Guns and Freedom: Part 3 — Civilian Disarmament and Tyranny

The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then.

— Thomas Jefferson

Depending on the level of culture and social progress, violence can take different forms in different societies.(1) For example, in the mid-twentieth century, the communist government of dictator Joseph Stalin killed more Soviet citizens through privation, forced labor, and famine than soldiers succumbed while fighting the Germans in World War II on the battlefields of Russia.(2)

In 1994, the Hutu-led Rwandan government massacred between 800,000 and 1.1 million people mostly Tutsis in a genocide carried out largely with machete-wielding government forces. The massacres took place despite the nearby presence of United Nation "peace-keeping" forces armed with automatic weapons who failed to intervene. The Tutsis were not only surprised but also unarmed and helpless.

Civilian disarmament has always preceded genocide in authoritarian and totalitarian states. In the gruesome but monumental book, Lethal Laws, we learn that repressive governments that conducted genocide and mass killings of their own populations have first always disarmed thCivilian Disarmament in Chinae citizens.(3) The political formula for accomplishing this goal, hallmarks of tyrannical governments, is and remains: public propaganda against firearms, followed step-by-step by gun registration, banning, confiscation, and finally total civilian disarmament. Enslavement of the people then follows easily with limited resistance.(4) This is what happened in Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, Red China, Cuba, and other totalitarian regimes of the twentieth century.  In Part 2, I presented the reader with short introductory vignettes about the ghastly incidents in Poland, Hungary, and Cuba as they relate to civilian disarmament in both war and peacetime.

When presented with these deadly chronicles and the perilous historic sequences, the popular opinion is "it cannot happen here." As to the dangers of licensing of gun owners and registration of firearms, the same uninformed respondents frequently retort: “If you don’t have anything to hide, then you don’t have anything to fear!” Followed by, “I see nothing wrong with gun registration and some restrictions on gun ownership because we have to do something; there are just too many guns out there that fall into the wrong hands.” These naïve attitudes ignore the penchant of governments to accrue power at the expense of the liberties of individuals.(5-8) 

Civilian disarmament is not only harmful to one’s freedom and potentially deadly to one’s existence, but also counterproductive in achieving safety. This has been further attested by University of Hawaii Professor, R. J. Rummel, in his book, Death by Government (1994), and by the French scholar Stéphane Courtois and his associates in their monumental volume, The Black Book of Communism (1999). These books make it clear authoritarian governments that limit their citizens’ freedom and proscribe them from owning guns are always dangerous to liberty — and the health of humanity. During the twentieth century, more than 100 million people were exterminated by their own repressive governments — police states bent on destroying liberty and building communism, socialism, collectivism, and other utopias that turn out to be hells on earth! (2,3,6,9,10)

Armed People and the Preservation of Freedom

In debunking the myth that "guns increase violent crime," Richard Poe, the former editor of FrontPage Magazine, has rebutted the false assumption that America is more violent than other nations, again emphasizing that more people during the twentieth century were killed in other American Women practicing the use of firearmscountries by their own governments than by war, while reaffirming that gun control laws have almost always preceded genocide or mass murder of the people (democide) by their own governments.(2,3,8)

While the U.S. and Switzerland have more guns per capita than any of the other developed countries, we also have more freedom in general than countries with draconian gun control laws. Even Japan, a country that has embraced democracy and Western mores in many ways, still has a centuries-old tradition of subordination of individualism to the state and the collective.  Japanese citizens have less individual freedom than those of Switzerland, where virtually every citizen is armed and individual freedom is paramount.

Japan may have a low crime rate but citizens live in a virtual authoritarian state where the police keep full dossiers on every citizen, and "twice a year, each Japanese homeowner gets a visit from local police to update files" on every aspect of citizen's home life.(7,8)

Switzerland, on the other hand, a small, landlocked country, stood up against the Nazi threat during World War II because each and every male was an armed and free citizen. (The SwissSwitzerland youth with firearms republic was the "Sister-Republick" that the American Founding Fathers so greatly admired.) Nazi Germany could have overwhelmed Switzerland during World War II, but the price was too steep for the German High Command. Instead, the Nazi juggernaut trampled over Belgium, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway and other countries and avoided the armed Swiss nation, the "porcupine," which was prepared for war and its military was ready to die rather than surrender. (8,11)

