My maternal grandfather, Pavel, died as he lived… On schedule and by the book.
Back in the winter of 2010, 106 years, almost to the hour, after he was born, he breathed his last breath in a bed at a Northern Delaware hospital.
In all, his decline from nearly perfect health to his deathbed took about two weeks.
It was fast, mostly painless, for him, and all things considered, minimal in its immediate effects on my parents, with whom he’d been living since relocating to the states in the late 1980s.
Pavel Georgivich Simonov was born in Kamchatka, Russia, in February, 1904, the year after the Wright Brothers first took to the sky at Kitty Hawk.
The year the Americans landed on the moon, Pavel was reaching retirement age… Although he wouldn’t actually take his pension for more than another decade.
To him, service to the Supreme Soviet, and staunch support for the Party was a lifelong duty; beginning with his tenure with the Soviet Pacific Fleet in Vladivostok and continuing on through his work as an economist in the city where I was eventually born, Moscow.
He life spanned the 20th century. With his own eyes, he witnessed both World Wars, the fall of the Romanov Dynasty, the dictatorships of Lenin and Stalin, the nuclear weapons race, the space race, and finally, the collapse of everything he’d spent his life working for and believing in.
Because my grandfather Pavel lived so long, and worked so long for a system that, at its worst, required nothing short of fanatical faith from its subjects, I didn’t take many of his opinions seriously when it came to politics, or the natural supremacy of social collectivism.
I did, however, listen very carefully, and take to heart one thing he said as we watched Russian T-80 tanks rolling into Moscow in August of 1991.
When my grandfather saw a clip of a young woman sticking a batch of roses into the 125mm muzzle of a parked tank’s main gun, he uttered the one phrase I will never forget.
“Eta konets,” he said in a dry, somber tone.
Translation: This is the end.
Just think… a man who had seen his home survive the Nazi blitzkrieg; a man who had watched his nation play the part of the occupier of foreign lands, as well as the oppressor to its own people; a man who had watched the government strip the country of personal liberties, right down to the right to worship, and had remained convinced of the eternal righteousness and supremacy of the collective all throughout, was now just as convinced that it was all over… With just one image.
And with this, I could not argue.
Because not only was this the one opinion which he, as a believer, had absolutely no personal interest in adopting, but because even at my young age, it was easy to recognize the symbols of systemic governmental death.
The clearest symbol a person could hope to see was right there, on the TV screen.
When the army – which is the last and most powerful resort any governing body has to fall back on – refuses to take orders, the power is gone.
Now, how does this relate to the gun dialog happening in this nation today?
Unfortunately, and I say this at the risk of sounding like a fanatic, but the lessons learned during that failed coup are lessons which all Americans, on both sides of today’s gun debate, need to pay close attention to.
One of the most popular arguments I’ve been hearing from gun prohibitionists these days is that the 2nd amendment was drafted during a time of muskets and bayonets, and that muskets and bayonets should be the extent of the ownership rights the 2nd amendment should give to modern Americans.
Well, I interpret this a bit differently. During the drafting of the Bill or Rights, the musket was state-of-the-art military small arms technology. It was the 18th century equivalent of an assault rifle, to those who insist on using that term.
Moreover, in the intentionally vague wording of the amendment, the founding fathers didn’t limit the right to bear arms to bows and arrows, or slingshots, or swords, or any other weapon which could be readily outclassed by a 18th century military firearm.
In fact, they didn’t put any limits at all on the weapon choices available to civilians.
They did this for a reason: A civilian force equipped with weapons used by the military will be a direct threat to the authority of a government whose own armed branch uses those same weapons.
What today sounds like an idea brewed up by a domestic terrorist was in fact, the legislative intent of the 2nd amendment.
Not hunting, not plinking, not target shooting… The 2nd amendment was drafted to create a natural, physical balance of power between the people, and the war-making ability of the Federal government.
Of course, a modern gun prohibitionist will be quick to point out that the US Army, with its drones, cruise missiles, tanks and ICBMs, will outgun any militia readily.
And here is where their glib and superficial argument falls to pieces.
First of all, our government, for all of its space-aged weapons, is having a pretty hard time fighting a primitive but highly committed group of partisans armed with little more than Ak47s and grenades.
Modern armies, in general, face enormous difficulties fighting enemies of that nature. We learned it personally in Vietnam. The Soviets had their own lesson in Afghanistan.
But these are facts which don’t even belong in the dialog, because what the US Army is trying to do overseas right now, simply cannot be repeated on any level on US soil without a paradigm shift in the very fabric of American identity and culture.
In reality, the people don’t need to defeat the US Army in the field of battle to topple the government.
In order to render the US Federal Government powerless; in order to turn the tide so radically against the leadership that the only choices remaining for Washington are either to throw in the towel and hand over power to somebody else, or to admit that our democratically-elected leadership is nothing more than a thinly veiled dictatorship, and thus justifying a full-scale revolution, armed civilians don’t even need to fight.
I’m going to repeat that: To overthrow the government, the people do not need to fire a single shot.
They need only to get the US Army to show up, just as the Russian army showed up 20 years ago.
When the tanks appear in the streets. When the drones begin overflights and targeting private property on US soil, the game is already over.
