The Night of Long Knives

Quick history lesson first before we get into the here and now.

The Night of Broken Glass (Kristallnacht) occurred more than 70 years ago.  This was a German move against members of their own society – Jews.  Jewish-owned stores, buildings, synagogues, homes, hospitals, and schools were attacked – windows broken, demolished, ransacked, vandalized, and burned to the ground.  91 Jews were killed. 30,000 Jews were arrested. Over 1,000 synagogues were burned. Over 7,000 Jewish businesses had their buildings destroyed.  Up until this point in time, Jewish persecution in German-held territory had been limited to politics, social status, and economics.  Following this night, that persecution shifted to physical violence – beatings and murder.  Kristallnacht is considered the very beginning of the horrible evil that has come to be known as the Holocaust.

Now, why would I bring this up today?

Because we, as humans short on perspective and wisdom, are so prone to revisit the mistakes and evils of the past.

Following nearly a week of church burnings and Islamist attacks on Christian sites, the targeting of Christians in Egypt continued with reports of nuns being paraded in the streets, two Christians killed, a statue of the Virgin Mary decapitated, and two Christian female siblings being groped by a mob.

Many Islamists Fault Egypt’s Coptic Christians

In Egyptian village, Christian shops marked ahead of church attack

Islamist mob parades nuns in Cairo as prisoners of war after six hours looting church school and replacing cross with banner resembling Al Qaeda flagThe tremors in Egypt threaten to engulf the region and the world as an whole in a conflict unseen on this planet for a generation.  Christians make up a small minority of the population in Egypt and they are a likely scapegoat for the troubles in that country, the question we have to ask ourselves is who the Egyptians will blame when all of the Christians have been bled out or fled the country.  Israel is next door.History has a nasty habit of repeating itself.

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An Absolute Right

I know that some of you read what I write because I try to always bring things back to God, to those of you I apologize for my focus as of late has been on the works of men.  It’s not that I hate lost sight of God through all of this hyperbole and vitriolic hatred highlighted by the political left’s insistence on punishing all gun owners for the actions of evil men, but that I have recognized it for the threat that it is.  I do not say it lightly when I say that any attempt to ban, confiscate, or register any firearms will not be met kindly by myself or many others like me.  I will not hypothesize on what I will and won’t do in that event as we have not crossed that bridge yet, but I fear that there are short-sighted politicians who are flirting with the idea far too much.

So why do I consider it a threat?  If I believe that nothing man can do can hurt me as Scripture tells us, than why does it matter?

It matters because of the long-term results of those efforts.  That violent crime rates go up following such actions each and every time – rape, armed robbery, gun crime, assault, home invasions, murder – across the board in every instance in history.

It matters because of the actions of democratically elected governments that move to ban the last protection of the minority in the face of oppression and tyranny – the ability to use adequate force in defense of liberty and freedom.

Wait, what?

Let’s play a quick hypothetical: let’s say that the United States passes a law either by legislation or executive order (Don’t get me started on how egregious this idea would be, but can you say casus belli?) that bans further purchase of certain semiautomatic firearms and then requires those that are permitted by a grandfathering clause to be registered with the federal government.  What is to prevent the next mass shooting from causing the same politicians from deciding to now confiscate all of those registered firearms?

You see, without registration, confiscation is exceptionally difficult and dangerous.  There aren’t enough law enforcement officers and agents and every level of the government combined to confiscate the firearms of 100 million gun owners (and let’s not mistake ourselves, every modern semiautomatic handgun and rifle would be part of this round up since they can accept magazines of whatever capacity the manufacturer wants to build and distribute).  With registration, the politicians would be able to “target” the population for confiscation more effectively and eliminate unnecessary searches, etc.

Once a significant amount of the population is disarmed, there is not enough manpower to offer significant resistance against oppression or tyranny.  This isn’t me just speculating, it is documented history.  Just in the last hundred years we have the following instances.

Turkey (1915-1917). 1-1.5 million Armenian Christians killed.  Turkey required permits to own firearms at all and total registration (which led to targeted confiscation from the Armenian population).  Gun control laws were passed in 1866, 1911, and 1915.

USSR (1929-1945). 20 million political prisoners. Total registration and confiscation laws passed in 1918, 1920, and 1926.

Nationalist China (1927-1949). 10 million communist sympathizers and political opponents. Total registration and confiscation laws passed in 1914 and 1935.

Nazi Germany & Occupied Europe (1933-1945). 20 million political opponents (communists, anti-fascists), gays, Jews, Gypsies, and others. Total registration laws passed in 1928. Confiscation laws passed in 1938.

The People’s Republic of China (1949-1952, 1957-1960, 1966-1976). 20-35 million political opponents and “enemies of the state.” Total registration laws and ban on private ownership laws passed in 1951 and 1957.

Guatemala (1960-1981). 100,000-200,000 Mayans, indigenous peoples, and political enemies. Registration laws passed in 1932. Prohibition on bearing arms laws passed in 1947. Total ban and confiscation laws passed in 1964.

Uganda (1971-1979). 300,000 Christians and political enemies. Registration law passed in 1955. Confiscation law passed in 1970.

