What Is Called "Gun Control"

Ma quando tu gli disarmi, tu cominci a offendergli: mostri che tu abbi in loro diffidenzia, o per viltà o per poca fede, e l'una e l'altra di queste opinioni concepe odio contro di te...

When you disarm your subjects, however, you offend them by showing that, either from cowardliness or from lack of faith, you distrust them; and either conclusion will induce them to hate you.

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince [Daniel Donno translation, Bantam, 1981, p. 73; Italian text, Il Principe, Nuova edizione a cura di Giorgio Inglese, Giulio Einaudi editore s.p.a., Torino, 2013 e 2014, p.150]

The murder of 49 people by Omar Matten in the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12, 2016, was a perfect example of the success of gun conrol laws. That is because not a single person in the club had a gun. The club had an armed guard, who exchanged fire with Matten; but the guard did not prevent Matten from entering the club, and he did not follow him in. Thus, leaving Matten to shoot people without opposition, the guard waited for the police to arrive, who then waited three hours before going in after the gunman -- although, to be sure, the police then did take some fire, and one officer was saved by his helmet from a head wound. Meanwhile the killing had been done. I have also heard that the fire exits of the club were illegally locked (as has happened in at least one fatal fire at a nighclub), preventing people from fleeing out the back; but I have not seen any verification of this accusation, or even any discussion of it, since.

No one at the Pulse nightclub had a gun because they all observed the Florida law that even weapons that are lawfully owned and carried cannot be taken into a place where alcohol is served. Obviously, such a law is based on the idea that people get drunk and shoot each other. The effect of such a law, however, is to render a club into a "soft target," where criminals, lunatics, or terrorists will know that they can find defenseless victims and can do murder unopposed. The perfect "soft targets" are, of course, schools, where the victims are also less likely to be illegally, but prudently, carrying weapons for self-defense.

"Gun Control" advocates love "gun free zones," which means that those who observe the law in those places will have no guns, while those intent on murder -- the criminals, lunatics, and terrorists -- will find a virtual Disneyland of helpless victims. When Jerry Brown signed a law that prohibited people with conceal carry permits from carrying their guns onto college campuses, he was proud to have created more "gun free zones," and he made sure that there was sufficient publicity that all criminals, lunatics, and terrorists would be aware that now they could be more certain of another soft target. It was an open invitation to mass murder. Presumably, guns are not banned at schools because students will get drunk and shoot each other -- although knowing some schools and some students, that is at least conceivable.

A nice "gun free zone" was at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Virginia, where on April 16, 2007, Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at the school, shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 others, before committing suicide. Cho was literally a raving maniac and had recorded his unintelligible grievances on videos that he left behind. His behavior had not gone unnotice by other students, or even by the police and the courts, where the danger he might pose had been judically noted. This should have prevented him from buying guns, but the court order was kept secret because of medical privacy laws, which meant that he was not in the system for the gun control background checks promoted by gun control advocates. None of Cho's victims was armed, because, even though Virginia is a "shall issue" conceal carry State, the University prohibited guns on campus, even for trained ROTC students. No police, from the campus or outside, were willing or able to interfere with Cho's rampage.

After the massacre, the University president was asked if now he would allow licensed students to carry their guns on campus. He said no, because that might result in a "tragedy." I did not hear the obvious follow-up question, that the "tragedy" had already happened, under the rules he endorsed and wanted continued for a "gun free zone" at the University. By advertising that the University would continue to be a soft target, the president was issuing another invitation to mass murder.

The sheer irrationality of the principles and actions of that president and of Jerry Brown, and of all gun control advocates in these terms, calls for careful attention. When people maintain some doctrine or assertion so obviously absurd and foolish, we should rightfully be suspicious about what they really have in mind. The likes of Jerry Brown clearly do not want people to be able to defend themselves. Their idea that somehow we will eventually be able to disarm criminals, and meanwhile must be sure to disarm the innocent and law-abiding, rests on a number of false and even preposterous assumptions.

