It is not lost on me that while many of my fellow Americans are claiming that the 2nd Amendment is no longer needed to preserve basic rights, I am in a first class nation that is denying its citizens the fundamental right to vote.
The horrific tragedy back home has once again kicked off the ever raging debate regarding whether private citizens should own guns. Many argue that the 2nd Amendment is no longer needed in modern and progressive nations. They often point to western Europe as proof of this claim.
Yet, it is in a western Euorpean nation that I am witnessing firsthand what happens when citizens are disarmed.
By all accounts Spain is not a banana republic in the 3rd world. It is a thriving and developed Western European nation with a very highly developed democratic political system. It is often thought of as being “progressive”.
Yet, the national government in Madrid denied the citizens of its most prosperous province one of the most fundamental rights; the right to vote.
The national government sent in black uniformed military police to ensure a referendum it didn’t like didn’t take place. These storm troopers, with batons in hand and pistols at their side, pounced on completely peaceful and DISARMED (re DEFENSELESS) voters.
Denied their right to politically express themselves through the ballot box, the people rose to their feet to do so through the protest I witnessed on Tuesday.
The irony of all this is that it is unclear if the vote for Catalan independence would have succeeded. In polls leading up to the election, those wanting independence slightly trailed those who didn’t. But even with a NO vote, the results would have strengthened the provincial government’s position in its negotiations with Madrid.
Not wanting this, Madrid sent in the military to quash the vote. This left the Catalans two options; either submit to the power of an unresponsive central government or demand independence.
I must wonder how less quickly the Spanish government would have chosen coercive force over political compromise if the Catalans were protected by a 2nd Amendment of their own? Would it possibly have led to a peaceful resolution rather than the civil war that now appears likely?
Now the Catalans live in fear of what the very near future brings. That they may find themselves fighting agianst a government that has a monopoly on violent force or, in order to avoid such a calamity, accept the reality that they are second class citizens living in a fully developed, progressive Western democracy.
As the saying goes, “Reality sucks”!