From Subjects to Citizens

A few hundred years ago, there was a prevailing political theory that asserted that certain men should have dominion over all others. They claimed this power was a divine right bestowed upon them and their posterity and that any disobedience to their rule equated to defying the very will of God. Individual merit, talent, or achievement meant nothing. Morality meant nothing. Sound judgement meant nothing. All it took to rule was to be the closest living blood relative to previous occupant of the big chair.

A counterpoint view began to emerge that man possessed inalienable individual rights and that government that did not have the consent of the governed was not legitimate. In order to stamp out this political theory, a king sent forth his troops to seize the very means to resist from those who opposed him.

Those that rejected absolutism resisted. They resisted with weapons exactly the equivalent of the arms being sent by those seeking to keep them subjugated. In fact, they actually captured the king’s cannon and used his own weapons against him.

Subjects became citizens. When the shooting was all over, those same men who had just fought a bloody war to achieve a new status and establish a new political order wrote a document outlining and limiting the power of government. Included in this document was an enumeration that the people have an un-infringed right to possess arms. These men had just used very same type of weapons that the king sent against them to defeat his forces. It does not stand to reason that they would enumerate such a statement and not intend for it not to follow through the ages along with the evolution of technology. That right was not frozen in 1791 just as the right to freedom of speech is not restricted to writing letters on parchment with a quill and sending it via horse and rider.

Now, let us move forward to a more modern age.

My grandfather was drafted into the Army for World War II and was sent to Italy to serve as an infantryman. He was issued a rifle and sent into battle.

In the 1960s, my father was in command of a National Guard unit that took part in protecting Civil Rights marches in Georgia.

In the days after the horrific events at a Connecticut elementary school, I put on my badge and uniform and stood in front of a local middle school with a not only a semi-automatic rifle close at hand but a select-fire fire weapon as well.

In the three examples above, each individual was receiving a government paycheck and was carrying the respective firearms in the service of the government.

Why was it acceptable to some for my grandfather to have fought in defense of his country with a rifle while using that same rifle to protect his wife and children is considered wrong by some people? Why was it acceptable to some for my father to carry a rifle to defend the civil rights movement while possessing that same rifle to protect his wife and children is somehow wrong? Why was it acceptable for me to have a rifle at the ready to protect school children while having that same firearm to protect those that I hold dear is wrong?

Let us take that one step further. Does somehow being in the service of government grant a special dispensation of morality while only evil is bestowed upon the same rifle when in the hands of someone not receiving a government paycheck? I answer firmly in the negative. Are electricians, systems analysts, statisticians, or whatever else somehow devoid of the moral clarity to defend their own homes and families? Again, I answer firmly in the negative. Should they be restricted from having the very same tools as those they are being taxed to purchase for those whose salaries they are also being taxed to fund? No shocker here as I again answer firmly in the negative.

I end with this quote from Lt. Col. Jeff Cooper:

“The rifle itself has no moral stature, since it has no will of its own. Naturally, it may be used by evil men for evil purposes, but there are more good men than evil, and while the latter cannot be persuaded to the path of righteousness by propaganda, they can certainly be corrected by good men with rifles.”

12 comments

  1. Exquisitely reasoned, cogent argument. I hope the majority in congress realize this truth and act accordingly. I suspect many actually DO understand, but place their own self interest above. Keep hitt’n them with your lightning bolts of truth, Chief.

  2. Chief Deputy Weems, I agree with you as far as a rifle is concened, or some other type of weapon auch as a pistol. However, I am unable to fathom why anyone would want an assault weapon, defined as a weapon designed essentially for the killing of men in war, for the protection of loved ones. It only takes one bullet to kill, not fifty or sixty, and any one properly trained in the use of a firearm should be able to hit their target with one or two shots. I absolutely do not think there is any legitimate reason for assault weapons in hunting or anything else. I would agree that law enforcement should be able to use assauly weapons incertain restricted cases, but that is a decision made by the governed. Again, I agree with you position inso far as pistols, rifles,or toerh tupes of SEMI-automatic weapons are concernd, not automatic weapons.

    1. Patrick,

      Thank you for your reply. Recently, a mother in Walton County, GA, was defending herself and her twin children from a home invader. She shot him five times (five hits) at point blank range. Not only did he not die, he managed to get into a car and drive away, and he is still alive today.

      There is no such thing as a magic bullet.

      The Second Amendment wasn’t written out of a fear of rampaging deer. It has nothing to do with hunting.

      Again I ask, why is it morally acceptable for me to carry an automatic weapon to protect school children but unacceptable for me to use one to protect my own home?

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