Gun Control and Genocide

home North/Rockwell Archives Gun Control and Genocide From 2005. Sunday, April 24th marked the 90th anniversary of the first genocide of the twentieth century: the Turkish government’s slaughter of over a million unarmed Armenians. The key word is "unarmed." The Turks got away with it under the cover of wartime. They suffered no greater postwar reprisals for this act of genocide than if they had not conducted mass murder of a peaceful people. Other governments soon took note of this fact. It seemed like such a convenient international precedent. Sixty-nine years after that genocide began, Hotel Rwanda opened for business. The Hutus also got away with it. Ironically, at least a decade before — I wish I could remember the date — Harper’s ran an article predicting this genocide for this reason: the Hutus had machine guns. The Tutsis didn’t. The article was written as a kind of parable, not a politically specific forecast. I remember reading it at the time and thinking, "If I were a Tutsi, I’d emigrate." It did not pay to be a civilian in the twentieth century. The odds were against you. BAD NEWS FOR CIVILIANS The twentieth century, more than any century in recorded history, was the century of man’s inhumanity to man. A memorable phrase, that. But it is misleading. It should be modified: "Governments’ inhumanity to unarmed civilians." In the case of genocide, however, this is not easily dismissed as collateral damage on a wartime enemy. It is deliberate extermination. The […]

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