Our government knows this because the Soviets, the very embodiment of evil and tyranny for four decades, collapsed trying to do that very thing before our very eyes.
In fact, our own Federal government, in far smaller and less sensational incidents, has come close to that threshold in the past.
Events like the firefight between Federal agents and the Weavers at Ruby Ridge in 1992, and the armored assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco in 1993 were small, but very poignant examples of just how quickly the Federal Government can turn itself into the thing Americans fear most – a tyrant.
Both times, the Feds came off looking like Nazis, causing outrage and uproars from coast to coast.
And both times, the reason for the armored assaults, as opposed to a nice, quiet knock on the door, was a cache of modern, military-style rifles.
Nothing more, nothing less.
Now, take Ruby Ridge, take Waco, and multiply that event by a million… By ten million.
In the eyes of the Federal government, this is exactly the magnitude of the problem. 300 million guns, in the hands of over 80 million Americans, and each and every one of them, in the eyes of a paranoid, overburdened and ever-expanding government, is another potential Ruby Ridge… Another potential Waco Texas.
Without these modern, semi-automatic weapons, the government doesn’t need to use tanks and stormtroopers. They can just do as the KGB did during the Stalin era and show up at the door, in the middle of the night, carry out their searches, carry out their arrests, and take off, suspect in custody, before anybody is the wiser.
With these weapons in the homes of regular citizens like you or me, it’s not so easy.
So, this leaves the Federal Government with 2 choices:
Either allow the continued stockpiling of privately owned weapons, and therefore allow for the possibility of starting a fight which they cannot hope to win (as our Russian counterparts learned when their own tank battalions refused to fight a group of civilians who had never)…
… Or quietly, gradually, with the great emotional support of gun-prohibitionists and protesters who insist on equating legal gun ownership with the mass murder of children, take away the one thing which is capable of forcing the government’s hand.
Think I’m paranoid? Well, maybe you should be a little bit paranoid too.
The Federal Government has doubled in size since 2009. They’ve drafted tens of thousands of pages of new laws, new regulations, and gone on a $6 trillion spending spree which is unprecedented in the history of the world (perhaps with the sole exception of the pyramid building campaign of Egypt’s 4th dynasty, 4500 years ago).
Is your life better for it? Is it more safer, happier or more plentiful? Doubtful.
Is the government bigger, more powerful, and more intrusive than ever when it comes to your liberties and your privacy? Without question, it is.
In grade school social studies, we were taught the famous John Dalberg-Acton quote, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely“.
What does that mean, then, for the common man living in a time when the power of the government is growing exponentially?
It means that the path to tyranny has already been laid… And this latest attempt at a gun-grab, shamefully sold to the public as a war against child killers armed with scary looking semi-automatic rifles (according to FBI statistics, only 323 murders were committed, nationwide, by rifles in 2011, and most of those were gang-on-gang shootings where both parties were armed), is nothing more than a well-timed appeal to our emotions.
They do not respond to questions pertaining to record-setting murder rates in DC and Chicago – two havens of gun prohibition for decades… Or more importantly,the subsequent drop in crime rates when broad-spectrum gun bans were finally deemed unconstitutional in 2010.
They do not respond to trends of decreasing national murder rates, despite ongoing efforts by private citizens to stock up on both firearms and ammunition.
They do not bother to consider that while they’re putting all their faith in a government to ‘keep us safe’ from our armed neighbors, that same government is the most heavily armed entity the world has ever seen, with hundreds of thousands of documented kills registered, across the world, over the last 20 years.
Their argument, beginning to end, can be summarized with the following equation: Guns = Dead children.
But guns were designed to kill, and ‘assault rifles’ (I won’t even bother getting into that popular misnomer) were designed for mass killing, the prohibitionists will cry as an argument of last resort .
You bet they were. That’s what makes them a threat, and therefore an effective, albeit symbolic counterbalance against physical Federal overreach.
Oddly enough, images of alcoholic beverages, which were designed and are imbibed for the sole purpose of impairing cognitive and motor function, and annually cause more bystander deaths than all guns combined, aren’t the focus of any protesting in DC.
Only guns are.
My guess is because a.) the government has already tried and failed in their way on booze back in the 30s, and b.) because most of those protesting guns, and most of those law makers to whom they are protesting, won’t say no to a drink or three every now and then.
It is sad and embarrassing to watch rational adults reduced to a state of knee-jerk logic on this magnitude.
But more than anything, it is frightening to watch the government jumping on board this emotional band wagon to do what it has failed to through decades of attempted regulations and bans…
Now, please keep in mind that I am not advocating the commencement of armed action on any government agency or agents at this, or any other time.
What I am advocating is the continued, healthy balance of power in this country which can only exist if the growing influence of the government is met with a well armed and self-interested citizen population.
If, god forbid, it ever does come down to a conflict with our own leadership, I can guarantee one thing. We, the People, will only need to show up and stand our ground. The moment the government crosses the line into physical tyranny, they will have already lost. And they know it better than anyone.
We need government. About that, there is no question… But we need to keep them honest and limited to the functions we, as their masters, have elected them to carry out. There is only one way to do that.
Do not let them sell you on safety and security by taking away our only means of ensuring that safety and security. Stay armed.
Yours in Wealth,