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HR 218 - Who Are These People?

by William B. Rogers, MD
Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws

November 13, 2001

The Congress of the United States is considering legislation that would allow virtually all law enforcement officers, whether on active duty, off duty, or retired status, to carry concealed handguns anywhere in the United States of America. Presumably allowing well-trained public servants to carry weapons, while the remainder of the law-abiding citizenry does not have such power, will promote safety and peace for everyone.

The final draft of the United States Constitution is not very complicated. The story of how it was created, and the politics and strategy that went into its creation, is very complicated. But, the final draft was meant to be easily read and understood. The simplicity continues into the amendments, including the first 10, which are commonly known as the "Bill of Rights." 

When it comes to the Second Amendment, there are only two ways to look at it. One is either for it or against it. 

Admittedly there are some "sneaky" folks who say they are for it as long as it defends the arms bearing rights of organized, government-sanctioned, para-military groups (like: certain kinds of "police" or a national guard), but in all fairness, those people are actually AGAINST the Second Amendment as it was intended to be interpreted by the authors of the Bill of Rights. That is, the Second Amendment as originally written clearly prohibited the Federal government from doing anything that infringed upon the right of the people to keep and bear arms -- a right which was recognized at the time to be "inalienable" and present in the people before the government was ever formed. (It is interesting to note that the Constitution said nothing -- NOTHING -- about the conduct of state or local governments with respect to infringing upon that right, but almost every state constitution made a declaration exactly similar to the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.) NOTE: anyone confused about these points should pause, and before reading the rest of this essay, they should read The Federalist Papers and The Second Amendment Primer by Les Adams, Palladium Press, Birmingham Alabama, 1996. 

Understanding the attitudes that Americans currently have about firearms is a little more complicated. Still, if the subject is given a systematic analysis, a few rather logical and startling conclusions become immediately obvious. 

With respect to firearms, I have concluded that there are two groups of American citizens:

1. Those people who are frightened by firearms.

2. Those people who are not frightened by firearms.

A few observations about these two groups are in order.


People Who Are Frightened by Firearms

This group is usually made up of people who have never owned a firearm and who certainly have never been trained in the proper and safe use of a firearm. These people are usually urban dwellers whose only experience with a firearm is either

a) seeing it in the hand of a criminal who is mugging them, or 

b) seeing it holstered on the hip of a law enforcement officer who they think is supposed to keep them safe. 

This group very reasonably does not like to see firearms in the hands of criminals, and they are usually of the opinion that any effort on the part of society to limit such criminal possession of firearms is a good thing. 

As one follows the logic practiced by these people, one is forced to note that at this point they often go completely insane.

People who are frightened by firearms do not want to have firearms in their homes and they do not want anyone else to have them either. They insist that laws be passed to keep firearms away from criminals, forgetting in the process that by the very definition of being a criminal, such an individual has no intention of behaving in accordance with that law (or any other law that punishes the criminal behavior which they practice). 

The societies created and lived in by people who are afraid of firearms have provided (and are providing) some of history's most pathetic and heartbreaking examples of the devastation of unfettered human cruelty. Such cities or states or nations invariably have higher rates of violent crime. There have been no exceptions to this trend. And many such nations have degenerated to the depths of governmental tyranny and even, ultimately, to genocide. Some nations have witnessed the slaughter of 10's of millions of their men, women and children because the people did not have sufficient arms to prevent it. 

It is axiomatic that people who desire safety, peace, freedom and liberty must never, ever allow people who are afraid of firearms to have even temporary control of the lawmaking authority of their government.

It is also axiomatic that people who desire safety, peace, freedom and liberty are left only two reasonable alternatives if people who are frightened by firearms do manage to seize control of their government: they must fight or they must flee.

For the past 225 years, people who are frightened by firearms have often been loud in the public square, but they have never been in actual control of the United States Government.


People Who Are Not Frightened by Firearms

People who are not frightened by firearms must immediately be divided into two subgroups. They are:

A. People who are not frightened by firearms and do not respect firearms.

B. People who are not frightened by firearms and do respect firearms.

Subgroup A is usually a small group, some of whom have firearms in their homes and some of whom do not. The former group is the smaller of the two and has a rather rapid turnover. Determining the reasons why such is the case is left to the reader as an exercise in logic, cause and effect.

Subgroup B, people who are not frightened by firearms and do respect firearms often have one or more firearms in their homes. Most of them "like" guns and they enjoy shooting them. Unlike Subgroup A, these people have taken great care to learn all they can about their firearms. They have learned the proper and safe ways to care for their firearms, to use their firearms, to clean their firearms, and to store their firearms. They very often are descended from people who had the same skills, and their fathers and mothers participated in passing the skills on to them, as they do to their own children. Almost all of them participate in some form of sport shooting such as hunting and/or target shooting. They are very often politically conservative. In times past they favored the Democratic Party. Today, they favor the Republican or Libertarian, or other "third" parties. If their neighbors are in trouble, they rally to assist them. These people love peace, liberty and freedom. They know the efforts and sacrifices that their ancestors made to secure their freedom and they know they may be called upon to make the same efforts and sacrifices. When war comes, they do all they can to help with the national effort to seek a satisfactory conclusion to it. These people make very, very good neighbors. 

It is a fact that for the past 225 years people who are not frightened by firearms and who do respect firearms have been in control of the United States Government. It is safe to predict that they will ALWAYS be in control of the United States Government, because if they lose control of it, that government will cease to exist. 

As the analysis continues, a third group must be considered.


People Who Are Not Frightened by Firearms and Respect Firearms, But Who Want Only Members of Their Own Group to Have Firearms

These people constitute a group that must be watched very carefully by all other people -- those who are frightened by firearms and those who are not frightened by firearms.

These people think that firearms should be owned and used only by an elite group of which they are the only members. They have myriads of reasons to justify their philosophy, but their thinking is very often based on arrogance and a will to sequester power to themselves. In order to bring about a society based on their view, they must have incredible power. They get this power either by subterfuge or terrorism.

The subterfuge these people practice is most often based on an argument that they are good, caring, well-trained, carefully self-selected people who are themselves convinced that they would never abuse the power they seek. They say, and they believe, that they will only use their power for the good of the dis-empowered citizens their policies will create. "Let us have the power," they proclaim, "and we will bring you peace (or help you find peace, or chase away the bad-guys who would keep you from having peace, etc. etc.)."

Terrorism is the mode into which this group switches after they have established their government in which they have firearms and no one else (except those chosen by them) has firearms (or a practical means to get them). There is absolutely no limit to the degree of terrorism these people have used in countless societies. Murder, rape, torture, imprisonment, and the list goes on and on amid the pathetic moaning and groaning of the very people who gave them the power in the first place, and who must hate themselves for every remaining minute of their lives because they did so. 

Who should come under suspicion as possibly being such a creature? 

The answer, like the very Constitution of the government that was written to prevent such things, is very simple, but it is also very chilling: We must suspect anyone or any group that offers us peace and safety at the expense of the basic rights so clearly enumerated in the first 10 amendments of the Constitution. 

Our property, our lives, and the lives of our progeny (if we are blessed to have it) will depend on the clarity of our judgment with respect to this issue. The jury must be clear-headed, well informed, and capable of assuming the ultimate of responsibilities. 

People who are frightened by firearms must never have control of that jury. 

William B. Rogers, MD
Tyler, TX
Doctors for Sensible Gun Laws


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When law and morality contradict each other the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his sense of morality or losing his respect for the law. Frederick Bastiat

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