Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Who will protect us?

Let’s take a Nancy Pelosi approach to the Constitution and assume for the sake of argument that every privately-owned firearm is confiscated by US government agents.  In other words we now have a public that is largely defenseless against attack from other armed individuals who don’t legally own their weapons but use them under authorization from the government (such as cops or soldiers) or as private individuals using them criminally. 

Would this situation reduce the number of homicides or mass murders?  

By itself it’s very unlikely.  The Supreme Court has ruled that the public has no legal right to depend on the police for protection.  If a cop stops a mass shooting it’s not because he’s required by law to do so.  In Castle Rock v. Gonzales (2005) a 7-2 Court decision ruled “a town and its police department could not be sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for failing to enforce a restraining order, which had led to the murder of a woman's three children by her estranged husband.”

The massacre at Marjory Stoneman High School in Parkland, Florida on February 14, 2018 further illustrates the lack of any constitutional duty of the police to protect the public, unless they are “in custody.”  Students attending compulsory state schools are not considered “in custody,” according to U.S. District Judge Beth Bloom, who ruled in the case.  

“As previously stated, for such a duty to exist on the part of defendants, plaintiffs would have to be considered to be in custody” — for example, as prisoners or patients of a mental hospital, she wrote. 

It’s tempting to argue that compulsory school attendance constitutes incarceration, and therefore students would be in custody without a protective custodian, but the Court obviously senses it would be very bad for government indoctrination if their schools were considered prisons. 

Nevertheless, Parkland had taken the extra measure of hiring a deputy, Scot Peterson, to provide security, but “[a] surveillance video of Peterson's movements outside the school . . . showed he took cover and did nothing to confront the gunman” who in a four-minute attack murdered 17 and wounded 17 others. 

In Uvalde we once again saw cops not only failing to protect children but actively preventing parents from trying to do so.  If that doesn’t constitute an obscenity nothing does.

The impossibility of confiscating all civilian guns

According to the Small Arms Survey that estimated the number of civilian-held firearms, 

    • There were approximately 857 million civilian-held firearms in the world at the end of 2017.
    • Roughly 100 million civilian firearms were reported as registered, accounting for some 12 per cent of the global total.

In the US, civilian-held firearms, both legal and illicit, were estimated at 393,300,000 at the end of 2017.  With 88% of civilian guns unregistered, that leaves roughly 346,104,000 guns the government couldn’t locate if it attempted confiscation.  They likely would issue severe threats for anyone possessing a gun and not reporting it, but gun owners tend not to respond well to threats.

We’re from the government . . .

If confiscation is done by government agents coming to the homes of registered gun owners, how do citizens know the agents are legit?  It would be no trouble to forge official-looking IDs, which would almost never be challenged by the gun owner answering the door.  Guns thereby could be peacefully transferred from law-abiding owners to people with criminal intent. 

And what would happen to all the guns the government did confiscate?  Would it declare a major holiday — “Gun free at last!” —  marked by a symbolic few guns being exploded or destroyed?  What about the rest?  Would they be shuttled to a private firm responsible for disposing them?  Would that firm hand them over to terrorists overseas to help create more havoc and “justify” more US military interventions and keep the funding flowing?  Do you think that’s far-fetched?

Leaving expensive and plentiful military gear behind to be scooped by the Taliban as US forces abandoned Afghanistan gives us a hint of what government might do. 

And let’s not forget the $12 billion in $100 bills the government sent to Iraq without proper accountability.  

In the year after the invasion of Iraq in 2003 nearly 281 million notes, weighing 363 tonnes, were sent from New York to Baghdad for disbursement to Iraqi ministries and US contractors. Using C-130 planes, the deliveries took place once or twice a month with the biggest of $2,401,600,000 on June 22 2004, six days before the handover.

Details of the shipments have emerged in a memorandum prepared for the meeting of the House committee on oversight and government reform which is examining Iraqi reconstruction. Its chairman, Henry Waxman, a fierce critic of the war, said the way the cash had been handled was mind-boggling. "The numbers are so large that it doesn't seem possible that they're true. Who in their right mind would send 363 tonnes of cash into a war zone?”

A corrupt government that thrives on perpetual war, Henry. 

Gun ban would be like another program that didn’t work

Under Prohibition people who drank didn’t stop drinking.  Existing small-time street gangs saw an opportunity and profited hugely from it.  The demand for alcoholic beverages was there to be filled, and Al Capone eventually ran a billion-dollar crime syndicate in today’s dollars satisfying that demand.  

Tyranny thrives on defenseless citizens

It’s obvious that any showdown between private gun owners and a heavily-armed and taxpayer-financed federal government would be a gross mismatch.  Thus, the argument of the Second Amendment as a defense against tyrannical government, while valid 240 years ago, would lose all meaning in today’s world of government fighter jets, bombers, drones, tanks, nukes, and other such advanced means of inflicting massive death.

Or would it? 

Let’s not forget recent history.  In 1992 Randy Weaver, a former Green Beret, along with family and friends, defended his estate for 11 days against US Marshalls before Weaver finally surrendered. The massacre at Waco the following year lasted 51 days before Reno ordered tanks to storm the compound.  US forces with all its power didn’t defeat North Vietnam nor did they clean up Afghanistan, a country that had already ousted the Soviets.  In that war the Soviets had little trouble securing control of Kabul and installing their puppet socialist president. 

The Soviets, however, were met with fierce resistance when they ventured out of their strongholds into the countryside. Resistance fighters, called mujahidin, saw the Christian or atheist Soviets controlling Afghanistan as a defilement of Islam as well as of their traditional culture.

The mujahidin employed guerrilla tactics against the Soviets. They would attack or raid quickly, then disappear into the mountains, causing great destruction without pitched battles. The fighters used whatever weapons they could grab from the Soviets or were given by the United States.

Many gun owners take heart from these facts and consider confiscation of their firearms a “defilement” of their natural rights.

Speaking of rights

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson wrote that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  Philosopher-novelist Ayn Rand amplified Jefferson’s statement:

A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action—which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.) . . . .

And here:

The necessary consequence of man’s right to life is his right to self-defense. In a civilized society, force may be used only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. All the reasons which make the initiation of physical force an evil, make the retaliatory use of physical force a moral imperative. [My emphasis]


The right to self-defense doesn’t mean you have the requisite means or know-how to defend yourself — or others you love.  Learning self-defense is the responsibility of each of us to acquire.  

Who will protect us?  We can only count on ourselves.

George Ford Smith is a former mainframe and PC programmer and technology instructor, the author of eight books including a novel about a renegade Fed chairman (Flight of the Barbarous Relic), a filmmaker (Do Not Consent), and an advocate of stateless market government.  He welcomes speaking engagements and can be reached at

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