As to what an armed population, such as those of the original 13 American colonies that later became the United States, did to obtain their independence is a well-known story. Suffice to say, that the shot heard “around the world” on Patriot’s Day (April 19, 1775) was precipitated when the British attempted to seize the arm depots and disarm the American militia at Lexington and Concord in the Colony of Armed People VictoriousMassachusetts.(12,13) As to what an armed population can do to prevent the overthrow of their government by oppressive, communist movements, I recommend Larry Pratt’s excellent little tome, Armed People Victorious (1990). Armed People Victorious vividly recounts stories of how two countries as dissimilar as Guatemala and the Philippines, teetering on the brink of disaster, turned defeat into victory when the governments recognized that allowing and encouraging the people to form armed militias to protect themselves, their families, and their villages from communist insurgents in the 1980s, helped to preserve their freedom.(14)

Governments that trust their citizens with guns are governments that sustain and affirm individual freedom. Governments that do not trust their citizens with firearms tend to be despotic and tyrannical. Let's conclude the final chapter of this essay, with the wise words of another American statesman, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third President of the United States of America, who warned us,  "Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of the day; but a series of oppressions, began at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change in ministries, too plainly proves a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing us to slavery."(15)

Read Part 1 of this essay
Read Part 2 of this essay


1. Stolinsky DC. America: The most violent nation? Medical Sentinel 2000;5(6):199-201.

2. Rummel RJ. Death by Government. Piscataway, NJ, Transaction Publishers, 1994.

3. Simkin J, Zelman A, Rice A. Lethal Laws. Milwaukee, WI, Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership, 1994. Available from:

4. Faria MA Jr. National gun registration — Paving the road to tyranny., August 31, 2001. Available from:

5. Faria MA Jr. Public health and gun control — A review (Part II): Gun violence and constitutional issues. Medical Sentinel 2001;6(1):14-18. Available from:

6. Faria MA Jr. The perversion of science and medicine (Part II): Soviet science and gun control. Medical Sentinel 1997;2(2):49-53. Available from:

7. Kopel DB. The Samurai, the Mountie, and the Cowboy: Should America Adopt the Gun Controls of Other Democracies? Buffalo, NY, Prometheus Books, 1992.

8. Poe R. The Seven Myths of Gun Control — The Truth about Guns, Crime, and the Second Amendment. Roseville, CA, Prima Publishing, 2001. Available from:

9. Courtois S. Werth N, Panne JL, et al. The Black Book of Communism — Crimes, Terror, Repression. Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 1999.

10. Faria MA Jr. Cuban psychiatry — The perversion of medicine. Medical Sentinel 2000;5(5):160-162. Available from:

11. Halbrook SP. Target Switzerland — Swiss Armed Neutrality in World Wart II. Boston, MA, Da Capo Press, 1998.

12. Halbrook SP. That Every Man Be Armed — The Evolution of a Constitutional Right. Albuquerque, NM, University of New Mexico Press, 1984.

13. Hardy DT. Origins and Development of the Second Amendment. Chino Valley, AZ, Blacksmith Corporation, 1986.

14. Pratt L. Armed People Victorious. Springfield, VA, Gun Owners Foundation, 1990.

15. Jefferson T. Memoirs, Correspondence, and Private Papers of Thomas Jefferson, 1829, Vol 1, p. 110.

Written by Dr. Miguel Faria

Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D. is Clinical Professor of Surgery (Neurosurgery, ret.) and Adjunct Professor of Medical History (ret.) Mercer University School of Medicine. He is an Associate Editor in Chief and World Affairs Editor of Surgical Neurology International (SNI), and an Ex-member of the Injury Research Grant Review Committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 2002-05; Former Editor-in-Chief of the Medical Sentinel (1996-2002), Editor Emeritus, the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS); Author, Vandals at the Gates of Medicine (1995); Medical Warrior: Fighting Corporate Socialized Medicine (1997); and Cuba in Revolution: Escape From a Lost Paradise (2002).

