Opinion: My cousin was killed in the 2018 Parkland school shooting. Up until then, the media had trained me to be fearful of guns and to stereotype proponents of the Second Amendment as Southern, redneck racists. I grew up in a household where most of the world’s ills were blamed on Republicans, and my parents voted Democrat down the ballot.
“They are the empathetic ones who care about the little guy,” my mother would say.
However, my cousin’s death stirred up questions inside of me: Why do schools brandish “gun-free zone” signs when government buildings and Hollywood homes are protected with armed guards or security? Why does the media believe ordinary Americans must remain defenseless against unhinged psychopaths who shoot up schools?
These questions led me to a profound realization: the reason America has not been overtaken by a tyrannical government or foreign adversaries is because of our Second Amendment. In the event that we needed one, this country would have the most robust militia in the entire world. But despite having more guns than people in this country, we have not fought a single war on our soil since the Civil War.
In 1911, Turkey established gun control, and between 1915 and 1917, the government rounded up and exterminated 1.5 million Armenians. In 1929, when the Soviet Union implemented strict gun laws, 20 million were slaughtered over the course of the next 24 years. The same fate awaited 20 million Chinese, 100,00 Mayan Indians, one million Cambodians, six million Jews, and 300,000 Christians, immediately after the regimes of China, Guatemala, Cambodia, Germany, and Uganda enacted gun laws in the 20th century, respectively. The biggest mass genocides in history were always perpetrated by governments against the people.
I am currently banned from performing in venues across Germany, due to my political worldview that, according to one booking agent, is “too pro-gun and pro-Trump.” Imagine the irony of a country once responsible for the murder of one out of every three Jews on earth, not allowing me, an orthodox Jew, inside their borders because of my belief in a policy that could have potentially saved my ancestors in 1940s Europe.
I owe it to my grandparents who died in the Holocaust to protect my family. More importantly, as a law-abiding citizen, I owe it to the Americans who died so that I could be free. I would rather assume the risks that come with freedom than risk potential “peaceful” enslavement as a result of a zero-gun policy.
The first time I attended a gun show, I saw how gun culture in America is more diverse than any progressive political gathering I have witnessed. In the last few years, women, and specifically black women, have become the largest purveyors of legal guns in this country. They see how our institutions have emasculated men to the point of destroying the chivalry that once held our great society together.
The problem with guns is not the Second Amendment. It is the video games, music, and movies that glorify gang violence and the use of illegal firearms in virtually any scenario except that of self-defense. It is the agenda-driven media that cares more about white shooters than minority shooters, and white children occasionally killed in the suburbs than black children regularly killed in Chicago.
But these arguments are cultural and not fundamental. The deeper truth is that America’s founding fathers did not instantiate the right and duty of a citizen to defend oneself from the threat of another citizen. They instantiated this duty based on their clear-eyed, experienced understanding that governments have a monopoly on violence. The contradictory activist-push of simultaneously defunding the police and banning guns renders both citizens and law enforcement helpless in the face of a government flush with weapons. Such conditions are a recipe for disaster, as we have learned from history.
In a perfect world, I would be anti-gun. But I live in the real world. As long as any bad guy, whether a despotic dictator or a psychotic mass shooter can legally or illegally get a gun, I should not be denied the right to obtain my own.