The lockdown in Boston after the marathon bombing proved once again that:
1. As good as law enforcement is (and it is usually very good), the police can’t always protect us. The last line of defense of home and family in a time of crisis is you.
2. Rights are rights. When government suspends them — even to suspected terrorists — it crosses a dangerous line.
These are uncomfortable topics for liberals and conservatives who too often blindly espouse the party line without giving it thought. Putting those mantras to the common-sense test is what we like to do around here.
So, let’s start with pricking the ever-prickable American left on guns.
Imagine if what happened in Boston happened in your city.
Just before bedtime, the police swoop in and lock down your neighborhood.
“Stay in your homes,” shout the bullhorns.
“Lock your doors.”
You know from the news that an unknown number of terror suspects are on the loose. They are in your neighborhood, armed and dangerous. They’ve already tried to kill hundreds. They will kill you and your family without batting an eye.
In that situation, would you rather have guns in your home with which you and your family are proficient? Or not?
I believe the vast majority would want guns as a last line of defense. Police are on the outside looking in. If the bad guys broke in your house — and the bad guys could be a terrorist, a home invader, a rapist, etc. — and pinned down dad with his Sig Sauer P239 pistol, you’d want mom unafraid as she cocks and wields the Remington 870 pump shotgun in backup.
C’mon, be honest. Wouldn’t you?
Yet when do you hear elected officials praise citizens willing to take it upon themselves to responsibly arm themselves. Hardly ever.
For the most part, government takes the opposite approach. Guns are bad. Citizens with guns are xenophobes. “Gun nuts,” some say without challenge from the media. Or, as President Obama once infamously said, “bitter” people who “cling” to guns and their religion.
You’d think that crime infested “gun free zones” like many of our big cities, would be first in line to praise citizens who responsibly protect themselves.
Instead, the mayors of many of these big cities want to get guns out of the hands of bad guys … by first getting them out of the homes of good guys. They seek to limit the kinds of guns people can own, the size of the clips used in guns and the kind of ammunition available for guns. For a significant part of the Democrat Party, guns should be banned entirely. If it were not for that pesky Second Amendment, they’d do it.
The lock down and manhunt in Boston lays bare the foolishness of knee-jerk fear of guns. As good as the cops were during that lock down, the more citizens proficient in firearm use within the lock down area, the safer Bostonians were.
That brings us to the second lesson of the day: rights. Leaders on the right in America think that the American suspect in custody for the Boston bombing, ought to be treated as an “enemy combatant” instead of as a citizen.
That enables authorities to question the suspect quickly, harshly and without an attorney present.
Here’s the problem with that. This suspect is a 19-year-old American citizen with no known ties (at this time) to a foreign terrorist group.
If rights can be taken away, as some conservatives want with this suspect, or simply abridged for a time as others advocate, then the rights of all citizens suffer.
Either our rights apply, or they don’t. Do we want to give any government, especially an aggressively inept one like Barack Obama’s, the ability to suspend rights on the fly?
That’s how tyranny begins. American rights are hard fought and worth standing up for. If we don’t stand up for the rights of that Boston bombing kid, the terrorists win.
That’s the way it is.
Sherman Frederick, former publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and a member of the Nevada Newspaper Hall of Fame, writes a column for Stephens Media. Read his blog at www.reviewjournal.com/columns-blogs/sherman-frederick.