Columnists, Featured, Jon Caldara, Right To Arms, Uncategorized

Caldara: Capitol gun grabbers might try looking to Ukraine

(You can listen to this column, read by the author, here.)

The gun-phobic, “Here 4 the Kids” just led a protest at the State Capitol demanding Gov. Jared Polis immediately confiscate all guns in Colorado via executive order.

They said they’d protest until he does, or until four days passed, whichever came first.

Have you ever seen a toddler try to hold his breath until he got something he wanted?

Folks roll their eyes when pro-gun morons like me say that the Second Amendment is made for more than just self-defense, like keeping the country safe from tyranny.

When I was anti-gun, I used to roll my eyes too. So, I don’t blame you.

But if the temper tantrum at the Capitol steps could get so much attention, then how about a little equal time for the peaceful power of armed citizens.

On my recent trip to Europe, I spent time with friends from Ukraine, including a member of parliament. They very much regret not having a Second Amendment culture before the Russian invasion.

They now realize why during World War ll Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto purportedly said: “You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind every blade of grass.”

How odd is it that in the U.S. people are crying for the government to confiscate guns, particularly semi-automatic rifles, while in Ukraine the government just handed out those very guns to untrained civilians?

A well-armed civilian population makes invading and occupying a nation nearly impossible.

Switzerland hasn’t been invaded for hundreds and hundreds of years not just because of its mountains, chocolates or polite people.

Where gun ownership is seen as a patriotic duty, almost half of citizens have a gun.

I can see the bumper stickers at the protests now, “Be like Switzerland, own a gun!”

The challenge in Ukraine is they were way too late in arming and still late in safety training citizens.

Unarmed civilians close to the front are being brutalized by rogue Russians with war crimes not seen since World War II: rapes, child murders and mass executions. Women without guns cannot protect themselves or their children.

It’s the kind of world “Here 4 the Kids” naively will lead future generations toward.

Ukrainian civilians are craving more firearms and safety training, the kind of instruction most Americans, until recently, used to get growing up.

But it’s not just Ukraine that’s late thinking about civilian gun culture. Like the blissfully ignorant protesters in Denver, most Europeans were taught that the nation-state would defend them from enemies foreign and domestic. They are beginning to learn otherwise.

I asked my counterpart in Lithuania, who runs a free market organization there, what her greatest personal worry is. It’s a Russian invasion. Like many, she is planning how her family will escape if and when an invasion happens.

When I asked why they don’t just arm and train civilians to make their country uninhabitable for an occupying force, she looked at me like I had three eyes. And this from a woman who remembers communist rule and whose parents remembered Nazi rule.

This is a common viewpoint throughout Europe, they expect government to protect them. Often the same government that oppresses them.

Contrast that to the United States where we believe the source of all governmental power originates from the individual, not the state, working in concert with others. We also know when seconds count, the police are minutes away.

My counterpart in London helped me understand the difference. Being raised with the European sensibility, it took him years to understand the peaceful empowerment the Second Amendment brings. He’s now an NRA member in a country where he cannot own a gun.

The paradox is a country where individuals are freely armed is a country not to be occupied from without or within. And it’s a country that will likely never need to expel occupiers.

If the Taiwanese want to make their island the most uninviting to the Chinese, they should learn from Ukraine and create a Second Amendment culture where behind every blade of grass there could be a rifle.

I understand the siren song of simple anti-gun thinking; I too wanted the unicorns to take all the guns. Until I realized only bad guys would have guns.

Looking through history books I saw bad guys usually wore uniforms, sometimes uniforms of my own country.

Maybe, those old dead white guys who wrote the Constitution weren’t so stupid after all.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free-market think tank in Denver.


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