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Some clear thinking on a very uncomfortable topic

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December 19, 2012
Sovereign Valley Farm, Chile

I think we can all agree that a man walking in to an elementary school and opening fire is deeply, deeply horrific. And in the gut-wrenching social introspection that comes afterwards, the desire to ‘do something’ is understandable.

These days, the role of government in the west has become so bloated that it’s commonplace for people to look to their political leaders when they want something done.

And politicians, who are bent on keeping their jobs, are keen to be seen as taking action.

And so here we are again, after another terrible tragedy which involved (a) death, and (b) firearms, with calls to restrict firearm ownership, particularly high-powered assault rifles.

Again, in fairness, the reaction is understandable. Most folks have such an emotional response, they just want to do something… often without thinking through the long-term consequences or all sides of the issues.

Unfortunately, the root cause of such issues is often misdiagnosed, hence the response is ill-conceived. This is often how wars get started. Pearl Harbor. 9/11. Etc.

In this case, some nut job shoots up a school with assault weapons, so the response is to ban assault weapons. But is access to assault weapons really the root cause of the issue? Or, to paraphrase Chris Rock, are some people simply crazy?

History shows that there have been countless crazed psychopaths who kill wantonly, indiscriminately, without the use of assault rifles:

- Seung-Hui Cho, the 2007 Virginia Tech killer (he used two handguns)
- Luis Garavito, a Colombian mass murderer who killed hundreds of children with just a knife
- Mary Ann Cotton, a 19th century mass murderer in England who poisoned her victims
- Countess Elizabeth Bathory, a 16th century Hungarian who tortured and killed hundreds

Some people just aren’t wired right. It’s always been that way. Before firearms, before violent movies, before video games… there have always been crazy nuts.

Passing laws doesn’t change any of this. Government cannot protect us from all the bad people out there. Bathing travelers in radiation doesn’t make us any safer. Fondling children at airports doesn’t make us any safer. Invading foreign countries doesn’t make us any safer.

Neither will banning assault rifles. Bad guys will always find a way, either commandeering a killing machine illegally, or reverting to something more old school. As Lao Tzu once wrote, “The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”

On that note, there’s a deeper issue that is seldom mentioned in the gun control debate. Yes, every year, innocent people die because of violence. But there is no greater mass murderer in history than government.

When a lone gunman kills 32 people at an elementary school, it’s a tragedy. When a government drops bombs on an elementary school by remote control drone, it’s collateral damage. No biggie.

Governments have a horrible track record of murder, pillage, and genocide, and they have the blood of millions of victims on their hands. The Founding Fathers in the United States knew this. And the premise of the Constitution’s Second Amendment, the right to bear arms, is based on this idea.

Yes, people need protection against those who mean to do them harm. But occasionally, people also need protection from those who are sworn to protect them. Given history’s numerous examples of once stable nations descending into murderous rampages, it’s both foolish and intellectually dishonest to dismiss this point.

Some people argue, ‘well the Founding Fathers never intended for us to have assault rifles, which didn’t exist back then.’ Sure, maybe. But they also never intended for government to have nukes, drones, body scanners, or Homeland Security urban assault vehicles.

A well-armed populace is a major deterrent in keeping government responsible, as well as keeping bad guys away. Willfully giving up this advantage out of fear is a poor choice. It means that we have no other option but to trust the goodwill, and competence, of government agents to keep us safe.

There’s little that’s more important than the well-being of ourselves and our families. And when an entire society considers abandoning that responsibility, choosing instead to outsource it to corrupt bureaucrats and jack-booted thugs, this marks a major turning point that your nation is about to go down a very precarious road.

In total sincerity, perhaps it’s time to consider your options abroad.

Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur and permanent traveler. His daily letter is both educational and entertaining, and we suggest that those who want unbiased, actionable information about global opportunities sign up for Sovereign Man’s free, actionable newsletter at

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