Thus, gun control laws in Europe, and especially in countries like France and Belgium, are stringent; but on November 13, 2015, terrorists in Paris launched a series of attacks with gunfire and bombs against restaurants, a music concert, and a sports stadium. The result was 130 people killed and 368 injured, including 89 dead at a rock concert at the Bataclan theatre, where we now learn that the terrorists may have mutilated victims. Seven of the attackers died, largely from suicide bombs. Fortunately, security guards kept the terrorists out of the sports stadium, and they blew themselves up with far less harm done than if they had gotten inside. The attacks had been launched from Belgium, where a Muslim neighborhood in Brussels has since been discovered to harbor various terrorist cells. It is still unclear where all their weapons and explosives came from, although free movement in the European Union and borders that are constantly breached by refugees, with hostile regimes intent on providing such weapons and explosives, testifies to the ineffectiveness of French and Belgian gun control laws. Those laws also didn't stop the attack on the offices of the satyrical newspaper Charlie Hebdo by Saïd and Chérif Kouachi in Paris on January 7, 2015. They killed 12 people, including a police guard outside, and injured 11 others. They got into the office by threatening to kill the daughter of a woman employee who could use her pass code to enter the building. None of the victims, of course, was armed. This reveals the failings of the security provisions, not to mention the "success" of gun control in providing helpless victims for terrorists.

In the United States, where Democrats are intent on preventing secure borders (so that illegal aliens can provide them with fraudulent voters), the idea that terrorists or others would be unable to obtain weapons is ridiculous -- as Mexico is awash with weapons, murder, and organized crime, despite tougher gun laws (and immigration laws) than the United States. So we may speculate that the disarmament of victims by gun control advocates may have some other motive. What that motive may be is clear from some history of the movement. Thus, Britain essentially had no gun control laws until after World War I. Then, a vague law was introduced that enabled the police, over time, to prohibit anyone they wanted from owning weapons. The reason for this was not the existence of crime, when had declined to remarkably low levels over decades, but the Red Scare. Not crime, but the fear of revolution, began British gun control.

We may see another motivation when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005. Police went door to door asking people if they owned guns. When the answer was affirmative, the police seized lawfully owned weapons. They had no authority to do this; it is not clear who told them to do it; and the result was that people were left defenseless in a situation where looting and crime was rampant in the aftermath of the hurricane, and the police themselves at the time were unable to stop it. What possible reason was there for such senseless action? The police, who could not protect the citizens, wasted their own precious time making sure that citizens could not protect themselves. The only explanation ever ventured for this was that the police were trying to get people to evacuate, and leaving them at the mercy of the looters and criminals was a way to do that. A vicious and lawless way, as it happened. And, of course, if the citizens did then evacuate, this left their property at the mercy of the looters. The police were certainly unable to protect it. Good work. Afterwards, outrage over this was general -- except among those against self-defense, of course -- but when the police have their own guns and think whatever they do is justified, there is nothing to prevent it from happening again. Unless citizens band together to defend themselves against the police, which generally would earn them no sympathy.

Readers of Sherlock Holmes stories will recall Holmes occasionally instructing Watson to bring along his revolver as they go out on a case. With some reflection, we realize that Watson's gun is not only unlicensed (there was no such thing) but was carried as a concealed weapon, which is a practice prohibited to innocent citizens in most most States and countries. There is no hint in the Holmes stories that Watson carrying his gun was in any way questionable, improper, or illegal. It wasn't. But now in States like California or New York, "conceal carry" is only legal with special permits that are only allowed to the rich, famous, powerful, or connected [note]. Other States have "shall issue" laws which require that permits be issued after reasonable instruction to all non-felonious citizens. A couple States have "Vermont Carry" rules, which means no permits are necessary (with Vermont, ironically, the base of Leftist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders). After a lunatic, Thomas Hamilton, killed sixteen children and one teacher at the Dunblane Primary School near Stirling, Scotland on March 13, 1996, Britain so throughly prohibited guns that the British Olympic Shooting Team now travels to Switzerland to practice. Switzerland, in turn, has had a National Army to which all men have belonged, and where even machine guns are sometimes seen lying in the streets outside bars, where Reservists take a break from their training.

In the United States, almost the whole history of gun control is based on racism. Thus, the Southern States wanted to keeps guns out of the hands of freed blacks after the Civil War. This took some time, since blacks who had been in the Union Army retained their weapons after discharge and were willing to use them in self-defense; and President Grant took measures, including martial law, to support and protect them. Then, as that generation died out, Northern support for vigilance against Southern racism declined, and the rigors of Segregation and racial Terrorism were instituted, laws gradually began to strip free blacks of their rights of self-defense. However, under the Constitution, all adult male citizens of the United States were ex officio members of the national Militia and were not just allowed, but required, to "keep and bear arms." This awkward circumstance was then evaded by the creation of the National Guard in 1903, which effectively (albeit illegally) abolished the Constitutionally mandated Militia and allowed Segregationist States to prohibit gun ownership by ordinary citizens, i.e. all ordinary citizens who did not happen to be white. The dishonesty and sophistry of this evolution is evident in the provision that even white members of the Guard do not "keep" their own weapons but are only provided with those otherwise stored at National Guard Armories -- such Armories as were robbed no less than three times by the famous murderers Bonnie & Clyde, who thus replenished their own arsenal.

