A comment on this week's tragic events and the liberties assailed

by Dr. Sarah Thompson

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners joins with all Coloradans and all Americans in mourning the terrible tragedies that occurred yesterday.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to the dead, the injured, and their families - and to our elected leaders who will be making some difficult decisions in the days and months ahead.

While we feel obligated to point out that much of the carnage could have been prevented by armed citizens, law enforcement officers, or sky marshals, we also believe that there are no simplistic solutions to terrorism.  Remember that ordinary ammunition is hazardous on an airplane because it will penetrate the hull and lead to depressurization.  And firing a gun in an extremely cramped and  crowded plane also risks injury to innocent passengers.

More relevant is the fact that Americans have been indoctrinated to be good victims.  We're told over and over again that we should never resist criminals, that we should passively submit to being robbed, raped, mugged, or hijacked.  Women's centers teach women not to fight back, even though fighting back with a firearm is the most effective way to avoid injury.  Employers require their employees to be disarmed, and to agree to whatever a criminal demands.  Those of us who are willing to take responsibility for our own safety are shunned, persecuted, and generally made to feel like second class citizens who are not welcome in "civilized society".

The reason that a few hijackers armed only with knives and box cutters were able to murder tens of thousands of innocent people is less a problem of physically disarmed passengers, and more a problem of psychologically disarmed passengers.

Had the passengers been taught that fighting back is the honorable and appropriate response to thugs, things would likely have turned out differently.  It now appears that this is exactly what happened on the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania - the passengers attempted to subdue the hijackers.  They gave their lives, but prevented the deaths of countless others, and the possible destruction of Camp David, the White House or the Capitol.  They upheld our proud tradition of American heroism.

In a pinch, pocket knives, cell phones, pens, books, laptop computers, keys, etc. can all be used as weapons.  All that's needed is the will and courage to fight back.

We do not say this to dishonor the dead, who almost certainly had no idea of what the terrorists planned.  We're sure that had they known, they would have willingly sacrificed their lives to save thousands of others.  We will probably never know how many heroic people did exactly that.

But we must resolve - right here, right now - that we will stop our idolatrous worship of safety above all else, and return to the values of individual responsibility, community responsibility, courage, and resistance to evil that made our nation great.

In the days and months ahead, we expect to see unprecedented attacks on our G-d given rights - not just the right to keep and bear arms, but the rights of free speech, of assembly, of privacy, of travel, and of due process.  We expect to see calls for more gun control, more Carnivore type surveillance of the internet, more wiretaps and surveillance of cell phone traffic, more warrantless searches and seizures, more face recognition technology, more fingerprinting, more restrictions on peaceful assembly, and increasing demands for some sort of high-tech method to track everything each and every person does.

We must have the courage to oppose these attacks on our rights.  We cannot preserve our freedom by destroying it.  If we allow the acts of vicious criminals to turn the United States into a police state, they will have won, and we will lose everything.

Nearly 250 years ago, Benjamin Franklin wrote: "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety".

Yesterday, President Bush said: "America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world.   And no one will keep that light from shining."

We pray he keeps his word.

Not only must we not give up our essential liberty for false promises of safety, we must ensure that our nation remains that "brightest beacon for freedom".

Rocky Mountain Gun Owners suggests the following:

Write to your Congressman, Senators, and state legislators and let them know that you are not willing to sacrifice your liberty for promises of safety, and that you expect them to protect and defend our Constitution and Bill of Rights.  Also let them know that so long as our government protects our liberties, we will support them 100% in the difficult days ahead.

Check your preparedness status.  Do you have adequate food, water, medical supplies, lighting, batteries, radios, and self defense equipment should you need them?  We're not trying to be alarmist here, but we think citizens have the obligation to be prepared to be useful and self sufficient in time of crisis, rather than becoming additional burdens on social services.

Fly your flag!  It's simple, free, shows your support for our country, and will encourage your neighbors to get into the patriotic spirit.

If you're in good enough health to donate blood, please give the gift of life.  Also consider donating to the religious and charitable organizations that are helping victims.  The American Red Cross web site has a lot of information at http://www.redcross.org

Don't stoop to hatred based on anyone's nationality, ethnicity or hatred.  Justice is the most noble of human endeavors.  Bigotry is not.

Don't let terrorists define our nation, and make sure that those who died did not die in vain!

Pray for wisdom, courage, and strength for the injured, the families of victims, President Bush, our Congress, and all Americans.

May G-d bless America, land of the FREE, home of the BRAVE.

Dr. Sarah Thompson is head of Utah Gun Owners Alliance, the only no compromise gun rights group in Utah, which frequently works in alliance with Rocky Mountain Gun Owners.

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