Readers: Molan Labe is an ancient Greek expression meaning “Come and take them.” You can google the phrase to understand it better, but in short, it is an expression of defiance and refers to challenging those in power to try to disarm the one using the phrase. My friend, Tony Winkler, posted Molan Labe as his facebook status in the wake of gun control rhetoric on facebook after the events in Newtown, CT Friday.
Tony and I rarely agree on anything politically, but we seem to still agree on this: we respect one another’s opinion immensely and find our exchange of thoughts interesting and provocative. A friend who witnessed Tony and I in a heated discussion once said, “you could charge money just to watch you two debate.”
That said, I invited Tony’s response to my last post entitled Guns. (You can read GUNS by clicking on the post which is listed on the right hand side of this page under the title Recent Posts). I am posting his response here because my point in Guns was primarily a call to engage in honest, respectful, and direct conversation about the issues that have brought us to where we are today.
The opinions posted below do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this BLOGGER, but they are an important part of the overall discussion we need to hear and reflect upon.
My thanks to Tony for taking the time to articulate his position. Your comments on either post are welcome.
Molan Labe by Tony Winkler, USMC
The attack at Sandy Hook outrages the moral senses, and when the attacker turns out to be someone who we can’t easily demonize, we get the present predicament. I’ll offer a few random facts, but I see this as a moment to achieve clarity in what we really believe in.
“Assault weapons” have always been in the hands of Americans. Whatever the military technology of the day has been, civilians have had it. After WWII and Korea, the civilian market was flooded with military surplus rifles- all semi-automatic, all very lethal. No corresponding spike in massacres occurred. And yes, hunters do use them, every day, all of the time. I could go on, but this isn’t the point.
I believe in the founding principles of this nation. I do believe that we were endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights. Freedom comes from God, and no one and nothing else. No person, no government, no state can take away my rights, they can only suppress them. So yes, the power of government comes from the consent of the governed. It should be doled out in small parcels and watched jealously.
But with this enormous, God-given freedom comes enormous responsibility. We are ultimately responsible for ourselves. Eg: The current “health care crisis” isn’t due to big corporations or big government, it’s our own fault. If everyone ate lots of veggies, brown rice and lean meat, exercised and prayed/meditated regularly- poof! End of crisis. But that requires the deep understanding of the nature of freedom.
I have guns for personal protection, and I want to be armed at least as well as the criminals. I carry not because I want to smoke some criminal, but because I accept the responsibility of freedom. I don’t want a police state, I want a country of awake and aware citizens. So yes, it’s our responsibility to “ratchet up” our preparedness. For whatever reason, a certain element among us has decided to engage in mass murder. As I Christian, I have convictions as to why that’s happening, but until we figure out why… yes we have a duty to prepare. To disarm ourselves and leave it to the authorities to (hopefully) take care of us is not only misguided but immoral.
I’ll come right out and say it: like our Founding Fathers, I believe the government should fear its citizens. Absolute power always always always corrupts absolutely. It is our right and our duty to act as the final check on government power and that means the threat of force, raw force. What would Jesus do? Better for our leaders to ask that than for us to. To the modern American many of these ideas sound blunt and primitive. For many decades our wealth and affluence has allowed us to abdicate our authority to the state. We no longer have that luxury. We must once again shoulder the wonderful burden of God-given freedom and pay attention to our country.
Alexis De Toqueville wrote “Democracy In America” over 170 years ago, but he predicted these current days. It makes a great door stop because the danged thing is over 600 pages long, but the final chapters are eerily prescient. America won’t fall to tyranny, it will fall to protectors. We will fancy ourselves a free people, but in reality we will merely remove our chains long enough to elect a new leader, only to promptly place them back on ourselves. No thanks.
Finally, I took an oath over 20 years ago to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. I have intellectually, emotionally and spiritually internalized that oath. I have spent too many years away from this country, my body has endured too much damage, my family too much anxiety and I have lost too many friends to surrender my God-given rights to protectors. So yes, Molon Labe.
Dear Mr. Winkler, USMC,
Firstly, thank you for your service to this country, its citizens and its founding principles. By your service, you have done something that I could not. And I am grateful.
Secondly, I wish that all who loved and/or believed in guns and gun rights were as thoughtful and morally strong as yourself. Then again, I wish it were so of those NOT enamoured with firearms.
I can easily envision circumstances where I would wish to be armed. Those circumstances are not a part of my life and to date, I have chosen not to pursue a close relationship with a handgun or rifle.
I try to live my life so this will continue and hope for rational debate and statesmanship.
Thank you for your thoughts and compliments. Your comments have illuminated some “points of friction” that I have suspected exist. I am flattered that you consider me thoughtful and morally strong. As a member of the “gun culture” (that phrase will be used to marginalize us the same as “smoker”) I have rubbed shoulders with my civilian counterparts. I have suspected that the perception of the average “gun nut” is that of a redneck mouth-breather. I can tell you this: they may not be eloquent, but they are thoughtful and they are moral. They engage in their enthusiasms in peace and wish nothing more than to be left alone. They are suspicious of our government, but that suspicion derives from their instinctual love of freedom. They are driven to extremes only by exasperation stemming from the inaction of their fellow citizens.
We did not kill those children. Every Marine, warrior, “redneck” I know has expressed a similar sentiment: God, why couldn’t I have been there?! I could have made a difference, I could’ve stopped this!
Don’t disarm us, join us. Freedom is a burden in some ways, but it is a wonderful and exhilarating burden.
P.S.- Peace is a wonderful sentiment, but I pray instead for justice.
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