Muggers, mass shooters, or megalomaniacs, the Second Amendment offers protection against all

Don Petersen

It has been just over a year since the exhibition of the most incompetent police performance in the history of the United States: the response to the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. Over 400 law enforcement officers stood down for 1 hour and 14 minutes before doing the dangerous duty for which they signed up at taxpayer expense: to put their lives at risk in service of their community, especially its young, innocent, and most vulnerable members. To add insult to injury, when parents tried to rescue their children, the police stopped them from doing so, going so far as to use violence in some cases.


Mass shootings are statistically rare, even though they capture the bulk of the media’s attention and are the driving force behind calls for gun bans and confiscation. What is much more common is daily crime, committed with or without firearms: in the year 2019, the FBI says that there were 1,203,808 violent crimes consisting of muggings to homicide and everything in between. That may sound like a lot of violent crime for a country whose 2019 population was 328.3 million, but note that it’s still low compared to human history

Setting aside the police incompetence in egregious cases like Uvalde and Parkland, it is obvious to anyone with half a functioning brain lobe that the right of self-defense is a fundamental right of nature. In the United States, the means to exercise that right – arms – are constitutionally protected. It has been used to stop mass shootings.

The written Second Amendment guarantee of our right to keep and bear arms means that the average person, whether a 100 lb., 5’ tall woman, or an 85-year-old man with arthritis and a herniated disk, are at an equal footing to fend off an attacker who wouldn’t hesitate a second to violate someone’s person or property or even cruelly take their life.


That manifests itself in the CDC’s official Defensive Gun Use (DGU) statistics, which range from a low-end of 60,000 instances to a recently-redacted high-end of 2.5 million instances per year. Those are real stories of real lives saved as seen below:

On the rarity scale, after the common mugger and the rare mass shooter is the extremely rare megalomaniac. The chances of a megalomaniac coming to power are infinitesimally low, but when one does, the outcome is extremely dangerous. History has seen many of them in the previous century: Adolf Hitler, Josef Stalin, Mao Zedong, and Pol Pot are the names that immediately come to mind. These men had at massive armies at their command with unarmed millions on the receiving end. What follows a megalomaniac is predictable and disastrous: democide in the 19th century resulted in a total of 262 million government-caused deaths.


The difference between a mugger, a mass shooter, and a megalomaniac is merely one of size and scale. They are all tyrants who violate others’ rights; it just so happens that some are petty and plentiful, while others powerful but rare. Every one of them performs actions that belie a cruel heart that lacks compassion for their fellow human beings. Our well-connected, comfortable lives in the 21st century, devoid of the grinding poverty, disease, and short life-spans of our ancestors make it seem that people have changed. The bitter truth is that we haven’t.

The Founding Fathers knew this. They anticipated technological change. They themselves lived in an era of innovation and were inventors and tinkerers themselves. But they knew from studying history and understanding human nature that technology changes, but human nature doesn’t. Hence, they put in the protections for individual rights that revolutionized not just America, but the rest of the world in due course of time. Those individual rights, whether it’s free expression or religion or privacy, are underwritten by the Second Amendment. Let’s hope people never forget that or we will usher in a new Dark Age not just for America but for all of humanity.


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