First and foremost I’m not here to belittle anyone or their views, I won’t be calling anyone “snowflake” or “libtard”; I find such things extremely distasteful and they seriously detract from having a meaningful discussion between opposing viewpoints. Rather than just throwing memes at each other, I believe in having a rational discourse. Please lend me a few minutes of your day to impart not just an opinion but some very recent historical data from our world. I’m not a member of the Right or Left, I’m not going to bore you with statistics or talk about the nuances of firearm mechanics/aesthetics. I want to tell you what lies on the other side of our peaceful state of affairs.

I get it, guns can be intimidating and make for an effective killing tool. They are primarily designed to destroy things despite whatever recreational activity we may use them for. The AR-15, minus a burst/full-auto fire capability, is identical to the M16/M4 series of rifles and a semi automatic rifle can indeed be very lethal as we rarely use anything else on an individual level in combat aside from a belt fed machine gun. But let me tell you why not just conservatives and pro-gun advocates need access to such things; we all do. We are always teetering on the edge of chaos and when a society is thoroughly armed, it stays civilized despite a breakdown; people tend to police themselves accordingly. Not in terms of law enforcement but by stopping heinous acts as a collective should they arise en mass.

I’d like to mention a few very real threats to the United States before I get into my current event example though. Cybersecurity for America’s infrastructure is terrible. A well executed attack on specific systems could destroy our power grid in seconds. Without electricity, a civilized nation that depends heavily on it to operate will descend into chaos within a matter of days. An epidemic or weaponized virus can achieve similar results. I will never discount the possibility of a tyrannical government either, though I admit I find that highly unlikely. With the number of bad state actors out there, we should all be prepared not for the current peaceful state of events in the United States, but for a very plausible break down of our society should an attack at a national level occur.

In 2013 the United States began supporting, supplying and encouraging various militia alliances and resistance groups to rise up against the Syrian Assad regime. This movement caused a massive influx of “freedom fighters” to enter the fray. Al-Qaeda being among the most notorious to become involved. They eventually grew to a point that some of the more extremist leaders decide that they would break off and begin their own organization. Thus the Islamic State was born.

Now, hop over to their neighbors in Iraq who were for a time enjoying a state national stability and economic growth. The Islamic State moved in and before anyone could grasp what was happening, Fallujah had fallen and the group had captured large caches of military arms and vehicles. They began to spread like a cancer which eventually led them to Ramadi’s doorstep. At this point the Iraqi army and police forces fled, leaving a defenseless populace to weather the storm.

Iraq at the time, had strict gun control measures in place which essentially allowed only government forces to posses weapons other than hunting guns. They were crushed by a handful of militant extremists. What came next was systematic genocide, forced religious indoctrination, famine, and a collapse in infrastructure. It was hell on earth for the normal people trapped there.

Now before you go thinking, “Well these were just a bunch of third world people on the other side of the planet,” or something along the lines of, “It’s just part of their culture, America is nothing like the Middle East,” wrong. The people who ended up in the gun sights or under the knife of these extremists were doctors, farmers, construction workers, teachers, and shop owners, etc. They were everyday people who were going about their relatively peaceful lives when the unfathomable happened and their society collapsed. This wasn’t some barbaric place or time period. This happened in 2014, they had cell phones and internet access like you and I. They are still digging up mass graves in the region filled with the remains of the survivor’s loved ones.

Yes, guns are extremely dangerous in the wrong hands and we should do everything within reason to prevent evil people from obtaining them. However, we should never sacrifice our ability to possess them because the unknown danger is real and it is out there. Do I think an Islamic Extremist group is going to roll over small town America? No, but neither did the citizens of Iraq. The unthinkable is just that and if we are unprepared, we will pay for it with far more than a few dead citizens at the hands of a lone mad man intent on killing, regardless of the tool available. Modern firearms are a form of checks and balances.