New York Gun Law Resistance, and That Giant Sucking Sound . . .

| February 11 2013
Christopher Cook

In an earlier post, I said the following:

Now, we are reaping the whirlwind. Government has done more and more. But it has pushed too far, and the people are waking up. Never before have I heard to many express the concepts of Jefferson’s 55 words above so ardently, so intently. The danger has become clear and present. Government will now back off, and be reigned in, or it will not. If it is not, then that giant sucking sound we hear will be the sound of the people withdrawing consent.

A day or so ago, I became aware of a video compilation of public comments at a question-and-answer session near Buffalo, NY, regarding the details of New York State’s new gun law. The video is just over four minutes, and it’s all worth the time, but I was especially struck by the moment that begins at around 1:45.

One of the officials says, “If you have an illegal weapon, or an illegal magazine, you have to dispose of those things.”

The assembled citizens didn’t react by shouting, or by storming out in a huff. No, they did something that government officials should find much more chilling.

They laughed.

You see, this is how it starts. When government grows too large, and passes too many laws, it makes EVERYONE a criminal. (Bill Whittle makes this point brilliantly in this speech.) And when people who aren’t actually criminals start getting labeled as such, the government has begun exceeding its legitimate authority. Laughter is a natural reaction. These people aren’t going to dispose of these weapons and magazines for the simple reason that they do not consider the order to be a legitimate exercise of government power.

I was in the USSR in August of 1991. During my first couple weeks there, I noticed among my newly made young Russian friends a tendency to laugh at the government. I, an American, would say something potentially “dangerous” and they would suddenly, and seriously, say “Shh . . . KGB.” Then, after a moment, they would all burst into laughter. And, for those who know history, you know that in the third week of that fateful month, the Soviet government fell.

I am not saying that laughter on its own brings down totalitarian governments, nor am I saying that the United States has become totalitarian. I am saying that people laugh at governments when they sense that the government, or a particular edict of the government, is not legitimate.

The United States has a choice to make. Do we keep heading the wrong direction, making the law-abiding into criminals with absurd laws, and inviting laughter at and derisive contempt of those laws? Or does our government better conform itself to the understanding of the social contract that undergirded its empowerment in the first place?

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