Trip to Watermelon Patch

Bill Neinast

Homes across America display the spoils of war.  Among the exhibits are beautiful rifles and shotguns liberated by American soldiers during WWII.

Contrary to popular belief, Hitler did not disarm Germany to consolidate his dictatorship.  Private weapons were registered, but not confiscated.

Several studies established that up to 20% of American soldiers do not fire their weapons, even in the midst of extreme combat.  Some of them would risk their lives to rescue or aid a fallen comrade, but could not pull the trigger to kill another human.  I was acquainted with an author of the report on one of those studies concerning the fighting in Korea.

One of my teenage companions was a braggadocio.  He was, in his mind, invincible.  He could overcome any danger.  He would take on any aggressor and beat him to a pulp.

My cousin and I heard so much of this that we decided to take him down.  We arranged with the owners of a fenced watermelon patch to “steal” one of their watermelons one night.  At the appointed time, the three of us climbed the fence and headed for the end of the patch.

Just as we reached over to pick a melon, one of the owners stood up outside the patch, called something like, “Brother, someone’s trying to steal our melons,” and fired a shot gun in the air.  Mr. Brave Man beat a hasty retreat for the other end of the patch where another owner was hiding to fire a shot gun at the right time.

This one who would attack any threat head on then took another turn, jumped the fence, and headed for the woods.  After about two hours, we found him trying to find his way back home.  He confessed fully and contritely upon finding the watermelon owners in our car.

These three rambling, seemingly unconnected facts have a point.  Together, they prove the fallacy of the argument that Americans have to be armed to prevent the government from becoming dictatorial and taking our freedoms.

The theory of this argument is that our weapons would have to be taken from our dead hands.  There would, of course, be a hand full of foolhardy gun toters to  resist surrendering their weapons. 

What, though, about the bulk of the nation?  Consider Germany, infantrymen who do not fire their weapons, and my brave friend for an answer.

When the Gestapo came knocking on the doors of Jews and Gypsies to haul them off to the gas chambers, none of their armed neighbors stood in their doors and said, “Over my dead body!”

Any attempt to remove fire arms from civilian hands would not be a simple, overnight operation.  Several new laws would be required.

As a minimum, possession of weapons outside military and police units would have to be prohibited.  Allowing the confiscation of such weapons in private hands would have to be provided under an imminent domain type condemnation procedure with fair compensation.  Finally, the Posse Comitatus Act that prohibits the use of the military to enforce civilian law would have to be repealed.

Then an order requiring the surrender of assault weapons in private hands for compensation would go out.  When the deadline for the surrender of weapons passes, the sale records of all gun dealers would be compared against the record of turn ins.  

When the record check indicates that John Doe has not turned in the weapons he bought, a squad of soldiers in bullet proof uniforms would come knocking on his door with instructions to surrender his weapons.  A failure to comply could result in the whole family being hauled off to a concentration camp.

Which of the neighbors on either side of John Doe who were hiding their assault rifles would come out of their houses with their weapons blazing?  Maybe, just about as many Germans who tried to protect their Jewish neighbors.

So here’s the perspective.

For the record, I believe in the 2nd Amendment protection of the right to bear arms.  To repeat, I believe that armed civilians are better protection against nut cases with guns than a fictional gun free society.

There are so many sound arguments against curtailing the right to be armed that specious arguments like the one about needing to be armed to protect ourselves from the government should be confined in the wastebasket.

Threatening to take on the government with arms is like a trip to the watermelon patch.


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