A Lesson on Gun Control from Wounded Knee

Recently I received an e-mail reminding me that December 29 will be the 131st Anniversary of the murder of 297 Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee Creek on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

These Native Americans, in their winter camp, were murdered on Dec. 29, 1891, by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.”

Sound familiar? For “their own safety and protection” is the way the Biden administration often attempts to frame its attack on the Second Amendment.

Burying dead Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee

The kinds of weapons federal troops and other federal officers were after at Wounded Knee were the same weapons carried by our military at the time–repeating rifles, shotguns, handguns, etc.

The e-mail pointed out that Wounded Knee was among the first federally backed gun confiscation attempts in United States history. It ended in the senseless murder of 297 people–200 of whom were innocent women and children. Most of the Lakota Sioux already had peacefully turned in their firearms, but that didn’t stop the U.S. government from gunning down the few that still held on to their weapons.

The e-mail (I don’t know who wrote it) went on to say: “Before you jump on the emotionally charged bandwagon for gun control, take a moment to reflect on the real purpose of the Second Amendment—the right of the people to keep and bear arms in defense of themselves, their families, and property in the face of invading armies or an oppressive government. The argument that the Second Amendment only applies to hunting and target shooting is asinine.

 “When the United States Constitution was drafted “hunting” was an everyday chore carried out by men and women to put meat on the table each night, and “target shooting” was an unheard concept; musket balls were a precious commodity in the wilds of early America and were certainly not wasted “target shooting.”

The military weapons of that day were the muzzle-loading smooth-bore Brown Bess musket or the rifled Kentucky long rifle—the same weapons that civilians carried. Today, unlike in the 18th century, civilian gun owners cannot own military-grade weapons. Military issue weapons can be fully automatic, while the so-called “assault rifles” that Biden and other gun control zealots are after are semi-automatic.

     Kentucky Long Rifles ca 1780

I own an M-1 Garand—the semi-automatic rifle millions of GIs carried during WW II and the Korean War. It has an 8-round clip. That rifle is now illegal in New York, which has banned all weapons with a clip that holds more than seven rounds. This is idiocy.

And it will not stop tragedies such as Sandy Hook, Uvalde, Texas, or Aurora, Colorado. Deranged people who want to kill others will do so even without firearms. Look at just what happened in Idaho when four college students were stabbed to death by a knife-wielding murderer.

If somebody is intent on killing others, they can set fires, plant explosives, poison water supplies—there are multiple ways to kill people if you set your deranged mind to it.

Let’s look at some facts.

The day that 21 people, including 19 Robb Elementary school children, were killed in Uvalde, some 57 million American children went to school and returned home. The chances of a child being killed in a school shooting in the United States are remote, to say the least.

Federal statistics show that 78 mass shootings have occurred in America since 1982, leaving 543 dead. While those crimes were horrific, during that same period, 564,452 other homicides took place in the United States. That means that the mass shootings that so many gun control crusaders are concerned about represent just 0.1 percent of all murders committed in the U.S.

Yet, gun control zealots would have you believe that mass shooting are the primary cause of gun violence in America. Sorry, but that is not the case. Most gun-related homicides are committed during robberies, muggings, rapes, home invasions, carjackings, pre-meditated murders, or so-called “crimes of passion.”

Almost none of the weapons used in those crimes would fall under the proposed prohibition of semi-automatic weapons that Biden wants to impose. More than 75 percent of gun-related homicides in America are committed with handguns–not semi-automatic rifles.

Yet it is important to note that the Supreme Court has ruled twice (2008 and 2010) that banning handguns would violate the Second Amendment and, therefore, be unconstitutional.

The e-mail I received also said that it is critical to remember that: “the Second Amendment was written by people who fled oppressive and tyrannical regimes in Europe, and refers to the right of American citizens to be armed for defense purposes should such tyranny arise in the United States.

Paradoxically, since the Second Amendment was written, American citizens have continued to lose personal freedom and liberty even as government elites persist in their efforts to disarm us.

“Far too many times,” the e-mail continued, “unjust bills are passed and signed into law under the guise of “for your safety” or “for your protection.” The Patriot Act was signed into law by G.W. Bush, then expanded and continued by Barack Obama. It is just one of many examples of American citizens being stripped of their rights and privacy for the sake of “safety.”

 If you examine recent history, it doesn’t take a professional historian to see that it is governments, not individual gun owners, that are responsible for the greatest human tragedies on record and the largest loss of innocent human life.

