Ken Blackwell is Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at Family Research Council. This article appeared in Townhall.com on January 14, 2015.
CBS News gave an early report on the terrorist attacks in Paris. It included this telling sentence:
"A reporter for Britain’s Telegraph newspaper in Paris told Sky News that the first two officers to arrive, who were apparently unarmed, fled after seeing gunmen armed with automatic weapons and possibly a grenade launcher."
Every American, every citizen of a free country, needs to read, and re-read that sentence. Here is the answer of liberals and socialists to the problem of domestic security. Let the police do it. Let the state protect you. Give all weapons to the professionals who are trained and who can be trusted.
We see how much New York Mayor Bill de Blasio trusts his own police department. He treats them as if they are the problem in minority communities. They are the ones who must be re-trained and restrained. It is not, for de Blasio, a case of police protecting people in crime-ridden neighborhoods where fatherless young men shoot each other, and all too often get into conflicts with the police. No, for de Blasio—and all his fellow socialists—the police are the problem. It is small wonder that police officers turn their backs on de Blasio when he has the temerity to speak at funerals for police officers assassinated in the line of duty. And it is not surprising that they engage in a rule-book slowdown to make their displeasure with his disrespect known.
But this whole scene presents leftists worldwide with a conundrum. Surrender all means of self-defense, they tell us, to the state. We will make sure we are surrounded by security, but for you and your family we will arm only those outnumbered uniformed police whom we don’t really trust ourselves.
I write not to indict the Paris police who arrived, other reports have it, on bicycles. If unarmed, if on bikes, they faced terrorists who were mistaken by passersby on the Paris streets for a highly-trained military swat team. That’s not surprising for that is exactly what they were. Except they were trained to act out murderously against France’s democracy and not for it.
CNN’s Jake Tapper spoke for millions of us when he said he was “ashamed” by the Missing in Action list of top American officials who failed to show for the massive solidarity march in Paris this weekend.
President Obama skipped the march. So did Vice President Biden. So did Sec. of State John Kerry. So did outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder was in Paris at the time and made time for five—count `em—five Sunday talk shows, but could he not put in an appearance at the march.
“World Leaders Link Arms,” headlined the Washington Post in Monday’s edition. But no U.S. leader joined the march. Unless we count the U.S. Ambassador to France. Amb. Jane Hartley is doubtless a capable person. She might even be fluent in French. But, be honest, until this weekend, did you even know her name?
Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to France. He is fluent in French. Maybe he can explain to the people of France why the U.S. went unrepresented in their hour of agony. He dismissed all criticism of the Obama administration as “mere quibbling.” To the rest of the world, the U.S. absence was attributed to “security concerns.” Does that not sound like rank cowardice? Surely, the heads of the British, French, and German governments had to consider security arrangements for the march. But they marched anyway.
Security concerns did not keep Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu away. He may be the prime target in the world. Those French citizens at the offices of the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, likely included, and the customers at the Kosher deli surely included French Jews. They were attacked no doubt because they were Jews. And yet Benjamin Netanyahu not only joined the line of march, he also spoke brave words at Paris’s Grand Synagogue.
It is indeed shameful that as Commander-in-Chief of the world’s greatest military, President Obama could not join the world leaders who marched in Paris. Or, at least he might have sent Vice President Joe Biden. Surely, Joe Biden has to be more than just impeachment insurance.
Fundamentally, though, the real message in last week’s attack is this: Only an armed people can be a free people. Only a people who have the means to defend themselves can enjoy the blessings of liberty. If your government fears to let you defend yourself, change your government.
When John Kerry arrives in Paris, he doubtless knows that France lacks a Second Amendment. But France has a National Anthem, the Marseillaise. And a memorable line in that stirring song is: Aux armes, concitoyens! To arms, Fellow Citizens!
Now is the time to put self-defense on the international agenda. If your government does not believe in the right to keep and bear arms as a human right, then it probably doesn’t believe in your right to life, either.