Last week’s installment of this updated series asked a fundamental question: Do human beings have an unalienable right to self- defense? There is no question the founding fathers of our constitutional, representative republic believed they do, and they acknowledged–not created–that right in the Second Amendment. This was affirmed in the Supreme Court’s decisions recognizing, for the first time in American history, that right: the Heller decision, and the McDonald decision, which applied the right to the states.
It is now time to consider a second, related question: DOES EVIL EXIST?
The answer to this question represents a fundamental dividing line between conservatives and socialists (for that is what the contemporary Democratic Party has sadly become, that, and as recent revelations have revealed, a thinly veiled criminal enterprise). Socialists believe that human beings are inherently racist, sexist, and a variety of other “ists,” but are perfectible. This utopian perfection can be reached only through sufficient (absolute or near absolute) governmental power and the right kinds of taxes, redistribution of wealth, laws and regulations to make people behave in appropriate ways, to perfect them for their own good, a good they are unable to recognize or seek without the benevolent coercion of government. These laws and regulations will be created and enforced by a small class of elite “progressives” (the term they generally prefer; who, after all, could be against progress?) who are, by virtue of their education, sophistication, beliefs and highly attuned sense of social justice (generally best understood as whichever social and economic policies, and useful victim groups, elite socialists prefer at the moment), already perfected.
Therefore, for the socialist, the only true evil is resistance to the evolved social consciousness of the elite socialist. One might quibble about labels, and might be more comfortable with the labels “progressive” or “statist,” but I trust you understand that I am not engaging in gratuitous name-calling, but merely trying to clearly explain defining contemporary philosophical and political trains of thought. I trust that if you apply them to the policies and stated beliefs of our current “leaders”–if “leading from behind” can actually be called leadership–you’ll find these descriptions to fit rather well.
For the Socialist/Progressive/Statist, unalienable rights do not exist; indeed they cannot exist. The only “rights” are those allowed at any given moment by the state. In this polity, rights are reduced to the reality and force of mere privileges. Religion, with its quaint, superstitious adherence to the doctrine of an eternal battle between good and evil, is just that, quaint and superstitious. It may be, from time to time, politically useful, particularly when the votes of believers might be won through stealth or outright subterfuge, or when a denomination takes up the banner of preferred leftist social causes, advancing it before–or instead of–religious doctrine, but religion is always dangerous and to be feared and suppressed because of its belief in a power greater than men, and therefore of its inherent general resistance to progressive socialist enlightenment, which is always ongoing and evolving because it can never be falsified.
This is another fundamental conflict between the religious and the socialist. Religion relies upon certain God-given, unchanging truths and principles. Socialism constantly evolves as ever more intelligent, elite scientific socialists perfect it and labor to perfect the ungrateful masses against their will. The only unchanging truth and principle of socialism is that socialism represents the only hope of man—despite millennia of failure–and may never be falsified.
If glorious socialist perfection has not been reached, it is only because the unenlightened resist and because insufficient socialism has been applied. Because man is always in the necessary process of being perfected by his betters, neither unalienable rights nor adherence to a moldy, faded, yellowing document written by privileged white men in the late 1700’s can be allowed to stand in the way of the brave, inevitable march of socialist progress. The greatest weakness of socialist thought and policy is always a fundamental misunderstanding, even willful ignorance, of human nature. That, and as Margaret Thatcher said, you always run out of other people’s money.
Conservatives have no doubt of the existence of evil or of its eternal work in the world. They overwhelmingly embrace Christian theology and its bedrock understanding of men as fallen sinners who can never attain perfection on Earth. Mankind cannot be perfected—he will sin; it is his very nature and for those who will see, the evidence of history is irrefutable–yet the social contract works best when he has the greatest possible freedom and autonomy. He has, above all, free will and can chose to be altruistic, kind and considerate of others. Even so, he sometimes will choose otherwise, and consequences for personal misbehavior must be made swift and certain and must be justly applied while upholding the essential dignity and worth of the individual.
Thus do Conservatives accept the necessity of the Social Contract, of the equality before the law of all men, of the rule of law, and of a supreme law of the land–-the Constitution–-which may not and should not change–-as the Founders put it–-for light and transient reasons, because the fundamental nature of human beings does not change. This is why conservatives are so alarmed and disgusted by President Obama’s–and Hillary Clinton’s–lawless behavior. For conservatives, any balance of power that favors the state at the expense of the unalienable rights of the individual is illegitimate, tyrannical and must be resisted, and if necessary, overthrown by the force of arms recognized and affirmed for The People by the Second Amendment. This is its real purpose and the reason it is so hated by Progressives: an armed population is a population inherently dangerous to despots.
