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.