I have been reluctant to make any more than passing comments about the Boston bombing partly because we know so little, and partly because I see so many dangers to our republic springing from it that I wanted to avoid sounding paranoid. So I’ll dip the tip of my pen into the subject via some thoughts by someone I greatly respect: Massad Ayoob.
I first became acquainted with Ayoob’s writings in his little book, In The Gravest Extreme, which was originally published in 1980 when he was just 32 years old. It has informed me ever since. Here’s how he ended that book:
I can remember the words of my father on the day I turned twenty-one and applied for my first pistol permit. On that occasion he presented me with a Smith & Wesson .38 snubnose, and a piece of advice that would guide my own approach to armed defense:
“I hope to [Heaven] you never need to use it,” he told me. “But if you ever do – don’t miss!”
In his current reflections on Boston, Ayoob said that while the Boston saga was unfolding he was in Chicago attending the annual conference of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. When the news hit the wires that Obama’s gun control bill had failed in the Senate, applause from those 700 individuals attending broke out spontaneously, giving the lie to the perception that most police officers favor more gun control laws.
Ayoob commented on the fact that a private citizen, not the police, found the suspect hiding in his boat. Ayoob asked:
One wonders if that good citizen would have felt better at that moment if he’d had a familiar pistol at his hip when he pulled back the tarp on his bloodstained boat and realized what he was facing. (my emphasis)
We have much more to learn about this incident and how many more of these terrorists are inside our borders. Among the many lessons that will sooner or later become plain, one is certain to be this: in a nation of well over 300 million citizens policed by far less than a million cops, more people than ever will recognize the importance of the armed citizen that our nation’s founders so wisely memorialized in the Second Amendment.