The First Law Of Nature Is The Human Right To Self-Defense

The First Law Of Nature Is The Human Right To Self-Defense

At the Battle of Thermopylae, 480 BC, 300 Spartans stood in the gap facing a massive Persian Army.  Persian King Xerxes wrote to Spartan King Leonidas demanding, “Hand over your arms.”  Leonidas replied, “Molon Labe” meaning come and take them.

On April 19, 1775, British regulars marched on Lexington and Concord.  One of their missions was seize and destroy the Colonists’ military stores of weapons and ammunition.  Seventy-Seven Minutemen met them on Lexington Green and another 400 again at Concord’s North Bridge.  An American Patriot militia stood their ground for a free state.  This began the American Revolution.  This began America.

“This may be considered as the true palladium of liberty …. The right to self-defence is the first law of nature: in most governments it has been the study of rulers to confine the right within the narrowest limits possible.” —St. George Tucker’s View of the Constitution of the United States

The basic human right to self-defense pre-exists man-made law.  It is the first natural inalienable right followed closely by freedom which depends upon it.  It extends from defense of the individual to defense of the body of people comprising the free state.

Reading legalize written about the second amendment, for that matter any of our rights, is a mind numbing, eye bleeding undertaking.  However it is well worth your while and understanding of the second amendment to make your way through the Supreme Court decision on District of Columbia et al v. Heller.  Justice Antione Scalia writing the Opinion of the Court thoroughly dissects dissenting opinions and provides excellent defense and explanation of our second amendment right.  It should be required reading down at the high school house and in the halls of Congress.

Supreme Court Justices cannot seem to agree among themselves on the most basic understanding of our guaranteed rights.  Supposedly that is the manner of its design.  Recent history concludes however that they have, given an opportunity, a psychic ability to create new ones.

Learned men and women who are our country’s absolute authority on understanding and applying the United States Constitution, stand widely apart on understanding any right and most certainly the one most basic to protecting liberty.  That always has us teetering on the verge of losing our inalienable right to self-defense and following that all others.  Teetering just as we were when “conservative” Chief Justice Roberts rewrote the Obamacare mandate by calling it a tax.  The difference is Obamacare is just the beginning of loss of liberty.  Repealing the second Amendment ensures total loss of liberty.

We cannot trust that a Washington entrenched government removed from the people and becoming more so each passing day will not at some point need removing by a means other than voting.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” — Thomas Jefferson

Jefferson’s quote is a truism, but if Americans are disarmed it will be patriot blood only.  There will be no liberty.  History past and present demonstrates the first thing an oppressive government wants is to disarm the people.  The roll call of Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, Stalin, and others left in their wake millions of dead citizens disarmed and unable to resist.  The British knew the essentiality of disarming the populace so we could be forcibly controlled by thier standing army.  Our founders also knew this when they added the second amendment to our Constitution.

“history showed that the way tyrants had eliminated a militia consisting of all the able bodied men was not by banning the militia but simply by taking away the people’s arms, enabling a select militia or standing army to suppress political opponents.” —District of Columbia et al v. Heller.

The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. The Bill of Rights:

II. A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

“The Amendment could be rephrased, “Because a well regulated Militia is necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed.””District of Columbia et al v. Heller

A well regulated militia is not a militia organized by the government.  It is not today’s National Guard.  It is a citizen militia formed out of necessity to protect our freedom by standing ready to oppose an out of bounds government.

“It was understood across the political spectrum that the right helped to secure the ideal of a citizen militia, which might be necessary to oppose an oppressive military force if the constitutional order broke down.”District of Columbia et al v. Heller

Being necessary to the security of a free state:

Any Christian well tell you a church is not the structure.  It is the body of believers just as a free state is neither the land, territory nor the government.  It is instead the body of people.  The right to keep and bear arms is essential to the security of the free people.

“Joseph Story wrote in his treatise on the Constitution that “the word ‘state’ is used in various senses [and in] its most enlarged sense, it means the people composing a particular nation or community.”” District of Columbia et al v. Heller

The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed:

We have the right to keep and bear arms.  It is an individual right, but more importantly a necessity to the forming of, if needed, a citizen militia to defend the free state.  Our right shall not be infringed meaning in any way limited in a manner actively breaking the terms of our Constitutionally guaranteed right.

The debate of the day centers around the types of weapons or arms we should be allowed to keep and bear.  In the days of our founders, weapons were muskets, flintlock pistols and knives and swords.  Arms in the possession of the people were the same as the military arms of the time.  Over time, our society deemed it acceptable to infringe by banning civilian ownership of certain types of arms for example automatic weapons.  Now only criminals possess such weapons.   No one I know stands opposed to that, but admittedly it is the first inch toward a mile of infringement.  That aside, the push now is to ban cosmetically modified semi-automatic rifles and to assign an age limit to a Constitutional right.  Handguns we own are as capable as any military issued handguns, some more so.  So where does infringement end?  For some factions of our country, infringement ends with total weapons ban.  Respectfully, it is a utopian view ignorant of human nature and history lacking understanding that someone else will always have a gun and not always with good intent.

 “Some have made the argument, bordering on the frivolous, that only those arms in existence in the 18th century are protected by the Second Amendment.  We do not interpret constitutional rights that way.  Just as the First Amendment protects modern forms of communications, e.g., Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, 521 U. S. 844, 849 (1997), and the Fourth Amendment applies to modern forms of search, e.g., Kyllo v. United States, 533 U. S. 27, 35–36 (2001), the Second Amendment extends, prima facie, to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding.” —District of Columbia et al v. Heller

I cannot compose a better closing argument than that made by St. George Tucker:

“Wherever standing armies are kept up, and the right of the people to keep and bear arms is, under any colour or pretext whatsoever, prohibited, liberty, if not already annihilated, is on the brink of destruction.” —St. George Tucker’s View of the Constitution of the United States

We must never forfeit our right to keep and bear arms because to quote President Reagan, “If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”  If our government ever deems it necessary to attempt to take away our arms and our right to keep and bear them, we need to remember what Leonidas said to Xerxes.  Molon Labe.

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J.D. Pendry

Author Email: [email protected]

J.D. hails from the Southern West Virginia coal field communities. In 1971, while living in Chicago, he enlisted into the United States Army retiring September 30, 1999, as the Garrison Command Sergeant Major for the Fort Myer Military Community, which included Fort Myer in Arlington, Virginia and Fort McNair in Washington, DC. Assignments included three tours in Germany and two in South Korea. Following Army service, he worked for the Veteran’s Benefits Administration where he served as a Decision Review Officer until retiring June 2016. In April 1999, his book, The Three-Meter Zone, was released by Presidio Press. He has published articles in professional military journals and other websites and continues writing for J. D. Pendry’s American Journal.


Author Email: [email protected]