Archives for June 2016

Should Women Be Drafted?


My short answer is that no one should be drafted. After all, our Constitution prohibits involuntary servitude, which is exactly what the draft is. Our young men—and possibly women—will be forced—at gunpoint, if necessary—to take up arms and kill other people.

Except for a few psychopaths, taking up arms with the intention to kill others day after day is difficult, even when our nation is truly threatened. It’s a rare individual who remains unscathed by killing others and being a target, which is why so many return home with post-traumatic stress disorder or serious mental illnesses. Going to war should always be the last resort, since the cost in lives, money, and disabilities is so high. In recent times, however, sending troops overseas seems to be a knee-jerk response to any provocation.

When our young people perceive that a war is not just or not warranted, they become unwilling to risk their lives or kill for it. In Vietnam, a war I remember well, this is exactly what happened. Although young men enlisted early in the war, they soon concluded that Vietnam was not a threat to the United States, and resisted the draft overtly or covertly.

Today, not enough of our young men are enlisting to sustain the conflicts in the Middle East. Our troops look forward to going home after their tours are up, only to be forcibly reenlisted under the stop-loss fine print in their contracts. We claim to have a volunteer army, but in fact those who enlist can be drafted for another deployment. This discourages further enlistment, as new recruits start to understand that they are actually signing an open-ended contract.

Clearly, the government believes it will need a draft in the not-so-distant future to maintain its chosen  military action. We are told that without a draft, our young people will not step forward when our country is threatened. This is patently false. After 9/11, volunteers flooded to sign up for the anticipated military action. Now they no longer do, as they perceive their government is embarked on never-ending wars.

If our nation is truly threatened, our young people step forward willingly; if it isn’t truly threatened, why should they risk life and limb? We can’t keep killing people overseas because maybe, someday, they might try to harm us.  There are simply too many people who “might” try to hurt us.  A better strategy is to make sure our domestic security is strong enough that those who would do us harm will be thwarted in their attempt.

If we engage in overseas wars that are not truly defensive ones, and may even be primarily in the service of special interests, our young people should refuse to go.  These young adults become the canaries in the coal mine, warning us that the war we wish to fight might not be so right.

Killing is difficult enough when it is perceived as a necessary evil, but it’s even more difficult without the motivation to protect our homes and loved ones. The draft isn’t only involuntary servitude; its slavery of the worst kind as it asks the draftees to do things they find morally repugnant. How are we to spread freedom abroad by taking it away from our young people at home?

Women have a major role to play in discussions about the draft. They should indeed talk about equal rights—for both men and women. Self-determination, the decision whether or not we are willing to go out and kill others, is a right that belongs to both sexes. Instead of insisting that their own rights should be violated, as the rights of men are today, women should be lobbying for an end of the draft. Our great, great-grandmothers fought to end the slavery of black people; today, we honor their memories by fighting to end the slavery of the draft.


Gun-Free Zones Are Anything But!

Would you post a sign on your front yard saying “This house is a gun-free zone?” No matter how much you hate guns, your gut reaction is likely “Certainly not!”  Intuitively, we know that such a sign makes our home a target for criminals, who don’t obey gun bans any more than they obey the laws against rape, theft, and murder.  Advertising that you and yours are defenseless is never a good idea.

Gun Free Zone 2

Similarly, when bars, schools, and other public venues are posted as “gun-free zones,” we should be wary.  After all, over 98% of the mass public shootings in the United States occur in places where guns, even those carried by law-abiding citizens with permits, are banned (1).

Much of the tragedy that happened at Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando, in the wee hours of June 12 could have—and should have—been prevented.  Had any of the patrons been carrying a firearm, the perpetrator might have been quickly stopped. Instead, at least 50 people lost their lives and a similar number were injured.

Mass shooters do consider where they can find helpless victims (2,3,4). After all, most of these killing sprees are pre-meditated, so the ability to execute their victims without minimal interference is a significant part of their planning.

Instead of doing away with gun-free zones, where killers enjoy open season on those who can’t fight back, many politicians are calling for more victim disarmament.  These same politicians, who want to deny private citizens the ability to defend themselves, often have armed body guards for themselves—sometimes paid for with our tax dollars (5,6,7).

If our politicians can use guns to protect themselves, why shouldn’t we be able to?