Guns & The Incompetent Citizen

I don't know what I think about gun control: not really my issue, apart from having a knee-jerk lack of enthusiasm for solutions which assume law-abiding citizens are potential criminals, while taking virtually no action against law-breakers. I also have a deep suspicion against this President, whose purpose seems to be to destroy our commitment to constitutional order. Ever notice how in almost every speech or appearance he says something to the effect that "it would be nice" if he could do X something-that-sounds-reasonable, but we have a Constitution and laws and he is going to be the one to uphold them? Thus he plants in our ignorant-of-our-own-civics people's minds the idea that we'd be better off without the Constitution, while simultaneously holding himself out as its champion....

But I digress. My point is that I don't know anything about guns, loved Charlton Heston but can't get excited about Wayne LaPierre, and it's obvious that there can be some legitimate limits on the right to bear arms -- do we think our neighbor is entitled to stockpile Stinger missiles in the basement? I highly recommend this trio of posts from Darwin Catholic for those in the same boat. If you have to read only one, read the middle one, but if you can spare half an hour, do yourself  a favor and read all three.

Part 1: Battle Rifle to Assault Rifle
Part 2: Assault Rifles v. Assault Weapons
Part 3: Gun Control

There's much in the posts relevant to the current political discussion, but as usual it is something ancillary that caught my attention, namely this, as background to a discussion of why serious hunters aren't that interested in the weapons the gun-control advocates want to ban, because they're too light to kill humanely. They are guns mostly of use for shooting "varmints" like groundhogs and such:
There were, of course, exceptions to this [disinterest in this type of weapon]. The Civilian Marksmanship Program (originally set up in 1903 as a government program but spun off as a semi-private organization in 1996) holds national target shooting matches in which the US service rifles (the M1 Garand, and the civilian versions of the M14 and M16) are the only allowed rifles.  The original purpose of the CMP was to improve the marksmanship of the general population in preparation for wartime service, thus the emphasis on military rifles.  And, of course, some shooters simply enjoyed using the civilian version of the US service rifle for sport shooting [emphasis added]. 
That struck me because of the common claim that the second amendment is simply outdated because we don't need minute-men anymore. It's usually met with the defense that we need guns to protect ourselves against our own government, which claim, whatever truth may be at the bottom of it, I assume does not inspire confidence on the part of gun-control enthusiasts that gun-lovers are not dangerous vigilantes! It makes me nervous. Sic semper tyrannis, but that does not include Lincoln, if you see what I mean.

But what if the body politic needs you, presuming you are an able-bodied citizen, not to be an incompetent? If, God forbid, there were to be a world war, what if we need our young men to arrive at Basic Training not obese and clueless, but with some basic physical skills and know-how? What if basic competence with a gun is akin to planting a victory garden (shoot! I know I did a post on victory gardens some years ago, but I can't find it.). What if good citizenship implies being able to take care of yourself without government aid for a period of time in case of emergency? What if we need citizens who can organize a Neighborhood Watch to prevent looting and rape in the lawless period after a natural disaster, before the authorities arrive to help, or when authorities are overwhelmed by the scale of the troubles, or someone needs the help more urgently than you? (Katrina? Sandy?)

It occurs to me that beyond the dark thoughts we might entertain about what the government is "really" up to, the decay in allegiance to the second amendment (why would we need to defend ourselves?) is really one more symptom of a decadent culture that thinks "government" will take care of us if we get into trouble. We have forgotten that "government" is us.

Curtsy: Against the Grain