Recent events have once again forced our nation to confront the thorny issue of gun control. One side argues that we need more restrictions -- on who can buy guns, how they can buy guns, and what guns they can buy. The other side reminds us that we damn well have the right to protect ourselves, and that right is enshrined in our very Constitution.
Our firearms once served as guarantors for "the security of a free State" -- without them, we invited invasion or insurrection. But why do our Second Amendment stalwarts still fiercely hold on to the weapons of our forefathers? Could there be a danger that the rest of us are woefully unaware of?
It's been a long time since battles were won on horses and bayonets. The new face of the enemy may come in the form of an insidious strain of smallpox or a sly computer virus that infects our power grids. But how do you repel a pesky bacterium or a few taunting lines of code -- shoot it with an Uzi?
Perhaps our assault weapons enthusiasts are preparing for a fundamentally different danger, one that will test the accuracy of our aim more than efficacy of our vaccines or firewalls.
I speak, of course, of the impending zombie apocalypse.
In recent years, cultural prophets have been sounding the alarm of the apocalypse with increasing urgency and creativity. We don't know when it will happen, or what form these zombies will take, but we do know that when this enemy arrives, it will be swift, ruthless and ravenous.
When they come, how will you defend yourself and your loved ones? Baseball bats are blunt weapons with limited range. Swords are in short supply (except at Comic-Con), and kitchen knives require a fair bit of finesse to wield. Forget about hand-to-hand combat if you'd prefer to keep your limbs.
What about the military? They certainly couldn't reach all of us in time once our neighbors begin to gnaw on our doors. And predator drones couldn't be deployed with the risk of human collateral so great. (Try telling the difference between a civilian and a zombie combatant from 30 kilometers away.)
No, when the zombie apocalypse does arrive, a personal armory is one's best hope for survival. May it be a Remington 870 shotgun that disperses a rushing horde of the undead, or Barrett M107 sniper rifle that buys you a few more days as you wait it out on a lonely rooftop -- you will never be more appreciative of the experience of clutching the cool, reassuring metal of your gun.
The zombie apocalypse will test the resilience of our nation (and the speed of our reflexes). When it does come, we will be reminded of the intent of our Founding Fathers -- for us to bear arms, to revive our citizen militia, and to defend ourselves against a danger that is very, very real.