Dave Kopel has an excellent article at the Volokh Conspiracy reminding us what the Second Amendment is really all about. He tells the story of the uprising at the Sobibor extermination camp on October 14, 1943, and at Treblinka on August 2, 1943, both in Poland.
I’ve seen a lot of talk about this topic recently around social media, probably because Dr. Carson opened the door last week, and the left went nuts. It’s a good discussion to have, especially given the cartoonish arguments you see plastered all over cable news and social media. I feel like this whole country has descended into cartoon arguments, on all parts of the political spectrum. Kopel notes:
Some people claim that firearms did not make, and could not have made, any difference in the Holocaust. Sobibor and Treblinka show the opposite. Once the formerly-unarmed Jews got their hands on firearms, the extermination camps were on their way out of business. There is a reason that people in death camps are not allowed to have arms. There is a reason why governments which intend to send people to death camps always disarm them first. Once the genocide targets are armed, genocide becomes much more difficult. Killing armed victims is much more difficult than killing unarmed ones.
We should not be afraid to discuss the original purpose of the Second Amendment, which was to assure the people would continue to have arms in order to resist tyranny should that become necessary. There are many examples of armed Jews resisting the Nazi regime to be found in the annals of World War II. They also were facing a government armed with rockets, tanks, planes, and artillery. Most of them expected to die resisting, and die they did, but they died on their own terms, and more importantly weakened the regime that was out to exterminate them and thus saved the lives of many others.
If this country were to continue its descent into madness, and many of us were to become labeled undesirable, I have no intention of getting into the cattle car. In such a circumstance, I would not expect to live. But my goal (I would even argue civic duty) in such a dire circumstance is to make sure I take at least a dozen of my potential killers with me. Gun control groups keep labeling the philosophy of armed resistance “dangerous insurrectionism,” but I argue it is an important immune response that’s important to keep alive in the body politic. Only a fool would believe it could never happen here.
The founders originally established the Second Amendment because they were concerned about the distribution of military power within society, and believed that power should ultimately rest with the people. The new constitution had given the federal government the power to call the militia into federal service, and also to train and discipline it. This was met with great suspicion by anti-federalists. The fear was that Congress could let the militia wither on the vine. In fact, that is exactly what Congress has done!
But the founders were wise enough to ensure, through the Second Amendment, that while the people’s militia might end up neglected, it could never be disarmed. Through this neglect, Congress has left it up to all of us to ensure that the people’s militia remains “well-regulated,” and we need to be sure to pass these traditions and philosophies down to future generations. Never let anyone try to tell you that this is a radical or nonsensical thing to do. Be prepared to argue. In that, you might find Kopel’s article very useful.