Such republican (as in our federal republican form of government) rhetoric is often decried with mock horror by Progressives who cry “anti-Americanism,” but this is merely one of the straw men Socialists—such as Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton—reflexively erect. Who can take seriously such people as former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano who claimed military veterans returning from the battlefield pose a greater danger than Islamist terrorists?
Understanding the real purpose of the Constitution, and particularly of the Second Amendment, one realizes that Conservatives are not at all radical, are surely not dangerous–except to those that wish America ill–and merely reflect and adopt the thinking of the Founders and the text and intent of the foundational documents of the Republic including The Federalist Papers, The Declaration of Independence and The Constitution.
Progressives tend to reject all of these documents, or to so twist their clear intent and meaning as to render them self-contradictory and meaningless. Many go so far as to claim that the English of the late 1700’s and early 1800’s cannot be understood by contemporary Americans, therefore the Constitution and all other foundational documents, are outmoded, useless. Count among them Newsweek and Washington Post columnist Ezra Klein who observed that the Constitution could not be understood because it was written in the English of more than 200 years ago.
Perhaps this is the plight of the contemporary, educated, self-imagined elite and politically evolved socialist, but my 15 year-old students manage, year in and year out, to understand the English of William Shakepeare as it was written in the late 1500’s and early 1600’s. Odd that Texas teenagers, benighted denizens of flyover country, God and gun clingers most, should be capable of reading and understanding Elizabethan English while our current, self-exalted elite cannot read and understand the American English of nearly two hundred years later. On second thought, it does tend to explain a great many things.
If there is no right to self-defense, are you, gentle soul, truly willing to meekly surrender your life to anyone cruel enough to take it? Will you, sensitive, caring. morally evolved progressive, allow your life to be taken by one of the recipients of the wealth distribution you so adore in order to fully live your convictions? Do you believe that right and sufficient law and regulation will eliminate any tendency toward human evil, and that the soaring rhetoric of the state will protect you and those you hold dear? Would you truly do nothing to prevent the loss of your own life? The loss of the life of your spouse? Your children? Are the lives of those you love and your own life of so little value and the value of the lives of evil brutes so great? Truly?
YOU MAY NOT BELIEVE that evil exists or that it can possibly interrupt your life, but to paraphrase an aphorism attributed to many, you may not be interested in evil, but evil is interested in you. As a student of history, as a veteran of nearly 20 years of service in police work, I have no doubt that evil exists and that any one of us may meet it, in human form, at any time as I so often have. Had I been unaware of its existence or unwilling to recognize it, I would not have survived. Hundreds of the wounded, maimed and dead with who I have been involved would attest, if they could, to that reality. They would also attest to the fact that good intentions, a life lived virtuously and “enlightened” social consciousness are not proof against evil, but serve only to encourage its propagation.
Edmund Burke said: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” Perhaps the best illustration of the reality of Burke’s aphorism is the case of Kitty Genovese.
On March 13, 1964, in Queens, NYC, at 3:00 AM, 28 year-old Kitty Genovese was repeatedly attacked, raped and stabbed to death over 35 minutes. During that time, her screams awakened her neighbors, at least 38 of who were aware of what was happening. Not one intervened despite the fact that the killer was frightened off at least once by their voices and lights. Not one actively helped Genovese. Only one woman called the police after Genovese was already dead and the killer escaped. The most infamous and telling quote to come out of this horrific event came from at least one—potentially more—witness who explained that they did nothing because they “didn’t want to get involved.”
The facts of the case are somewhat different than media accounts—no surprise there—and there is evidence to believe that the police were called, but wrongly categorized and broadcast the call as a simple assault rather than a murder in progress (such mistakes happen far more often than the police will readily admit). However, some understanding of the case is useful to illustrate cultural issues with some clarity.
There is no doubt that Genovese’s neighbors did not come to her aid. The response of my Texas teenagers is illustrative. Hearing of the case, they, to a boy and girl, assert that in a similar situation, every neighbor within range–including themselves–would obliterate the killer as soon as they could lay sights on him. In their world, virtually everyone owns and is completely comfortable with firearms, something they take for granted. I have no reason to believe they are insincere, nor do I doubt they would have immediately come to Genovese’s aid, medically as well as in defense of her life. Kittey Genovese met evil that night. How do you stand in morality to a classroom of Texas teenagers that don’t for a second doubt the existence of evil, or their response to it?