Now, the Left, which finds racism under very rock, somehow how does notice the racist history of gun control laws (or the work of the National Rifle Association, the NRA, to support the gun rights of Southern blacks). Instead, they are obviously intent on disarming all citizens, glorying in the specious argument that the Second Amendment only allows those in the National Guard, now the "Militia," to be armed. People who own guns, and organizations like the NRA, which defend gun ownership, are smeared, constantly, as themselves racist, fascist, and Nazi, despite the total absence of gun rights under actual fascists and Nazis and the desperate history of racists to keep guns out of the hands of blacks.

Indeed, even with the creation of the National Guard, Congress could not and has not abolished the Constitutional requirement for a national Militia, however dishonestly and illegally it evades its Constitutional duty to provide rules for a "well regulated Militia." The Second Amendment, which clearly states that the right to "keep and bear arms" is the foundation of the Militia, not the other way around, and which the Supreme Court has affirmed as recognizing an individual right that is independent from the Militia or National Guard [District of Columbia v. Heller, 2008], is something that the Left simply wants abolished. The embarrassing and unguarded remarks of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg in 2016 (which violated judicial ethics), were to the effect that new justices could reverse the Heller ruling and strip Americans of their rights of self-defense and gun ownership. So it is clear what these people want. Ginsberg, whose co-religionists were helplessly murdered by Nazi genocide, wants to be sure that they can be murdered again. Or she is just clueless.

That is the harsh truth. If we ask why gun control advocates want people to be helpless and defenseless victims, it is because they want there to be nothing that can resist the majesty and glory of the State. They are Hegelian collectivists and statists, for whom government is not legitimized by "the consent of the governed," but where the lives of citizens are legitimized by the conditional condescension of that government. This is the falsely "progressive" ideology derived from Hegel by way of Marx; and its dominance among anti-American elites and their ruling class is too painfully apparent.

Of course, it is not just that helplessness before the State also makes everyone helpless before criminals, lunatics, and terrorists. None of that stuff really matters. More important than a general loss of self-defense is a helplessness in all the other areas of life as well. Bill Clinton said in 1995, after losing Congress to the Republicans, "The era of Big government is over," whose dishonesty was revealed by the subsequent assertion, "But you will never be on your own." People might take that to mean that the Government will step in to help whenever needed; but I interpret it as a threat, that the Government will never leave you alone. And that is more what we have actually seen. Whether or not Clinton really thought that Big Government was over, he was nowhere near ready to give up Big Brother. Thus, by making sure that no one can prosper on their own, the government makes itself unavoidable and indispensable. So gun control is simply another arm of the Welfare State -- cradle to grave paternalism and maternalism, with private institutions -- economic, charitable, social, and religious -- under constant attack. And nothing is optional. You're going to get your "benefits" whether you want them or not, or a SWAT team will crash in through your windows in the wee hours. And Heaven help you if you think they are burglars and pull a gun. "Liberals" who are against the dealth penalty will be pleased to see you gunned down by the police. You were probably some "anti-government" type -- i.e. a fascist and Nazi. And we know how "anti-government" those fascists and Nazis were.

On December 2, 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik entered a Christmas (or probably a "holiday") party for the San Bernardino County employees with whom Farook worked, at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. They shot and killed 14 people and wounded 22 others. After they escaped, Sheriff's deputies followed them from their home and killed them in a gun battle. Farook was an American-born citizen, but Malik was a bride he recently brought here from Pakistan. They had both been radicalized into murderous jihadists, despite recently just having had a child together. Their neighbors had been suspicious of activity at their house but did not alert the authorities for fear, probably, of being called racists. If Farook's relatives were suspicious of his leanings and activities, they kept quiet about it and later denied all knowledge or suspicion -- as is actually typical of the relatives of terrorists, unless they can claim a bounty or pension for the "martyrdom" of their relative.

If anything, Farook and Malik looked less assimilated to American life than the brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar (pronounced "joker") Tsarnaev, who built bombs out of pressure cookers and set them off at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. The bombs killed three people and injured an estimated 264 others, many of whom lost limbs or were otherwise mutilated. After the Tsarnaevs were identified by the FBI from security footage, they killed a policeman and hijacked a car but then were engaged in a gunfight by police. Dzhokhar escaped after running over and probably killing his wounded brother. He was later found hiding in a covered boat in a suburban backyard, where he had actually written jihadist slogans on the boat.

