Another Pen for Western Culture

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Do You Have a Right to Keep and Bear Arms? But What if There's a Hurricane?

. . . In other words, what if there's suddenly a situation in which you need your arms? What if Hurricane Katrina has flooded the city, and left in its wake lawless looters and a lack of law enforcement?

Do you still get to keep your guns? Or would we all be better off just handing them over to the agents who float by in a jon boat? (My cousin up the road in Denham Springs spent days guarding his house with a shotgun and a dog. And I was thankful he had both.)

But Ray Nagin and the City of New Orleans decided to treat the citizens like children and rob them of the right and ability to protect themselves and their families.

Yes, not only did the Sin-City-Fathers divert money earmarked for levee improvements, they took the guns away from the law-abiding who were left behind.

(In law school, students--and professors--are forever arguing that the Second Amendment should be repealed: "Why do I believe the Constitution is a living document, changing with the times? See Second Amendment." Somehow, they never understood why this answer did not automatically win the day. Conversely, when riots happen, or disasters like Hurricane Katrina, I find myself thankful once again for the wisdom of the Founding Fathers.)

What do you think? Was the 2nd Amendment designed for just such a time, or is it as outdated as the gunslingers of the Old West?


  • Couldn't agree more. During the aftermath, I had a rather spirited debate with a dear friend who happens to be on the liberal side of things in most cases. Her argument was that the early (and as we found out, inflated) reports of gun violence in New Orleans were in themselves arguments for greater gun control. This sounds like your friends in law school. Below is the main part of my reply:

    Assume for a moment that some way had been found to remove every firearm from the Gulf Coast the day before Katrina hit. Those roaming the city with guns today would still, in that world, be roaming the city with whatever makeshift weaponry they could cobble together. They wouldn't be helping anyone but themselves. Those otherwise inclined would still face the threat of violence. I would imagine that the aid workers would still be under a certain amount of threat. It's this condition brought on by our fallen nature and the temptations it brings that garnered for the Colt 45 in the 'wild' West the nickname "The Great Equalizer." If everybody were armed to the teeth, then the criminal element would lose their advantage over the rest of the population. The luxury of being unarmed in one's own person is provided by the delegation to the state of one's responsibility to protect one's self from harm. When the state is unable to prosecute its delegated responsibility, the responsibility devolves to the indiviual. It becomes, unfortunately, every man for himself.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 11:28 AM, March 16, 2006  

  • Amen.

    By Anonymous Mom, at 4:11 PM, March 16, 2006  

  • Mike, 'tis an honor. I like that: "great equalizer." That's exactly what a gun is, for good or evil. Swords, for example, knives, spears, clubs--these weapons bear a different threat in grandma's hands than the hands of a young man intent on robbery. But guns do level the playing field for grandma.

    Around Halloween the kids and I were driving around commenting on various commercial "haunted houses," and it occurred to me that the scariest house is the average quiet home in suburbia late at night when everyone's asleep. Can you imagine how threatened you would feel sneaking in and trying to rob the place? It's because you know they might have a gun, come out of nowhere, and exterminate you. And the law gives them the right. Now THAT would be a scary house.... And that's the point: even if only one home in ten is armed, criminals don't know which is which.

    In the end, it may not be actual guns so much as the possibility, indeed, the Constitutional right to have them that keeps us safe.

    By Blogger Steven Wales, at 9:11 AM, March 17, 2006  

  • and Ray Nagin is a power-driven fool and should resign in shame, but he won't.

    By Blogger dennis, at 3:37 PM, March 19, 2006  

  • Steven, I think the thugs would be
    armed and consider themselves invincible, and the fact that the
    homeowner may be armed is of no
    interest to them.

    And while I support the right to bear arms, this is one grandma that opts to opt out of that.

    Dennis, you are right. We can only hope he will be voted out in the upcoming election which is days away.

    By Anonymous Mom, at 7:42 PM, March 19, 2006  

  • i can think of a ton of situations in which i need my arms...

    ...just so everyone knows...the above comment means that i have spent way too much time with i was once not this cheesy...ok...actually...i am this cheesy...but now less capable of swallowing my first response (the above) and writing the intelligent response (remains to be seen)...

    By Anonymous e, at 7:41 AM, March 20, 2006  

  • I try to keep Sploosh at arms' length. But he's so disarming.

    I saw his name on a door yesterday. His REAL name. On a door. Like a private eye or ob-gyn or something. And it included the word 'director.' How impressive. Good man.

    By Blogger Steven Wales, at 10:00 AM, March 20, 2006  

  • But Director of WHAAAAAT????

    Maybe we can guess.

    Maybe Pirate lingo.
    Maybe PUNishment.
    Maybe Peachy Keen Senses of Humor.
    Maybe Pieces of Cheese.

    I give up.

    By Anonymous Mom, at 10:26 AM, March 20, 2006  

  • Sploosh himself may be unsure the portal of which I speak.

    By Blogger Steven Wales, at 10:34 AM, March 20, 2006  

  • A personal safety instructor once said in a class that I was taking that a baseball bat in the hands of a mother with her kids behind her and an intruder in front of her was the most lethal thing he could think of.

    And at close distances (less than 21 feet) a baseball bat or knife is probably more effective than a gun. But there's nothing that says you can't have all three.

    By Anonymous Mike, at 11:50 AM, March 20, 2006  

  • Good points. Did you see the woman on TV recently who had her kids in the car when a carjacker attacked her with a bat? She got the bat from him and smashed his skull. It was a proud moment even for viewers--another blow for family and freedom. (And my favorite type of swift justice.)

    By Blogger Steven Wales, at 12:16 PM, March 20, 2006  

  • I agree with E. I especially like to bear my arms at the climbing gym, although not to compare to others (for certainly there are guys there with more impressive guns than mine, but it's always fun to go to a gun show...

    By Blogger dennis, at 3:25 PM, March 20, 2006  

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