Boko Haram Show Why We Have Guns

Boko Haram Show Why We Have Guns

boko_hiramBoko Haram, an Islamist group whose name means "Western learning is forbidden," really hit the map last April when it kidnapped almost 250 schoolgirls in Chibok, Nigeria, announcing it intended to marry them off to its fighters. Surprisingly, a social media campaign that featured celebrities including First Lady Michelle Obama somehow failed to spur the girls' release, and those who haven't managed to escape are still in captivity, if they're alive.

Now Boko Haram has established an "Islamic caliphate" in the Borno state of Nigeria and neighboring Chad and Cameroon. The capstone of its campaign was the capture of Baga, the one major point that had previously resisted.

Press reports, based on eyewitness accounts, posited a death toll of as many as 2,000 in the town of 10,000. Others may have died attempting to swim to safety. Residents were supposed to be protected by a multinational force from Chad, Niger and Nigeria, but in an all-too-familiar pattern, the troops scattered at the first sight of Boko Haram, leaving the populace at its mercy.

This is the way it goes in Africa. People are taxed, heavily,  to support an army that spends most of its time drinking and setting up checkpoints to extort them, and precious little effort learning to fight. They're great at shaking down passing truck drivers, not so great at confronting the Boko. Nigerian troops are standbys of UN peacekeeping missions, where they have piled up a notable record of rape and pillage against local populations in other nations. How much peace has been kept is open to debate


So, as we have seen in Mexico, the average villager is caught between an ineffective government and ruthless criminals. In the case of Nigeria, it's Boko Haram; in the case of Mexico, drug cartels like the Knight Templar.


If you think about it, it's almost exactly like the situation that prevailed in the Dark Ages. The Vandals or the Visigoths or the Vikings might be over the next hill, but your local nobleman and his henchmen weren't a lot better. And they'd probably run when you needed them most.


That's why self-defense, and having the means for effecting it, are "natural rights." Anyone who tells you that you just have to stand by and watch a gang of freebooters bundle your daughter off down the road is denying your humanity. The will and the ability to resist are the very basis of civilization. The good have to kill or run off the bad, and that is not accomplished on Twitter. Those who think the use of force should be a state monopoly should have to explain how well that's working in Mexico or Nigeria.

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