“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun. Our principle is that the Party commands the gun, and the gun must never be allowed to command the Party.” – Mao Zedong
Political and social events frequently remind us why firearm rights are such an indispensable part of our civil rights. Zimbabwe is but the latest lesson why civilians should never surrender their guns – whenever governments deprive citizens of their arms, tyranny and state-sanctioned violence follow in its wake.
In summary, the Zimbabwean government increased the domestic fuel price by 150 percent. In response, Zimbabwean citizens took to the streets of nearly all major cities and towns in protest. The Zimbabwean security forces then did what they do best – initiate an excessively barbaric crackdown on the unarmed populace.
It is exceedingly difficult to determine just how bad things got. Apart from the usual information censorship, the Zimbabwean government also shut down the country’s internet access for the duration of the crackdown. Fortunately, the international media has succeeded in painting a vivid picture in spite of these obstacles.
We know that the Zimbabwean security forces shot and killed numerous unarmed citizens. Estimates vary. Some say the government killed 12 people, and others that the tally is more than 200. Hundreds of protestors were wounded and required hospitalisation. Among those injured, at least 78 were treated for gunshot wounds. Over 600 people were arrested.
These numbers are by themselves horrific. But they also hide the gory details of individual suffering.
Zimbabwean soldiers went door-to-door raiding countless houses. These uniformed gangs kicked down doors and savagely attacked the occupants, including women and children as young as 10. People were beaten with iron rods and batons. Some were forced at gun point to roll around in mud and filth. In another case, soldiers threatened to burn a woman and her teenage sons alive in the house. And many other people were simply shot.
These stories are but the tip of the iceberg.
Why were the security forces so brazen and uninhibited while committing their violent atrocities?
Where the state has the sole monopoly on armed force, it also retains the monopoly on violence. This means that the government can simply torture and murder its citizens whenever and wherever it please. And suffer no meaningful domestic consequences from armed and angry citizens.
This is why Zimbabwean soldiers and policemen kick doors down with impunity as they go on torture and murder sprees across the land – they know full well that the populace is adequately disarmed.
Anti-gun activists love arguing that civilians don’t need guns at all – we should rely on the police to keep us safe. But when the police are the ones murdering people in their houses, and the military shoot unarmed civilians dead in the streets, these same activists go deathly quiet.
You see, their fallacious argument is ultimately not about crime and so-called “gun violence”. Their argument is one in favour of the government and its organs having the full monopoly on armed force. And as proven by the comparatively recent examples of Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Spain, Stalinist Russia, Cuba, China, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and many others – where the state retains the monopoly on violence, it has carte blanche to murder.
So, if you are in favour of civilian disarmament, please at the very least have the common courtesy to be forthright about what you stand for. You aren’t anti-gun: you are pro-murder.
Written by Gideon Joubert, cartoon by Jerm
Gideon is owner and editor of Paratus