It is Independence Day. A day we celebrate throwing off the chains of tyranny for liberty and the many freedoms we hold so dear. A day to celebrate with family and friends, a day of parades, picnics and fireworks. It is also a day of reflection, a day to consider how precious those freedoms are, a day to remember that those freedoms are not free.
Our freedoms were paid for in blood by America’s founders. Today our servicemen and women continue to sacrifice to keep those freedoms alive. Despite those sacrifices, these freedoms would wither and die were they not tended continuously by the sweat and toil of those who fight to keep those hard won and precious freedoms. They toil in the halls of city and county governments, legislatures, Congress, courtrooms and everywhere else that enemies of freedom lurk. On the masthead of the Knife Rights web site is a quote from Thomas Jefferson, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance.”
Those words were never truer than they are this Independence Day.
This week saw an important, if imperfect, victory for freedom as the United States Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment right to bear arms is a fundamental right. Yet, those who prefer the tyranny of power rather than liberty and freedom immediately countered with absurd new laws aimed at undermining as much as possible that fundamental right. And, so, the fight continues–eternally.
When we started Knife Rights in 2006 I noted that our aim was to not end up like England and other places across the ocean where knives are demonized to the point that most wouldn’t be caught dead carrying the same pocket knives we take for granted here in the U.S. Those who do risk harsh legal repercussions.
In 2006, not everyone took the threat seriously. Four years later, a small-minded tyrant in New York City is trying to do just that. His goal appears to be to bring those same draconian restrictions to a country where personal freedoms are a part of the very fabric of our existence. The very tyranny we fought to escape from 234 years ago is being reconstituted on our soil again.
Today, you’ll be hard pressed to find a one-hand opening lockblade knife for sale in New York City (Manhattan). Retailers who submitted to New York District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr’s shakedown in the past month have removed them from their displays. Most other retailers in the city have done so in hopes of avoiding prosecution in another unjustified sweep by the DA. Few Internet retailers are willing to send knives to New York City due to the DA’s specific threats to go after them and many have simply written off the entire state, at least for now.
Most distressing of all, not a single retailer has actually broken the law, not a one.
Citizens didn’t vote to change the law or amend the Constitution. No retailer broke the law. An opportunistic politician, who wanted to make headlines and fund an anti-knife slush fund, decided to bastardize the law by fiat–declaring that perfectly legal knives are now illegal and selling them was a crime.
Sad to say, not a single one of those corporate citizens has so far stood up to that tyrant. They capitulated even though they did nothing wrong, even though they were perfectly innocent.
They made unfortunate decisions under the intimidating threat of criminal prosecution and all that fighting it involves, both personally and corporately. They chose to put short term interests ahead of fighting for their rights–and the rights of their customers, their employees and even their children.
They didn’t lose the right to sell a few types of knives; they surrendered their freedom. All because a District Attorney decided to declare himself the single individual who set the rules for everyone else. By definition, he declared himself ruler-or tyrant.
I call him a tyrant because only a tyrant would ignore the Constitution and the laws of the state and county that he swore a solemn oath to the people of New York to uphold. A tyrant forgets that we are not subjects, we are citizens. A tyrant abuses the law and the legal process to his own ends.
The United States has never had much patience with tyrants.
One day, in court, this District Attorney will be shown to be the two-bit bully and would-be tyrant that he is. Unfortunately, a lot of unnecessary damage will have been done before that happens.
But, that day in court will come. We are working day and night with our legal team; we are gathering our resources; we are strategizing and planning. We will find citizens with the backbone to do what’s right, to not be intimidated and to allow us to fight this battle for our precious freedom.
This Independence Day, Knife Rights rededicates itself to protecting our precious freedoms. This day is a reminder of why this fight is so important to preserving our way of life.
We are citizens, we have rights, we will fight for those rights.
The companies that capitulated in New York may not fully appreciate the harm they did, but we certainly do. It sets the stage for even more widespread loss of freedom, as well as more raids on their corporate accounts to fund slush funds elsewhere. If they think this is the end of their problems, they are sadly mistaken.
The DA is working hard to spread this cancer, in order to support his usurpation of the law. He must be stopped. To be stopped will require your financial support. Otherwise, this is the beginning of the end. Please give generously to protect our freedom; for yourself, for your children, for your grandchildren.
July 4, 2010