What do we need 300,000,000 guns for?

•First, the Wall Street Journal article

A strange thing happened in Mexico; Mexican drug gangs beat the police.

With enough men and enough guns, the drug gangs resorted to a tactic that sounds totally bizarre to American ears: they shot police for no other reason than that they carried badges.
•This had a surprising, awful effect.

The surviving police simply quit their jobs. It didn’t take too many calculated murders of their co-workers to make them think twice about putting on a uniform.

This sounds utterly bizarre, but organized crime can easily shut down a police department. The absolute number of policemen is relatively small, and the deterrent effect of shooting on sight is certain to kill morale.
•And so, for a time, the people of Mexico were terrorized by drug gangs operating with impunity.

Why was this possible? Why didn’t the citizens fight back?

Buying a gun in Mexico is very difficult and expensive, and if you do get one, it is probably a .22 single shot that isn’t much good against Mexican drug gangs with body armor. Ultimately, in the lawless regions of Mexico the “good guys” got some firepower and started shooting back.

The moral of the story is clear; the police are limited in numbers, and in normal circumstances are adequate.

However, if all that stands between organized crime’s ability to operate with impunity are a few good men, those few won’t be enough. An armed citizenry is an insurance policy and a deterrent for those who might attempt a similar coup in the United States.

So, when someone asks why someone needs a high-powered semi-automatic rifle with a 30-round clip, one only needs to look to our gun-controlled neighbor to the South, and the mounds of dismembered bodies.

Published in: on February 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Very good article. It promotes a simple concept that functioned well in the early years of America – namely, that the people were responsible for enforcing the laws. During Colonial times, in fact, government-employed law enforcement was nearly non-existent. There was effectively only one working law enforcement position – the sheriff (or constable). The majority of investigatory functions were performed by grand juries, and written search warrants and arrest warrants were carried out by members of a deputized posse. Lawyer and historian Roger Roots in his written essay “Are Cops Constitutional?” states that “Law enforcement in the Founders’ time was a duty of every citizen”, and “citizens were expected to be armed and equipped to chase suspects on foot, on horse, or with wagon whenever summoned”.

    Rather than continuing on with this vast, bloated police state, why not give the law enforcement duties back to the people? Do you think that putting on a uniform makes one person more qualified, wise, or virtuous than another in terms of effectively carrying out law enforcement?

    • I’m increasingly uncomfortable with law enforcement serving as revenue collection, since it introduces a perverse motive to “create” criminals.

      As far as professional police, I think its useful to have someone whose job it is to respond to a 911-type service, and community law enforcement might not work as efficiently in that role. Don’t know because we’ve never tried it. Certainly, everything is up for discussion, and there’s always room for improvement. I know I will only involve police as a last resort, so there is a trust gap between citizens and the law. That alone is a problem.

      But certainly, when professional law enforcement breaks down for one reason or another, people should have the tools readily available to fight the best armed criminals.

  2. Considering the dire straits of our economy, its naive to assume that we will be able to continue to fund police departments at their current levels in perpetuity. Any police officer who is not a power hungry authoritarian should be grateful that so many law abiding citizens in this country own guns. It makes their job easier and safer. Its the criminals you have to look out for and they don’t bother following laws by definition! Why our liberal friends don’t want to understand this simple truism continues to baffle me.


    • Good point.

      Assuming a deteriorating standard of living across the board (which seems pretty much baked into the cake), police will also experience a declining standard of living. Once a police officer is unable to attain the standard of living that he desires through legitimate means, experience in other poor countries shows that they become the municipal shakedown force. Nothing scares me like an underpaid police force.

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