Gun World - - Upfront -

From a very young age, I had an in­ter­est in all things mil­i­tary, his­tory and guns. I grew up in the 1970s and ’80s and, at the time, the Viet­nam War was still fresh on the Amer­i­can con­science. We were in the midst of the Cold War, and the com­mies were our num­ber-one en­e­mies.

Time has marched on, and Viet­nam and com­mu­nism have taken a back burner to more press­ing mat­ters. Com­mu­nism has failed in al­most every way, and even the hand­ful of ex­ist­ing com­mu­nist gov­ern­ments—such as Viet­nam—have ceded their economies to cap­i­tal­ism.

Imag­ine my sur­prise when the “com­man­der-in-chief” in­formed me that the 2017 Man­ning fam­ily spring break va­ca­tion would be to Viet­nam.

I was con­fused. “Peo­ple go there on va­ca­tion?” I asked my lovely wife.

Turns out, they do. And I was pleas­antly sur­prised dur­ing our visit. It’s a beau­ti­ful coun­try, filled with great peo­ple who are friendly, kind and, un­like the cit­i­zens of many coun­tries I’ve vis­ited, very hon­est.

De­spite the com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment, Viet­nam is a very cap­i­tal­is­tic sys­tem. Yes, so­cially, the coun­try is com­mu­nist, but eco­nom­i­cally, def­i­nitely not. I had to laugh at the irony of the Ho Chi Min mau­soleum, with the typ­i­cally Amer­i­can, “Exit Through the Gift Shop” sign, just like the ones found at the glut­tonously cap­i­tal­is­tic Dis­ney World.

In ad­di­tion, de­spite the com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment, the Viet­namese peo­ple do en­joy a level of free­dom that wasn’t found in the Eastern Euro­pean brand of com­mu­nism.

The thing that left me a bit baf­fled is its ban on all weapons. No good com­mie gov­ern­ment would al­low for firearms, of course—but even knives (other than kitchen cut­lery) were nearly im­pos­si­ble to come across.

I found it ironic that af­ter win­ning con­trol of the coun­try, the first thing Viet­nam’s com­mu­nist gov­ern­ment did was ban the very thing that won its power: guns in the hands of the peo­ple—de­spite cen­turies of be­ing bru­tal­ized by for­eign in­vaders such as the Chi­nese and the French. It shows how much they must re­ally be afraid of grant­ing power to the peo­ple.

The only way a peo­ple can truly secure their free­dom is with guns in hand. It’s not hu­man na­ture to be will­ing to share power, and true free­dom is not given by a gov­ern­ment; be­cause if that gov­ern­ment has ab­so­lute power over the peo­ple, free­dom can be taken away at the whim of those who rule. Our own Sec­ond Amend­ment pre­vents the gov­ern­ment from hav­ing ab­so­lute power over “we, the peo­ple.”

It shows just how spe­cial our fore­fa­thers were, in that they be­lieved in the power of the peo­ple over the gov­ern­ment. They knew that power cor­rupts and that the only way the peo­ple would truly be free is by threat of force—that is, guns in our hands. And they be­lieved in this so much so that they wrote it into our Con­sti­tu­tion. Few, if any, cre­ators of con­sti­tu­tions and gov­ern­ments have ever done this.

If given a fresh slate on which to write a new con­sti­tu­tion, how many of our cur­rent lead­ers would do the same? GW

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