|In the wake of World War II and the Nazi Holocaust, the United Nations adopted measures to prevent and punish the perpetrators of genocide. In practical terms, the United Nations has been an abysmal failure with respect to saving actual lives, and tens of millions have since been killed because of their membership in some racial, religious, or ethnic group.
One common factor in most of these genocidal acts is that the group targeted for genocide was effectively disarmed prior to their murder -- whether by happenstance, national policy, or, as in the case of Bosnia, by United Nations arms embargo. Civilian disarmament facilitates acts of genocide by lowering the cost of predation, and making the disarmed group more vulnerable to their would-be killers.
Unfortunately, experience suggests that the international community cannot be relied upon to stop acts of genocide in progress. The responsibility of defending against acts of genocide, then, falls squarely on the shoulders of the potential victims. Although it is not a perfect solution, the proper course of action is to allow individuals to arm and defend themselves against their genocidal aggressors, and for the international community to guard this right scrupulously.
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