I take second place to nobody in my admiration of things Japanese. Like nearly everyone I know, I own a Japanese car and the bulk of my household electronics were crafted in the Land of the Rising Sun regardless of what it says on the cabinet. I believe that Japan's standards of quality control (instilled, ironically, by American mentors after World War II) should be everybody's standards. I favor free international trade, without a hint of regulation or restriction, and the utterances of its Japan-bashing opponents often make me feel ashamed of my own country.
That said -- and it needs saying -- it's time to strangle in its cradle a particularly vile notion being pushed on us now by the minions of Ted Turner, that the Japanese have anything at all to teach us about civilized conduct, violence, or the ownership of weapons.
At issue is the sad case of a Louisiana man who mistook a costumed non-English-speaker on his doorstep, a Japanese student looking for a Halloween party, for an intruder, and shot him to death. CNN and the Japanese talking heads were giving it plenty of play before the trial, but when the shooter was acquitted, they flew into a frenzy of America-bashing which made Joseph Biden's gibbering diatribes on Japanese trade practices sound lucid by comparison.
In Japan, we're endlessly informed, guns have been forbidden since the 1500s. And there's good reason for Turner's sudden interest in Japanese culture. England, the traditional gun-control utopia, is falling apart. The general disintegration of what was once the greatest civilization in history (back when Dr. Watson was free to slip a .455 caliber "life preserver" into his greatcoat pocket) is tragedy enough. What's even more tragic -- and stupid -- is the perfect correlation between its increasingly and gratuitously stricter gun laws and a skyrocketing rate of violent crime which our media never quite get around to telling us about.
Another thing they won't tell us about is the history of Japanese gun control. Following their "discovery" by the Portugese in 1542, the Japanese took to firearms rather enthusiastically, and today, scholars still debate exactly what made medieval Japan return, en masse, to pointy, sweat-powered weapons and "give up the gun". Some idiots believe it was a Noble Experiment, akin to the development of American democracy. But are you aware of what a technically-upgraded peasantry usually does to expensively-armored aristocrats whose ancestors have invested whole lifetimes learning to wield cumbersome, inefficient weapons for no other purpose than to "protect" those peasants out of everything they've got?
Self-appointed bigwigs anywhere always have a vested interest in disarming their potential victims. Japan's noble gangsters (of which Hideyoshi Toyotomi was the boss in 1592) were a bit quicker on the uptake -- and a whole lot fast-and-fancier-talking -- than the Tammany in control of medieval Europe. Japanese peasants let themselves be conned and threatened out of their guns by the Al Capone of their culture, condemning themselves to centuries of bullying by thuggish Samurai, one savage dictatorship following another, and a state-sanctioned race hatred and class-prejudice which today constitute Japan's greatest problem. Finally, they let themselves be herded by fascists into a disastrous war which ended in the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Am I actually claiming that gun control is the ultimate reason that two great and beautiful cities were incinerated by American atomic bombs?
You bet I am.
Our media don' t talk very much about contemporary Japanese crime, either, but I'll give you a clue: without victim disarmament laws, today's Japanese might not be dependent on machinegun-toting Yokuza (for which read, "Japanese Mafiosi") for patrolling the Ginza and making it the only safe street in Tokyo after dark.
America's gun laws, too -- 20,000-plus of them -- are historically rooted in race hatred and class prejudice. When you don't like someone, however evil or irrational your reason, the last thing you want him to have is a gun. In the 19th century, Italians, Chinese, the Irish, and above all blacks had somehow to be disarmed, or society's overlords (who had plenty of guns themselves) wouldn't feel safe. Today, Turner, his wife, and other liberal advocates of victim disarmament are notorious for owning guns themselves, but "deeply concerned" with keeping them out of the "wrong hands" -- meaning those of the American productive class.
Yet the Second Amendment was written so that Americans might never be dominated by the breed of criminals who ruled classical Japan, and, for the most part, it's worked. And when Japanese tourists arrive, the first thing many of them do is go out to a target range to rent one of those repulsive implements that make America so detestable. And when evening shadows fall, or they're just out of ammunition, they're happy, exhausted, and not too terribly anxious to return to a land where such marvelous toys are prohibited.
Maybe they'll learn about gun ownership the same way they learned about quality control. I suspect that's what Turner and his Japanese symbiotes are really afraid of.
So shut up, Ted, you mealy-mouthed, gun-toting hypocrite. America may be "the only country in the world that allows such easy access to weapons", as your henchbeings are so fond of pointing out; it's also "the only country in the world" that enjoys formal separation of church and state (and thus avoids violent religious conflict) -- not to mention an unfettered media on which you've grown obscenely rich. It's "the only country in the world" in lots of ways, and nobody's going to let you turn it into a replica of disintegrating England, socialist Europe, or medieval Japan.
Shut up, Jane, the same to you, squared.
Shut up, CNN and Headline News.
And with all respect, shut up, Japan.
You don't know what you're talking about.
L. Neil Smith is the award-winning author of 19 books including The Probability Broach, The Crystal Empire, Henry Martyn, The Lando Calrissian Adventures, Pallas, and (forthcoming) Bretta Martyn. An NRA Life Member and founder of the Libertarian Second Amendment Caucus, he has been active in the Libertarian movement for 34 years and is its most prolific and widely-published living novelist.
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