Guns in a Crisis

A little disclosure before I post this gun note: I’m a registered Democrat. I consider myself liberal (tho that’s lowercase, viewing the word from the root) . More germane to this post, I know almost nothing about the two heirloom firearms I own and will admit to real discomfort around guns.

Despite all this, I am not an idiot.

I support gun ownership and shooting people when necessary to protect life and property. It follows I should believe some people pose real threats to lives and property I care about. This is true even in the best of times (mainly because for some, it is always the worst of times; and desperation abounds). But during large scale natural disasters, everyone with something to protect ought to have a gun. Or two.

This notion, repeatedly called “insane” by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (news, bio, voting record), D-N.Y, strikes Louisiana Rep. Bobby Jindal (R) as just plain common sense. Jindal, an exceptionally bright, young public servant and upwardly mobile politician (he lost a close race for La. Governor in our last election) saw legally-owned firearms seized by law enforcement in the wake of hurricane Katrina—when an entire US region, including large communities across five states, descended into pre-historic anarchy.

The state of affairs in post-Katrina New Orleans infamously contained a kind of open warfare or jungle law that one normally associates with third-world tribal conflicts, only less well-organized. Police control of the violence or protection of innocents was not an option—as Jindal notes, “It was literally impossible to pick up a phone and call 911.” Today the situation in New Orleans is hardly better in many neighborhoods, and we’ve called in the National Guard to patrol the streets… Again.

That this can happen in the world’s tamest, wealthiest countries testifies to citizens’ need of personal (as opposed to civil or military) protection. I count among such means of protection big dogs, booby-traps, neighborhood militia and guns in the home and on the hip.

A Jindal-sponsored bill to prevent the seizure of legally owned firearms in future disasters and times of emergency passed the House of Representatives on Tuesday.

5 thoughts on “Guns in a Crisis”

  1. Second thought: Can I really support “booby-traps?” Is that over the top? I added it mainly because it alliterates with “big dogs” 🙂 however I am aware of the ethical problem. Something designed to do indiscriminate harm unsupervised by its designer is, literally, a moral landmine.

    But given a locked fence, a warning sign and roving bands of mercinary looters (or Animal Liberators), maybe a tiger pit in the front yard isn’t such a bad idea.

  2. My opinion on this is severely influenced by my Mennonite upbringing and the fact that this kind of anarchy has just never touched my life.

    I gotta say, I am really uncomfortable with everybody armed. Some people are not safe with a big stick let alone a gun!

    And if everybody has a gun to protect themselves from the results of chaos, don’t we end up with more chaos?

    But then again, like I said, I’m Mennonite. And Canadian. Kinda soft both ways there.

    I am willing to state that I’ve never been in a position where I’ve had to defend myself or my loved ones from packs of marauding criminals. I don’t honestly know how I’d react.

  3. I don’t think that the lawmakers intent on “protecting” the common folk from ourselves get one simple fact. The people that would peacefully give up their arms if directed by law enforcement personell are not the ones that are potentially an issue. So what do you get? A cliche’ only the outlaws will have guns… Calling 911 usually only gets the police after an incident has occured. In the case of total breakdown of public services, expecting the police to protect you is foolhardy.

  4. Heidi, I appreciate your feeling and I share it. But you may live in a more just society than ours. The disparity here (and esp. HERE in Louisiana) means that one block often separates those with more than they need from those with virtually nothing. You can argue whose fault that might be, but it stands as a fact.

    The people whom you would not trust with a big stick regularly break into homes here…and they don’t just carry sticks…

    Dave: The article speaks to you point, “In a letter to Jindal, National [Fraternal Order of Police] President Chuck Canterbury said law enforcement officials concentrate on search and rescue during major disasters, and breakdowns in communications and transportation can lengthen police response times to calls.

    ‘A law-abiding citizen who possesses a firearm lawfully represents no danger to law enforcement officers or any other first responder,’ Canterbury wrote.”

  5. “Registered Democrat . . .not an idiot.” I can relate to that. But I wonder if the Democratic Party can.

    Heidi, you are welcome to your choices. But Matt is assuming that the homeowner or shopowner recognizes limits. Defending one’s own life or property does not automatically mean that one will go after someone else’s.

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