Friday, September 03, 2004


"Recently, Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge upgraded the nation’s alert status because of credible intelligence that several financial buildings in New York City; Newark, New Jersey; and Washington, D.C. — including the building housing the New York Stock Exchange — are intended terrorist targets. Immediately, heavily armed, submachine-gun-toting government agents surrounded the buildings — five in all — and tightened security in the area. Police closed streets, rerouted traffic, established checkpoints, and searched vehicles in the vicinity.

What about other potential targets? While federal, state, and local police were guarding these buildings, who was guarding the thousands of other potential targets throughout the United States? How long can this level of security be maintained at these five buildings? What if the terrorists wait until the extra security is removed, and then act? What if they strike at unguarded buildings somewhere else?

This is where the wisdom of our Founders comes into play. They advocated a nation-at-arms where everyone who wished would be armed. They went so far as to guarantee this right in the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. As men of wisdom, intelligence, and education, they knew that no one can always predict the type of threat the nation might face. So they prepared for every eventuality by providing not only for national and state military (and naval) forces, but also for an armed populace.

Why? Beyond the obvious need to counterbalance government gone awry, they understood that point defense is better than area defense. That is, a building, farm house, home, bridge, or road intersection is easier to defend with few people than is a collection of buildings, farm houses, or homes, or a wider geographic area. Since national and state forces are, by their very nature and numbers, insufficient to provide point defense of all such structures and places, it stands to reason that the owners or inhabitants of these structures and places would be in a better position to guard and defend them. Besides, they would have a vested interest in doing so. The national and state forces would then be free to conduct offensive operations to subdue any hostile force rather than scatter its limited resources throughout the country attempting to defend inadequately everyone’s home or business."

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