By Tom Hurst, 4 May 2007
I've been part of life and a friend to man for a very long time in some form or another - for many hundreds of years, in fact. During that time I've profoundly shaped history and helped to write the story of mankind. Naysayers may claim that I am responsible for slaying many thousands of soldiers and citizens, but as history tells us that people were being slain by others long before I was born, common sense tells us that evil men themselves are the slayers. The truth is that I am responsible for protecting and providing for many people, and even ensuring that entire societies remain free.
During the founding of America, I was the constant companion of all who sought liberty. And when the amazing revolution came to an end, I was by then considered so essential to the preservation of liberty that the Constitution itself mandates that free men shall always have the right to associate with me. In that great document and in many other writings of the day, the Founders made it clear that they thought my presence was absolutely necessary for men to be free, for with my help men could bravely stand up to their oppressors as never before. The Founders also knew that the governments that men themselves create will at some point become their oppressors, and they expect me at that time to help such oppressed men throw off their chains.
Sadly, in modern times I have on occasion done quite the opposite. Though I did not commit the crimes myself, both in times of war and in times of peace I have enabled the oppression and murder of many millions of people. You probably know by name some of the evil rulers who have grossly abused me - Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Amin - though the entire list would be a long one. Fortunately, the very democide - death by one's own government - that I have enabled is also deterred by my presence. Though in such evil times not all men will survive, freedom is destined to live again because some souls wiser and braver than the indifferent masses will hide and protect me. And when the time is right I will gladly help them rise up in defiance and become free men once again.
In America today, having forgotten both the spirit and the letter of the Constitution, politicians and bureaucrats now try their best to eliminate me in any way possible. They have made rules which make it difficult for men to enjoy my company, and have even tried to end my very existence. But men of principle and liberty who oppose corrupt rulers, and those who believe that men must have the means to protect themselves, their families and their property, all fight valiantly to protect me. Unfortunately, leaders in the many socialist countries have been more successful, and there I only exist as a tool of violence in the criminal underworld or as a tool of coercion to empower governments. In those countries you will find little freedom because I am not allowed to associate with those who would do only good.
Since my life began as a twinkle in the eye and mind of a man, many thousands of free people working in free markets have helped me to change with the times. But even with a vastly different appearance, my primary purpose as protector and liberator remains the same. Presently, I am much stronger than in the past, and for that reason those in power fear me ever more. To protect themselves from free men who I might help, they seek to have the great body of their citizens fear me, for when I am gone governments and rulers know that they can have their way. Despite that, noble men in many countries have helped me and my children populate the world. In fact, I believe that there is no one on Earth who does not know me. And though many may fear or hate me, the truth is that I ensure their freedom and protect their families and property. In fact, I will always be necessary to help brave men shape the future, for there is nothing better than the fear of reprisal to constrain government's infinite lust for power and wealth.
To end, I will admit that I am capable of evil when my abilities are usurped by criminals or agents of corrupt and tyrannical governments, and that at times cruel and unbalanced people have inflicted great pain on innocents with my unwilling help. But these abominations are more than balanced when I befriend a Patriot, for then I am the ultimate guarantor of liberty and protector of property rights - and these are the very heart of life itself. Ultimately, I am the difference between freedom and slavery for all men in all ages. Because of me alone, good men and Patriots - though often surrounded by evil - will live free and prosper. Indeed, defending liberty is my prime purpose. I am the savior of humanity. I am the gun.
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