All was not sweetness and light before the invention of firearms. The Norman Invasions, the Golden Horde, the Destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the Fall of the Roman Empire all happened while we were waiting for Sam Colt to come along and invent the revolver.
It was firearms technology that finally made the West safe from Islam in the eighteenth century, after twelve centuries of being in constant danger of being overrun. The same technology helped Westerners prevail over savages in the conquest of North and South America. It's a good thing, as Martha Stewart would say.
But a lot of people want to abolish guns.
Do you realize that if you made all the guns in the U. S. vanish, New Mexico, Texas, and California would vanish the same day?
The Mexicans would just come and get them.
(It's much easier to invade the US from Mexico than the other way around, because the US has paved roads.)
Now many gun control fans are saying, "Don't be silly. The U. S. Army would still have its guns. We're not talking about making those guns vanish."
The government's policy today tends to prevent Americans from defending themselves, and the government will always fail to defend you.
It will even prosecute you if you defend yourself, as in the Goetz case and countless others less famous.
In 1999 a Border Patrolman was fired for using an airgun to sink a rubber raft that was crossing the river into the US. More recently, they've been searching pilots to make sure they don't have pocketknives or scissors.
In a recent column <![if !supportNestedAnchors]><![endif]>, John O'Sullivan argues persuasively that the precautions worked very well, limiting the Arabs to boxcutters rather than pistols and hand grenades.
He 's got a point. But the search at the airplane gates still adds up to one thing; 300 disarmed passengers vs. 6 armed hijackers. The government made sure of the first part, and failed on the second part, nor did they provide an armed guard to prevent hijacking.
(A Brinks truck has three men in it, and they're usually guarding less than a quarter of a million dollars in cash. A 767 is worth $125,000,000, let alone the cost of replacing the passengers, but still doesn't have any armed guards.)
New York, the site of the 9/11 attacks, has the worst "victim disarmament" laws in the country. You could start firing a pistol into any large group of New Yorkers and be fairly sure none of them could fire back.
In an earlier attack in 1997, a Palestinian named Ali Hassan Abu Kamal did just that. He opened fire on the top deck of the Empire State Building. Giuliani called for Floridians to disarm themselves, getting it exactly backward.
In New York City, Amadou Diallo was shot by police on the mistaken belief that he was pointing a gun at them.
Ann Coulter wrote that the police weren't just out "profiling"; they were looking for a specific criminal who was armed with an automatic pistol and a submachine-gun, and who had committed 51 rapes. Two months after the mistaken shooting of Diallo, they caught this man, to absolutely no publicity.
But while Coulter is right about the NYPD's good intentions in rousting Diallo, she's temporarily overlooked their role in the 51 rapes.
NYPD has programs to make sure all the women in New York are unarmed. Every rape after the first one was the fault of the NYPD.
So when the Administration proposes a new anti-terrorist bill, instead of including new and better ways to control Americans' access to firearms, perhaps they should try the reverse, and write legislation overriding New York's Sullivan law, and the thousands of mini-Sullivans around the country, and require the state and city governments to let people defend themselves.
Vin Suprynowicz, a pro-gun writer in Nevada, put it this way:
The entire epitaph of the independent, indigenous cultures of North America may be summed up in the two syllables of the first Indian war chief ever to face a European cannon: "Uh-oh."
Let's see how that translates into Arabic.
October 17, 2001