Ukrainian government officials are stating that their killing of more than 80 people during the civil unrest in Kiev over the past few days is, of course, lawful.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister has backed the use of firearms on the part of the authorities as “in line with the law”.

“Taking into account that police perform their duties on maintaining public order without firearms, it was decided to pull out the forces toward the government neighborhood. To minimize losses among the unarmed policemen while they were retreating from the area under fire, armed security forces arrived at the scene. They used weapons in line with the Ukrainian law on Police”, Vitaliy Zakharchenko posted in an official statement of his ministry.

While the government claimed that protesters had seized mysteriously unguarded armories and made off with more than 1,000 military and police weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition, what we actually see are scenes like this (link to YouTube), where the alleged “opposition fighter” is armed with an obsolete rimfire training rifle (below).

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We see scenes like the one below, where the protesters are still primarily armed with truncheons and thrown weapons, but also have a few battered firearms like this old double-barrel shotgun, all but useless against police armor and shields.

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In opposition, the police are deploying AKM assault rifles, AK-74 assault rifles, designated marksman’s rifles, and sniper rifles (below). Tear gas? It’s no longer apparently relevant now that the government has “gone to guns.”

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“Unarmed” policemen? Heavily-armed protesters?

Rather obviously, the images don’t match the propaganda being echoed from Ukrainian government news organs and allied Russian news outlets. Just as obviously, the government claims that their acts are “legal” are both technically correct, and entirely irrelevant.

The first unstated rule of government is to protect the government. The rights, desires, and even the lives of the citizenry come secondary to the protection of the government in many, if not most instances.  When backed into a corner by citizens desiring a substantial change in government—or say, a reversion to constitutional rule of law—government will try to response with the soft force of coercion first, but rarely avoids the use of the force of arms to preserve the government. The firearms being deployed against the barely-armed Ukranian people in the photos above are a mere reflection of that reality, and you can rest assured that the government will continue to escalate their use of force as much as they perceive it is required to retain their continued power.

The United States of America is a republic born from a war fought against an English tyrant who trod on the pre-existing rights of English colonists. The government asserted ever stronger tyranny over the course of a decade, and one day attempted to go a bridge too far. The rest, as they say is history.

Our history.

As a result of winning that long, bloody, and exhausting conflict, the Founding Fathers wanted to ensure that in the future, domestic tyranny could not again easily find purchase here. The Second Amendment to our Constitution enshrines the pre-existing and inalienable right to self-defense, so that American citizens would be able to match arms with any would-be tyrant.

A free nation need not bow before a tyrant, nor endure the horror of facing heavily-armed bullies armed with nothing more than cobblestones and courage.

Those who would dismantle our Republic seek to dismantle not just our Second Amendment rights, do so in the hopes that they, too, will one day face nothing more than cobblestones and a handful of obsolete and ineffective arms.

It is our duty as citizens to deny them that advantage.