by John Bowman
Author R.J. Rummel has produced a significant body of work including numerous essays and several books that deal with the subject of democide, a term he coined to describe a widely-accepted legal definition of murder that applies when perpetrated by government upon its own people. After examining about 10,000 sources over many years, Rummel estimates that governments of the world have murdered (i.e., committed democide on) approximately 262 million people in the 20th century alone. That shocking figure is no joke and, as Rummel points out, is about 7 times higher than the combat death toll from all wars fought over the same period combined. 20th Century wars were the worst in man’s history and killed almost twice as many people as “ordinary” civilian criminal murders across the globe over the same one-hundred-year span. Yet, even though “the 20th century is noted for its absolute and bloody wars,” war was not the 20th Century’s biggest killer. Democide was. Or rather government was. And the comparison was not even close.
It should come as no surprise that the hallmark of democide according to Rummel is authoritarian government. It should also be no surprise that virtually every monstrous genocide or democide event in modern history was conducted by collectivist or socialist-style dictatorships, with the lion’s share of atrocity garnered by the Marxist variety – those great saints who do everything “for the good of the people” and who without any sense or shame hold offices and/or comprise significant political parties in most “civilized” nations today. In fact, the results of various flavors of socialism are what prompted other historians to invent the word “genocide” in the first place.
To put the 262 million murders in more conceptual terms, consider that if one takes a random walk through the entire set of murdered men, women, and children, more than 9 out of 10 murders across all times and all nations, were perpetrated, not by civilian criminals, but by criminal thugs operating under the auspice or directive of government to murder its own people, generally those who oppose the government or who oppose the politically well-connected or who own what the government covets for itself. If deaths due to war – what many currently believe is the greatest threat to life and limb – are included in the set, then still over 4 out of 5 violent deaths (83%) are the result of murder by the host government with the remaining 17% comprised by 11% war casualties and 6% civilian murder1. Yet, while totalitarianism, foreign invasion, and civilian crime – the primary historic threats to everyone’s safety – all arise for a vast array of reasons, there is, fortunately, at least one thing that is proven to prevent or mitigate all of these to a very high degree: widespread gun ownership by the civilian population.
Therefore, if one cares about one’s own personal safety or that for one’s children, family, and neighbors, then there is no substitute for a well-armed society. This is not rocket surgery. A well-armed society is a civil society. A well-armed society is also a serious deterrent to foreign invaders and modern technology such as satellites, planes, missiles, and tanks has not changed that. And finally, most importantly, a well-armed society has never yet, not once, been the helpless victim of democide to any significant degree, and it takes no great imaginative leap to understand why. When guns are outlawed, only government will have them, and look at their sorry record. The figure would be supremely monstrous and unacceptable if it were a mere 1 out of 100, yet more than 9 out of 10 murders committed on planet Earth were orchestrated by the victim’s own government. In fact, major events of democide unilaterally occur to people who are disarmed, usually (ludicrously) within months of disarmament of the population, which of course was promoted and ordered for their own good and safety, and often made possible by government-maintained registration or licensing records.
Today, we are continually bombarded with propaganda relating to the dangers of gun ownership. This propaganda shamelessly claims stiffer and stiffer gun control is necessary to “protect the children” or some other nonsense about personal safety. At the same time, depending on age range, children are more likely to die from drowning in their own toilet or bathtub, from falling off a ladder or heights, or from bee stings than they are from intentional or accidental death from a gun wound. And lest we forget, these same gun control advocates think nothing of putting their children in cars, which kills tens of thousands every year. Why? Because it is clear the great utility of vehicles justify the small yet deadly risks. Yet, wide proliferation of guns (with zero controls) also has great utility, namely prevention of the worst crimes in history as well as the run-o-the-mill variety. Furthermore, guns have a lower risk factor to law abiders than do cars, so where is all the clamoring from the “I-want-my-children-to-be-safe” crowd for bans on automobiles? There ain’t any because this brand of stupidity is emotional, not rational.
