Monday, January 28, 2013

Red flags

Thanks, Pauli, for letting me post here.  Hope I can make an occasional worthwhile contribution.
So . . . here I am, a handgun owner (at the encouragement and nudging by my son – imagine that), wondering why the recent gun control “conversation” is bugging me more than many things these days. Something doesn’t seem right about it, beyond the obvious that this was going to be the type of conversation in which they tell us what is going to be done and we are going to listen.

I guess it is because there are all these red flags popping up.  We have horrible evil perpetrated on innocent children, and much to-do that something has to be done, even “if it saves only one life”, but what we get are proposals that have little to do with solving the stated problem. 

If the solutions being trumpeted don’t solve the stated problem (esp. in a high profile case like this), you can be sure that there is another agenda in mind.   

Another red flag is the perversion of fundamental principles that has sadly become a habit with our current ruling class.  They refer to the free exercise of religion as ”freedom of worship” (culminating, so far, in the HHS mandate).  We saw it writ large in Obama’s second inaugural address, asserting that our unalienable right to liberty requires “collective action”. There has been a constant drip of this attitude, giving us the “sense that those who played by the rules and did well have instead done something wrong, or at least are under suspicion — and it is now time for their government to seek atonement from them”.

And on the gun issue, Obama tells us that he has “profound respect for the traditions of hunting”, and Biden tells us how many rounds hunters need.  This is a perversion of our natural right to defend our lives against an aggressor and the moral obligation to defined the lives of innocent others, as Pauli ably stated, not to mention our natural right to self-government rather than tyranny.
These red flags tell us that the current “gun control” proposals are not so much about “guns”, but are instead about “control".  The ruling class is demanding that we cede to the State at least part of our natural right to self-defense and our moral obligation to defend others, for our own safety, of course.  (Or not.)  But as the Declaration asserts, and as we Catholics especially know, we cannot cede our natural rights or our moral accountability – we remain obligated and accountable to protect innocent life.  A government that applies its power to take for itself our God-given rights and responsibilities violates the natural rights of man, and offends human dignity.  More on that topic here.

So yes, something ought to bug me.  This is a defining issue, IMO, masquerading as something happening on the edges.  We must resist this attempt, saying so based on principle rather than because we are specifically affected by the details. Why do we law-abiding citizens need high-capacity magazines? Not because I want one, but because we don’t want a fair fight if we must defend ourselves from an aggressor (or multiple aggressors), as is our right and obligation. Why do we fight a federal requirement to do a background check when we sell (or give) a weapon to our good friend down the street? Not because I don’t want the hassle, but because the federal government has no power over that transaction (nope, not even the commerce clause). Why do we law-abiding citizens need “assault” rifles? Not because the definition is a sham or because it is the best tool for what I want to do, but because “… we are not serfs. We are a free people living under a republic of our own construction. We may consent to be governed, but we will not be ruled.”. 

We live in an era of government-by-anecdote, in which every non-optimal event fitting the narrative turns into a call for federal action. Even if we avoid this current threat, some day there will be another bad result simply because evil and human imperfection exist. Like Pauli said, we need to take whatever "equal time" we can get to repeat those principles necessary to argue and defend against the creeping tyranny of "something has to be done" when the next bad event happens, as it necessarily will.
* More disclosure – I sold my second .45 to a friend of mine this weekend (don’t need two guns shooting the same round, especially at 50 cents per).  Don’t worry – I didn’t launder it through a ridiculous “buyback” nor sell it to a street thug or lunatic.  I sold it to a good friend who is on our parish pastoral committee, as a matter of fact.

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