Daniel J. Mitchell
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After riots swept parts of the United Kingdom last year, I wrote about the moral argument for gun ownership. Simply stated, it is wrong to disarm law-abiding people, particularly when there is a risk of societal breakdown.

The same argument is equally applicable in the areas ravaged by the recent storm to hit the northeastern United States. As you can see from this report in the New York Post, the government is failing in its responsibility to provide law and order.

Hardened New Yorkers are ready to battle lowlife criminals to protect their homes and stores in storm-ravaged areas plagued by looting and break-ins. In Coney Island, several residents were loading up their guns, sharpening their machetes and brandishing other deadly weapons. Jacinto Gonzalez, 42, picked up a baseball bat and stood guard outside his two-story rowhouse on West 27th Street near Neptune Avenue with his family. Another Coney Island resident, Roberto Aviles, brandishing a rusty 3-foot machete and warning he has a gun, who has lived in Coney Island since 1995 with his wife, says he’s ready to take on phony burglars posing as Con Ed workers. “I’m prepared inside here,” the 76-year-old Aviles said, showing off his rusted, three-foot machete and warning he had a gun. Chris Lane, a 50-year-old resident of the Coney Island Houses, put together a small arsenal with his double pump action gun.

And here’s some coverage from the United Kingdom

…residents of the Rockaways in Queens continued to struggle without power, heat or food for a sixth day as their neighborhood slowly descended into chaos.

‘It’s chaos; it’s pandemonium out here,’ said Chris Damon, who had been waiting for 3.5 hours at the site and had circled the block five times. “It seems like nobody has any answers.” Added Damon: ‘I feel like a victim of Hurricane Katrina. I never thought it could happen here in New York, but it’s happened. ‘With little police presence on the storm-ravaged streets, many residents of the peninsula have been forced to take their protection into their own hands, arming themselves with guns, baseball bats and even bows and arrows to ward off thugs seeking to loot their homes. …’We booby-trapped our door and keep a baseball bat beside our bed,’ Danielle Harris, 34, told the New York Daily News. The woman added that she has been hearing gunshots likely fired in the nearby housing project for three nights in a row. Meanwhile, local surfer Keone Singlehurst said that he stockpiled knives, a machete and a bow and arrow.

Now ask yourself a basic question: Is it better to be armed with a baseball bat or a gun?

Last but not least, here’s a picture that was widely circulated last decade, presumably after a storm like Katrina. It’s amusing, but it also makes me very proud of the American spirit.

These guys were having fun, but they also made an important statement. Ask yourself another question: If you were a low-life thug, would you try to rob that neighborhood?

P.S. You can  see some amusing pro-Second Amendment posters herehereherehere, and here. And some amusing images of t-shirts and bumper stickers on gun control herehere, and here.

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Daniel J. Mitchell

Daniel J. Mitchell is a top expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy at the Cato Institute.