The UN’s Arms Trade Treaty which covers everything from small arms to battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships – will enter into force on 24 December 2014, Christmas Eve. This treaty has not been ratified by our Congress but has the support of our Secretary of State, John Kerry who signed it and our President, who without expressly mentioning the treaty, said in a speech at the UN in September that all nations “must meet our responsibility to observe and enforce international norms.” The problem with that statement and this treaty is that we the people aren’t in control of what those ‘international norms’ are and as we have seen time and time again, those international norms might be detrimental to our country.
Many preppers and 2nd Amendment proponents believe that the Arms Trade Treaty will first lead to registration of all firearms and when that happens, historically the next step is confiscation through some means. Technically, no treaty can be put into action in the United States unless it has been ratified by a 2/3 majority of the senate. This fact is what most people cite when they are trying to refute any legitimate concerns about the UN Arms Trade Treaty or any other treaty’s potential effect on our country. This sounds well and good and serves to placate some, but for this fail-safe to have any weight you would first need to have a government that followed the letter of the constitution and additionally, that government would need to follow the wishes of the citizens they are representing.
Our government has proven time and time again that following the constitution is simply not something they feel they have to do when it stands in their way. For example, the senate has never voted on the Kyoto Protocol but that hasn’t stopped the EPA from enacting rules complying with the main goals of that treaty. Coal plants are being shut down left and right while the US and China recently agreed to let China keep growing their output of carbon emissions (with coal power plants) until 2030. There are many examples of policies that are enacted that fall well outside the bounds of Constitutional limits on power but that doesn’t stop our representatives does it? On any issue there is more brainpower spent on finding ways around the Constitution than actually following it with the seeming goal of every single facet of law being finally decided by the Supreme Court. It’s as if in our society, the rules we decided long ago to set for ourselves are only as good as the interpretations of people today and if every single thing can be challenged (and in some cases changed), we don’t really have a Constitution at all. What we have is a framework for legal arguments that only establishes a baseline which can be over ruled completely by a simple majority of ideology on the bench.
As for a government that listens to their constituents, that long gone relic of thought is promised by every single person running for office. “I feel your pain” The truth of the matter is that in this day and age, every politician is a benefactor of the same special interests. There are no democrat and republican sides whenever both are receiving money from the same companies. The elected politicians, by overwhelming majority do not care what you say or want because they don’t answer to you. Their actions directly contradict election results, polls and public outcry. The 2014 mid-term elections recently held should have sent a very strong signal to the leadership of both parties that the country wasn’t on-board with the policies of the current administration and the direction of affairs with the Congress, however; Obamacare and Amnesty both remain intact without so much as a whimper from our newly elected majority who promised for years to repeal it as soon as they were ‘in power’. To add insult to injury, the Republicans just released a 1 trillion budget proposal just over 24 hours before a procedural vote on it knowing that nobody would have time to read it. Same tricks but a different face is behind the podium. Why should we expect anything different from what we have been seeing?
Do you really feel that there is anything ‘your party’ is going to do to stop elements of this treaty from being implemented if it is in their best interests?
What’s so wrong with simply registering all guns?
What’s the harm in simply registering you say? It makes sense that government would want to know who has guns, so they can ensure that bad people don’t have them. You can’t argue with that logic can you? Well yes I can try. Registration will only be done by law-abiding people. The criminals they will try to get you to believe this registration would stop would never turn themselves or their guns in. If that were true, why wouldn’t criminals be lining up a police offices every day because we do have laws already, don’t we? How is this not obvious to everyone? I maintain that it is obvious to the people who are pushing for any restriction and by that I am referring to registration, of our 2nd amendment rights.
Do guns kill people? Yes they do, but deaths by guns are a small fraction of the total deaths in the US each year. If you want to know who really kills people you have to look at governments historically.
Yes, you read that right. Governments are responsible for more deaths of their citizens in the 20thcentury than any other unnatural cause. It is called Democide and is been documented by R. J. Rummel, formerly of the University of Hawaii Political Science Department. He writes:
Most probably near 170,000,000 people have been murdered in cold-blood by governments, well over three-quarters by absolutist regimes. The most such killing was done by the Soviet Union (near 62,000,000 people), the communist government of China is second (near 35,000,000), followed by Nazi Germany(almost 21,000,000), and Nationalist China (some 10,000,000). Lesser megamurderers include WWII Japan, Khmer Rouge Cambodia, WWI Turkey, communist Vietnam, post-WWII Poland, Pakistan, and communist Yugoslavia. The most intense democide was carried out by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, where they killed over 30 percent of their subjects in less than four years.
