Hurricane Irma rages across the Atlantic, devastating much of the Caribbean. This Category 5 storm veers towards the state of Florida as I write this blog post . For many, hearing news of such a storm most likely evokes images of the disorder that resulted from Hurricane Katrina back in 2005. I remember seeing images of gun brandishing thugs looting and stealing, essentially taking full advantage of the disorder engendered by Katrina. Now, such repercussions from Katrina may have public officials weary of what kind of havoc may ensue from this catastrophic act of God. However, does it justify over extending governmental authority in the aims of keeping the citizens of a certain jurisdiction safe? I would argue no. However, the citizens of the U.S. Virgin Islands, a territory of the United states, are being subjected to such measures.
Please note that the source here, The Daily Caller, is well known for its conservative bias. However, this story has been verified by other sources and even Snopes.com has confirmed this story is true. Per the Daily Caller on September 5, 2017, Kenneth Mapp, governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, signed an “Emergency order allowing the seizure of private guns, ammunition, explosives…. “by the national guard.” Essentially the order enables the National Guard to seize personal property and weapons to help assist with the hurricane relieve efforts. While this is supposedly not an attempt to prevent looting and other criminal activities, it is rooted in the premise of having the citizens forfeit weapons for the sake of safety. Essentially, the end result of safety is what Governor Mapp is trying to achieve merely from a different paradigm. Let me say Hurricane Irma is certainly not a joke; it has been classified as a Category 5 storm, with winds surpassing 150 miles per hour, and it has caused much devastation this week in Puerto Rico. (http://dailycaller.com/2017/09/05/virgin-islands-allows-national-guard-to-seize-guns-ammo-ahead-of-hurricane-irma/)
The question I have for anyone reading this post is what do you value more, freedom or safety? This really is a cumbersome question to answer philosophically, or from a practical perspective. The obvious answer would be that you would want both if possible. However, in circumstances such as airport security or natural disasters we unfortunately have to make this insurmountably hard decision that could be compared to choosing between food & water. However, if we do survive a natural disaster with our freedoms compromised, was it really worth surviving? At this point the question is more subjective than objective. However, at this point it is really a matter of individual perspective.
I will also note Governor Mapp’s position of having guns owned by private citizens diverted to the National Guard does seem like it is being done out of sincere concern for the well being of his constituents. However, I am one to be on the side of freedom over safety in the philosophical argument. Many could malign this stance due to the fact I have never personally experience the horrors of a catastrophic natural disaster. To my detractors I say that I am one to live and die for my principles and I absolutely stand by that statement. In my opinion, life without personal sovereignty is not worth living. I personally, on a philosophical and political level, disagree with Governor Mapp’s decision. Many might say that this a borderline juvenile perspective if lives are at stake. However, I very much defend a private citizen’s right to own fire arms, to the extent that I believe there should never be a mandatory bill, even in times of emergencies that requires private citizens to forfeit their guns or other personal property. I am a Constitutional purist; I am not the type of individual to have any lackadaisical stance on Constitutional rights. Even if it is for the greater good. Once we start abandoning our rights for the greater good, we are no longer a Democratic Republic, but rather leaning in the direction of socialism. While not intrinsically malevolent as it does work in Europe and Canada, it veers too far away from the fundamental principles the United States were founded upon.