Both the Farook couple and the Tsarnaev brothers, who were from Chechnya, demonstrated that Islamic terrorism could use American Muslims who otherwise seemed to be living ordinary lives. Tamerlan had perhaps become radicalized while visiting Chechnya, and Russian intelligence actually warned the FBI about him. The idea that Dzhokhar had merely been duped and controlled by his brother led to some sympathy for him, including a dewy-eyed photo on the cover of Rolling State, which led some nit-wits to express believe in his innocence, or to want to marry him. But he had been radicalized too. He also had friends who tried to destroy incriminating evidence, but who were caught, tried, and convicted as accomplices after-the-fact.

These crimes and realities of Islamic terrorism led President Obama, who cannot utter the phrase "Islamic terrorism," to call, after the San Bernardino massacre, for.... gun control. But he did not call for pressure cooker control. So his appeal obviously was purely political, cynical, and opportunistic, as was immediately recognized by anyone who wasn't a partisan Democrat zombie. The anti-American vote, of course, and its academic brain trust, wants Americans, especially white and Christian Americans, to be killed by terrorists, because of the evils of racism, slavery, and the oppression of minorities in American history, while, of course, slavery in Islam, which survives until today and is shameless revived, as sex slavery also, by Boko Haram and ISIS, never gets mentioned. Disarming the victims furthers this agenda -- as, indeed, none of the party goers in San Bernardino were armed and none was able to resist the slaughter.

Even better, the nighclub that Omar Mateen attacked catered to homosexuals; and part of the "rage" of Mateen may have involved his own homosexual tendencies, as we have subsequently heard, which perhaps he wished to purge with violence and death. However, the political comment about the massacre, apart from repeated calls for gun control, focused on the hatred of the Left for America, whites, and Christians, and some even strangely attributed Mateen's actions to racism and "patriarchy," despite his own Afghan derivation and his equal-opportunty targeting of both men and women.

Thus, one could read a great deal about the Pulse nightclub massacre without realizing that Mateen was acting in the name of Islam, as he told 911 operators and the press while he was actually killing people, or that Islamic Law generally condemns homosexuals to death, as has been actually done by ISIS, Iran, and other Muslim states. Indeed, some news sources filled in the details on attitudes towards homosexuality in Islam, but, as I said, trendy Leftists and their outlets wanted to push their own agendas and their own worldview without being troubled by the facts of the matter. They repeated all their slogans about "homophobia" and "hate" without noticing that this now involved Islam and not Christians. There was also the problem that the pronouncements of President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry than Islamic terrorism was not really Islam, but a distortion by fanatics (who were probably really inspired by Christians and Republicans), could not be applied to any intolerance, even homicidal intolerance, of homosexuality by Muslims, since such intolerance is traditional, mainstream, and widespread in Islam, in both law and public opinion.

After the Pulse nighclub massacre, legislative proposals for gun control involved renewing the meaningless ban on "assault weapons" and prohibiting people on the "no fly" or "terrorist watch" lists from being able to purchase weapons. This was pushed as a civil rights issue by Democrats who didn't seem to notice that getting put on those lists is a procedure without the slightest bit of legal due process, appeal, or discovery of evidence. The ability of the government to secretly prohibit people from flying is shocking enough in itself, but to have Democrats want to extend this misconduct and strip Americans of other rights, while presenting themselves as martyrs to "civil rights," is something so outrageously insolent, arrogant, and cynical that it defies belief.

But the Farook couple and Mateen were on no watch lists. The laws or procedures the Democrats want would not have affected them. Even better, Mateen was a licensed security guard in the State of Florida and worked for a security company that even did work for the federal government. Mateen might have arranged to get a job as the armed guard of some politician or celebrity, and then murdered them with his government sanctified weapon. But this is often how gun control works. The laws end up having nothing to do with the situation that occasions them. Thus, Lee Harvey Oswald bought a rifle by mail-order. So buying guns by mail-order was prohibited. But nothing would have stopped Oswald from buying a rifle at a sporting goods store. So such a law would not have stopped the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

While Democrats complain that they only want "reasonable" gun control, their dishonesty is apparent in their enthusiasm for the disarmament seen in places like Britain. And it goes well beyond victim disarmament or even the helplessness promoted in the Welfare State. British law has all but abolished the right to self-defense, which centuries of jurisprudence has always held could not be abolished. British citzens cannot use any kind of weapon in self-defense, including scissors or toy guns. A man who delivered newspapers and needed a knife to cut the twine that bound them was convicted in a British court of keeping two knives, and not just one, for this purpose. Cooks beware -- your kitchen is probably an illegal arsenal. The only recourse of British citizens against crime or attack is flight, which it is pretty much assumed they will always be able to do. And if not, tough.

