Friday, September 09, 2005

The Latest Disaster: Forced Evacuation and Gun Seizure

“Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here,” The New York Times reports. In “Restoring the Right to Bear Arms” from the Cato Handbook on Policy, Gene Healy, a Cato senior editor, and Robert Levy, a Cato senior fellow in constitutional studies, write: “Today, states’ incompetence at defending citizens against criminals is a more palpable threat to our liberties than is tyranny by the state. But that incompetence coupled with a disarmed citizenry could well create the conditions that lead to tyranny. The demand for police to defend us increases in proportion to our inability to defend ourselves. That’s why disarmed societies tend to become police states."

This sickens me on a level more profound than the original disaster. While this statement may surprise you, a candid observation of the Katrina situation will reveal massive failures in oversight and a level of negligence not seen since the failure of the Federal defense agencies to prevent the plane attacks of 2001. Not only did the local, State, and National governments fail to prepare for the hurricane damage to the levee system, in the face of warnings and knowledge they possessed by their own analyses and agencies, they failed to respond in any meaningful way for days as the disaster unfolded. The Army Corps of Engineers, no doubt left to their own public devices on the basis that the levees constituted a 'public good', grossly mismanaged the appropriate maintenance necessary to prevent a Tsunami-like disaster. Furthermore, the stories that thousands of private residents were turned away, as they rushed down to the flooded areas with boats attempting to save people, because they were in danger of being hurt of killed is ludicrous. Indeed there were sporadic instances of criminal behavior; after all, the same criminals with guns that robbed, raped, and murdered the victims of New Orleans prior to its untimely destruction wouldn't all have simply fled or perished in the face of Katrina. They certainly wouldn't have represented even a 20th of the folks needing evacuation either. And they certainly wouldn't have been able to prey on the misery of others as was evidenced had the rest of the citizenry, abandoned by their Executive government and police officers, been adequately armed and prepared to protect themselves.

But the government hates competition, whether it be economic or philanthropic. The crushing leviathan of bureacracy cannot be stopped, even when innocents stand in its path. And so, among themseleves, and surrounded by a vast array of private peoples, ready to lend a hand and material support, the dying masses of New Orleans were 'protected' from a private market's ability to provide practical answers to public problems through the mechanisms of insurance and risk-analysis; 'protected' from the loss of order that would have resulted from allowing private citizens to rescue them with their own boats; and are now being 'protected' from themselves, because you sure as hell can't trust poor folks to make their own decisions regarding the reconstruction of their lives and property, and you sure as hell can't trust poor black folks to have guns. What? Are you crazy?

Imagine if every time henceforth the Mighty Government fails to provide its services, or prevents private citizens from doing the same, it also finds an excuse to punish us for the failure by depriving us of our Recongnized Rights, how long it shall be until we are indeed wretched minions of a police state?

------"When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.... Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."------


Blogger Pieter said...

Good analysis. What a disaster. In times of crisis, the states expand its powers, whether it was a disaster due to state failure or not. Unless citizens are vigilant.

2:43 PM  

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