12 January 2003

Santa, the Simpsons and the Second Amendment

Tim Allen’s movie The Santa Clause 2 is the best political statement I’ve seen in a long time. Of course I don’t know if they meant to defend the Second Amendment but it is very well done.

For those who have not been to a Political Science class recently, the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution gives individuals the right to own guns in order to protect themselves and their families against a bad government and from intruders.

Santa Clause 2 demonstrates clearly why it is important that individuals need to have weapons to protect themselves against a bad government. Examine the movie carefully. There’s Santa Clause himself, the benevolent dictator. Since he is such a good natured fellow, the elves, the population, have no need to be armed.

As in any story, there arises a crisis. The wonderful, good natured, jolly Santa Clause is replaced by a mean, obnoxious Santa Clause who was terrible to the cute elves. This rude dictator empowers himself by having armed guards making sure the elves don’t mount a revolution. Since the population is unarmed, they are unable to do anything about the situation. This highlights the problem of the unarmed population against a bad government.

In addition to Santa, the Simpsons do a fine job in dealing with the second part of the Second Amendment, the right to protect ourselves from each other. You and I might be good people, but what about the zombies coming back from the grave? Do we trust them?

Lisa Simpson visits a graveyard and comes across a headstone that reads “I dream of a world without guns”, not realizing that this is the grave of Billy the Kid. Lisa begins a campaign against guns and is successful. Since this is a Halloween episode, Billy the Kid comes back from the grave to terrorize the town of Springfield. How is he able to do this? There is no deterrent when the citizens are unarmed. All criminals “dream of a world without guns”. When people are armed it makes criminals think twice before entering a home.

Since these are just movies and television shows, let’s check back with reality. We need to look at why the Second Amendment was put into place. The first reason was for the people to protect themselves against a bad government. Genocides have happened in country after country throughout the century. One of the first things the government does is to disarm the population so they cannot revolt successfully. Take a look back in history: Armenia, Nazi Germany, Cambodia, Rwanda are just a few examples.

The second reason for the Amendment is to protect ourselves against people who want to hurt us. Even if all gun owners hand in their guns to the government, do we honestly believe that the criminals will hand their guns in too? As things stand now, criminals don’t register their guns with the police, or get fingerprinted as part of the process of carrying a gun legally. What makes anyone think that even though criminals have not followed the rules until now, they will suddenly begin to do so?

The faulty logic begins with the false premise that less guns will lead to less crime. It may be a nice thought, but totally unsubstantiated in reality. Looking across the pond at the UK, we see that in 1997, England effectively banned all citizens from owning firearms. The result is that the balance of power has shifted to the criminals. England has already passed the United States in rates of robberies and burglaries even though the United States has five times as many people as the United Kingdom, never mind the fact that more people in the United States are owning and carrying guns. (Nat’l Center for Policy Analysis www.ncpa.org/iss/cri/2002/pd120202c.html). In addition, murder rates have hit an all time high in England since records began to be kept 100 years ago. (www.crpa.org/pressrls101502.html)

According to the Associated Press, Dave Rodgers, vice chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation in England said that the ban makes little difference to the number of guns in the hands of criminals. “The underground supply of guns does not seem to have dried up at all.” (www.crpa.org/pressrls101502.html) This should not surprise us.

The authors of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were well aware of the reasoning behind the Second Amendment. These were not words written for the sake of taking up space on paper. We also have to be aware of these reasons and not be caught up in anti-gun sentiments, not based in reality, such as Lisa Simpson who brought the downfall of Springfield with her idealized “world without guns.”

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