Anticipating that Democrats and Leftists would seek to abolish self-defense in the United States also, several States passed "stand your ground" laws so that victims would be sure to have the right to defend themselves against attack, even if in principle they could retreat. This would be especially valuable for women attacked by rapists, where running away would probably give rapists the advantage to run down and beat down the victim, who would have less chance for self-defense even if armed. A woman's best chance, then, would be to stand her ground, with her hand on a gun in her purse, and shoot an attacker as he comes towards her. But even feminists have sold out to the gun control movement and, in effect, would rather that women be raped and murdered than that they be able to defend themselves. Feminists thus have an almost perfect record of selling out women for the sake of other (Leftist) political commitments (as with O.J. simpson on domestic abuse and murder, Bill Clinton on sexual harrasssment and rape, the selective abortion of girls in India and China, forced abortions in China, the oppression of women in Islam, or any woman politician who isn't a Leftist).

The hostility of Democrats and the Left for self-defense was revealed in the Trayvon Martin case, where on February 26, 2012, Martin was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Almost immediately, attacks were launched against the Florida "stand your ground" law. This was curious, since the media narrative was that Zimmerman, a racist white, had gunned down Martin just because he was a black youth walking through the neighborhood wearing a hoodie. Self-defense supposedly had nothing to do with it. But if Zimmerman's legal defense would involve the "stand your ground" law, he would need to show that Martin had attacked him. The bien pensants were not going to believe that possible. So why the attacks on the law? Well, they hated the law anyway and were willing to use any pretext, coherent or not, to go after it -- just as Barack Obama would rather go after guns than terrorists.

As it happened, George Zimmerman was not, by ordinary reckoning, a racist white, but someone who was half-Peruvian and looked it. And the evidence, forensic and eye-witness, was that Martin had knocked Zimmerman down and was beating him up on the ground -- when Zimmerman was then able to draw his gun and fire, at point-blank range. We also learned, later, from a friend telephoned by Martin at the time, that Martin believed Zimmerman to be a homosexual who was trying to pick him up. Yet Martin was never condemned as "homophobic" by gay politicians, who, like feminists, would never cross their political allies in the all-white-people-are-racist community.

So, again, the "stand your ground" law was irrelevant to the Treyvon Martin case, since George Zimmerman was not in a position, on the ground, to flee the attack and the beating. Yet we still hear attacks on the law in relation to this case. So the motive and agenda is clear. The issue was never Treyvon Martin or George Zimmerman. It was self-defense. That is what is hated by Democrats and the Left; and undermining the ability of Americans to defend themselves, whether with guns or anything else, overrides all other considerations, however irrelevantly, incoherently, or dishonestly the matter is argued.

On September 7, 1876, eight members of the James-Younger gang, from Missouri, rode into Northfield, Minnesota, to rob the First National Bank. Leading the eight were the two James brothers, Frank and Jesse, and three Younger brothers, Jim, Cole, and Bob. Three gang members entered the bank. The cashier, Joseph Lee Heywood, would not open the safe, and Jesse killed him as the frustrated robbers left the bank. Meanwhile, the town had been alerted. Heavy with Union veterans of the Civil War, Northfield collectively got their guns and opened fire on the James-Younger gang. After just seven minutes, two gang members were dead, with others, including Frank James, wounded. Fleeting the town, the Youngers were pursued by a posse and captured, another gang member was killed, and, after two weeks, only the James brothers got away.

Jesse James and his accomplices were looking for a "soft target," and they singularly failed to find one. The gang was annihilated. Subsequent experience in America has been rather different. Seung-Hui Cho, as we have seen, had no difficulty. His targets were vulerable and helpless, living under rules that required them to be vulnerable and helpless.

This was also the luck of the young lunatic Jared Lee Loughner, who shot U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others on January 8, 2011, in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes (Tucson), Arizona. Six died. Giffords, shot in the head, lived but with enduring brain damage. As a Congresswoman, we might have expected Giffords to have better security, but Loughner had an easy time shooting all his targets. At first the media hoped that Loughner had some right wing, anti-government political axe to grind; but it turned out he was just nuts, altough it is not clear that anyone had ever noticed.

Even more horrific was the attack by James Eagan Holmes on movie theater patrons on July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colorado. Holmes had been under psychiatric care as a student at the University of Colorado, but no judicial notice had been taken of his condition and nothing stopped him from accummulating an arsenal. In other words, like Cho and Loughner, he was also a lunatic. Holmes entered the theater through a fire exit that he had previously proped open. Twelve people were killed and 70 others injured. None were armed or shot back at him. Holmes lingered at the scene, dressed, as he hoped, like a member of the SWAT team that was sure to arrive, and did. However, officers realized that he was not wearing their standard gear and arrested him. To the Court, he was obviously insane, and his behavior continued to be bizarre. Nevertheless, the first response of the press was a desperate hope that Holmes was a member of the Tea Party or some other conservative, anti-government organization; and some early reports even said so.