Let’s take a quick look at how governments have behaved once they disarmed their citizens:

  • In 1929, the Soviet Union established gun control. From 1929 to 1953, about 20 million dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1911, Turkey established gun control. From 1915 to 1917, 1.5 million Armenians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • Nazi Germany established gun control in 1938, and from 1939 to 1945, a total of 13 million people, including six million Jews who were unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • China established gun control in 1935. From 1948 to 1952, 20 million political dissidents, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • In 1989 I covered the massacre of thousands of unarmed students and political dissidents in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square who dared oppose the Chinese government. Only the military carried guns.
  • Guatemala established gun control in 1964. From 1964 to 1981, 100,000 Mayan Indians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.
  • Uganda established gun control in 1970. From 1971 to 1979, 300,000 Christians, unable to defend themselves, were rounded up and exterminated.

The total number of defenseless people rounded up and exterminated by world governments in the 20th Century due to disarming citizens via gun control: 56 million.

You won’t see that fact on the evening news or hear politicians discussing it.

Few Americans have heard of the “Battle of Athens, Tennessee.” Yet, it is a prime example of why our founding fathers believed an armed citizenry is critical to our republic.

In 1946 several WW II veterans fed up with crooked local officials fought against political corruption in McMinn County, Tenn. During elections, deputies that were part of the political machine illegally seized ballot boxes and took them to jail so they could stuff them, thus ensuring another machine victory.

Angry veterans rushed to the local armory, armed themselves with M-1s and other military weapons, and opened fire on the jail. After several hours the door to the jail was dynamited and opened. The deputies surrendered, and the stolen ballot boxes were recovered. After the votes were counted, opposition candidates had won, and the machine was defeated.

That event and Wounded Knee are excellent examples of why the Second Amendment exists and why Americans shouldn’t be so eager to surrender their Right to Bear Arms.

Without the Second Amendment, we are little more than latent victims–sheep to be sheared and slaughtered by those with the weapons—namely our federal and state governments.

When governments exercise absolute power over their citizenry, the result is nothing short of the tyranny that many of the men and women who founded our nation were fleeing 250 years ago.

Think about the dozens of people still held in government prisons today without due process because they participated in the January 6 foray into the U.S. Capitol building. That appears to be a violation of the 5th Amendment, which addresses the due process of law, eminent domain, double jeopardy, and grand jury:

“No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

According to Department of Justice figures, since the January 6 incident, federal agents have arrested 810 people across all 50 US states and in the District of Columbia for crimes ranging in seriousness from picketing or parading without a permit to the rarely used seditious conspiracy charges leveled against leaders of the Proud Boys and Oath Keepers groups.

But the American government has shredded the 5th Amendment by subjecting Americans, such as those who entered the U.S. Capitol, to indefinite detention and thus taking away their rights to due process. The government insists it has the right to detain any American citizen without any due process indefinitely. As such, the government deprives American citizens of life, liberty, and property, without due process of law.

The Biden administration has also trashed the 6th Amendment that guarantees Americans the right to hear the criminal charges levied against them and to confront witnesses who have testified against them. It also guarantees a speedy criminal trial.

Specifically, the 6th Amendment states: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.”

Subjecting people to indefinite detention violates the 6th Amendment right to a speedy public trial.

More and more often, the government prosecutes cases based on “secret evidence” that it doesn’t show to the defendant or sometimes even to the judge hearing the case. That seems Orwellian and despotic.

And what about freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment? Americans are being “canceled” and fired from their jobs for expressing political views online, even when they’re not at work. As employment lawyer Mark Trapp told Bloomberg Business Week, the “freedom to speak your mind doesn’t exist in workspaces.” Or, in some cases, outside it.

The Biden administration has decided that criticizing government policy is an “assault on democracy” and must be stopped. To make matters worse, the government now employs laws to crack down on dissenters.

Since laws like the Patriot Act have expanded the definition of terrorism, non-violent civil disobedience can lead to a terrorist label—which is exactly what President Biden did when he labeled some 74 million Trump supporters and Republicans (half of the electorate) as threats to democracy.

Given these assaults on several civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution, is it any wonder that millions of Americans view the Second Amendment as their last refuge against an increasingly tyrannical regime controlled by leftist elites who skirt the Bill of Rights with impunity?

When a government can eliminate its citizens’ ability to defend themselves, as it did at Wounded Knee in 1891, all of the rights guaranteed by the Constitution are in danger of being abolished.

Thank God the Founders were prescient enough to recognize that someday there might be a need for the Second Amendment if and when despots and autocrats gain access to the reins of power.

It looks like that day is here.

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About Ronald E. Yates

Ronald E. Yates is an award-winning author of historical fiction and action/adventure novels, including the popular and highly-acclaimed Finding Billy Battles trilogy. Read More About Ron Here

2 thoughts on “A Lesson on Gun Control from Wounded Knee”

  1. Another great post, Ron. Thank you. Every day I’m saddened by the actions of key elected officials. May God have mercy on us all.


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