “government tyranny” just don’t make sense. The way to “overthrow” government officials is to vote them out, not shoot at them. And in the unlikely event that the American government actually were to become a real threat, assault weapons would be no match for drones, tanks, or anything else in the government arsenal.
Time to retire that talking point and way of thinking and enter the real world.