Even more tragic was the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012. Adam Lanza, 20 years old, after killing his mother at home, shot and killed 20 children between 6 and 7 years old and 6 adult staff members before committing suicide. Lanza had been kept out of school by his mother, spent all his time playing video games, and worried her that he was going to be unable to do anything in life. He was pathologically malajusted, if not worse. Why he wanted to kill school children made no more sense than killing theater goers did for James Holmes, or other school children for Thomas Hamilton in Scotland. Lanza's mother was considering some kind of psychiatric treatment or commitment for him, but unfortunately she also believed in being well armed, which was not the best choice in the situation. Nevertheless, no one at the Sandy Hook school was the least prepared to resist an armed attack, and Lanza had no difficulty entering and carrying out his rampage.

While Cho, Loughner, Holmes, and Lanza were all mentally disturbed, a more puzzling case occurred some years earlier. On April 20, 1999, at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, with guns and bombs, murdered 12 students and one teacher, injuring 21 others. The police, when called, made no attempt to enter the school and confront the shooters. Both committed suicide. There had been no evidence of mental illness or unusual behavior with either; but they launched their attack on Adolf Hitler's birthday and seem to have adopted some kind of ideology of death, which some accused classes at the school of actually promoting ("death studies"). While President Obama and media Leftists still express perplexity at the obvious motives of the Pulse nightclub and San Bernardino shooters, as though pledging allegiance to ISIS is some sort of obscure act, what Harris and Klebold thought they were doing is the stuff of real perplexity.

Thus, with lone shooters, who usually are foolish, confused, or disturbed youth, nothing like the defense of Northfield, Minnesota, has been repeated in recent history. All the victims were good citizens who expected the police and their loving and caring politicians to protect them, not realizing that the State of Nature defaults whenever the police -- let alone politicians -- are absent. Indeed, Gabby Giffords found herself in the State of Nature despite her own exalted political status as a Member of Congress. But gun control advocates act as though the protection of the police is no more than a hail away. Instead, the Courts have found that the police are under no obligation to protect citizens. If they do not arrive in a timely fashion, tough. They will, however, clean up the mess.

Indeed, the love and worship of gun control advocates for the divine State translate into a kind of fantasy metaphysic that the power and the glory of Government is immediately present to all citizens all the time. So the State of Nature is everywhere abolished, self-defense is unnecessary, and all any citizen need do is bleat in distress, like the sheep they have become, and the police will stop any crime against them. That a woman might find herself in an empty parking lot late at night, with an attacker rapidly approaching, is a possibility that need not be entertained -- even though the motif of a girl alone in a house at night with primal evil breaking in is the basis of countless horror movies. Somebody worries about such things.

But the absurd complacency and even distain of gun control advocates for the protection of citizens goes back to something else. The power and the glory of Government being immediately present to all citizens all the time (i.e. as Big Brother) has another, far more important, purpose. The Government, i.e. the police, must be there to make sure you are not doing something you are not supposed to. The Government ideally will make sure that you are not practicing, or thinking, any racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, ageism, sizeism, lookism, Islamophobia, smoking unapproved substances (i.e. tobacco), or any of the other political crimes that have been identified by the Wise and the Good of the Ruling Class. Indeed, if citizens are murdered by criminals, they probably deserved it, especially if they are white, since criminals are merely the victims themselves of racism, classism, etc., which are the real crimes perpetuated by capitalism and white, bourgeois society.

I kid you not. This is what is taught at American schools, from the bottom to the top, and in 2016-2016 it was crudely evident in the actions of protesting students, the "cry-bullies," who often led screaming mobs while complaining about how threatened and endangered they felt (by, for instance, Halloween costumes). We also had the marvelous incident of Professor Melissa Click at the University of Missouri calling, "I need some muscle," to expel student reporters from the public University space occupied by protesters -- reporters had already been shoved out of the area by mobs of protesters. Click was eventually fired for this, since, of course, soliciting violence to violate someone's civil rights was a criminal act against the students; but, as we might expect, academic professional oraganizations (like the American Associaton of University Professors, the AAUP) then expressed support for her, perhaps on a very loose reading of "free speech," even though Click and her protestors quite openly disparaged free speech and the First Amendment. There is no free speech, you see, for fascists and racists -- characterizations that actually were applicable to Click and the protestors far more than to the student reporters whose presence bothered them.

