"In countries under arbitrary government, the people oppressed and dispirited neither possess arms nor know how to use them. Tyrants never feel secure, until they have disarmed the people."
Hartford Courant, Hartford, Conn., Jan. 7, 1788
With Alaska gun and ammunition sales mirroring the phenomenal surge nationwide, I feel congratulations are in order. Single-handedly, president-elect Barack Obama has rescued at least one part of a collapsing American economy - and that is before he's even officially taken office.
AR15s and AK47s, specifically, are in many places backordered because the inventory has been locally exhausted. The brisk business has firearms salesmen happily extolling the virtues of the free market, while members of the Liberal Nail Biters Association decry it as the last arming-up of Joe Redneck for Armageddon.
The irony should not be lost that Obama himself has spurred to action a huge cross-section of America, including many who had never previously considered purchasing a firearm.
Let's face it, when a guy who is correctly perceived as one of the country's premiere gun-hating legislators assumes the world's most powerful political seat, common folk who value that Congress-shredded piece of parchment known as the Constitution are suddenly, rightfully alarmed. They figure that maybe he's got plans for their pesky Second Amendment right. After all, prior to the recent Supreme Court ruling that the Second Ammendment is an individual right, the president-elect fully supported the atrocious, 30-year-old Washington, D.C., gun ban. He's supported prosecuting decent folks who defend their lives or their loved ones with forbidden firearms.
Never mind that putting a halt to a salivating Neanderthal saves John Doe's wife or daughter from rape or slow death. Obama's also on record as being against concealed carry, anywhere in the nation, and is in favor of producing a facsimile of the expired Assault Weapons Ban that was pushed through during the Clinton years.
If re-enacted - and there's a great chance it will be - this legislation will make outlaws of multiplied millions of decent Americans, but hey, "the law's the law," right?
Obama's reassurances to gun owners have that tinny "ping" of fake crystal. When he said, in Ohio, "I will not take your shotgun away. I will not take your rifle away. I won't take your handgun away," he was telling the truth, but it just meant that he'd send someone else to do the job.
While his every step is encompassed by linebacker types wielding genuine assault rifles, he prefers the little people to go about their daily business unarmed and perpetually at risk. Last time I looked, this was the Webster's definition of hypocrisy.
None of this sets well with old-school Alaskans, you know, that self-reliant breed who resent unwarranted interference in their private lives. I've talked with lots of them. Like that World War II paratrooper you sit beside in church. Or the Vietnam veteran living next door. Or the Iraq War veteran back in his village after a two-year absence. Guys who fight for freedom overseas don't take kindly to their own being taken away once they get home. They could have written this themselves:
"The constitutions of most of our states assert that all power is inherent in the people ... that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed."
Duty? Wow. What a radical Thomas Jefferson was. Today he'd be pegged as a right-wing gun nut, an extremist who bears watching. Him, and Patrick "the great object is that every man be armed" Henry, and Richard "to preserve liberty, it is essential that the whole body of the people always possess arms" Henry Lee, and ...
History shows us that a leader who does not trust the people with the means for their own defense is himself not to be trusted. He will have thrown off the mantle of the public servant and enrobed himself as king.
In the coming months and years, we will indeed see if this presidential administration will uphold the foundational principles of our constitutional republic.
If it does, we owe a big apology.
If not ... well, we told you so.
• Kevin Reeves is a Haines resident.