But surely the police will protect me? It’s their job and they are professionals. It is surely one of the great ironies of all time that progressives tend to hate the police, regarding them as barely sentient, stupid, racist, sexist, (add your favorite “ist” here) brutes. As this is written, the Obama Department of Justice continues to try to federalize America’s police forces, and the Obama Administration, including President Obama, regularly characterizes our police as racists and criminals. We resist paying them more, yet simultaneously expect them to protect our very lives and the lives of those they love. We rightfully laugh at the idea of calling a progressive pajama boy or BLM protestor, in place of the police, when our lives are on the line.
An even greater irony is that the police have no duty to protect any individual citizen. None.
In June, 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in Castle Rock v. Gonzales. Gonzales defied a restraining order–ink on paper tends to take no action to save lives–and kidnapped his three daughters, ages 7-10, from his estranged wife. Gonzales killed the girls and eventually committed suicide by cop by shooting up a police station. The police were called when the girls were kidnapped, but did nothing over many hours until they were forced to respond to Gonzales’ gunfire. By then the girls were dead, killed earlier by Gonzales and driven to the police station in his pickup. Gonzales followed them in death not long after. My December 25, 2011 PJ Media article explores this incident in greater depth.
Cold comfort may be found in such situations only in the belief that Gonzales’ final destination was surely 180° opposite that of his innocent children. In handing down this decision, the Court relied upon decades of precedence that holds that the police have a duty only to deter and investigate crime for the benefit of the public at large. They have no duty to protect the life or property of any individual. Even though they did nothing to assist Mrs. Gonzales who so piteously and repeatedly cried out to them for help, even though they did nothing to save the lives of her children, they could not, and cannot, be held liable.
This might seem outrageous and unjust, but it is rational and absolutely necessary. Most people would be utterly shocked to discover how few police officers are patrolling their community at any time of the night or day. It is practically impossible for the police to guarantee protection to anyone, and if they could be successfully sued for failure to render such protection, what city could possibly afford a police force? Who would volunteer to become a police officer knowing financial ruin from never-ending lawsuits awaited them at any and every moment?
Police agencies are always understaffed. They staff their shifts with the most officers when most are needed: evenings in general and Friday and Saturday nights in particular. In smaller communities across America, only two or three officers may be patrolling between 6 AM and 6 PM, often, fewer. In semi rural or rural areas, the nearest available officer may be an hour or more away at top, lights and siren, speed. The police love to catch bad guys in the act. They love to stop rapists, killers, child molesters, you name it, but there are very few police officers, more than enough bad guys to go around, and many of the law-abiding. This is the nature of reality, of human beings.
Police officers know several common aphorisms: “Call for the police, call for an ambulance and call for a pizza. See which one shows up first.” They know that all too often, the pizza will arrive long before an ambulance and the police. In many urban areas–not just Detroit–even 911 calls are often left unanswered or put on hold, so great is the volume of emergency calls and so few are the police. Police lore is full of true stories of citizen’s panicked 911 calls that didn’t get through, were hung up, were ignored, improperly dispatched or just couldn’t be handled because of a lack of manpower, resulting in beatings, robbery, rape, mayhem, torture even murder.
And with unprecedented budget crunches, particularly in Democrat-controlled blue states and cities, police agencies are being forced to lay off police officers or to otherwise cut back on even emergency services. Not long ago, the San Bernardino, CA City Attorney advised local residents to “lock your doors and load your guns,” something that would have been unthinkable even a short time ago. This is surely the trend of the future and almost certainly until at least Mr. Obama’s term in office ends and likely beyond. Whether the damage can then be reversed or repaired is anyone’s guess, but even so, the reality of police v individual responsibility will not change.
The police have another common aphorism, which, like the first they know to be true, but which makes them cringe nonetheless, the aforementioned: “when seconds count, the police are minutes away.” This too is the nature of reality, of human beings. Ask any experienced police officer if evil exists, but not if you really don’t want to hear the answer.
EVIL EXISTS. The police would love to protect you from it, but they can’t, and you can’t sue them and win when, not if, they don’t. If you’re dead, the point is moot. What options remain? Gated communities? Locks? Alarm systems? Anything made by man may be defeated by man. Will you spend your life within that gated community, behind those locked doors with your security system engaged? Don’t you occasionally need to venture out, if for no other purpose than to buy groceries?
