Douwe Osinga's Blog: Genocide and Freedom

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Genocide and Freedom

The Dutch are often proud of their freedoms and tolerance. Gay marriage, tolerance of soft drugs, abortion and euthanasia laws paint a picture of a society that lets people make decisions rather than the government prescribe what’s good for them. However, bring up the US Second Amendment, i.e. the right to keep and bear arms and there is a lot less understanding. I’ve always thought that there is something to this right though.


The Dutch, the Swiss and the Americans (and many other nations of course) all fought wars of independence in the name of freedom (well, and to protest against new taxes). If you think it is in the right of the people to revolt against oppression, you’ll need to grant them the right to bear arms, lest they’ll just be slaughtered by the tyrant any time they try. Anyway, that’s not what this blog is about. We were watching ‘Hotel Rwanda’, about the genocide in Rwanda and there were two things that sprang to mind.


First you cannot help but wonder whether if the Tutsi’s had had weapons, way less than 800 000 people would have been slaughtered. Yes, it would have been a civil war, but that beats genocide. Plus as it turns out, some of the Tutsi’s did have weapons and ultimately overthrew the government, saving the lives of millions.


The other thing is that maybe it is time to take this whole weapons bearing thing to the next level. See, the second amendment doesn’t just say you can bear weapons, it says:



A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.


A well regulated militia was something that surely was missing in Rwanda. You’d think the UN could have provided one, but the few hundred soldiers that were send, stood by and did nothing on explicit instructions from the Security Council. And later when it was clear what was going on and the Security Council decided to send in 5 000 troops, still nothing happened because they couldn’t agree on the details. 300 000 – 500 000 died after this decision.


What if there would have been a well regulated militia? Not one based in Rwanda, but just a thousand well trained commandos working for the people. During the Rwanda crisis, the people in the West knew what was going on, but we all felt there was nothing we could do. If there is a famine, we can send money and some organization will swoop in and send food. Why not an organization that after the money has been send, swoops in with a bunch of marines and kills the bad guys?


I realize that most people that want to support the third world are not much of the gun rights type of people and vice versa, so this proposal might be tricky.  Some people will say that giving mercenaries an official role can’t solve anything. A gun for hire might get hired by the wrong guys. But think about it, the wrong guys already hire guns.


The bottom line is that we all know there is most likely going to be genocide in the next 7 years. Read the Onion article ‘Nigeria Chosen To Host 2008 Genocides’, you’ll laugh and cry. Then read the Wikipedia on the Rwanda genocide and tell me how the International Community is going to react differently next time it happens. Having the Dogs of War on standby just might.

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