Sunday, December 6, 2015


Photo credit: The Sacramento Bee
Another week, another mass shooting. San Bernadino merits an Oval Office Address. And yet even the President of the United States can't talk about a shooting in the U.S. without acknowledging that there is a connection between domestic violence and military intervention in a foreign country.

In dealing with ISIS, the President suggests that Americans are "wondering if we are confronting a cancer which as no immediate cure." Doubt has a way of creeping in when today's high-tech military is presented as the solution for problems caused by yesterday's high-tech military, which was supposed to solve the problems created by previous military intervention. If the desire is to stop ISIS, the one action which hasn't been tried in the lifetime of anyone born since 2001 should be given a chance: non-intervention. ISIS is just the latest example of the type of groups who fill the void when you displace the peaceful population of a country.

No one at the Departments of State and Homeland Security will be fired. No agencies will be shut down. Instead, the budgets of anti-terrorism departments will grow. The centralization of power which has failed to prevent terrible acts--whether they are labeled as mass shootings or terrorism--will take more power from future victims and put it in the hands of fewer unaccountable people. We will be told that the tasks of stopping mass-shootings and overcoming ISIS will be complicated and difficult.  

And yet, the situations which led to the mass shooting in San Bernadino and the "war" with ISIS in Syria are quite similar. The connection is based on a very simple-but-true concept: law-abiding citizens have a vested interest in surrounding themselves with other law-abiding citizens.

And the remedies are far easier and cheaper than anything which has been tried to date. When law-abiding citizens are given the power to defend themselves, and when sovereign countries are allowed to function free of outside forces, the effect is similar to that which grass can have on weeds in a healthy lawn--the desired grass is given an environment in which it can grow until there is no room for the weeds. It is not by violence or great power that the grass overwhelms the weeds--it is a simple matter of the grass growing and increasing in population until there is room for nothing else.

When the actions of foreign intervention turn the law-abiding citizens of a country into refugees, it should not come as a surprise when groups like ISIS take the place of law-abiding citizens. When the power to defend is taken from law-abiding citizens and given to fewer and fewer select individuals, it should not come as a surprise when the law-abiding citizens find themselves as victims.

This isn't hard to understand. Free markets work in many directions--in a healthy environment, good people prosper. In a violent and manipulated environment, the violent and manipulative prosper. Again, grass does not prosper due to violence, but because its very growth naturally prevents weeds from overtaking it.

This is the link between San Bernadino and Syria--the power to influence their own fate was taken from the victims and refugees, and the few who were given the power to protect the victims and refugees failed to do so. When all people have the power to prevent their demise, their actions need not be powerful or violent in order to have great effect. But when the power is taken from the people, it is only with great violence that peace can be achieved. And however long that peace may last, the responding force is always too late to be of any benefit to the initial victims.

If you want to prevent people from becoming victims, they must be allowed to defend themselves.

And when you want to prevent people from becoming refugees, you must acknowledge the sovereignty of their decisions and not destroy the infrastructure of their country through military intervention.

Yet what is the United States' "principled" response to the situations in San Bernadino and Syria?

Where there are victims in the United States, politicians propose restrictions on gun ownership.

And in Syria, U.S. politicians will provide guns (and training) to "moderates" who will fight against those the U.S. wishes to displace.

Who could ever see this going badly? As in--worse than it is today?

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