This series of articles is based on the two-part essay entitled “America, Guns and Freedom” originally published by Surgical Neurology International (SNI), an on-line, peer review journal for neurosurgeons and neuroscientists. The illustrated essays were published in the October 2012 and November 2012 issues of SNI. They have been edited for an American audience and published in a three part series for readers in The Macon Telegraph on December 9, 2012 and in GOPUSA on December 4, 2012.

Copyright ©2012 Miguel A. Faria, Jr., M.D.

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Comments on this post

Dr Faria nranews interviews!

We now have Dr Faria's NRANews interviews on this article series from youtube posted here on this website:

The interview with Ginny Simone (Nov 19) deals with the UN Treaty and the Second Amendment

The interview of December 4 with John Popp deals with civilian disarmament and freedom.

Gun control!

Responses in the Macon Telegraph to this article (December 10-12, 2012)

uneed; "Great Article Dr. Faria.  Thank you"

gafarmer: "Dr Faria  good letter and so true but you will never convince the kool aid drinkers of that."

Dr Faria: Thank you uneed and gafarmer! Some people require a modicum of reading and a stronger medicine (or drink) than Kool-Aid to learn their history and the basis for their  liberty!

Top: "Spot on Dr Faria. Coming from a foreign country (Greece) I know the "right to bear arms" we have established by our constitution and 2nd amendment is precious.

"Where I came from all handguns are banned. All other rifles & shotguns are permissible, but must have a trigger lock when kept at home and hunters must take the weapon to the police station to get the government issued trigger lock removed and the weapon must be returned to the police station to have the trigger lock installed after hunting.
"Any citizen that is "OK" with additional "gun laws" to me is a fool."

Dr Faria: "Thanks Top, sometimes those of us who come from other countries, who become Americans by choice and yearning the ideals that America represents, appreciate such things as freedom and the inalienable Natural Rights to life (self-defense included), liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that other native-born Americans take for granted.

Top, this is from an article by my friend Dave Kopel, a giant in the gun rights legal and  intellectual scholarship:

"According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, 'Aristotle, more than any other thinker, determined the orientation and the content of Western intellectual history.' The discussion of the right to arms in the next 24 centuries has followed the lines laid down by Plato and Aristotle; one side in favor of an unaccountable central government having all the arms and all the power; and the other side favoring rule by citizens who maintain their right to arms. Whatever the issue du jour of the contemporary gun control debate (e.g., gun registration in Canada; gun locks in the United States; handgun confiscation in the United Kingdom), friends of civil liberty should never forget the ultimate issue that drives the gun control movement: the determination to make armed citizens into disarmed subjects of a powerful, sometimes benign, collection of people who call themselves the government."

Top : "Thank you Dr Faria for your response and the very informative piece by Dave Kopel. Interesting to note the quoted sentence from Plato "make a law 
which fixes a sum of money as the qualification of citizenship; the sum is 
higher in one place and lower in another" sounds to me like what we have in the confiscation of our wealth today for the privilege of citizenship "each according to his own means" (of course decided upon by the state).

"Also, in those days, "arms" meant the sword, lance, shield and other weapons of the age. It strikes me that most citizens (men) "carried" when outside of their domiciles in public and those who did not had men carrying for them as a personal protection team, because they could so afford one. When tyrants went too far, they went out in the streets with weapons in hand and took the man's head made slaves of his family if not kill them as well.

"I can say from my immigrant experience one of the very first things I noticed here in the United States (after the choice of variety in store shelves and amazing road system) was how oblivious most native born Americans were about what they really had here by virtue of their birth. I think even today most people born here do not understand how "good they have it".

"So this is why as a naturalized citizen (from Greece) I guard feverishly the interests of our liberty as Americans, especially as it relates to national interests and the integrity of our government and prevention of the subordination of our national interests for the interest of foreign powers, or other special interest groups that mean our liberty wrong.

"I came from the bunghole and I can always go back and survive there. But, if this country becomes the bunghole, I think 90% of the people who are born here will not be able to survive."

Dido: "I agree with the article and your comments Top! Uneed and I are glad to have you and gafarmer on our side and protected in the bunghole, lol!

"And I think you are right, Top, 90% will not survive, used to the good life, living at the expense of others and the government. But like in the movie, Panic in the Year Zero, we will need to protect ourselves from the thugs scavenging  the land."