Guns and the president
By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano
Published January 24, 2013
Here is an uncomfortable pop quiz: Who has killed more children, Adam Lanza or Barack Obama? We’ll hold off on the answer for a few paragraphs while we look at the state of governmental excess — including killing — in America. But you can probably guess the correct answer from the manner in which I have posed the question.
We all know that the sheet anchor of our liberties is the Declaration of Independence. The president himself quoted Thomas Jefferson’s most famous line in his inaugural address earlier this week. He recognized that all men and women are created equal and endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights and that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
The president would no doubt like to modify the word “created” to read “shall be maintained,” since his presidency seems dedicated to keeping us equal, not in terms of equality of rights and opportunity but of outcome. He has dedicated himself to using the coercive power of the federal government to take from those who have and give to those who don’t. Under the Constitution, charity is a decision for individuals to make, not the government.
This forced egalitarianism was never the purpose of government in America. When the people in the original 13 states gave up some of their personal liberties to create their state governments so they could perform the services that governments in the West do, and when the states themselves gave up some of their liberties to create the federal government of limited powers to address the issues of nationhood, they never authorized government to impose taxes to transfer wealth to those who lack it or need it.
This may sound harsh, but there is simply no authority in the Constitution for the feds to tax Americans or to borrow money in their names to rebuild private homes in New Orleans or at the Jersey Shore. And there is no moral authority for that, either. If folks want to give money to those whose properties were damaged by natural disasters and lacked adequate insurance coverage, they are free to do so, but nowhere does government have the authority to compel us to do so.
This shows how far we have come from the Constitution the Founders gave us. They “constituted” a government of limited powers, and they did so because they wanted the government to protect our freedoms, since they understood that personal responsibility and freedom — not government handouts — are the soundest routes to prosperity. Hence, they limited the government because they knew the lessons of history. And those lessons informed them that often it is the government itself that is the greatest threat to personal freedom.
One hundred years ago, during the Progressive Era, Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson turned the concept of limited government on its head. They argued that the Constitution could be disregarded because the federal government possesses unlimited powers to address the people’s needs. Barack Obama is their ideological heir. As their heir, he is not only the head of the executive branch of the federal government, but he is also the head of one of the two dominant political parties.
That political party has dedicated itself to making certain killing legal. The Democrats have continually celebrated the abominable decision of the Supreme Court in Roe vs. Wade, issued 40 years ago this week. They have championed abortion for the past 40 years. They have assaulted the greatest and most fundamental of human rights: the right to live. In doing so, they have succeeded in causing the government to permit the killing of more than 50 million American babies in their mothers’ wombs in the past 40 years — for the sake of convenience and sexual activity without consequence, in a manner that is antiseptic and lawful. And no one hears the babies’ cries of pain or anguish.
The president himself has more directly killed about 176 children in Pakistan by the use of CIA drones. These drones have been dispatched by him alone — not pursuant to any congressional declaration of war. At least two of these murdered children were Americans. But since the cameras were kept away, since all of this takes place 10,000 miles from America, and since the survivors are legally and politically helpless, no one here hears the Pakistani children’s cries of pain and anguish.
One of the reasons we have the constitutionally guaranteed right to keep and bear arms is to enable us to resist a drone sent to the path of our children by shooting it down, no matter who sent it. But you can’t stop a drone with a BB gun. Hence the need for serious firepower in the hands of ordinary Americans — to give tyrants pause and to stop tyrants when they don’t pause. The president wants to use Lanza’s horrific slaughter of 20 babies in a public school in Connecticut with a stolen gun as an excuse to restrict the freedoms of all law-abiding gun-owning Americans, any one of whom would have stopped Lanza in a heartbeat with a lawful gun, before the police could, had they been in that school.
Now back to our pop quiz: Who has killed more children, Lanza or Obama? Does a president with blood on his hands have any moral standing to infringe upon the natural right to self-defense of those whose hands are clean? Would you sacrifice your liberty to defend yourself and your children so that the government can kill whom it pleases?
The answers are obvious.