Events in South Africa affirm the importance of our Second Amendment

A friend in South Africa has been keeping me updated about what's going on there.  According to him, it was "a well-planned attempt at provoking a civil uprising."  What's extraordinary, though, is that, wherever armed, law-abiding citizens have been able to make a stand against the violence and anarchy, the rioters are backing down.  My friend forwarded to me a round-robin letter ("the Letter") that South Africans are sharing — and that reflects his experiences.  I've included excerpts from the Letter in the body of this post, but you can read the whole Letter here.

The ostensible reason for the South African riots is the fact that Jacob Zuma, a former president, was finally arrested on corruption charges.  However, according to the Letter, "nobody that I personally know, cares about freeing an ex-president from jail, under whose watch the country turned into a garbage dump."

The looting is comparable to what happened in American cities last year although on a much larger scale:

[T]he looting riots have been massive. Much, much larger than I'd thought. The video reports suck the breath out of you. The town of Empangeni is just a shell. Looted and trashed completely. Entire shopping malls emptied in other places. Cleaned out of everything from fridges to cell phones and flat screen TVs, and from bananas to wonder mops.

The looting has been indiscriminate and complete, with every business a target.  Even animals have been horribly abused:

A gun shop looted. A veterinary surgery looted. A small computer repair shop. A pharmacy. A charity that provides relief for the poor. It doesn't matter what there was to loot — people descended on businesses in their thousands and hauled away what they could carry to cars waiting along the highways. Some by hand, most with pickups and vans, and some with a tractor, a forklift and an industrial cargo trolley. Even solar panels and corrugated iron sheets ripped from the roofs of buildings. Farms and sugar cane fields set alight, leaving half-dead sheep with their wool scorched and their earns burnt off, bleating mournfully to be put out of their misery. More trucks torched. Everything robbed from small spaza shops to hypermarkets. Just as in the case of our national economy, the plunder was complete.

However, some regions of South Africa are completely untouched.  That's because armed citizens — armed with guns and anything else they could find — have drawn a line that the looters have not even tried to cross:

Quietly, dozens of ordinary citizens spontaneously assembled, and drew a line. Beyond that line, no looter set his foot. They determined where the looting would stop, and it did not proceed one inch beyond.

They were so ordinary that it was almost extraordinary. Here an overweight pensioner in Crocks sandals. There a pudgy housewife with a small handgun. Elsewhere a young man with a hunting rifle. An Indian trader with a shotgun that has a drum magazine. A skinny youngster with a golf club. Another Indian woman, dressed in an elegant sari, but with a cane machete stuck through the back strap. Others just with paintball guns.

With the police nowhere in sight, they were there to protect their own. The ordinary, random citizens of South Africa who have had enough to suffering beneath the most corrupt regime in Africa. All reports from all corners told the same story. Law-abiding private citizens and private security companies have joined hands to present arms and stop the invaders peacefully. In rare cases shots had to be fired, but for the most part, the mere sight of a wall of civilians who knew that their homes and livelihoods were at risk, was enough to make the looting mobs go elsewhere. The irony of it all is enormous. Just a few weeks ago, a new bill was proposed for public comment. This involved radical changes to the firearms act, which called for completely disallowing self-defence as a reason for obtaining a firearm license, and severely curtailing and eliminating most other reasons for owning arms as well.

Ironically, as part of the government's attempt to remove people's weapons, all gun-owners have been forced to attend formal retraining.  That's worked to their benefit:

The unintended consequences were evident today: large numbers of well-trained, very responsible, calm and determined citizens who were determined to defend the primordial right to ensure safety of life and limb. No desperate-looking zombie-proof apocalyptical survivalist nuts with homemade armoured cars, machine guns and improvised explosives. Just normal people like you and me, who understand that at the present time, the threat of discouraging an invader with a private firearm is all that is standing between them and losing everything they own.

There's much more, but the message is clear: here in America, thanks to the Second Amendment, we are all the first line of defense.  What you're seeing in South Africa is a citizen militia.  The Founders understood this and included in the Bill of Rights our inherent, God-given right to keep and bear arms to stave off civil unrest or government tyranny.

I urge you to read the whole Letter, which you can find here.  There's a powerful message in it for all of us.

Image: Looting in South African warehouse YouTube screen grab.

If you experience technical problems, please write to