When I posted a while ago about Robert Mugabe's intensifying campaign of atrocities in Zimbabwe, including kicking farmers off their land, razing the homes of the urban poor, and inflicting slow starvation upon his political enemies, I noted that blogger Perry de Havilland thinks Zimbabwe is long overdue for a popular revolution.
In the comments, cubicle pointed out why there hasn't been one yet:
The people their do not have any weapons to fight with. If I remember correctly all of their guns were taken in the 1950's while they were under British rule.This is actually the point at the core of Perry's own blog post that to truly help ordinary Zimbabweans, Western powers should ensure that they are able to fight against Mugabe, not give more food aid that he will simply divert to his own supporters. In Perry's own, rather intemperate words:
Clearly the only chance for the people of Zimbabwe is for someone, anyone, to help them to rise up and meet violence with violence. They do not need aid, they need guns and ammunition so that supporters of the MDC can start shooting at anyone associated with ZANU-PF or the 'security' services. Time for Mugabe's swaggering police thugs to be met with a hail of gunfire rather than terrified sobbing.Recently (via Charles at Obsidian Wings), Joe Katzman on Winds of Change reached essentially the same conclusion about Zimbabwe, and broadened it into a general principle: Gun ownership is a human right. He writes:
...If Tony Blair was serious about doing something about poverty in Africa, he would be sending guns to the MDC and to anyone else who is willing to resist and threatening to have some gentlemen from Hereford put a .338 hole between Mugabe's eyes unless things change radically.
As many of you know, I'm from Canada. We have a pretty different attitude to guns up here, and I must say that American gun culture has always kind of puzzled me. To me, one no more had a right to a gun than one did to a car.Joe's got lots more to say, in an excellent and lengthy post. And I imagine the reaction of some gun control advocates will be "Sure, Joe's arguments might make sense in a place like Zimbabwe. But in more developed countries, we don't need guns to protect our freedoms, because that kind of thing just couldn't happen."
Well, my mind has changed. Changed to the point where I see gun ownership as being a slightly qualified but universal global human right.
...You can thank Robert Mugabe, too, because it was his campaign to starve his political/tribal opponents and Pol-Pot style "ruralization" effort (200,000 left homeless recently in a population of 12.6 million) that finally convinced me. Here's the crux, the argument before which all other arguments pale into insignificance:The Right to Bear Arms is the only reliable way to prevent genocide in the modern world.And Zimbabwe is the poster child for that proposition.
Well, of course, it has. But even if the West's next genocide is not right around the corner, to say its citizens don't need the right to own guns is to confuse cause and effect, like saying a fit person doesn't need to exercise. He's in good shape because he exercises. And private gun ownership has always made Mugabe-style government abuses a messy proposition.