Foolish to think 'It can't happen here'

by Thomas Lucente

As the gun control debate rages on, I have taken some flak for stating, quite correctly, that the sole purpose of the Second Amendment is for the citizenry to protect itself from the government.


End of debate.

Of course, that leads to nothing but derision from leftist gun-grabbers.

The government, their argument goes, is not going to kick in your door. I suspect a few million German citizens were making that same argument in 1936.

But we don't need to resort to Nazi analogies to make this point. Let's just look at some developments here in the good old USA in recent years to determine whether the possibility of government agents kicking in doors is a real threat.

In March [2012], the attorney general of the United States, one Eric Holder of Fast and Furious fame, told students at the Northwestern University Law School that the president could kill any American citizen so long as he and his secret advisers determined the person was a threat.

In Holder's opinion, the president and his advisers making a considered decision to kill an American citizen is a satisfactory replacement for the Constitution's Due Process Clause.

I assume Holder was talking about American citizens overseas. However, two days later, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, appearing before a congressional committee, could not answer a simple question from U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kansas, that asked him if the president could kill U.S. citizens on U.S. soil.

Let's be clear here. The head of the FBI did not know if it would be legal for the president of the United States to kill American citizens on U.S. soil.

I'm pretty sure that I read somewhere that the government is not supposed to deprive anyone of life or liberty without due process, i.e., a trial. Yet, our president has an actual kill list of people he wants dead and last I checked, the prison at Guantanamo was still open and military tribunals were still a go.

In 2011, the Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed, a law that gave the president unprecedented powers to detain American citizens on American soil indefinitely and without charges based purely on the president's orders.

In 2011, Obama actually ordered the execution of an American citizen overseas, Anwar al-Awlaki, via a CIA-operated drone. The attack was in Yemen, where the United States is not at war. A month later, An American drone killed his teenage son, who was born in Colorado.

There was no trial, just a decision by the president that this American citizen, because of his speeches and sermons, must die.

Now, drones have been authorized for domestic use within the United States.

Then there were the CIA's secret detention facilities and its program of torture.

And who can forget President George W. Bush's warrantless wiretap program? Under that executive order, American citizens could be spied on without a warrant.

Now where did that pesky Fourth Amendment disappear to?

And any talk of the dangers of our modern-day U.S. government would be remiss without a hat tip to the Patriot Act. In 2011, Obama extended three of its most infamous provisions for four years: roving wiretaps, searches of business records (the "library records provision"), and conducting surveillance of "lone wolves" - individuals suspected of terrorist-related activities not linked to terrorist groups.

Finally, because I am running out of room, not because I am running out of examples, a quick Internet search will provide you with case after case of the government charging common criminals with terrorism, just so they can get bigger sentences.

That is life today in the USA, land of the free, where our government imprisons more people than any other country in the world. That includes places such as China, Cuba, Russia, Iran, etc.

But, hey, we don't need a gun to protect ourselves from the government.

So the next time someone asks me why I "need" an AR-15 with a 30-round magazine, instead of my usual response of, "Why did Rosa Parks 'need' to sit in the front of the bus," (answer: It is a fundamental human right) I will simply point to the above examples.

Thomas J. Lucente Jr.'s column appears in The Lima News on Sundays.

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