A weapon is a tool. Like any tool, it can be used for good or evil. Men and nations use tools to further their goals.
We know from history that evil wins when good can not prevail. We also know that when all else fails, nations will resort to war. War is won or lost by one thing; a young man standing on a piece of ground holding a weapon.
Rock, club, hatchet, axe, arrow, sword, or gun; it does not matter. Who that young man works for, and why, is of all importance.
One of the best descriptions of this point was recently made by General Peter van Uhm, Royal Netherlands Army.
The Dutch have one personality aspect that I enjoy; they are direct and to the point. The Dutch don't get shocked very often - but General van Uhm knew how to get their attention.
Today Van Uhm starts off with stating we all have our instruments for creating a better world: for a writer it is his/her pen, for a doctor it is his/her microscope etc. The public was slightly shocked when Van Uhm showed his instrument on stage: his gun!No small gesture. The Dutch gun laws are about as bad, if not worse, than the British.
The uneasiness of the public is a good thing according to Van Uhm, we are not used to guns being around us, unlike in many other countries.I always managed to stump my Dutch friends when I offer an alternative history of the below.
The personal story about why Van Uhm has chosen the gun follows. His father fought the Nazis in Nijmegen during World War II. In a critical battle, his father wasn’t able to reach the other side of the river bank and therefore couldn’t stop the Germans. His instrument, the gun, the only thing standing in between good and evil, failed him and his mission, leading to frustration for the rest of his life. Van Uhm chose the gun to stop those who do evil, to protect the vulnerable, to defend democratic values.The Dutch fought an 80-year civil war to earn their independence from the Spanish crown. Though they fought hard where they could - the Germans easily took them in WWII. If every Dutch household had a gun, would the Germans have been able to roll as they did - when every building could have had a sniper in a window?
If the Dutch had gun laws closer to the Swiss, Finns, or even the Americans - would they have fallen as fast as they did?
“The gun may be one of the most important instruments of peace and stability that we have in this world.”Yes, as long as it is in the right hands.
Well, the Dutch are what they are - at least they understand the power of the gun in the right hands.
As a personal note; you may want to read this about his son. I do not know General Uhm, but we do share a mutual friends who speaks very highly of him. I hope he gets more opportunities to give this speech. As Europe continues to disarm to rediculous levels - more need to hear this.
UPDATEL The Junior Sailor of the Year at SHAPE has the video. Watching the whole thing, you get much better depth on the topic from a very good man.
Hat tip Hans de Vreij via Twitter.