The best predictor of this killing is regime power. The more arbitrary power a regime has, the less democratic it is, and the more likely it will kill its subjects or foreigners. The conclusion is that power kills, absolute power kills absolutely.
But we live in a democracy in the United States and we elect our representatives. We have a rule of law and nothing like the atrocities you mention above would ever happen here. Really? I certainly hope not and so it is with much interest that I have and will be keeping track of what goes on after December 24th and into the future on this topic.
But Mr. Rummel’s statement has weight in historical precedence and is alarming when looked at from the context of where we are as a country today. One could argue that our regime has an increasingly disturbing amount of ‘arbitrary power’. That is power that they have assumed that is outside of the Constitution and the really fun part is they keep giving themselves more of it every day. Some of this power was enacted by law of course, but it is power nonetheless and it never decreases, it only becomes more vast. From the Patriot Act, to NSA Spying, to treaties with foreign nations, harassment of political parties, to illegal searches, illegal detainment without cause, to killing people without a trial and just yesterday they passed a bill which grants the government and law enforcement “unlimited access to the communications of every American”. How much power is that?
What does this mean to preppers?
Our second amendment was written expressly to give we the people a means to protect ourselves from a tyrannical government. This wasn’t about ‘letting us have’ weapons for hunting or shooting clay pigeons. The second amendment says that our right to bear arms ‘shall not be infringed’. It doesn’t say what type of arms meaning that you can assume they only meant musket loaders. It was intentionally open and only spoke to our rights, not the specifics of the weapons.
The Supreme Court even stated in the Heller decision that the second amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects an individual’s right to own firearms for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. Even with that they left some ambiguity by allowing certain restrictions to gun ownership. This argument over who can have guns and what limits authority should put on gun ownership is not going away even with this ruling and it seems that challenges to the amendment could happen one day in that ongoing process we have called the courts. I can see that on the horizon again as new actions are taken in an effort to limit the ability American’s have of defending themselves because that is what it is all about. The UN and other anti-gun voices do not believe you have a right to self-defense. So you have to ask yourself why a bunch of representatives from countries that do not recognize the fundamental right to possess weapons are so keen to take ours. They prefer to give that power solely to the State which takes me back to Democide.
Why would we willingly give away our rights to self-defense when time after time it has been shown to be the ones we have the most to fear from are the very ones telling us we don’t need guns?
I have written before about the phrase “From my cold dead hands” and I haven’t changed my opinion. I do not say that phrase lightly, but I wonder if there will be a decision we face in our future that could have far-reaching impacts on the security of our lives. Each of us should carefully consider the larger picture of events that are happening in our world. We may not get the disaster you are expecting, that would necessitate throwing on our bug out bags and living under a tarp. We may face a different enemy who will come to us with a message of “common sense reforms” and wrap this all in a promise of “keeping everyone safe”. Take that with a grain of salt and remember the words of Alexander Solzhenitsyn in the Gulag Archipelago. Gulag was his literary-historical record of the vast system of prisons and labor camps that came into being shortly after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917 and underwent an enormous expansion during the rule of Stalin from 1924 to 1953. It is a fascinating read and warning to those who can see the echos of history in our country and around the world today.
“During an arrest, you think since you are not guilty, how can they arrest you? Why should you run away? And how can you resist right then? After all, you’ll only make your situation worse; you will make it more difficult for them to sort out the mistake.
And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say goodbye to his family?
Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?
The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! We did not love freedom enough. Every man always has handy a dozen glib little reasons why he is right not to sacrifice himself.”
For what it’s worth, I do not believe that we will most likely see bands of armed soldiers rounding up whole cities as they did during the Soviet Union days Solzhenitsyn lived through. I do think we will need to make a choice and I think we should be guarded even more so about how far we let things slip away from us. The arbitrary power that keeps building, if left unchecked would be the same as not resisting in Solzhenitsyn’s days. If you don’t put up a fight, you might not like what happens to you.
We say “What part of Shall Not Be Infringed Do You Not Understand” as a way of challenging anyone who believes that guns and firearms only belong in the hands of the military or police. It is an in-your-face type of confrontation that we employ to convey the frustration and absurdity of the issue in our minds. Perhaps that message should be one that we ask ourselves? Maybe we are the ones who need to remember “Shall Not Be Infringed” more so than the people who want to excuse away that right. Maybe the lessons of history and the rights we have shouldn’t be used as an argument with people who will never be persuaded. Perhaps, the message is one we need to take to heart and live out to the expectations of those brave men who recorded this phrase for us. We are the only ones who need to remember this right and by that same token, we are the only ones who can lose it willingly.
Pat Henry’s article originally appeared in The Prepper Journal.