Civilian disarmament is not only harmful to one’s freedom and potentially deadly to one’s existence but also counterproductive in achieving safety. This has been further attested by Professor, Rudy J. Rummel, in his monumental book, Death by Government and by the French scholar Stéphane Courtois and his associates in their magnificent tome, The Black Book of Communism. These books make it clear that authoritarian governments that limit their citizens’ freedom and proscribe them from owning guns are always dangerous to liberty—and the health of humanity. During the 20th century, more than 100 million people were exterminated by their own repressive governments—police states bent on destroying liberty and building communism, socialism, collectivism, and other worker utopias that turned out to be hells on earth!

The public health establishment’s myths that “guns increase violent crime,”and that America is more violent than other nations, has been easily rebutted by numerous investigators who have exposed the phony statistics and biased selection data, not to mention the fact that more unarmed people during the twentieth century have been exterminated by their own totalitarian countries than by war. It has also become clear that guns save lives and that draconian gun control laws have almost always preceded genocide or mass murder of the people in what Professor Rummel called democide.

While the United States and Switzerland have more guns per capita than any of the other developed countries, they also have been very effective historically in preserving their freedom and independence. Even Japan, a country that has embraced democracy and Western mores in many ways, still has the centuries‑old tradition of subordination of individualism to the State, and the collective. Japanese citizens have less personal freedom than those of Switzerland where individualism is paramount, and all Swiss adult males are considered part of the militia and are permitted to keep their service rifles at home.

As David Kopel has pointed out, Japan may have a low crime rate, but citizens live in a virtual authoritarian state, where the police keep full dossiers on every citizen, and “twice a year, each Japanese homeowner gets a visit from the local police to update files” on every aspect of the citizen’s home life.

Switzerland, on the other hand, a small, landlocked country, stood up against the Nazi threat during World War II, because each and every male was an armed and free citizen. (The Swiss republic was the “Sister‑Republick” that the American Founding Fathers admired.) Nazi Germany could have overwhelmed Switzerland during World War II, but the price was too steep for the German High Command. Instead, the Nazi juggernaut trampled over Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, and other countries, and avoided the armed Swiss nation, the “porcupine,” which was prepared for war and its military was ready to die rather than surrender.

As to what an armed population, such as those of the original 13 American colonies that later became the United States, did to obtain their independence is a well‑known story. Suffice to say, that the shot heard “around the world” on Patriot’s Day (April 19, 1775) was precipitated when the British attempted to seize the arms depot at Concord and disarm the American militia at Lexington in the Colony of Massachusetts. As to what an armed population can do to prevent the overthrow of their government by oppressive, communist movements, I recommend Larry Pratt’s excellent little tome, Armed People Victorious. Larry Pratt is Executive Director Emeritus of Gun Owners of America (GOA). Armed People Victorious vividly recounts stories of how two countries, teetering on the brink of disaster and as dissimilar as Guatemala and the Philippines, turned defeat into victory when the governments recognized that allowing and encouraging the people to form armed militias to protect themselves, their families, and their villages from communist insurgents in the 1980s, helped to preserve their freedom.

Why is this so important to ordinary Americans? First, because we are all citizens with rights as well as civic duties, and we should understand the historical importance of attaining freedom and the constitutional necessity of preserving it. Public health officials and researchers of gun violence have an obligation to reach their conclusions based on objective data, historical experience and scientific information, rather than ideology, emotionalism, expediency, or partisan politics. After all, the lessons of history sagaciously reveal that whenever and wherever science and medicine have been subordinated to the state—and individual freedom has been crushed by tyranny—the results for medical science, public health and society at large, have been as perverse as they have been disastrous, as the barbarity of Nazi doctors and Soviet and Cuban psychiatrists amply testified. Beyond the abolition of freedom and dignity, the perversion of science and medicine becomes the vehicle for the imposition of slavery and totalitarianism.

Governments that trust their citizens with guns are governments that sustain and affirm individual freedom. Governments that do not trust their citizens with firearms tend to be despotic and tyrannical.

Miguel A. Faria, M.D. is Associate Editor in Chief in socioeconomics, politics, medicine, and world affairs of Surgical Neurology International (SNI). Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. Author of Cuba in Revolution — Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002). This article is excerpted, updated, and edited from his book, America, Guns, and Freedom: A Journey Into Politics and the Public Health & Gun Control Movements (2019).

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