The U.S. government does not trust every American soldier to possess nuclear weapons. Likewise, the U.S. government should not trust private citizens to possess nuclear weapons. But the U.S. government does trust more than a million American soldiers to possess advanced firearms. Likewise, the U.S. government should trust private citizens to possess such firearms.

If we can trust more than a million individuals in the military to possess a certain weapon, we should trust private citizens to possess that same weapon. The matter of safety is a matter of screening, training, accountability, and vigilance.

We did not disarm American soldiers after the Fort Hood massacre. We must not disarm American citizens after the Sandy Hook massacre. Indeed, there is a strong case to be made that so many individuals were massacred in these cases because both Fort Hood and Sandy Hook were gun-free zones. That is, the innocent soldiers and private citizens in Fort Hood and Sandy Hook had already been disarmed.

Rights-respecting, law-abiding American citizens absolutely, positively need to own and be prepared to use powerful firearms at home. In my judgment, given the almost-inevitable and imminent threats to our freedom, such preparation is an absolute necessity for survival.

Here are some of the threats.

A total collapse of the U.S. economy, along with a breakdown of civil institutions is very likely if not certain. Too many people are counting on capital—promised in the form of government bonds and governments guarantees of retirement checks and health care—that simply does not exist. Too many skilled producers are aging and dying, being replaced by young ignoramuses. Most people don’t yet know how poor they are. They continue to buy—as companies continue to make—luxury gadgets instead of saving for and investing in necessities such as food and health care. By the time they realize that HDTVs won’t replaced broken-down tractors, and sociologists and social-media specialists won’t replace farmers and engineers and doctors, and government bureaucrats won’t replace private property owners, it will be too late. There won’t be enough food and home heating and medicine to go around.

A full argument for my claim, that we are heading for a collapse of society, is outside the scope of this post (though not this blog), but here is the nutshell: The United States is heading toward socialism/fascism, and socialist/fascist societies collapse. For a fuller argument, read Atlas Shrugged.

When the collapse occurs, there will be anarchy. We capitalists—who are storing food, water, and other necessities—will need our guns to defend against the roving gangs of starving socialists. Some of the gangs may be armed and very large, coming from the ranks of SEIU , ACORN, Occupy Wall Street, and other cesspools bathed in by community organizers. It will take high-powered weapons to mow them down before they can get to us and eat us.

Many organized and powerful gangs involved in the illegal drug trade are entrenched in the U.S. They cannot live on drugs and paper money alone. They will need our food. The gangs of starving drug traffickers will have very many powerful weapons. We will need ours.

Islamists are at war with the United States, though our government and most of our intellectuals evade that fact. There are undoubtedly thousands of Islamist ‘sleepers’ now residing in the U.S., waiting for the right moment to attack. Such an attack might be coordinated with the use of a weapon of mass destruction, making it impossible for our government to protect us in our homes. Those who attack our homes will have weapons. We will need ours.

In desperate attempts to retain power while the economy collapses, socialist governments plunder and persecute their citizens more and more, and our government will be no exception. Though the best among the American military and police will at some point refuse to follow orders of overt persecution, the government will have its goons, and they will have weapons. We will need ours.

Then there are the old-fashioned threats from our old Cold War enemies, the communists. With the collapse of the Soviet Union—a socialist society—the U.S. won the Cold War. But Presidents Clinton, Bush 2, and Obama have un-won it. Russia, China, and/or North Korea might attack and even invade us just at the moment when we are reeling from the other threats I have mentioned. The last line of defense—and an effective deterrent—against a foreign invader is an armed citizenry.

In my judgment, most Americans alive today will die from one of the threats I have mentioned above. I hope I am wrong, but I think most Americans won’t even live long enough to die of Obamacare.

An individual’s best chance for survival is to live in a community that is prepared and defended. America’s best chance for survival is for enough capitalists to survive while socialists eat each other once they run out of our food.

Keeping our firearms is a necessary part of our best chance for survival. Indeed, we need more firepower, not less.

The United States is no longer the safe and civilized place that it was before the 1960s, when the New Left took over our federal government, our cities, and our popular culture. I witnessed the change, which was as abrupt as a nightmare.

People born after 1960 have no idea of the civilization that has been lost since then. I grew up in the Bronx in New York City, in a lower middle class melting pot. In 1961, when I was six, I would play in the park with my friends without adult supervision—at night. Mothers would wheel their baby carriages into the park and sit and talk—at night. On the day President Kennedy was assassinated, when I was eight, I was with my six-year-old sister in the park while she played with her friends. There was no adult supervision. I was the male supervision. In 1964, when I was nine, I went to about twenty baseball games, including a World Series game, at Yankee Stadium with my eleven-year-old friend—with no adult. I walked to school alone—everyone did—when I was seven, and the only reason I did not walk alone earlier was that I was too short for drivers to see me.

On the day the local orphanage had a field trip, half of my first-grade class was empty, because half of the children in the class were orphans. I don’t recall any rich people in my neighborhood. But there was no crime, no fear, and no ugliness of any kind.

By 1966, no one went into the park even in the daytime.

My family’s apartment was burglarized. So were apartments above and below us. We witnessed other burglaries. Race and ethnicity suddenly became an issue. Suddenly there was ugliness everywhere: profanity, harsh and dissonant music, unkempt dress and grooming, rampant drug use, and crime.

Politically, the New Left’s welfare state gave an excuse for every thug to rob from the richer to give to the poorer. Culturally, deliberate ugliness migrated from isolated museums and galleries and playhouses into American living rooms via the popular media, making it ‘cool’ to insult and ultimately destroy every civilized, Western, American value.

Reported per capita violent crime more than doubled in the decade of the 1960s, just when the welfare state expanded similarly. By 1991, the reported violent crime rate per capita had increased nearly five-fold. Since then, the rate has dropped, due in my opinion to Republican governors and mayors (such a Mayor Giuliani in New York) replacing more-Leftist predecessors (such as Mayor Dinkins in New York). But the reported per capita violent crime rate today is still more than double the rate in 1961, and I think the actual crime rate today is much higher. Reporting a crime is undoubtedly a very dangerous thing to do for an illegal immigrant or an individual living in a gang-infested ‘neighborhood’.

Both crime and New Leftist welfare-state politics are results of the same philosophical ideas: subjectivism, denial of an absolute reality, denial of the difference between external reality and the content of one’s mind; denial of free will; denial of the ability of the individual to know reality through reason; emotionalism instead of reason as a guide to action; denial of any causal connection from one’s thoughts and choices to one’s achievements; therefore relying on plundering and destroying others instead of producing; denial of absolute moral principles; denial of individual rights in favor of sacrificing the individual to others or oneself; denial of the importance of any individual; extreme egalitarianism, casting anyone who has less of anything—whether wealth or esteem—as a victim. (See also Leonard Peikoff, “What to Do About Crime,” The Intellectual Activist, September 1995.)

Individuals on the political Right think of their guns as a means of defending their life, liberty, and property. It is individuals on the political Left—and those who latch on to the ideas of the Left as a pretext for their evil—who think of guns as a means of carrying out their emotional urges to destroy.

It is far more likely to be murdered by an Obama-supporter than by a capitalist, anti-Obama owner of advanced firearms. It is even more likely to be killed by the domestic and foreign policies of Obama.

Because the New Leftist world we now live in is so dangerous, we need our guns not only in our homes, but also in public places.

What should a rational government do? I will answer that question in my next post.