The importance of armed deterrence for national and personal defense

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to some strange political sights here at home, including some Democrats cheering on a government handing out “assault weapons” to civilians, even as they try to criminalize ownership of modern sporting rifles here at home. Meanwhile, gun control activists are trying to shut down any comparison between Ukraine’s self-defense as a nation-state and the importance of the individual right of self-defense.

On today’s Bearing Arms Cam & Co, I’m pleased that my buddy Jim Geraghty from National Review’s could join me to talk about why armed deterrence matters, from both a national and personal security perspective. I invited Jim on the show after reading his piece on Tuesday about why the “Russia hawks” were right. While I may not agree 100% with everything Jim wrote in his column, I can’t find much fault with this.

The Russia hawks were right about Vladimir Putin; KGB men don’t turn over a new leaf. Now, as ever, if Americans want to live in a peaceful world, we must prepare to fight and win in a warring one.

I think the same could be said about violent criminals here in the United States. While some individuals convicted of violent crimes may actually change their ways, many of them wont, and those of us who want to live in peace and security must also be prepared to defend ourselves and our loved ones from those who would do us harm.

As Geraghty writes:


The world has no shortage of evil people — rulers who see weakness in neighboring states and seek to conquer them, raping and pillaging, building or rebuilding empires atop the backs of subjugated neighbors. The world has simmering ethnic hatreds and madmen who dream of genocide, and angry young men (and sometimes women!) who find meaning by joining up with extremist movements and lashing out violently against innocent people.

The presence in the world of rulers, regimes, factions, and movements that we would define as evil is a cold, hard fact, and one that I suspect many people instinctively turn away from, preferring to believe we’ve left that kind of wanton malevolence behind in the darker chapters of our history books. The idea that someone powerful would deliberately hurt others, just because they can, is frightening; it’s better to conclude that everyone is always acting out of rational self-interest, and that if we just approach them with the right combination of carrots and sticks, they will calm down and be reasonable. (Senator William Borah reportedly said, upon learning that Germany had invaded Poland in September 1939, “If only I could have talked with Hitler, all this might have been avoided.”)

You can find foreign-policy thinkers who will turn themselves inside out to argue that every attack on Americans or American interests traces back to some sort of U.S. “provocation.”


And you can just as easily find gun control advocates who argue that every illegal act committed by a violent criminal is actually the responsibility of U.S. gun makers, Second Amendment supporters, and legal gun owners. If we didn’t have all these guns around, goes the argument, we wouldn’t have nearly as much crime. So even though you may think that buying a gun makes you safer, according to the anti-gun ideology your purchase only empowers violent criminals.

I confess, that “logic” is lost on me. A free people have a right to defend and protect themselves, but must possess the means to do so in addition to having the will to fight if they’re going to be successful. We can’t rely on outside forces, be it NATO or our local police force, to arrive in time to save us. We are our own first line of self-defense, and a disarmed people are a defenseless people.

Clearly, simply being armed doesn’t stop every threat to our national or personal security. It does, however, give us a fighting chance at survival, and in these perilous times I’d argue it’s more important than ever for us to protect, preserve, and strengthen our right to keep and bear arms. We might not have to worry much about a Russian invasion of U.S. soil, but unfortunately there are still plenty of homegrown madmen capable of committing atrocities against innocents, and an unarmed populace would only put more of us at risk.