As Ronald Reagan once quipped, the most terrifying words in the English language are “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” When I think of government outreach, the acronym “F*U*B*A*R” readily comes to mind.  I’ll not expand upon the term other than to note that it seems to have particular relevance to all areas of endeavor into which government intrudes.

Like it or not, Big Brother’s assistance is invariably characterized by mismanagement and waste. Programs are administered by faceless bureaucrats for whom critical thought is akin to treachery.  If you doubt me, try reasoning with a government bureaucrat sometime.  It’s guaranteed to be a frustrating experience.  As linear and obtuse as they are, they are still not the ones who create the idiotic policies they administer.

The architects of government policy are generally elected officials who scarcely command a modicum of public respect, but who are widely viewed as opportunistic jackals -- denying, disclaiming, and equivocating when there is the slightest threat of public scrutiny. They thrive in the shadows inhabited by cockroaches and vermin. 

The problem may be systemic.  The American system of government, with its three branches, topped by a president and vice president, cabinet officials, and (now czars), a multiplicity of legislators, not to mention a labyrinthian network of legislative committees and subcommittees, and finally court justices, creates a daunting atmosphere in which it's practically impossible to discern where the buck really stops.  As James Bryce noted over a century ago, “public displeasure [with American government] rarely finds a victim.”  How true that is.  Benghazi is a case in point.  Do we yet know who made the decision not to allow additional security there?  Or who gave the order to our military to stand down?  Or whose idea it was to send Susan Rice on television to deny that terrorism was involved in this attack?  The ghosts of four Americans cry out for justice and accountability, but they cry out in vain. 

Against this backdrop of incompetence and deceit, the government is again knocking at the door and offering to help us. Not wishing to allow the grievous events in Aurora, Colorado and Newtown, Connecticut to pass without the exercise of its might, the Obama administration is proposing to create additional restrictions on firearms, even by executive order if necessary. Big Brother desires to protect us from acts of violence and mayhem.  Everyone knows, after all, that firearms should be restricted, if not banned altogether, since they are dangerous and often used to kill people, right? 

Well, not so fast.  What the Obama administration and others on the left stand for is specious and simple-minded. Is there anything in life that cannot be employed in furtherance of evil?  I’m thinking of simple household items, such as a hammer, a knife, or a bottle of wine.  The human situation, as Paul Tillich urged, is ambiguous. Just as firearms (including assault rifles) may be used to violate another person, they may also be utilized to protect that person. Volition, lest we forget, is not attributable to an inanimate object. Human beings are the ones who make wise or foolish decisions, and for good or ill.

Allow me a personal aside.  I lived in New York City for six years.  The citizenry was prohibited from the possession of firearms. Crime was more rampant there than any place I've ever lived.  Muggings were commonplace.  Fear was pandemic.  A person was compelled to triple-lock the door of his apartment in order to feel secure. The official government policy was that one must flee if and when threatened rather than stand his ground.  Utilizing a gun to defend one’s person and property amounted to a felony offense.  There are those who are presently incarcerated in the state of New York because they dared to defend themselves with a firearm.

One gentleman I knew in the Big Apple ran a laundry and cleaners there.  His patrons had to knock at the door of his business in order to gain entry, even during regular business hours.  Once this merchant mistakenly allowed the wrong person entry and was mercilessly beaten.  The intruder also demanded the diamond ring from his finger.  When informed that the ring literally could not be removed, the predator decided to cut it off with a switchblade.  He would have done so had it not been for the fact that a police car happened to pull up in front of the establishment at that moment. Who knows whether this episode might have been prevented had the criminal suspected that the proprietor was armed and trained to respond to criminal attack?

My view of gun control is based upon what I experienced of it in one of the most liberal-minded states in the union.  The policy does not work.  Under it, criminals have guns, but law-abiding citizens do not. 

I don’t trust Big Brother, especially in the guise of Barack Obama and Joe Biden, to protect me or my family.  I don’t trust their judgment or policy-making skills. I don’t trust bureaucrats to think clearly about anything.  And I certainly don’t trust two-legged predators that have nothing but the ineffectual justice system to fear in the event they decide to perpetrate harm.  I do, however, trust the wisdom of the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution.  But it is precisely the authority of that Amendment now being assailed.

I favor minimal government, where faithless, feckless politicians have as little power as possible. I want to retain my right to firearms in order to protect myself and family against not only common criminals, but also against those who foster tyranny by their destructive policies.

January 11, 2013