Rights Cannot Exist in an Environment of Unequal Power

George Takei has justifiably become one of the biggest spokesmen for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. As an intelligent, charismatic, and well-spoken individual he’s a great spokesman for any cause. However, his position on gun rights is wrong. Yesterday he wrote an article arguing for the LGBT community to use the tragedy at the Pulse nightclub to advance gun control:

In 2004, a 10-year ban on assault weapons ended due to a sunset provision in the law. America has since lacked the political will to renew the ban, perhaps because victims of mass shootings don’t tend to have friends in Congress, even when they are innocent school children.

Now this latest and most deadly attack has targeted a group that has spent the last few decades learning how to organize, fight for, and protect its rights. Perhaps, then, the next chapter of LGBT history might not be just about the struggle to gain equality for ourselves, but also how we might help lead this country towards a collective right to participate and live free of fear and terror, and ultimately toward a common-sense, permanent ban on weapons designed for mass slaughter.

Like it or not, this history and this obligation have been thrust upon us, and we must now rise to its challenge. For if there is one group in this country with more will, more experience, and more tenacity than the NRA, it is the LGBT community.

This is something I’ve touched on before but it deserves repeating. The people who most need to be armed are those who are most marginalized. While members of the LGBT community are finally gaining much deserved acceptance within our society, they are still targets of a great deal of violence from both the State and non-governmental entities. This is the very reason why the Pink Pistols exists. By advocating for gun control, George Takei is advocating for the continued oppression of the LGBT community.

Rights cannot exist in an environment of unequal power. Whether it be the State or non-governmental entities, if an oppressor enjoys a superior capacity for force it will use that capacity to inflict its will on its targets. The gun is both the tool of the would-be oppressor and the would-be oppressed. If the would-be oppressed are disarmed then the would-be oppressor will enjoy a major advantage and will become the oppressor. If, on the other hand, the would-be oppressed are armed then the would-be oppressor will be forced to think twice about making a move.

We’ve seen this play out throughout history. Early on the force disparity between the European settlers and the American Indians allowed the former to steal the land of the latter. Gun control as a legal concept in this country is rooted in slavery. The first gun control laws were passed to prevent newly freed slaves from obtaining a means to defend themselves against the governments of the southern states, the Ku Klux Klan, and other racist oppressors. The Nazi Party restricted Jews from owning firearms so they would be less able to defend themselves against government oppression.

I can think of no historical example where a marginalized group benefited from being disarmed. I can think of many such examples where a marginalized group suffered greatly from being disarmed.

3 thoughts on “Rights Cannot Exist in an Environment of Unequal Power”

  1. It’s frustrating that people like George Takei are so incredibly dense when it comes to gun control. The simple four-word sentence “Criminals don’t respect laws” seems to have no meaning to them. They fantasize that if you outlaw something, it will go away. In addition, they have no appreciation of the real reason to own guns: to check an overbearing government that attempts to micromanage every aspect of its citizens’ lives, as it taxes them to death and passes the money on to insider cronies.

    I’d be less frustrated with people like Takai if these points weren’t so incredibly obvious.

    1. What gets me about Takei is that he was literally imprisoned in a concentration camp by United States government. You would think he of all people would recognize the dangers of a well armed government ruling over a disarmed populace.

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