Those protests, by the way, were about the police. For all that the police are essential to your standard totalitarian police state, Leftists don't like the police enforcing actual criminal law and, of course, the police don't always behave properly. The Left wants police who will allow protesters, as in San Jose, California, to beat up supporters of Donald Trump without interference. Or we could just have police who will directly beat up Republicans. But when Michael Brown was shot to death by officer Darren Wilson, on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, the story spread quickly that the innocent Brown, surrendering, was shot in the back by the racist white cop Wilson. This turned out all to be false (Brown, fresh from assaulting a convenience store owner, assaulted Wilson, actually fracturing his skull), but it fed the political narrative that countless young black men were being mowed down by racist cops. In fact, countless young black men were, and are, being mowed down by each other -- more so now, as the police back off and don't want to get involved with people, the "community," who hate them. Even when the Obama Justice Department, which has displayed a habit of bending the law every which way for political purposes, declined to file civil rights charges against Wilson, nothing could stop the political movement, especially when the police do occasionally shoot people without justification -- people who are usually white (50%), not black (26%).

So, again, we know what gun control advocates are all about. Those who are not simply naive have their own purposes, which have nothing to do with the protection of the citizens. Thus, as we have seen, President Obama expresses little passion or urgency when terrorist attacks occur. They are a distraction to him, and he would rather go golfing or to a baseball game with Raúl Castro than show any real concern. His own politics are more important; and he has only been really moved when he could respond to terrorist attacks in the United States by using them as a pretext to push his gun control agenda. At one point he even worked up a tear, not for victims as victims of terrorism, but for them as victims of guns. The victims, say, of the Boston Marthon bombing, even the ones with legs blown off, didn't get quite that level of emotion. It did not serve Obama's purposes.

On March 22, 2016, three suicide bombers attacked the Brussels Airport in Zaventem and the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels, Belgium. Thirty-two victims were killed, and over 300 people were injured. The attackers seem to have been part of the terrorist milieu in Belgium that also gave rise to the attacks in Paris in 2015. At the airport, the two attackers did not get past security barriers and so had to make do killing outside the security area and the gates. There might have been much more loss of life if they had been able to get into the crowds at the gates. There is security video of at least one of them blowing himself up.

Precluding the assault of attackers, which did not happen in Orlando or at the several locations attacked by lunatics, actually did happen in Garland, Texas, near Dallas, on May 3, 2015. A "First Annual Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest" at the Garland Curtis Culwell Center had been organized by anti-Islamization activist Pamela Geller and others. This drew the attention of ISIS itself. The attackers, Elton Simpson and Nadir Hamid Soofi, from Phoenix, had been supplied with arms and housing by a Abdul Malik Abdul Karrem, about whose ties to ISIS I am unclear -- although he was later convicted of terrorist conspiracy. Simpson and Soofi used "assault weapons." I have not gathered whether this just meant scary rifles (which is all that "assault weapon" means in the press) or if these weapons had been altered for fully automatic fire. In any case, they shot an unarmed security guard, who worked for the Garland Independent School District, in the foot; and they were then shot down by a Garland Police Department officer, Gregory Stevens. It was first reported that Stevens had killed them, with a sidearm against "assault rifles," but it turns out they were only wounded -- and killed later by a SWAT team. They never got into the venue, and there were no victims apart from the wounded security officer.

The many citizens of Northfield, Minnesota, opened fire on the James and Younger Gang. In 2015, one Texan with a handgun stopped two heavily armed attackers, whose (automatic?) weapons, body armor, and ammunition don't seem to have made much difference. One is inclinded to say, "Don't Mess with Texas." This also reminds me of one of the reasons for "shall issue" conceal carry laws, as in Texas. A very early mass shooting was at a Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas on October 16, 1991. Suzanna Gratia Hupp, who was eating dinner with her parents, had left a handgun in her car because, as a good citizen, she knew it was illegal to carry a concealed weapon. The shooter, George Hennard, a disturbed person somewhere between the insanity of Seung-Hui Cho and the social malajustment of the Columbine murderers, drove his car in through a window of the restaurant and emerged shooting. He killed 23 people and wounded 27 others before killing himself. He seemed to have something against the women, but both of Suzanna Hupp's parents were among the dead. The gun control laws had worked again. Bourgeois white people were dead, and the only answer of the Left was satisfaction that this woman had no gun to defend herself and her parents.

But Hupp ended up in the Texas State legislature from 19972007. She was instrumental passing a "shall issue" conceal carry law in Texas, which had been passed but was first vetoed by Democrat Governor Ann Richards (1991-1995 -- "Let them eat lead"). Then, with Hupp in the Legislature, it was signed into law by George W. Bush (1995-2000). Texas is not a "Vermont Carry" State, so applicants must take a safety course; but authorities must issue permits to anyone without a criminal record who passes the course.