BUT I LIVE IN A GOOD NEIGHBORHOOD! Consider the case of a car burglar I investigated. Responsible for hundreds of felony crimes, during his many and lengthy confessions, he told me of how he and two of his fellow burglars set out to steal the side view mirror of a vehicle by removing the entire door, which was actually the fastest way to get the mirror of that particular model. As they set to work at 2 AM, the owner unexpectedly came home and they barely had time to scramble under the vehicle they had just begun to burglarize as his pickup truck pulled into the driveway, inches away. The door they intended to steal was standing open a few inches, but the man did not see it and went into his home, leaving the burglars to hastily complete their work and leave with the door. This too, was a good neighborhood, but the story does not end here.
The burglar had, only a half hour earlier, burglarized another car not far away and found, to his surprise and delight, a loaded and chambered 9mm semiautomatic handgun which he hastily stuffed into his sagging pants, the better to play the role of the manly gangster/burglar. As the owner of the soon-to-be-stolen car door stepped from his truck onto his driveway, mere inches away lay the burglar, hopped up on speed, the unfamiliar handgun tightly clutched in his sweating, shaking hand. The man lived only because he did not notice the open car door. The burglar was ready to shoot him; he would have shot him, a man who had no reason whatever to imagine, let alone expect, a 2 AM meeting in his own driveway with unthinking, panicky, doped- up, stupid evil. Don’t for a moment think someone like him may not be under your car as you come home any evening.
Postscript: I put the burglar and many of his pals away for a long time and recovered the handgun and even the car door–absent the mirror–which I fished out of a creek near the bridge where he threw it. Ironically, he broke the mirror trying to remove it from the car door. He would have killed, and not even got the mirror he sought for his trouble. He did not see the horrible irony inherent in this, but I suspect you do. Sadly, it’s not common for crimes of that kind to be solved and the property recovered, but that’s a story for another article and another time. EVIL IS INTERESTED IN YOU. EVIL IS ALWAYS OUT THERE, WATCHING AND WAITING. This too is the nature of reality and of human beings.
Even understanding all that I’ve presented here, at least intellectually, there will always be some portion of the public determined to cling to socialist philosophy in the expectation their intellectual and moral superiority will, in some way, magically protect them. Or perhaps they merely have unshakeable faith in an all-powerful, benevolent state, even a state that manifestly cannot protect them, cares not at all for protecting any individual, and will never allow itself to be held accountable for failing to protect them. It is for these people that the term “prey” was created, and it is to them that another famous aphorism may someday apply (if they survive the experience):
“A conservative is a liberal who has been robbed at gunpoint.”
Unfortunately, even that kind of intimate encounter with evil does not always suffice. Some portion of even those victims will choose to blame the gun wielded by the miscreant threatening their life with it. However, some are capable of reevaluating their philosophy when reality is visited upon them in ways that cannot be easily ignored.
If no unalienable right to self defense exists, what other right or privilege actually matters? What is the point of continuing education if one’s life may be taken at any moment? If no right to self-defense exists, there can be no crime of murder, as no life has value, value that compels society to impose the ultimate penalty for its unlawful taking. In such societies the ultimate penalty tends to be imposed for crimes against the state rather than crimes against individuals who are of value only in their utility to the state. How can anyone plan for the future if life is reduced to a state of nature where, as Hobbes said, life is “…solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”?
Quite unlike Socialist orthodoxy, it is not an armed society, a society where the lawful, productive, moral and decent have the most effective means immediately at hand to protect their lives and the lives of others, that is lawless, violent and dangerous, but a society where only government has the power provided by arms and where only the lawless, idle, amoral, immoral and evil are armed. They don’t obey the law. In such a society, the whims of the elite ruling class are law. Contemporary America provides myriad examples of the truth of this assertion. In those states where concealed carry is common, by any honest measure, citizens are safer. In those states and cities, particularly, where honest citizens are disarmed, it is quite the opposite. Cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Newark, Los Angeles and Washington DC are commonly more dangerous than active war zones, which they closely resemble.
Let us assume that this article has, at least, provoked thought to the point you are willing to tentatively concede that an individual, inalienable right of self-defense is probably necessary. Or perhaps you’ve just been enraged to the point that you’re anxious to see what lunatic ravings I present in the next article. What then? The next installment of the series explores the legal, moral and spiritual issues revolving around taking the life of another, legally and illegally. I hope to see you again next Tuesday.