Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ed, Guns and Signs

"Let us hope our weapons are never needed --but do not forget what the common people knew when they demanded the Bill of Rights: An armed citizenry is the first defense, the best defense, and the final defense against tyranny. 

 If guns are outlawed, only the government will have guns. Only the police, the secret police, the military, the hired servants of our rulers. Only the government -- and a few outlaws. I intend to be among the outlaws."  Edward Abbey

Ed was wrong on this one. I don't really appreciate some parts of Ed Abbey's cowboy anarchism. Since I live in an area where owning guns is the norm, my safety, as an outsider who has views that aren't part of the cultural norm, well, I'm at risk. My own ridge has had multiple mishaps with firearms over the last four years we've lived there. One suicide by firearms. Alcohol, poverty, substance abuse, high value semi-legal agriculture and gun ownership is a frightening thing.

Guns are not the first defense. They might be the last defense for a society--hence Che' picking up the rifle to protect the poor from the oppressors. But having more firepower often makes you the oppressor.

So what is the first defense against tyranny?

1. Education. A free and literate society.
2. Free speech.
3. An egalitarian society. For more see the great book "The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger by Richard Wilkenson and Kate Pickett.
4. Courageous people who speak up against oppression. One Gandhi can go a long way. Or Jesus.

All these are more important than a Winchester.

I took a forty five minute walk in Calistoga this morning. Training for this hike has led to me getting my day started a whole lot earler. A good thing.  I saw these signs along the way:

 This is what happens when you don't have socialized garbage collection.

 Is this tyranny?

And I'm starting my hike this summer at Donner Summit. This bumper sticker stating we should save Donner Summit is something I need to investigate further.

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