Second Amendment For Europe
By Alessandro Fusillo
"The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
The terrible facts of Paris still linger in our minds and hearts. Dozens of innocent people murdered without any reason while they were in a restaurant enjoying a dinner with friends, attending a soccer match or a rock concert. It's violence without sense. No one is secure any more. The terrorists can strike everywhere, anytime and, as the news keep repeating, it's impossible for any police force to protect all citizens everywhere against such random violence. Newspapers and televisions keep repeating this depressing message. A feeling of impotence and fear is spreading in an atmosphere of gloom and despondency.
I recently visited Arizona and friends invited me to a very fine show in Phoenix. Visiting a theatre or a concert is a heartwarming experience. It's free market at work. The actors and musicians sell their services and the spectators buy them. Each party gains. It's a win-win game. Especially if like in the USA no public authority is involved and the show makes its revenue from the tickets and not from some kind of subvention.
The theatre in Phoenix was completely sold out and thousands of persons occupied every available seat. Would an attack like that in Paris have been possible or conceivable in Arizona? I don't think so. Why? It's simple, because the people in Arizona are basically armed to their teeth and are allowed to carry concealed arms without a permit. Imagine the three or four terrorists entering the theatre in Phoenix. For sure upon entering the theatre and opening fire they would have murdered many innocent spectators, but they would have faced an armed response by a huge number of persons. What would have happened? The terrorists would have been rightly and justly killed way before they could even think of wreaking such damage and suffering as they did in Paris. In Paris the "special forces" of the police intervened when the terrorists already had run out of ammunition, the only reason why they couldn't continue to murder.
An attack in a restaurant or at a sports venue in Arizona would have had the same predictable outcome. The attacked innocent persons would have opposed an armed response.
By the way, my friend in Arizona, a true man of peace, owns several handguns and two assault rifles. Of course he means no harm, but he rightfully claims his right to defend himself from an attack.
In Europe an armed reaction would have been impossible – and indeed it was as Paris' tragic facts witness – because we have strict laws prohibiting most of the people from owning and carrying around firearms. Hence, we are defenseless. We can't meet violence and coercion with an equal amount of violence. Self-defense is forbidden by law. In fact in most countries a home-owner who shoots an armed trespasser faces big problems and possibly substantial jail time.
No one among the very intelligent mainstream commentators of the Paris terrorist attacks voiced this simple and evident truth: we have the right to defend ourselves; we should be allowed to carry our arms in order to meet violence with violence! As Roman military writer Vegetius famously said: si vis pacem para bellum; if you want peace, be prepared for war. Unfortunately even if what is going on is a war, as French President said, we can't be prepared for it, but we have to put all our trust in a police force that turned out to be incapable of defending the citizens.
This is my proposal. Let's work for a second amendment for Europe. The American Constitution may have a lot of defects and may have not prevented the American government from an abnormal growth that none of the founding fathers could even imagine, but it is nonetheless a beacon of liberty and justice, at least for Europe. Let's adopt the good things from America, let's introduce the Second Amendment in every European constitution. Cives arma ferant: let the citizens bear arms.
Instead, what many commentators said was that the correct reaction should be to suspend the civil liberties, to endow the States and the police forces with even more powers and to imitate the American example of the Patriot Act. "You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before", like Rahm said. That's the spirit. We don't imitate the good things form America, but the worst.
On the contrary, we should think of ways to take our defense in our own hands. The right to carry arms and to be able to defend ourselves cannot be infringed. It's a fundamental right as important as the right of free speech or the religious freedom. On a closer look it's much more important than the latter fundamental rights because a dead person won't be able to express any thoughts or to profess any religion.
This is especially true, because all police officers and governmental bureaucrats clearly said that they won't be able to defend us in theatres and restaurants form random violence. If they aren't then we should be able to try our own defense.
Moreover, did France's strict firearms laws stop the terrorists from achieving their bloody and inhuman goals? Not at all. If I'm up to evil and wrongdoing I won't be stopped by a law forbidding the use of firearms. Firearms laws simply enhance the black market and drive up the process of illegal arms. Thus, the laws regarding the prohibition of firearms reveal themselves in their utter stupidity and uselessness. Such laws don't prevent criminals from killing and wreaking havoc, but they prevent normal citizens form defending themselves.
Sadly few in Europe will think, let alone voice publicly such a thought. We are so used to our armless condition that thinking out of the box will be very difficult or even impossible.
These considerations may be useful for a reflection about violence from a libertarian point of view. Libertarianism or anarcho-capitalism can be summed up in the non-aggression principle. Violence and coercion may not be initiated against other human beings. Thus, homicide, rape, theft and fraud are clearly prohibited by libertarian legal principles because all of these criminal acts entail the initiation of violence against other peaceful human beings.
Yet, libertarianism does not prohibit any kind of violence. Violence aimed at defense from aggressive and coercive acts is admissible. In fact it's a stronghold of liberty against all persons who wish to encroach and limit our freedom. Hence, violence – defensive violence – is part and parcel of libertarian philosophy. A libertarian who is against the initiation of violence may and will resort to violence and force in order to repeal an attack.
Individual defense is much stronger and effective than the defense organized by the States. Governments really have a very weak interest in defending their citizens as individuals, i.e. to enhance and protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. A simple look at the way the police forces act is a sufficient proof. Whereas a President or chief of State has a big bodyguard at his disposal and can be reasonably sure that he won't be victim of random violence, the common citizens enjoy almost no protection. Of course this happens because it isn't true that we are equal before the law. Some, like presidents and chiefs of States, are much more equal than the commoners. The latter may be gunned down by terrorist fanatics. At the end of the day, no one really cares.
What the State will not allow is an attack to its officials and to face an armed citizenship that at some point may affirm that it is fed up by the violence and coercion coming from the State and may begin to resist. This is the biggest fear of any government, a much bigger fear than that of a bunch of terrorists. Bearing such truth in mind it's easy to understand why the mainstream media almost unanimously didn't even mention the obvious: if the victims had been armed, the effectiveness of the attack would have been much less and probably there wouldn't have been any attack at all.
Give us our arms and leave us in peace!