By John Patterson
One hundred twenty-two years ago, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, 297 Sioux Indians were killed at Wounded Knee Creek by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had already peacefully turned in their few firearms. Two thirds of those murdered were women and children. Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history.
Today a lot of people are preparing to jump on the emotionally charged bandwagon for gun-control. For some activists it’s a matter of “a good crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” and for those folks it’s more about control than it is about guns.
However, we all should take a moment to reflect on the real purpose of the Second Amendment, the right of the people to take up arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The argument that the Second Amendment only applies to hunting and target shooting is asinine. When our Constitution was drafted hunting was a chore carried out to put meat on the table, and target shooting was unheard of as musket balls were a precious commodity not to be wasted shooting at targets. The Second Amendment was written by people who fled oppressive and tyrannical governments in Europe, and refers to the right of American citizens to be armed for the purpose of defense should such tyranny rise in the United States.
Both good and evil exist in our world. It always has and always will. You will never eliminate evil by legislation. Good people will abide by the law; evil people will always find a way around it. Evil exists all around us, but if you look back at the historical record of the past 200 years you will most often find evil in the hands of governments. The greatest human tragedies on record and the largest loss of innocent human life can be attributed to governments who target “enemies” within their own borders AFTER they have been disarmed. Ask any Native American, and they will tell you it was lack of arms that contributed to the mass murder of their people. Hitler’s first step was the confiscation of firearms from the people prior to his attempted extinction of all Jews in the Holocaust.
Wounded Knee is a prime example of why the Second Amendment exists, and why we must defend the Second Amendment. Without our right to bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment we would have no way to defend ourselves and our families.
“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” Honorable Joseph Story, US Supreme Court Justice (1811-45)
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Stumptalk is published weekly in the Crossville Chronicle. The opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of the Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. To contact Stumptalk, email coordinator Phil Billington at firstname.lastname@example.org.