On the other hand, democide appears to expressly target children. Children whose parents if not unarmed would have long ago overthrown the tyrants who impoverish them to retain or regain their own property and means of feeding and rearing their children. That is why gun control advocates horrify me, especially those who are well-meaning and passionate about the issue. They genuinely believe removing guns from law abiders will solve social ills, while ignoring the consequences. To remove guns from the hands of law abiders is the tyrant’s dream, the criminal’s dream, the warmonger’s dream. And it is the law abider’s nightmare. To remove guns from the hands of law abiders unleashes every horror conceivable, and some that are inconceivable. And for what? To prevent some perceived threat that, even if realistic, is 5 or 6 orders of magnitude less likely to cause harm than the nightmare with a long and distinguished pedigree that may ensue if they get their wish?
It is as though gun control advocates seriously believe it is desirable to rip up the parachute, use the material to sew a windbreaker, then proudly proclaim they’ve prevented the skydiver from catching a cold on his trip down. It would be comical if not so deadly serious. To be fair, yes, many die from gun wounds. Yes, that is tragic and senseless. Without a doubt, guns can be quite dangerous, but the same can be said of cars. Of electricity. And even of love, a major player in crimes of passion and suicide, the latter of which takes more US lives every year than all reported gun violence and is in fact responsible for over 70% (higher in many other countries) of what is included in the gun-related death figures – a component that heavily skews these figures, yet is rarely considered by gun control advocates as if these suicides would not have occurred but for the availability of guns. Are there not consequences to banning any of these things: cars, electricity, love? Or of banning guns? Consequences that apparently go well beyond the narrow horizons and lack of historical knowledge of the typical ban advocate.
On the lighter side, one beauty of widespread gun ownership is that members of the adamant “I’ll-never-touch-the-things” crowd do not have to own one. They need only pray that their neighbors do, because those law abiding, gun-toting neighbors will protect them from the true heinous threats to their existence and livelihood, even if they are unwilling or unable to do so themselves or even oblivious to the dangers. And consider further, that the protection afforded by widespread gun ownership by law abiders can extend across national borders as well as neighborhoods. For example, while Canada does have a relatively significant number of guns, many Canadian gun enthusiasts have noted that much of their personal safety can be attributed to the fact that the populace of their closest neighbor maintains so many firearms.
As a final, more mundane thought, basically everyone knows or has heard that there is a correlation between gun control and crime. In fact, areas in the US with virtual gun bans, like DC, have not only the highest crime rates, but also a disproportionately higher amount of violent crime, whereas areas with few gun regulations tend to show much lower crime overall, with most of it of a non-violent nature such as property crime like theft, instead of violent crime like assault, rape, or murder. Gun advocates tout these statistics, while gun-grabbers are completely mystified and so go in search of some rationale to explain it away, or they focus on other issues, usually something like the safety of children.
I earnestly desire that everyone in the world becomes or remains a staunch advocate of widespread, unregulated gun ownership. There are few, if any, paradigms one could adopt to better ensure personal safety and peaceful pursuits. Such a paradigm would mitigate crime, reduce warfare, and, by far the most important, provide the ultimate backstop – when unalienable rights and Constitutions fail – against the most heinous danger all inhabitants of the world face: democide. It is neither a joke nor the subversive tripe you have come to expect from the phrase to say, support gun ownership! If not for yourself, do it for the children.
Note Please note, I understand this is a contentious subject, and mere statistics or numbers can never sum up these atrocities. Moreover, the figures I use are 35 million casualties of war in the 20th century and 20 million (probably too high) 20th century civilian-perpetrated murders worldwide, which appear to be widely accepted figures. Again, these are estimates, believed to be accurate, so please do not write me to suggest these figures are either too liberal or too conservative or otherwise incorrect unless any are off by one or two orders of magnitude or more because unless that is the case, it does not change in any way the thesis of this note – that widespread gun ownership by a civilian population will significantly improve the safety of said civilian population from every colossal threat, especially the most serious of all: democide.
June 1, 2009 John Bowman lives in Washington State.
Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given
There is nothing I could add to this.