Cambodia (1975-1979). 2 million educated people and political enemies. Total registration law passed in 1938.

Rwanda (1994). 800,000 Tutsi people. Registration and confiscation laws passed in 1979.

Other notable government-sanctioned murders are as follows:

Japan (5,964,000 noncombatants during WWII), Vietnam (1,678,000), North Korea (1,633,000), Pakistan (1,503,000), Mexico (1,417,000), Yugoslavia (1,072,000 from 1944 to 1987), Czarist Russia (1,066,000 from 1900 to 1917).

Grand total, not counting other genocides such as those in Bosnia during the 1990s, or Darfur in this past decade, stands at 88,533,000 killed by their GOVERNMENT.  88 million is a conservative estimate, the grand total is surely higher.

That is why I fight so hard about this issue.  The very people put into power to protect your freedoms and liberties can turn around and use their authority to kill you, your family, and everyone you love.   With just one exception, the gun control laws passed “to save just one life” were turned around and used by future regimes to target minorities and political enemies.  In that one case, the SAME regime used those laws to target their internal enemies.

Semiautomatic firearms of military pattern in the hands of the people of America defend every single person in this country from the same fate now and decades in the future, because any attempt to push this country in that direction will and can be met with equal force of arms.  THAT is what the Second Amendment enshrines.  THAT is what is what George Washington and the other founders meant when they wrote or spoke the following.

If circumstances should at any time oblige the government to form an army of any magnitude, that army can never be formidable to the liberties of the people, while there is a large body of citizens, little if at all inferior to them in discipline and use of arms, who stand ready to defend their rights.

Alexander Hamilton, Federalist 29

Congress have no power to disarm the militia. Their swords, and every other terrible implement of the soldier, are the birthright of an American… The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state government, but, where I trust in God it will ever remain, in the hands of the people

Tench Coxe

The Constitution shall never be construed….to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.

Samuel Adams

Are we at last brought to such humiliating and debasing degradation, that we cannot be trusted with arms for our defense? Where is the difference between having our arms in possession and under our direction, and having them under the management of Congress? If our defense be the real object of having those arms, in whose hands can they be trusted with more propriety, or equal safety to us, as in our own hands?

Patrick Henry

Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined.

Patrick Henry

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence … From the hour the Pilgrims landed, to the present day, events, occurrences, and tendencies prove that to insure peace, security and happiness, the rifle and pistol are equally indispensable . . . the very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference – they deserve a place of honor with all that is good.

George Washington

Those, who have the command of the arms in a country are masters of the state, and have it in their power to make what revolutions they please. [Thus,] there is no end to observations on the difference between the measures likely to be pursued by a minister backed by a standing army, and those of a court awed by the fear of an armed people.

Aristotle, quoted by John Trenchard & Water Moyle

For further reading, I highly encourage you to read Daniel Polsby’s Of Holocausts and Gun Control.

[The Founding Fathers] rejected the concept of a state monopoly of armed power–“the most dangerous of all monopolies,” according to Madison–in favor of “the advantage of being armed, which the Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation.”

Daniel Polsby

*Statistics regarding genocide from Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership & Marmatt.com.

III

Deserved Wrath

I read a quote recently that set my mind’s wheels turning.  To paraphrase it: how better to live one’s life than to earn the wrath of tyrants.

This paraphrase can be looked at in multiple ways, but I just want to briefly highlight two of those ways.

The men that swore on their lives, fortunes, and honor to separate America from Britain centuries ago knew that they would incur the wrath of people that they considered tyrants.  The Declaration of Independence, which I have delved into previously on this blog, makes it clear why they thought this to be true and how they believe that they were justified in doing so.

If we truly believe ourselves to be patriots, then we must be willing to incur the same wrath in how we live.  If we find ourselves living under tyrants, then it is our duty to resist as Americans, as free men, and as Christians.

Wait… are we not called to submit as Christians?  Render to Caesar, etc.  Yes, if our rulers are submitting to God’s will themselves then they will not be tyrants, but will rule lightly with compassion and justice.

Now how can this be?  How can we be both obedient to those God ordains as rulers over us and yet have an obligation to resist tyrants?

Are we called to be subject to laws that violate God’s laws?

Should we obey a law that forces us to choose between God and man?  Is that not the very act of sedition toward God?

Submit yourselves, then, to God.

James 4:7

If you struggle with this idea, just ask yourself this question.

How would you justify watching as Jewish neighbors were hauled off to concentration camps if you lived in Nazi Germany?  How would you justify this to your Creator?

As I often do, let’s look back and recall the words of one man who had this entire concept figured out.  He realized that tyranny toward one man was tyranny toward all men.  That tyranny, once realized, was worth of resistance, despite the earned wrath that such resistance would cause.  Good must counter evil.

Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings….

…We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the numbers of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation?

…Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission…

…Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power….

…There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave…

…There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged!

…Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Patrick Henry

In battling evil, excess is good; for he who is moderate in announcing the truth is presenting half-truth. He conceals the other half out of fear of the people’s wrath.

Khalil Gibran

Stand firm.  Resist.  Defy tyranny.  Incur their temporal wrath.  Glorify God.

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