A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste

April 6, 2009

Stanford economist Paul Romer has coined the term, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.”  Unfortunately, the statist Obama Administration has adopted this mantra in implementing its radical positions on the rest of us.  No, I am not talking about how the President is about to sell us out to the New World Order in the name of ensuring that our economy never again faces a crisis of this magnitude.  That rant is for another day.  Instead, I am talking about the concern that the Administration will and is using crises to violate our 2nd Amendment rights.

Crisis number one is the horrendous drug war violence in Mexico.  Even though Mexico has some of the strictest gun control laws in the world, it has become one of the most crime ridden, bloodiest societies on earth.  First of all, there is only one gun store in the whole country and that is run by the army.  It takes months to get a permit to own a gun and if you are one of the lucky to endure the process to the end restrictions are placed on the number of guns you can own and the amount of ammunition you can possess.  It is no wonder that Mexico was at one time a one-party dictatorship.  It is also no wonder that drug cartels can operate freely within the country without much fear of backlash from an armed citizenry.  Mexico is the poster child for the slogan, “When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will own guns.”

This past week the Administration dispatched Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to Mexico City to meet with Mexican president Felipe Calderon to discuss ways to prevent the smuggling of arms from the U.S. into Mexico.  As if he hasn’t made conditions in his own country horrific through his intensified War on Drugs campaign of the last 16 months, Calderon has indicated recently that “it is necessary to reduce the sale of weapons, particularly of high-power weapons, in the United States.”  Jumping on Calderon’s lead, Illinois Senator Richard Durbin believes, “Americans should feel guilty about, if not responsible for, drug gangs in Mexico shooting each other and corrupt government officials in perverse numbers-because some of the guns may have been purchased in the U.S.”

I mean wow!  There is so much to analyze here.  First of all, what right does Felipe Calderon have to tell us how to run our country?  Isn’t it his reignited War on Drugs that has caused the violence upswing in his own?  Before he decided to go after the drug cartels with full force brutality levels in Mexico were normal for an undeveloped country.  Secondly, Senator Durbin’s statement that Americans should feel responsible for drug violence and corruption in Mexico because “some of the guns may have been purchased in the U.S.” is a ridiculous statement.  As an attorney Durbin should know that “may have been purchased” doesn’t pass the beyond a reasonable doubt standard for conviction.  Besides, where is law enforcement along the border?  Aren’t there laws against transporting firearms across the border anyway?  If Washington would just get serious about enforcing our border protection laws we would have less illegals here and Mexico may have less illegal weapons there.  In any event, Mexico’s violence should not be used as a pretense to violate the 2nd Amendment rights of Americans under any circumstances.

Crisis number two is the War on Terror.  Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to enforce a little known law which prohibits American citizens, who reside outside the United States, from purchasing firearms while they are in America on visits.  According to law 18 USC 922(a) (9), “a person who is a resident of no state can only buy firearms for lawful sporting purposes.”  The language of the statute apparently excludes purchases for self-defense and other purposes.  The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on behalf of Maxwell Hodgkins and Stephen Dearth.  Hodgkins and Dearth are natural-born American citizens who currently live overseas and have been denied the opportunity to buy firearms in the U.S. because of their residency status.  The SAF is seeking an injunction against the law.

18 USC 922(a) (9) does not pass constitutional muster under either the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms or the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clauses.  Attorney General Holder knows this.  So what could be the rationale behind the statute anyway?  My best guess is it has something to do with the international crisis Washington calls the War on Terror.  Are the Feds concerned that Americans living overseas are more susceptible to being or becoming terrorists.  Perhaps the fear is that we might befriend terrorists in our travels who subsequently will visit us in the U.S. and have the means available to do harm to Americans when they step foot on our soil?  If you survey Americans who live overseas you will find that many work for the U.S. government anyway –the military, U.S. State Department, CIA, U.S. Agency for International Development, and Peace Corp volunteers.  The rest of us are business professionals, teachers, doctors, and missionaries.  None of these groups are usually inclined to join al-Qaeda.  No, the fear of terrorism is not a justifiable reason to infringe upon Americans’ 2nd Amendment rights, but the Obama Administration is willing to use it anyway.

There is no question the violence in Mexico and the threat of worldwide terrorism is real.  However, instead of taking advantage of these crises to take away our constitutional rights the Obama Administration should reevaluate the causes of the conflicts and act accordingly.  By decriminalizing drugs and ending the government’s war on people who use them the violence in Mexico and the threat it causes to our national security will go away overnight.  Thomas Jefferson had it right when he said our foreign policy should be focused on, “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none.”  Adopting a non-interventionist foreign policy will lower resentments towards the United States and make our people safer.  With our national security protected and our people safer there will be no pretense to violate the constitutional liberties of any Americans. 

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