Tuesday, August 26, 2008


The purpose of these Pacific Gate Post articles is to stimulate thinking, challenge and entertain. Hopefully, such intent is occasionally achieved. On many fronts, touching politics, religion, and culture through the pen may occasionally arouse emotions beyond rational thought, or invite reactions instigated by agenda. The August 22, 2008 article hereunder, seeks to explore the notion and result of guns in society. Comments and emails in response indicate that the subject of guns may stimulate passions perhaps more than religion or politics. The comments not containing extreme personal attacks or inappropriate content were posted. Some further thoughts on the article’s perspective are appropriate, given the importance of the subject.

Guns and cannons enabled a revolution, and created a Confederation that was then morphed into a Federation. The rights protected, conscientiously reserved the right of citizens to bear arms, thereby safeguarding against the possibility that citizens might once again find themselves under an oppressive or unjust government. It is understandable that at some level the original intention be shielded from corruption or impaired in any form.

The Declaration of Independence and the Framers of The Constitution when forming the Federation could never have envisioned the overwhelming weaponry currently under federal government administration, and available to the Commander In Chief. The tools of revolution that succeeded against the Royal army in the 18th. century, were similar to those of the routed oppressor. The Federal government today has weapons, including nuclear, that would readily squash any uprising, regardless of artillery, and a suggested maintenance of arms for such intended purpose is disingenuous. The checks and balances in the structure of the government safeguard against an authoritarian regime. If the structure breaks down, guns wouldn’t bring a potential dictator under control if he has his finger on the button.

It is not reasonable that broad access be granted solely because frontier reality of 250 years ago required it or made it feasible. FEASIBILITY is a critical point here, not the love or hatred of guns. Is it feasible that society would today be capable of protecting itself from would be oppressors on its own soil using guns?

Having grown up with guns, and having belonged to a gun club with a state of the art shooting range, provided me an appreciation for handguns and rifles. Those years provided some insight into the extreme power provided an individual holding a gun. The omnipotent energy of an exploding .44 Magnum or .454 Cassull cartridge discharging out of a chamber at almost 2000 feet per second, or the monstrous power of a .500 S&W Magnum, are undeniable. They are indisputably dangerous, and manufactured for only one purpose - maiming one’s target is not it. Even the most common caliber, the .22 endows its owner with cogent superiority over the neighborhood. None of these guns will ever be used in a successful revolution on American soil.

Unfortunately, when it comes to accessibility of guns strictly for self protection, it becomes very difficult to have half measures. Under the current laws, North American society will continue to find itself subjugated to a proliferation of guns, particularly guns in the wrong hands. Either everyone in society is allowed to own one, or no one is. The current situation is a dangerous partial acceptance, and criminals ready, willing and able to kill, will continue to have ready access in greater and greater numbers, as population numbers continue to increase.

Having healthy debates on serious topics is encouraging. Resolutions require an effort to understand both sides of an argument, as well as creative and clear thinking void of anger. The passionate responses on this topic, suggest that a solution may be highly difficult to achieve, but not impossible. In the meantime, thoughtful comments are welcome. Reason usually finds workable solutions.


  1. Hello,
    I would argue that an armed populace is one of those "checks and balances" that you mention. I agree that no one gun would be able to restore our nation's government to a republic should it become some sort of tyranny. On the other hand, that really isn't the point. Iraq and Afghanistan are just two countries where individuals and small groups have had a major impact on the governing bodies of those nations. Their ideologies are irrelevant for this argument, their effectiveness against overwhelming technology and firepower is. Having an armed populace isn't a guarantee that the United States will remain a true republic, like all "checks and balances" it is never 100% effective. Having an armed populace does increase the chance that should someone attempt to replace our existing government with a tyranny they will find the effort too difficult to achieve.
    One element missing from the article and certainly relevant for the bay area is the temporary failure of local governments in the event of natural and in some cases man-made disasters. Hurricane Katrina, the "Rodney King" riots in LA, are both examples where for a limited time and over a limited area civil government can collapse and the individual would be responsible for their own protection. -Patrick

  2. "The August 22, 2008 article hereunder, seeks to explore the notion and result of guns in society. Comments and emails in response indicate that the subject of guns may stimulate passions perhaps more than religion or politics."

    True. The subject of guns often involves the proposed prohibition of an individual right. If one were to propose a prohibition upon religious or political rights, perhaps one might stimulate similar passionate responses.

  3. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20080901.EGUNS01/TPStory/Opinion/editorials

    The conservative Globe and Mails position. Well laid out I thought.