When Will Unarmed Victims Get their Apology from Uncle Sam?

Two notable events occurred last month which serve as powerful “I told you so” moments for those who naively follow the gun control mantra.

The first event was the apology issued by the British Prime Minister David Cameron for the Bloody Sunday massacre of January 1972.  The second event took place less than a week later when the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision in the McDonald v. Chicago case.

The Cameron confession was a long-overdue apology for events that occurred 38 years ago in Northern Ireland.  During the Bloody Sunday massacre, British soldiers shot and killed more than a dozen Irish protesters, many of them from behind. 

To compound matters, British officials engaged in an ensuing cover-up, claiming that many of the victims who were killed had guns — when really they did not.  (Photographic and forensic evidence would later confirm that these victims were, in fact, unarmed.)

On the other side of the Atlantic, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 28 that the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms applies to individuals all across the country and not just in places like Washington, D.C.

But just as important, the Court also documented multiple examples of why this right is so important to American citizens.  Namely, the right exists because even in a “civilized” society, government agents can abuse the rights of the people.

Here are just some of the examples the Court pointed to:

* So-called “Free-Soilers” in Kansas were disarmed by federal and state authorities who favored slavery.  The 1856 Republican Party Platform protested these abuses, saying that the constitutional rights of the people had been “fraudulently and violently taken from them” and the “right of the people to keep and bear arms” had been “infringed.”  

* After a Mississippi law used the issue of race to disarm newly freed slaves, state forces were “traversing the State, visiting the freedmen, disarming them, perpetrating murders and outrages upon them.”  The Court noted that this kind of thing was happening in other parts of the country as well.  

* In one town, a U.S. Marshall “[took] all arms from returned colored soldiers, and [was] very prompt in shooting the blacks” whenever he had the opportunity.

See the common theme?  Government agents don’t always act in our best interests, and when this happens, they prefer disarmed victims who can’t shoot back.

In making this point, the Court favorably quoted a nineteenth century commentary on the Constitution, saying guns are the primary way of protecting our liberties:

The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.

While most of the liberal left thinks such statements are mere kookiness, they can’t deny that our government has, from time to time, acted in a despotic way.

After all, our country had its own Bloody Sunday in 1965, when state and local police officers in Alabama attacked unarmed, peaceful protesters with billy clubs and tear gas.

It was because of abuses like this, says former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, that her father would join with other members of the community to protect black citizens when the police would not protect them. 

In an interview with The Washington Post Magazine (September 9, 2001), Rice recalled that when she was a child, her dad joined with other fathers who “got out their shotguns and formed nightly patrols, guarding the streets themselves.”

One liberal policy wonk remembers Rice telling him that she opposed gun registration because the infamous Police Commissioner Bull Connor “could have used it to disarm her father and others who patrolled Titusville in 1963.”

“For me as a liberal, pro-gun control person, it really hit me over the head,” Michael McFaul says. “I remember thinking, ‘Who are we as white liberals to respond?’”

Well for starters, maybe these white liberals should start reading the Constitution or just shut up.

Thankfully, some liberals do get it.  Hubert Humphrey, who was Vice-President to Lyndon Johnson, said that “The right of citizens to bear arms is just one guarantee against arbitrary government, one more safeguard, against the tyranny which now appears remote in America but which historically has proven to be always possible.”

Humphrey was right … there is always the possibility that our government could be a threat to our liberties. 

It’s certainly good news that Great Britain has apologized for its Bloody Sunday incident.  But one wonders how long it will be before all the Americans who have suffered under draconian gun laws and have been victimized as a result will get their apology from Uncle Sam.