Thursday, 03 January 2013

The NRA's Inconsistent Message of Liberty

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Sometimes the best friends of the liberty movement are its worst enemies.

This problem is most realized through organizations and people who are single-issue oriented. Quite often those who fight for the freedom of speech, parents’ rights, the Fourth Amendment and more call for the sacrifice of other rights in order to strengthen and/or maintain the rights that they deem most important.

This has been made grossly evident again over the past week and a half during which the protectors of the Second Amendment — the National Rifle Association (NRA) — have offered solutions to the societal issues that led to the Newtown massacre and could lead to more public bloodbaths in the future. Among their cures for such situations is the deployment of armed guards on secondary school campuses.

Putting armed guards on school grounds does not offer a direct threat to the rights of the individual. It does, though, offer a secondary effect in that it indoctrinates Americans to an ever-present police state.

As it stands now, seemingly intelligent adults have been conditioned to sacrifice liberty (and the Fourth Amendment) for alleged safety at the airports, and, through that, a majority of Americans willingly subject themselves to sexual assault at the hands of TSA agents. Now, think of how their children will be conditioned to seeing that in their travels and armed government agents roaming the halls of their schools and how they will come to accept as the norm such overreaching babysitting by Big Brother — all the while being exposed to revisionist history in their classrooms that condones such anti-Americanism.

As they age, thanks to such ubiquitous exposure to the police state in their formative years, they will come to accept — even desire — the anticipated expansion of Homeland Security as it brings TSA agents to bus depots, football stadiums, shopping malls, parks, and other public places. They will also accept without question the ever-growing network of surveillance that saturates our biggest cities and our smallest ones as well. They will never know — or expect — anything different.

While the attack on the individual is subtle, the NRA’s plan is a more direct assault on the Tenth Amendment and state’s rights. Nowhere in the Constitution does it mandate the federal policing of local municipalities and public places. That power is left to the states. The NRA, on the other hand, sees it the other way — NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre said as much in his December 21 comment to the media. Among LaPierre’s statements: “With all the foreign aid, with all the money in the federal budget, we can't afford to put a police officer in every school?” and “I call on Congress today to act immediately, to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every school”.

Doing so would set an ugly precedent by denying the rights of local governments (schools included) — and therefore the people — to maintain and oversee their own local police and security forces. Local control of police is one of the most important pieces of the liberty puzzle — the moment that the people lose that control and the federal government gains control of the protection of our city streets and school hallways, is the moment that we lose everything. You see, America is unique in that most policing is done at the local level by county, city, or village officers. In nearly all other countries, the police forces are managed by the national government. Accordingly, our police are closer and more in tune to the people they are empowered to serve and protect than they would be were they to report to a higher, distant power less in tune with the needs of the residents and more intent on the maintenance of power than the maintenance of freedom.

It’s ironic that the NRA claims to fully support the Second Amendment, which was added to our Bill of Rights by the Founding Fathers to not only offer a means of achieving self defense and sustenance, but also a means to offer protection from the evils of totalitarianism, whether that threat came from another country or our own country itself. The NRA’s hopes for federally funded armed security, of course, open the door to a more powerful totalitarian environment and the very type of government that our Founding Fathers wanted armed protection from.

Because of circumstances like this, the liberty movement and true Americanism would be better served if single-topic groups like the NRA focused solely on their task at hand — maintaining and/or reclaiming our right to self-defense — and didn’t delve into other areas and ideas that would only serve to harm other rights. They should leave other matters to individuals and organizations that have a more broad and consistent approach to the Constitution and natural rights (like the John Birch Society to name one).

Despite the flaws in its most recent message, the NRA has its place in the fight — despite mainstream media reports to the contrary, few political lobbies have the strength, popularity, and influence of the NRA and no one matches their ability to fight the good fight for the Second Amendment. They just need to be more careful in what they say and what they want from our government, just as any conscientious American should.

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