National Review to Ukraine: Bear arms sooner

AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky

While the situation in Ukraine isn’t likely to cause any direct issues–we’re not likely to get shot because of what’s happening over there–many of us have been closely following the situation.

What’s been particularly interesting was, on the eve of invasion from a hostile power, the Ukrainian government turned to its populace and said, “Arm up.”

Now, as someone who believes the right to keep and bear arms is a universal human right, I see this as a good thing.

However, we shouldn’t expect miracles in Ukraine, either.

As Charles C. W. Cooke notes at the National Review, they should have started this long ago.

Indeed. The advantage of having a well-armed population is diminished a little when that population has been empowered to bear arms a few days before the Russians invade. Gutowski is correct to say that:

the history of warfare is rife with examples of smaller, weaker, and less organized forces besting even the greatest militaries in the world. From the American Revolution to Vietnam, Iraq, and multiple wars in Afghanistan, it isn’t difficult to find templates for how a Ukrainian resistance could eventually prevail if Russia attempts to capture and hold it.

But the chances of an effective resistance would be higher if there were more guns in circulation and more Ukrainians who were accustomed to using them. Whatever other problems may be attached to the United States’s extremely high rate of gun-ownership, a lack of familiarity with firearms is not among them. Hell, I suspect that, if pushed, the State of Florida could fight off an invasion simply by relying on a handful of my neighbors and the contents of my safe.

Cooke is right.

Not necessarily about his neighbors or his own gun safe–I’m not saying he’s wrong, mind you, only that I’m not talking about that–but about how this isn’t the time for Ukrainians to both arm themselves and learn how to use firearms effectively.

Guns aren’t a zero-skill tool. Not really.

While plenty of people have been killed by people who have no training, they’re often not the people the shooter intended to kill. Further, luck does occasionally play a factor elsewhere.

No, shooting is a skill that has to be developed. It needs to be trained.

And that’s just basic marksmanship. Fighting with a firearm is different than just punching holes in paper, much to the chagrin of many a range ranger.

It’s unlikely civilians in Ukraine will be able to use these new weapons effectively. Not immediately, anyway. If the war goes on long enough, some will learn and become effective. Possibly enough to repel the invasion entirely.

Yet this issue is part of why the Second Amendment is so important. While we haven’t really faced invasion in this country for a long time, the chances of such a thing happening are never zero. Our Second Amendment makes sure that on the eve of invasion, we’re not scrambling to arm our citizens and hope they know enough to not hurt themselves before hurting the enemy.

Cooke’s advice to bear arms sooner is solid and accurate.

Learn from it.