In the aftermath of the Orlando shootings, a man named Buckley Jeppson posted on Facebook about his experience visiting a Portland, Oregon, gun store to ask why people purchase AR-15 rifles. The salespeople offered several answers — target practice, hunting — none of which convinced Jeppson, who politely concluded that the sale of these guns was “about the money.”
As he left, however, Jeppson was approached by another store patron. This man told Jeppson that the guns are for people “to protect themselves when ‘they’ come.” Jeppson parried with him: Who is “they”? Zombies? Yeah, he was told — “and all the others who might try to steal your food after an earthquake or take your guns or imprison your family members.”
In the rest of his post, Jeppson scoffed at the absurdity of such a belief, deriding it as “paranoid.” Many commenters agreed.
This is a big difference between progressives and conservatives. Progressivism at its core is the belief that the correct government policies will bring utopia. Guns for self-defense aren’t necessary; we just need laws banning guns and all will be peaceful and well.
This ignores both human nature and history.
In fact, never mind history; progressives ignore things happening now .
Take Venezuela. As with every other country that has gone down the road of command-and-control economics, Venezuela has collapsed. It has collapsed because human beings aren’t God; things happened that the central planners didn’t plan for. And now there’s nothing: No food. No medicines. No electricity. No health care. No toilet paper. No wealth to redistribute. (Except for the wealth of the planners themselves, of course — deceased Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez’ daughter Maria is “Venezuela’s richest woman.”)
What Venezuela does have is riots in the streets. Because when socialists succeed in making everyone dependent upon the government, and the government fails, then there are few other options.
But civil unrest is not unique to Venezuela. So it seems prudent to ask: Could something equally catastrophic happen in the United States?
What about the loss of electricity for long periods of time? An electromagnetic pulse caused by a solar storm or “dirty” nuclear bomb could shut down parts of the electrical grid, as could other types of terrorist attacks. Gas pumps require electricity to operate; without it, transportation would come to a standstill. Most communications would cease. Banks and ATMs couldn’t function. Lacking refrigeration, perishables like food and medicine would not last.
This isn’t science fiction. ISIS threatens such attacks regularly. And there have already been attempts. A planned sniper attack on a California power station three years ago took out 17 huge transformers serving Silicon Valley that took nearly a month to repair. The event received very little news coverage. But Jon Wellinghoff, former chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, called it “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the (power) grid that has ever occurred.”
Surely the government is taking steps to prevent such an incident, right?
Wrong. Experts who have written on the issue and testified before Congress warn that the government, mired in “bureaucratic dysfunction” and “ambiguity about who owns the problem,” has done virtually nothing to protect our electrical systems.
Would a successful attack on our country’s power supply be a crisis serious enough to cause widespread panic? Could there be mobs?
Well, let’s see. Three weeks ago, we saw a mob of hundreds of people in San Jose, California, protesting Donald Trump’s speech. They screamed obscenities at Trump supporters, threw eggs and bottles at them, chased them, knocked them down and kicked them in the ribs, ripped off their clothes, beat them with bags of rocks, punched them in the face, broke bones, and sprayed pepper spray in the faces of their children.
Does anyone seriously think people who can become incensed enough about a speech to turn violent, won’t turn violent if the ATMs shut down? If the grocery stores go empty? If there’s no way to get food, water, or gasoline?
And why wouldn’t conservatives, Christians and/or Republicans be among the top targets for those mobs? When the Trump protesters turned violent in San Jose, mayor Sam Liccardo blamed Trump. Less than two weeks later, a lunatic who was a Muslim, a registered Democrat and allegedly a Hillary supporter and ISIS devotee, walked into a gay bar and murdered 49 people — and leftists all across the United States tried to blame the event on conservatives.
This is nothing more than the natural extension of left-wing propaganda tactics. For years, liberals and progressives have blamed conservatives for the disastrous consequences of liberal policies; they have denounced conservatives as racists, sexists and bigots. They accuse conservatives of being anti-immigrant — when what most want is legal immigration, prudent screening for threats and enforcement of current laws.
These accusations have been repeated for so long that large swaths of the American population believe them without question. San Jose demonstrates just how reckless and dangerous that is.
If something catastrophic happened in the United States, most of us would pull together as we always do when disaster strikes. But history, human nature, and the left’s inflammatory rhetoric almost ensure that there will be mobs of people with violent intentions.
That is the “they” that the Portland gun shop patron was talking to Buckley Jeppson about.
If we never face any such crisis, we will all be relieved. But many of us intend to be prepared. So, no — we won’t give up our weapons of self-defense, because have seen too much. We won’t be swayed by deceitful politicians or irate ideologues. We won’t be deprived of our constitutional rights.
And we won’t be sitting ducks.
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Laura Hirschfeld Hollis is on the faculty at the University of Notre Dame, where she teaches courses in business law and entrepreneurship. She has received numerous awards for her teaching, research, community service and contributions to entrepreneurship education.
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