But "shall issue" permits are not the whole answer. Gun control advocates are partly right that keeping and bearing arms has something to do with the Militia. But what this means is that Congress must now do its duty, for the first time in more than a century, by providing the rules for a "well regulated Militia," where every adult citizen is an ex officio member of the Milita. I have discussed how this should work in some detail elsewhere.

If gun control advocates are sincere, they can only be thinking that guns cause crime. However, since there were no gun control laws in Britain or Switzerland in the 19th century, and crime declined steadily, this hypothesis is falsified by the historical record (cf. Joyce Lee Malcolm, Guns and Violence: The English Experience, Harvard U Press, 2004). Also, in the United States, crime declined steady in the 1990's and 2000's, while gun ownership actually increased steadily; and, as John Lott discovered (More Guns, Less Crime, U of Chicago Press, 2010), crime decreased faster in States with provisions like "shall issue" conceal carry laws. Meanwhile, after essentially banning guns, crime became worse in London than in New York in every category but murder -- where the murder rate in New York City had always been higher than London. What we learn from this history is that crime is a function of social pathology, not of the availability of guns. Trying to treat the pathology by banning guns does not treat the disease; and since it disarms victims, it makes things worse.

But if gun control advocates are not sincere, we can easily see what they are up to. They want everyone to be a helpless victim whose only recourse is supine dependence on Government. And that means dependence for everything, from safety to medical care to food, clothing, and housing. The history of governments not being able to provide these things very well, or sometimes not at all, doesn't matter; for the goal is not the ostensible one of delivering such goods, but of creating power for the Government itself, and its minions. Only they, the Ruling Class, really benefit. The peons are otherwise left at the door, hat in hand, waiting for the crums of Government largess, condescension, and benevolence, and properly grateful and humble before their betters. If this actually sounds like feudalism, well, it is. This is why Jefferson said that the way of things is for government to increase and liberty to decline. That is the "progress" towards which those in and of government constantly labor. The real truth of guns, then, is that we may need them for another American Revolution, something that frightens "gun control" advocates the most.

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What Is Called "Gun Control," Note

John Stossel discovered this when trying to apply for a gun permit in New York City. Not a conceal carry permit. Just a permit to own a gun at all. After a long, expensive, complex, and intrusive process, he was denied. He was then advised to use his media and political contacts about the application. Before long, with no further hassle, it was approved.

In Lebanon, this kind of thing was called using a wast.ah, apparently from Literary Arabic , wâsit.ah, "mediator, intermediary, agent, means, expedient" [Wehr's A Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic, Cornell U. Press, 1961, 1966, p.1067]. Since well-to-do Lebanese generally lived in a web of family, religious, and business connections, under the sort of political system where bribery was a matter of ordinary practice, using one's connections was also a matter of ordinary practice. Someone I knew at the American University (AUB) was getting ready to go on a trip over Christman vacation in 1969. At the last minute she discovered that her passport had expired. No problem. She "did a wast.ah," and had a new passport in little more than a day. We do not get such service from the State Department in the USA.

There is a rumor that Senator Diane Feinstein had herself sworn in as a United States Marshall so that she could carry a gun on commercial airline flights. Since Feinstein has been a big "gun control" advocate, most people would see this as a major example of hypocrisy. As far as I know, however, it is just a rumor. I don't know if it is true. At the same time, I would think rather better of Feinstein if she does go around armed. After all, she became Mayor of San Francisco when Mayor George Moscone was assassinated by Dan White (who also killed Supervisor Harvey Milk). It is just that, as a politician, she has constantly tried to strip other Americans of their right to armed self-defense. So Feinstein may be a prime example of the attitude of the Ruling Class that they have rights that other Americans do not; and that, more important than other people, they need the means of self-defense with which ordinary citizens cannot be trusted.

Wast.ah is from the root , wasat.a, "to place, put, or set in the middle," with the derivative , wasat., "middle, center; heart; means, instrument, agent, medium" [Wehr, p.1066]. This is noteworthy just because of the importance of such an idea in other familiar languages, such as in Chinese, which is used in the name of China, in Greek, as in "Mesozoic" (or as the principal street in Constantinople, the -- short for , the "Middle Way" -- which would be Chinese , which itself, as the "Middle Way," could mean the teachings of Buddhism, Sanskrit , madhyamârga), and medius in Latin (cf. medium, "mediation," etc.). So we have a lot of semantic material here to play with, whatever is used for.

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